It Will Be Sudden, It May Be Soon

The Roswell Alien Museum and Research Center is on Main Street, an avenue dotted with trinket shops and ads featuring a big-eyed “alien” hawking hamburgers, gasoline, and the wares of various convenience stores.  At the north end of Roswell is the New Mexico Military Institute, while the flat, brown-gray expanse of the staked plains surrounds the town, the Pecos Valley studded with a few hills and ridges lining the horizon.  It’s not the Roswell I remember from decades before when the family would gather at Uncle Al’s house for Thanksgiving.  There are fewer Stetsons and pickups, and more tricked-out low riders, but the memories, long-faded by the years, come into focus when a familiar landmark is spotted.  And in the older part of town, the streets are lined with barren yards and the familiar adobe houses.

The GPS periodically informs us we are off the system’s grid of mapped roads, telling us to “proceed with caution,” as we track down the house where Aunt Anne and Frank Wright made their home, both of them long gone, then trace a path to Uncle Eb’s place south of town.  We pull onto a dusty road that takes us to the old house, chickens pecking near the back door, where Eb, stooped and white headed now, greets us.  I can still make out the handsome face, trim moustache, and sparkling blue eyes—characteristics of Eb and much of the extended family—surfacing...

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