I was just taking our lunch picnic bag out of the car at a beautiful viewpoint along the highway when another car, with a trailer full of hay, pulled up just in front of ours. Out jumped a man with a cowboy hat and a big knife dangling from his belt.
We were on our way from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Taos in the same state.
I put the lunch bag back into the car and felt a little ill at ease (the knife!) as the man stepped up to us in a very decisive manner. There was no one else in sight.
Do you want to hear a song?
He spoke in a way that made it clear that ‘No’ was not a reply to consider, so we mumbled
Yes, that would be nice.
And in a loud and clear voice, facing the valley, he started a rather monotonous but clearly lamenting song in a native American language. After a while he switched to English and sang about the land that the white man had stolen. I felt guilty and sad.
When he stopped he turned to us and said
I had a difficult weekend, I had to get this off my chest.
And turning to my husband:
I want to give you a gift, I have made it myself.
He took off a very nice black leather bracelet that he was wearing and put it around my husband’s arm.
It’s a practical bracelet, you can put dollar bills inside it and pay for your coffee in the morning. Now I have to go to my ranch and feed the horses.
He walked to his car and disappeared. We just stood there, amazed at the man, his song and his gift. It felt unreal. Maybe it was?