Rodeo, New Mexico
February 16, 2006
Historical digressions: A plaque on a large gray rock announces Don Dahvee Park as a gift to Monterey from the David Jacks estate. "Dahvee" is an approximation of the Spanish pronunciation of David, with the final d almost silent. A Scotish accountant from Crief, north of Edinburgh, Jacks immigrated to America in 1841, at age 19. Though he arrived in Monterey shortly following the Gold Rush in 1850, it was as a businessman and land buyer that he made his fortune.
Unscrupulous land shark or generous benefactor?A controversial figure, he ended up owning 60,000-plus acres of Monterey area land, half of which was the old Pueblo itself, auctioned off for next to nothing—$1002. He was so hated locally that he couldn't go anywhere without bodyguards, and local ranchers, who lost their lands to him, placed a curse on him that "the seeds of his greed would not spread beyond his children." Despite the fact that he and his wife, Maria Soledad, had seven of nine children survive until adulthood, not one of them had children. When his last surviving child, Margaret Jacks, died in 1962, two houses and Don Dahvee Park were gifted to the city of Monterey. Monterey jack cheese is widely credited to have been invented by David Jacks. His 14 dairies in Monterey County distributed and marketed this mild, light-colored cheese. Other cheese historians say that Domingo Pedrazzi of Carmel Valley manufactured it using pressure from a house jack, hence the name. Still others claim that Dona Juana Cota de Boronda manufactured and sold this country-style cheese door-to-door in the area, prior to either Jacks or Pedrazzi. On my walks and jogs through Don Dahvee Park, I encountered the occasional bicyclist and dog walker, as well as other joggers. Taggers have spray-painted gangster-art on the concrete support columns underneath Don Dahvee Lane, where it spans a ravine. In open areas, already yellowing grasses contrast with dark evergreens. Gnarled tree trunks and branches grow leaning in one direction, windblown even in this relatively sheltered inland park. In some areas of the park, the growth is positively lush, with ground cover, flowering bushes, and vines entwining themselves up tree trunks and branches.
The big outdoor shopping mall, Del Monte Center, borders the southeast edge of Don Dahvee Greenbelt, and is easily accessed.
From journal Love Song at the Pebble: My Daughter’s Wedding