Just to let you know how life is different when you move to a rural county, we had to take our puppy to Trinidad, about an hour away yesterday, to get some eye surgery done. We had tried this same surgery last year at the only vet in our county and he screwed it up, allowing the tumor to return. So we went to see Dr. Felduto in Trinidad. He guaranteed if Rasta’s eye tumor ever came back again, he would fix it for free.
What this meant logistically for us was that we had to find things to do in Trinidad for four hours while Rasta’s anesthesia wore off. First we hit Walmart, since we don’t have one in Walsenburg, and we needed a few things not available in our area.
Outside of Walmart we saw something neither one of us have ever witnessed. There, near the front door, was an old cowboy with his horse, a mule for cargo, and three dogs. He had ridden into Walmart to buy supplies. As he took off, it looked just like a scene from the 1880s.
Next we had a great lunch at the Mexican restaurant called Tequilas just across I-25 from Walmart. It had been recommended to us, and they were right. Wonderful food, great service and nice atmosphere!
Then we took a random drive around downtown Trinidad, ending up at the Masonic Cemetery.
The Trinidad area was first visited by Spanish and Mexican traders, because of its proximity to the Santa Fe Trail. After coal was discovered in the region in 1862, the town experienced an influx of immigrants eager for jobs. In 1878 the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway reached Trinidad, making it easier for goods to be shipped from distant locations. By 1900, the population of Trinidad had grown to 7,500, home to two English and one Spanish language newspaper.
Mike and I both enjoy old gravestones to gain a better sense of western history, so we took a walk in the cemetery. What struck us both was how rare it was for people in Trindad’s past to live past age 40, one hundred years ago. We kept seeing the graves of those who were born in the late 1800s, who only lived into the 1910s or 20s.
I knew from my research for my book about Boomers, how rare it was for those born in the early 1900s to make it past age 60, but there were so many gravestones for those who never made it to age five or ten or twenty in this cemetery!
The saddest were the graves of children. There were even a few double graves of siblings who only lived to age 3 or 4. These are all parts of history we know, but to see the actual gravestones is somehow more powerful. We also saw stones written in other languages like Greek and German. These were immigrants who risked everything to come out to Colorado to start a new life. Yes, we feel vulnerable today, but imagine how vulnerable those who went before us really were…
Click on photos for full-size views, and follow us on TWITTER!