Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another “where is he now”

I was waiting in line at the Manzanares Coffeehouse today here in Socorro, and overheard a customer mentioning Martha's Black Dog Coffeehouse, the business that used to be there.

I spoke up. “Hi, I'm your volunteer Martha's Black Dog history consultant. I was there the whole time.”

The man looked familiar, and said he thought he knew me. I introduced myself and he grinned.

It was Andy Horwitz, founder of Bow Wow Records, one of the greatest little record stores ever. It opened on Central Avenue in downtown Albuquerque, sometime in the 1980s, and the stock was outstandingly eclectic. Many are the gems that I picked out of his bins, and many were the pleasant hours I spent yakking with Andy about any and all kinds of music, from the best of the popular current stuff to the farthest corners of ethnic and forgotten music. He had reggae, he had African, he had Hawaiian music, not to mention the all-important rock and roll.

Andy was a veterinarian before he opened Bow Wow, hence the name. Today he was very professionally turned out in a sharp suit, on his way to do some work for a pharmaceuticals firm.

As we parted, he told me something that I didn't know, or didn't remember: I was his second customer at Bow Wow.

Sure, it was only a business, just like Martha's was only a business. To make money, to pay the bills, to survive. As I told Andy today, Martha often claimed that the only reason she opened a restaurant was so there was someplace she could hang out where they couldn't throw her out. But some businesses go beyond just making a living, and customers will always remember how they made up a slice of what we call home.


Daniel said...

In the end (duh duh duh--profundity!), making money might best be considered a means to an end; but that end might shouldn't be confused with a means to make money. The nihilist in me doesn't care; but the part of me who places Pascal's wager on an existential value to life always brings up the inequality

Work < Life.

(At least when "work" is defined as "that which you do at a job," as is popularly the case. I'm liking a differentiation between "work" and "job," in that I go to my job and my company owns that, but whatever is my work--whether I do that on the job or elsewhere--is mine.)

steph moore said...

I am serendipitously reading this post on the same day that former Gov. Bruce King died.

Stories like this remind me of the New Mexico that I liked -- even in the 1980s, it was a smaller and slower-paced world and us locals actually dealt with each other, as opposed to all the East Coast transplants and Californians.

Yep, that era ended some time ago. Gov. King's passing just cemented it. Wonder how many folks didn't have a clue who he was?

Well, he's "Opening a whole box of pandoras" in the afterlife now, I suppose, if you believe in that sort of thing....