PULLING NO PONCHOS
An Irreverent History of Santa Fe
Why should you read this book?
Much already has been written about the City Different-Santa Fe. Why another book? Historians of Santa Fe have written that this ancient city embodies all the passion, fury, devotion and romance in the settlement of the American Southwest.
What they never knew and could not tell you is the following:
1) It was not through a sense of duty or love of country that started the Spanish incursion into the northern provinces. Four of the six conquistadors came north from Mexico under duress as the result of losing gambling bets-at rolling dice or playing at cards.
2) Translations of that period were in error in saying that the church had sent the Franciscans on a quest to save souls. The proper interpretation is that these men of the cloth had walked hundreds of miles and needed a shoemaker to mend soles.
3) Historians claim that the Conquest of Mexico under Cortes gave the Spanish the fever of gold. Accordingly, they claim, adventurers went north to find the Seven Cities of Gold. Again, because the ink on the archives may not have properly dried or had been smeared by perspiration, historians misread the text. In truth, these men were not adventurers but rather senior caballeros searching out a place for "getting old" not for "getting gold."
4) Much to the surprise of many will be the revelation that it was San Gabriel and not San Miguel for whom the first mission church was originally named. We have documented the fact that the Mexican slaves, brought north to work for the settlers, produced an early version of the musical "Me and My Girl" sometime in the early 1600s. In their pidginized Spanish, it came out "Yo y Mi Gel." Governor Pedro Peralta thought they were praying to San Miguel and to please them, he rededicated the mission church to the famous dragon slayer. San Gabriel was angered at this and has not made a proclamation since.
5) It was on the Camino Real (The Royal Road) that Don Juan de Oņate traveled as he overshot the area we now call Santa Fe. He favored, instead, a settlement on the west bank of the Great River or Rio Grande where it met the Chama River, about thirty miles north of the present city of Santa Fe. This was a spot the Tewa Indians called "Yoong Ghay" which meant "down at the mockingbird place." To his credit, although history does not bear this out, Don Juan de Oņate became fluent in the language of the Tewa Indians. He was able to convince them to change the name of the settlement to "down by the riverside" and was credited with writing the lyrics and music to commemorate the establishment of the first capital in New Mexico.
So you see, Dear Reader, many important events, such as those mentioned, must be brought to the attention of the general public. In my research, I have been tireless, fenderless and often rimless in unearthing these facts.
I invite you to learn more about how the Santa Fe Trail originally connected Minneapolis to Denver. During the floods of 1814, the trail was washed to the south and settled in its present location.
Come see how I have tampered with the likes of General Kearny, President Polk, Governor Pile and how I have truthfully and accurately recounted the early years of the University of Santa Fe (not its real name). Join me as I peel away the centuries and as I tell you about the events of that crucial year and turning point for the University of Santa Fe-1955. I will yank you back and forth over the centuries, until we reach our glorious climax-literary, of course.
A word of caution to historians and biographers: When you report that Governor Armando Sucio, at the end of a day of celebration of eating and drinking to excess, went home and shot himself, you must be careful of how you interpret the transcription. The "o" in the word "shot" could have as easily been and "a." What a difference an "a" makes!