Cultural Revolutions

A Grand Day Out

I became acquainted with Peter Stanlis through my connection with The Rockford Institute, yet he is always associated in my mind with New Mexico, where our late mutual friend Jim Rauen had retired from his construction business in Chicago.  Jim and his wife, Ann, were for many years benefactors of TRI.  I no longer remember how they met the Stanlises (then living in Rockford), but it must have been through some Institute affair or another.  Jim was a huge admirer of Peter’s writing, his first book on Edmund Burke especially, and personally very fond of its author.  He was also an Hispanophile, and an aficionado of the corrida and its inseparable partner, flamenco.  In 1990 Jim introduced me to the world of bullfighting when we attended the Easter Sunday fight, which inaugurates the Mexican season, at the Plaza Monumental in Juárez.  I was an instant convert and promptly wrote up the experience in an article for Chronicles.

One can never anticipate, when one goes into print with anything, the possible consequences of publishing.  Certainly, it never occurred to me that my piece would fire the imagination of a gentle Burke scholar and an authority on Robert Frost.

Three years later, I had a call from Jim in Belen in regard to the upcoming corrida at the Plaza Monumental.  We would be a party of three this time, he explained: Peter Stanlis was flying down from Illinois...

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