Rodeo, New Mexico
January 21, 2006
Every Tuesday afternoon and evening December through March, farmers market takes place on Main Street with live music and booths of all kinds. The third weekend in January brings Lettuce Days. In 2003, we were there when hundreds of heads of lettuce were given away. This year, they’ll again attempt to break the Guinness World Book of Records to make the world’s largest salad. Not only lettuce, but other winter crops grown in the area are featured, honored, and exhibited.
Lutes Casino Gazette, on one end of Main (I’ve given up trying to figure out cardinal directions in Yuma a long time ago) provides a good peek back into the history of old Yuma. This commemorative newssheet/menu has only been issued once, on December 1st, 1985, but it’s full of timeless information. After serving as a store with rooms for rent upstairs in the early 1900s when Yuma’s Main Street was dirt, the Casino Billiard Parlor opened in 1920. The Lutes family acquired it in the 1950’s, making it a dominos parlor in addition to the billiards, and serving hamburgers. Lutes doubled in size in 1960 when Bobby Lute took over management from his father, buying the business next door. That’s when he began collecting the stuff on the walls and hanging from – and in some cases through the ceiling.
OK, now I’m continuing on and on about Lutes. That’s because with us, Yuma=Lutes=Old Town Yuma. To state that Lutes has lots of character is putting it mildly. It’s wild, inside and out. Every inch of wall space is plastered with old posters of movie stars, nude bicycle races, and other surprises. A booted leg has broken through the shabby tin ceiling in one spot.
Shopping on Old Main over the years has netted me some of my favorite earrings, including hot chili peppers and porcupine quill. We’ve picked up some good music CDs too. During farmers market evenings, booths line the mall. The best find here was art made out of old recycled plastic. I’ve got a realistic looking turtle magnet over the stove, and a turtle box on the table next to the couch, for small treasures, found here.
The bandstand and fountain create a festive mood, as does the tall Christmas tree erected and lighted during the holiday season every year.
From journal Yuma del Sol