Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday Time In The Desert...
Humans are a most adaptable species and holidays enjoyed in the larger culture can take on distinct regional flavorings.  Many folks have sought, often in the name of political expediency, to define the United States as a Judeo-Christian society with the emphasis being on the latter half of the adjective...
Not many opportunities to enter dreidel spinning contests in Southwest Texas come this, or any other, time of the year...
But despite that, the Concho Valley is pretty much the same as any other place where Santa arrives on a freight train decked out in holly wreaths, mermaids named Pearl tease us with siren smiles as they try on their red Christmas caps, and snowmen are thorny little rascals...











Pearl, by the by, lives in the Concho River.  Although she's never actually been seen by anyone and is a scientifically impossible fantasy, no self-respecting Angeloan would actually deny her existence.  Our aquatic temptress takes her name from the little purple pearls that are unique to the Tampico pearly mussel, a freshwater species found only in the Concho Valley.  Spanish explorers stumbled across a River of Shells circa 1650 as they tromped the desert in search of cities of gold.  In 1654, Diego de la Guadalajara was dispatched to the area around present-day San Angelo to collect as many pearls as possible. The story goes that the conquistadores brought back some of these treasures to Spain where they became part of the Crown Jewels...
The "snowman" in the picture with Santa in a Stetson riding across a snowy desert is part of a holiday display on Concho Street in front of the establishment of a vintner known locally as Mustang Sally.  He's made of twisted strands of Allthorn, a spiny little booger also known as Koeberlinia spinosa.  The plant is native to the dry country of the western Concho Valley and Trans-Pecos regions of Texas and pretty much resembles tangled barbed wire.  Other common names include Crown of Thorns and Crucifixion Thorn.  Not recommended as an ornamental on the grounds of a nudist colony...


Note: All images this post are copyrighted by Louis R Nugent

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