The Native Americans display their hand-made jewelry along the sidewalk in Santa Fe New Mexico. When I travel to New Mexico from Missouri, I like to imagine what the trip was like for the pioneers. However, my heart breaks when I visit the Indian reservations. I tend to buy everything they try to sell me.
My house once served as a trading post, owned by a man of Native American ancestry, at the time of the Santa Fe Trail. Westport Kansas City no longer has a Native American presence. The only hunting that takes place are by the shoppers that stroll by the brick buildings with awnings and neon signs.
There are no tall buildings in Westport. At the corner of Southwest Trafficway and Westport Road, an old wagon is preserved under the ‘Old Westport sign.’ Although, the streets are quiet during the day, the days of gun-toting renagades are not necessarily gone. I was out shopping and saw a man bend over to pick up his toddler, and out poked his hand gun. At night, sounds of emergency sirens and train whistles echo. There are occasional gun shots in the night.
The police set up DUI check points at each end of Westport. Fools like my 20 something year old son, will try to run from the cops, if under the influence. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone out into the night to rescue him drunk hiding in the bushes behind the Catholic Church, “Mommy, come get me.” It is hard not to help when I actually hear the police sirens in my neighborhood, and the phone rings with my only son saying the police are after him. An unarmed party boy, he will never grow up.
Young people come out at night to enjoy the music and dancing at the local taverns. Most of the bars serve food, and have bands play music until close. There are taverns along Westport Road, like Kelly’s Tavern, and McCoy’s Bar and Grill, which have been here since the 1820’s. Within walking distance from me is Cupini’s, an old Italian Restaurant and Market that makes fresh pasta daily. The trendy businesses are tattoo shops, psychic readers, dress stores, art gallery’s, art supplies, and antiques.
There is more than one psychic in town where the future is told. From the way some of the young people dress around here, you may think there has been a zombie apocalypse. It is hard not to stare at those faces whited out and eyes lined in dark liner on both the girls and the boys. You will see guys in baggy shorts even when it snows. I recognize the face of the homeless guys that sit at the Quick Trip asking everyone passing for their change, but I don’t know them personally. I say, “hi,” but I don’t give money to strangers.
The construction doesn’t stop. On every block, a house is being renovated. The folks in the West Plaza area try to keep their properties looking good. A new neighbor, several houses down from me has been working on his place all year. Pounding of hammers and sawing, and murmurs of construction workers and then one day the imported Spanish windows arrived. I can’t wait to see what goes on next.