When you are reading here whether you found me intentionally or accidently, please take time to leave a comment and let me know where you are and what you are thinking. I love feed back. Vondi

Sunday, May 16, 2010

company and Pizza del Rio

Notah’s friend, Petey, came to visit for a few days. He is such a pleasant guy and as crazy about snakes as Notah is. :o) He arrived on Thursday morning but Notah had to work all day so he picked up Petey and dropped him at the Rattlesnake Museum in Albuquerque. It is just across the street from Old Town. The two of them were almost guaranteed to fascinate Petey for the day. And they did. I’ll bet he spent hours in the Rattlesnake Museum alone.

We all had dinner at Sopa’s restaurant in Belen that day and then Notah took him on a quick road cruising session. Unfortunately, it was too cold and they didn’t see very many things at all. They were home by ten o’clock if not earlier. On Friday Petey spent much of the morning catching up on his rest from a very late night and early rising on Wednesday before his departure. He had stuff to get done Wednesday night and didn’t get to bed until one or one thirty then had to get up at 3:30 to be at the airport by 4:30 Thursday morning. He was pretty beat when he finally got home after the road cruise.

Friday morning he did get up around ten thirty or so and after breakfast, set out on a walk around the area following Notah’s hand drawn map. I was a little worried. If you walk too far out you can get lost in the desert. We are civilized, but only along the main highways. And Petey is a city guy from Ohio! I made sure he had water and his map and his cell phone when he left. ( I thought if worse came to worst, he could always call Notah and say, “I’m lost!” LOL) I have to admit I was relieved when he came back!

We chatted in the later afternoon and after supper he and Notah went road cruising again.

Yesterday Notah and Seth took him on an all day hike through the desert and up the mountains. Actually they came in about 4:00 just after Keva and Kerra had stopped painting the house. Kerra had to run into the store before supper, but Notah suggested we go to Pizza del Rio instead of Kerra cooking. I was glad of that because I’d been worrying about her having to cook after working outside most of the day painting. So she ran into town while Notah and Petey set out for another short sally into reptile country. When Kerra returned (with a cup of no carb ice cream for me!), we headed on out to meet Notah and Petey at this little tiny pizza place called Pizza del Rio.

This was absolutely the neatest restaurant I have ever been in! Notah calls it a ‘mom and pop’ place and I guess that is the best description. Let’s see… there were probably only six tables in the whole place. They were a variety of styles. We sat at an old pedestyle style dining room type table. The one opposite us was a four-legged type wooden kitchen table. The one on the other side of the room was a 'dinette' style chrome and formica table from the early fifties. The others were a similar type as these three! Most of the chairs were those molded plastice kind from WalMart or Target, but there were some faux-bentwood type, too. They all had 'oilcloth' tablecloths on them. I believe the flowers-and-fruit pattern on that matched on all the tables.
At the back of the ‘dining room’ there were a piano, an organ, sound equipment for electric guitars and a couple microphones. A nondescript young cowboy/student type man was playing a guitar and singing when we went in. Notah said it was generally open mic so anyone could play or sing. We wanted Petey to play. The guy can play just about anything, but his tastes run to forties and early fifties big band harmonies, rather than country or bluegrass. The music in this little place, or at least the guys singing and playing, was a kind of eclectic mix of country, bluegrass and old, old rock.

There was no one there when we first arrived except three or four Socorro county sheriff deputies! And a couple more pulled in after we arrived. Notah said that we could rob northern Socorro county blind and they’d never catch us! All the deputies were in Pizza del Rio! I think they must have been at a training in Albuquerque and decided to stop by our little eatery on their way back down to Socorro.

Oh yeah!!! I forgot to say that when you went directly across the dining room there was a little rectangular wood burning stove against the far wall. (It was just like the one nihi’ ma cooked on in Rock Springs. I’ve fried a lot of potatoes and stirred a lot of stew on a stove just like that—not to mention stuffing a lot of wood into it!) That little stove is the heat in winter! Unbelievable! Only in NM would you find that in a public place.

Anyway, there was an older guy that looked like Uncle Crazy-Pat behind the counter when we went in. He was wearing a Willie-Nelson type head band and had a mostly-white beard- kinda like what you’d expect to see on Willie. His hair was long but just on his collar, not real long; the thing was, he didn’t have a collar, just a tee shirt with an apron on over that and his jeans. He looked like an old hippy that had cleaned up just enough to fit in society. I thought he was the general owner and waiter, but Notah said he’d never been there before. Go figure.
People behind the counter said hello when we went in but we were left to find our own seats and get situated. Keva carried my chair along with us because the ones there were the cheap-y plastic ones that I can’t sit in. That was fine, nobody cared. Can you imagine carrying your own camp chair into Pizza Parlor! They would fall over! We got me situated at the big table over by the wall closest to the musician. I sat comfortably in my chair with a good view of most of the restaurant and the ‘stage’ area.

I thought we were kinda close at first, given the volume of the music, but I soon got used to it. A nice lady with pretty brown and gray peppered hair came and asked us about drinks. Then she brought us our iced teas in big Styrofoam cups that were made to feel like nubby ceramic on the outside. Neat. When the guys arrived, Notah went up and ordered our pizzas. There was no menu, only a chalk board with items written on it. I don’t know if they were always the same or not. They served pizzas, and strombolis and something else that I can’t remember now.

The young guy kept singing. Some of the songs I recognized from my teen aged years—old rock and roll. Others were I can’t think what it’s called, not quite rock and not quite country, but that area in between that hippies liked—‘Folk’ maybe? Yeah, Joan Baez and that crowd of singers-- those were the songs!

We listened and talked for the length of time it took to make our pizzas. Then just after our Stromboli came (Neat Stromboli—it was about two inches thick and shaped in a long moon shaped curve. Notah cut it in six pieces each about three inches long. It made a good muchie until the pizza was done. ), just about that time the big guy with the beard that I’d thought was the waiter came out, picked up a guitar and began playing and singing with the young guy. He led off on some old country tunes that I didn’t recognize and some old Eagle’s songs.

Just as he started playing or maybe a little before this old couple walked in. There was an old thin, thin cowboy with a scraggly beard and longish gray hair. He wore beat up jeans and a worn, shapeless plaid western shirt. He had on old boots and a cowboy hat. His wife/ girlfriend was pleasingly plump and wore jeans with a plain muslin-colored shirt under a brown vest. She had short hair and a cowboy hat with boots on, too. I thought the cowboy was in his seventies at least. I still think that, but Kerra thought he was just a well worn fifty or sixty year old. The woman was definitely in her mid sixties. She looked like a jolly person. Both of them sat at the table just opposite us closest to the musicians. They seemed fairly familiar with the older hippy type guy because they talked to him between songs. (Later, just before they all left, I would bet money that the two of them, the old cowboy and the hippy guy, snuck out behind the building for a couple of quick hits on a joint! They both disappeared. )

They sheriff deputies finished their strombolis and left. Another old couple came in and picked up a pizza. Other older men came in from time to time for coffee or to pick something up. I mean old older men, sixties at least. There was one old guy, who fiddled with the sound system and sat around talking to the people who came in but other wise didn’t seem to be doing much. We were the youngest people in the place.

Our pizzas came and we chowed down for a while. Petey finally got up nerve, or maybe the kid played something he knew, and he went up to accompany him on the piano. Everybody clapped big time for that. When Petey came back to the table he told the guitar player (the old hippy guy and the cowboy had already gone out for their marijuana hits :o) ) that if he wanted him to accompany him on the organ to let him know. Of course, the guitar player said, “Oh yeah! Come on.”

It took them a couple minutes to get set up and in sync then they played several pieces together. Some I didn’t know, but I did recognize ‘Crazy’ and ‘Lay your head on my pillow’. Those two the kid knew the words to well enough to sing them. They got enthusiastice applause when they finished.

Finally, suddenly, it was ten o’clock and we had to leave. It was a fantastic evening. Such a tiny restaurant, but so packed full of atmosphere and friendliness, ‘camaraderie” I guess you would call it.

If you are ever in Albuquerque on a Friday or Saturday night, make a special trip to Belen and find out how to get to Pizza del Rio. What a mix—Italian food, Mexican décor, country atmosphere, and an incredible combination of eclectic music. And it’s ALL LIVE!

No comments:

Post a Comment