I know...I know… Everybody seems to be putting out a “Best Of” list. But this is an All-Time list. This is the very best EVER. Well, going back about 80 years anyway. So argue if you want, but these are my picks for the DCF Wall of Albuquerque All-Stars! A note of warning: you may be too young!
Best. MAYOR. Ever! Clyde Tingley. He left his name on almost as many public buildings as Pete Domenici. And ever the politician, he is still shaking hands with strangers even though he has been dead for half a century. But to me, what makes him the greatest mayor of all time is something named for his wife, and not the mayor himself: Carrie Tingley Children’s Hospital. This is a man who moved here because of his wife’s health and stayed to make life better for everyone.
Best. LOBO. Ever! Michael Cooper. (Although Jordan Adams came in a close second). Michael Cooper’s long-distance shooting was a thing of beauty. But it was the rest of his game that made him a starter for the L.A. Lakers.
Best. TREE. Ever! The cottonwood on Rio Grande and Montaño NW. Eventually cut down in the prime of life to make way for the Montaño bridge, the tree was beribboned before its death and memorialized afterwards by the entire North Valley.
Best. DUKE-CITY-RITE-OF-PASSAGE. Ever! Build your own adobe house. Nothing even comes close to it. One has to learn so much, and the work is so hard and heavy, and it takes YEARS to accomplish it. Wow.
Best. MEN’S URINAL. Ever! The men’s room in the old Territorial House in Corrales featured a bathtub plumbed to flush. You just couldn’t miss!
Best. PIE-IN-THE-FACE-OF-A-MAJOR-LOCAL-CELEBRITY. Ever! Gordon Sanders was always a little full of himself...although I have to admit his “Dialing for Dollars” afternoon movie was a favorite of mine. Anyway, he was a TV personality who also ran for mayor twice. This video of him doing a commentary on shopping for groceries shows just how unflappable he really was.
<!-- This version of the embed code is no longer supported. Learn more: https://vimeo.com/s/tnm --> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/5802532">Gordon Sanders is "pied" live during the news.</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/henrybirdseye">henry birdseye</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
Best. BILLBOARD. Ever! Just north of town on I-25, facing the southbound lane was a billboard from Dan’s Boots & Saddles. This is already probably enough of a clue for many of you! Yeah, it was that woman in the tight jeans. Oh...you do remember!
Best. ROADHOUSE. Ever! By definition, roadhouses are out of town...so far out of town that one shouldn’t try to drive home after being there...but the best one around had to be the Golden Inn, which featured nationally-known acts. Like every other roadhouse around here (except for the Ponderosa Bar on South 14), the Golden Inn eventually caught fire and burned to the ground.
Best. NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST. Ever! There have been a dozen really great ones writing for Duke City periodicals over the years, but for my way of thinking nobody has done it better than Leslie Linthicum. Period.
Best. PERSON-ON-THE-STREET. Ever! Looking back at people whose presence have defined our street life...all of them have to be regarded with more than a little pathos and in many cases a real sense of tragedy...except for one. Don Schrader!! I believe he was once a minister from Galena, Illinois. He then went through his Full Frontal Nudity Phase on community television, progressed through advocating drinking one’s own urine, and now has upgraded his wardrobe to include a hat. I always notice him walking Central Ave. He is always peaceful and loving. And he ALWAYS makes me smile.
Best. AM RADIO STATION. Ever! KQEO, 920 on the AM dial, started out as a top 40 station in the 1950’s. By the late 1980’s it switched to an oldies format. In other words it played the same music it had always played. Bobby Box was part of that scene. But like so many other great things about Albuquerque, it was Quirky! It’s quirkiness was that it went off the air for a minute or so more often than one could count. In fact, as soon as it went off the air, someone would always say, “That’s KQEO all right!”
Best. ABQ DUKES GAME. Ever! The 1981 Dukes were voted the 11th best minor league team in all of U.S. baseball history. But the crowning glory of that season came about because of a major league players’ strike in the middle of the season. When it finally settled, the league-leading Dodgers, who later that year won the World Series over the New York Yankees, came to Albuquerque to play an exhibition game as a tuneup for the re-started season. The Dukes won that game 1-0, becoming for that brief moment, the best team in all of baseball!
That's twelve of them. Feel free to post comments, arguments, or contributions. I have to admit that I wasn't paying attention for the entire 43 years I have lived here.