The main reason that I’m writing this blog is to try to document the path from shoe repair to biochemistry professor. Not only am I very slow at posting updates, but I’ve become distracted recently with musings on life in general.
I left off the story as a saddle maker at Cerrillos Saddlery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I worked there after dropping out (for the second time) from St. John’s College and my saddle making apprenticeship with Mr. Ginder.
Cerrillos Saddlery was a great job. The shop had a nice feel: a bit cowboy, a bit upscale, a bit messy, and pretty slick. We made fancy and plain saddles, brief cases for law firms, chaps, belts (tons of belts…!), wallets, saddle bags, holsters, reins, spur straps, and a bunch of other one of a kind things. We had a connection to a movie set where western movies were filmed, and we often had actors and directors come to the shop. Some of the more memorable visits from famous people included Scott Glenn while filming “Silverado” (I think we made him chaps), Malcolm Baldridge (Reagan’s Secretary of Commerce: spur straps), and Sam Shepherd (I made him a belt as a Christmas present for Jessica Lang).
Perhaps the most memorable visit was Divine, Tab Hunter, and John Walters while they were filming “Lust in the Dust”. I believe that we made Tab chaps. However, everything else was completely overshadowed by Divine and his 2 bull dogs. If you don’t know who Divine is, you can look at his Wikipedia page. I had seen him in Pink Flamingos, and suffice it to say that it was very strange and fun having Divine in our shop. One of my greatest sources of pride and accomplishment is that I made matching studded collars for Divine’s bull dogs. They were black and had rather large nickel spikes spaced a few inches apart. When you really reflect on life, it is hard to come up with more meaningful moments than that…