I was speaking with a friend a week ago about how nice it would be to simply go back in time to the days when life was simpler.
We talked about the only terrorists were the “Reds” (Russians); people were polite, saying “please,” “thank you, sir and ma’am.”
What’s more, 35 cents bought you a burger.
It was a grand idea until I thought about what would happen if you went too far back. Say, sometime around 1840 when America was much smaller and placing us in the Old West.
A time of Western justice, Native American skirmishes and the threat of death from Black Cholera. Not to mention I’d have to worry a lot more considering my last name is Garcia and the Battle of the Alamo was only four years removed.
It was midway through my thoughts of how I’d go about surviving when I began to wonder what would happen if a cowboy from that time suddenly found himself in our present.
Imagine if you will a cowboy, on a horse, in the middle of Route 66 in Tucumcari.
I imagine the horse and rider would be spooked at the sign of a car. Not to mention the open Plains being replaced by a paved road lined with buildings.
The cowboy rides up to one of our stores and decides to look around. He is as much in awe of what he sees as are the customers are of what they see.
Why one of our gas stations makes the Ol’ Mercantile back home seem like a traveling panhandler’s wagon.
The cowboy starts talking to locals to find out more about this strange town — learning how much time has passed, the history that has taken place and the affairs of the present.
In disbelief, the cowboy wanders Route 66, approached occasionally by tourists wanting to take a picture with him. The tourists commend him on the quality of his authentic Old West look, all while he refers to it as just his clothes.
Maybe he’d look for a place to drink some coffee and gather his thoughts. He thanks the waitress and pays for the coffee with a few 1794 Flowing Hair silver dollars and leaves. Giving that waitress a nice tip, should they keep the coins.
The cowboy has seen modern wonders, horseless carriages, stores filled with all one could want — and television. He has learned a little about how history played out and has seen what will come from those events.
Camera flashes light the way as he rides his horse back the way he came. At first he is in a slow trot, to a quickened lope, then a hastened jog and right into a full-on gallop.
As the cowboy disappears over the horizon, one could only wonder whether he ever gets back home.
If so, would the cowboy sing the praises of the future to the masses or tell them, “We’ve got to make some changes before things get out of hand.”
Thomas Garcia is a senior writer at the Quay County Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org