A couple events in Terlingua, Texas

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007


For the first time, as far as I can remember, I hope not wrongly so, I feel part of a town! I really do… Even Naples after 18 years, well, 18 winters anyhow, did not approach near this feeling. I know that we will leave soon, and I already know that I will miss it here… So we have been "vegetating" a bit these couple days, experiencing the local colors. We will be headed out tomorrow for the Chinati Hot Springs for some camping, Thursday will be cooking at some local friend’s house… no turkey! (down below is the closest road sign I have found appropriate toward my feelings about cooking another bird…), Friday will be joining Big Bend and his family in Rio… that is the rider "Big Bend"!!!… and I think then we will take off for Marathon and Del Rio. A cold front is coming… we are ready!

In the meantime, we did not go back on Saturday night to the Alpine Artwalk, I thought there could be a chance that this time that deer would have our number pinned down. There was another event happening just a few miles down the road, an evening of auction for the local Recycling program. Not too exciting you might think?… wrong! Everything is exciting and interesting here in Terlingua, the locals make it that way… there is not two ways about it, whatever the cause is. The turn out was great, the food abundant including many kinds of Chilis, not the Chili kind from the World Championship… but real food! Green Chili with chicken, Chili with Venison, Vegetarian Chili… you name it. There was salad, bread, drinks and… home made ice cream… The before and after took a few hours, I think they were using the wrong salt, but worth the wait…

Where else but in Terlingua will you see a man named George making Ice cream after playing the drums with the Houston Symphony for 23 years?…  Well, he did not crank it all night, "delegate" is the proper term used here! The funny thing which I did not find out till today was that two twin brothers were doing the cranking. I thought it was the same poor young man sweating all night! The auctions were filled with laughter and the money raised easily reached its goal. There was music as the local talent was also present. Guitar playing and singing, the local choir, and for the "finale", a real treat, "Fire Dancing" at the beat of the drums…

The Fire Dance in itself was a true show stopper, the lights went off, the drums started their beat in total darkness, courageous couple young ladies which by what I understand practice about a year before even lighting up the bowls. There are more pictures here by the way, in "My First 100 years", a complete page. Worth seeing. As we were getting ready today for our little camping adventure, the next event was to visit Lauren Stedman, owner of the Menagerie Press, here in Terlingua. So you will not see pictures of her… she had a bad hair day and I have to respect her wishes… I was not thinking too much about it when I met her in her driveway, I think the best location an office can have in the world… with the view of the Chisos Mountains. I was more thinking about the Hot Springs, but as we went in and caught a sight of the two nearly 100 years old letterpresse presses, I was transported back to my childhood. My grand father wrote his own Armenian weekly Newspaper for 50 years, that was his dream, and those machines were the similar ones used in his print shop when I was a kid spending a few summers when off school with my grand parents!

Forty five years later I was again in presence of these machines, and even as we were talking and Lauren explaining me certain facts, I could not help seeing the image of my Grand Father with his thick eyeglasses leaning over the many trays of letters with a pair of tweezers in his hand and build up the pages of his Newspaper! I never expected this Deja Vue right here in Terlingua, or for that matter anywhere. It was just too good… bringing back some incredible memories.

Letterpress printing is a term for printing text with a movable type (letters/images), in which the raised surface of the type is inked and then pressed against  a smooth surface to obtain an image in reverse. I am sure that there is a generation or two today that has never seen one… maybe even never heard of it! As today we type on our computers and at the push of a button we print pages and pictures… this was the way they did it so many years ago! Today, not only we have the easiness of our modern gadgets at our fingertips, but we are also in constant touch with zillions of websites around the World… those machines stood alone like giants well planted on their feet depending solely on humans to spread their pages within their own society.   This drawer is the hard drive… it is the software, it forms one letter at the time, by hand, the pages that today would just take a few minutes to spread to millions of recipients… seconds really!  

And today’s generation will ask… "why"? Nostalgia? The fact knowing that human hands has ensured the process every step of the way for you when holding your cards in your hands or reading the pages? I saw those cards… they do feel human… and the letterings even to the naked eye looks different with a much nicer imprint and definition. Time warp it was, I was in presence old an old Art practiced by a lady named Lauren filled with passion and pride… as everyone should be toward their path in Life. Quite uplifting and hopeful that not all is lost in our today’s Society and fast paced modernism.

Take a good look at the machinery, solid steel, well oiled parts with much weight and an eternal presence which will be around for a long long time… Take a look at your computer facing you, a lightweight plastic gadget… yes, with an incredible convenience to reach the World… but will rejoin soon the millions of others in some recycling program only to be replaced with another faster and more efficient one… what ever happened to "nostalgia"?

Till next time, you be well… 


We are under deep appreciation toward the readers that have send in a contribution helping this website’s expenditures. For those who have not, continue enjoying the site, pictures, recipes, and if you feel it’s worth $1 a month, the contribution button is above, snail mail is below…

Ara Gureghian   853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245   Naples, Fl 34108

Ara & Spirit

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6 Responses to “A couple events in Terlingua, Texas”

  1. JamesTexas Says:

    Thanks for sharing …..looks like Kathy’s was the place to be.

  2. Skinny Says:

    When I was in 7th grade in Oklahoma City ( a very long time ago), we had to take a short course called printing and photography…those wooden drawers full of type reminded me of having to memorize the location of every letter in the alphabet, both upper and lower case…dont’ know what they called them in Armenia, but in Oklahoma they were know as California Job Cases…you failed the class if you spilled one of these drawers full of type…see you and Spirit in 2 weeks…


  3. JamesTexas Says:

    Be well Spirt & Ara

  4. Joe Says:

    I went to school with a family who had a printing press and all the type right in the front room and that’s how they made a living. There’s an industry that computers sure put out of business.

  5. Ralph Taylor Says:

    Very interesting about the old letterpresses. I am retired now from printing. Started out in a letterpress newspaper/job shop in 1963. Ran Linotype machine (typesetter). The industry now is almost all computerized. I am still called down to work where they still have a Little Giant model 6 press. We only do numbering and perforating on it now. Thanks for the memories.

  6. lauren Says:

    Nice, Ara! My daughter found this and was so impressed. Me too. Thanks. Come see us.

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