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      A glimmer of light peered through the side panel of the motel draperies.  I lay on the roll away bed next to the window.  My eyes were open but all I could see were outlines in the darkened room.  Bronco groaned in his sleep and turned toward Chuck.  Deryl and Mom were asleep in the second double bed.
          The day after we arrived in Delta, Colorado, Mom and Deryl went to the real-estate office.  None of the properties for sale appealed to them or to their pocket 
book.  They had also searched the ads in the local newspaper, but with no success.  They were still optimistic however, assuring us that they would find what they were looking for.  Mom voiced her desire, “A large farm house with a few acres of land."
          I was anxious to get a mailing address so I could begin receiving letters from Dave and my friends.
          I fluffed my pillow and turned toward the wall.  My eyes were moist, and I felt overwhelmed with homesickness.  To the forefront of my mind was my parting conversation with Dave.
          “You’ll be back Gloria,”
          “Mom says we’ll be back to visit,” I replied sadly.
          “No, I mean you’ll be moving back.  I just know you will.”
          Logically, Dave’s proclamation wasn’t possible, but I decided to plant my hope in the soil of the impossible. With a small measure of comfort, I


                                                          RED MOUNTAIN PASS

          Sage and dry gullies covered the earth tone terrain.  The reddish brown, rock formations, with hues of purple, reached up to touch the blue of the heavens, while low hanging clouds drifted overhead.  The highway, resembling a black ribbon, curved and wrapped through the desolate land.  It was the only proof that a civilized world existed.  The miles of northern New Mexico sped by as our new Ford traveled the pavement toward the state border.

          Bronco knelt on the floorboard between Chuck and me.  His menagerie was spread on the seat.

          “This one is a Marine,” he said to Chuck as he held up the small figure.

          “Do you have any Air force men? Chuck asked.

          “Sure, I have lots of them,” Bronco replied with a satisfied expression.  Here at last, was someone who could appreciate his shoebox full of plastic, green soldiers.

          If Chuck felt awkward, it wasn’t noticeable.  Unless, perhaps he was too cordial.  Our family was also on our best behavior.  We behaved the way we did when we entertained company.

           Although I was unhappy about leaving Albuquerque, I couldn’t sulk in front of Chuck and have him think I was a brat.  Deryl and Mom used their  knack of putting others at ease.  Deryl displayed his sense of humor and Mom utilized small talk.

           As I listened to them converse with Chuck, I realized, with thankfulness, the long season of abstinence we had enjoyed.  Ever since we left Socorro there had been no drinking.  I often wondered if our move from Socorro had been caused from a crises related to alcohol.  Even if my suspicions were true, I would never have them confirmed by Mom or Deryl.  Alcohol and its consequences were secrets never to be exposed.  I pushed all wondering to a back burner of my mind, along with the nagging fear that the drinking might start again.

          “Have you been to Colorado before, Chuck?” Deryl asked.

          “No, I never have,”

          “Really?” I asked in surprise, suddenly appreciating the advantage of traveling.

          “I have been to California,” Chuck interjected, as if he wanted to give the impression he was a man of the world.

          I quenched the desire to ask him why he had run away and where his father was.  Perhaps someday he would feel free to share his past.

          “We’ll be going over Red Mountain Pass,” Mom was saying, “It is beautiful.  As far as I am concerned, Colorado is God’s country.”

          The car snuggled close to the side of the mountain as the highway began to elevate.  Miners had used the path to reach the rich ore and silver hidden deep in the Colorado Mountains.  The narrow way had been chiseled into the rock formation and broadened for modern travelers. 

          The land opened toward the east to reveal the old mining town of Silverton.  The blue-gray buildings, on the plateau, silhouetted against the distant mountain range.  The road began to spiral upward as a curved staircase.  The car strained and puffed in the heightening elevation.  A summit was reached and then, in low gear, with brakes warming, came the descent from the heights.  Then the engine exhilarated to climb again.

          The blue-green of the all season spruces covered the mountains.  I imagined a herd of deer, tiptoeing through the snow in the thicket, watching timidly as we entered their solitude.  From the rocks on the mountainside were trickles of water that had frozen in the cold.  A month earlier, we wouldn’t have been able to travel over the pass.  It had been closed because of the snow.

          Red Mountain loomed above us.  Its livid color, shone like copper, in the bright sun.  A long abandoned mineshaft jetted from the bluff below.  The view was spectacular (If one dared to look down.)  Far below, in the snow-covered valley the partially frozen river wound its way.

          “Scenic View” was the road sign by the side of the highway.

          Deryl steered onto the pullover and we scrambled from the car.  Everyone stretched from the ride and breathed deeply.

          The air was exhilarating with clean, pure freshness and the strong scent of pine.  The cool mountain breeze carried a light mist in our direction, as we lined up beside the chain-linked barrier, and watched the roaring waterfall gush from the rugged mountainside.  The winter had endeavored to freeze the water flow but the force of the water had broken free from its icy prison.

          Mom turned to Chuck with a big grin, “See, I told you this is God’s country!”