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It’s noon. We’re back on the I-25 north, heading to Sante Fe. New Mexico feels good to the Hawks. The temperature is a mild 92F, skies are clear, and browning dreamy moonscape rock formations ring the valley we travel.

Last night, on the advice of our reliable and well-traveled friend Buck, we drove 7 miles off the highway outside of Demming to the Adobe Deli for dinner. We were skeptical as we drove south in the darkness toward the Mexico border past loaded immigration bus after loaded immigration bus. A shiny new bus is emblazoned “National Security.” Oddly enough they’re hogging the fast lane, not very secure driving. It wasn’t clear that we were going to arrive anywhere. But then we noticed the neon beer signs in a barn-like structure off the road a couple hundred yards. We ignored the “Hippies Use the Side Door” sign and went right in the main entrance.It was 9:45pm. A reluctant waitress looked at her watch as we came through the door. Knowing there were 15 full minutes left until the 10 PM cut off she seated us with warnings that the kitchen might already be closed. The welcome mat was not rolled out, at first.

The Adobe Deli is really a high-ceilinged, barn-sized steak house, formerly a rural schoolhouse. Black booths line the walls and huge racks of antlers and heads of elk loom overhead. Groups of ranchers in cowboy hats, off duty border patrol officers, and a few single women sat at the bar. We took a table by the bar and started the usual restaurant ritual. PL revealed his nervousness to the band by ordering a Coors. When PM ordered wine the waitress asked if we’d like to see the wine cellar. Ignoring our paranoid instincts, we said, “Sure.” She led PM and RW away from the dining area. They arrived at the Men’s room she pointed at it and said, “Wine cellar’s in there.” PM and RW exchanged uneasy glances. “Just kidding!” she said and kept walking. There was, in fact, a very respectable wine cellar just past the Men’s room. PM selected a young local sirah from a vineyard just down the road. It was rustic and rough edged and delicious. Buck’s advice was simple, “Order the ribs.” RW and SN took his advice. PM ordered Osso Buco. PL the salmon. Salads and French Onion soup came out first. It was exciting piercing the almost unbreakable skin of cheese in the French onion soup, the ribs arrived almost erotically mounted on gleaming steel spikes on home woodshop-carved platforms, and the world’s largest TV screen played an old Austin City Limits featuring Johnny Cash and his Music Man and Charvel guitar wielding interregnum band. June Carter’s video appearance, the wine, and the solid man food had the Hawks feeling good. Jill, a big boned beautiful cowgirl looking to liven up a Lordsburg adjacent quiet Friday night, told us she heard we were musicians and were we going to play or what?

We played sitting around the table with our ribs and potatoes remains, six or seven songs, Hawks songs, Paul Marshall drinking songs, Big City by Merle, Long Black veil. Jill and the waitresses and the taciturn huge cowboys at the bar enjoyed it, bought a bunch of Cds and t-shirts, bought us Weller’s whiskey. We chatted with the border patrol guys, an older guy in a cowboy hat and classic reserve and his younger hip hop partner. They both said that a California style 12 foot high steel fence erected across the entire Mexico border might slow down illegal immigration a bit. Skeptical of the big project, to say the least.Turns out that Van, the big beefy cowboy like bar owner, and Paul Marshal worked together in the ’60s. Van did the lights at a Strawberry Alarm Clock show that Paul Marshall played in Passaic, New Jersey in 1969 (of course this may have never happened; what they say about remembering the ’60s is true, unless you’re one of those indestructible and insufferable idiots savant).

Before the glow faded the Hawks packed up and headed for Las Cruces. Solid directions from Buck guided the Hawks through his backdoor and homey slumbers ensued. Camel and Moose were a little freaked out at first, understandably. But the country rock dog whisperers came out of each of us, the vibe calmed down. The lucky Hawks were once again on the receiving end of some kind New Mexico hospitality.