The El Rito area north of Questa (where we use to live) was at one time a hippie/Buddhist commune. The people there were called "Hermanites" because the guru’s name had been Herman. Back in the 60-70’s all had been good, but then Herman supposedly slept with several of the commune wives. Apparently, that was the downfall of the commune. I think that the commune people just grew up – had families. Some probably got hungry and went to work and began to lead fairly normal lives. To say the least there were some strange folk with some strange backgrounds who lived in the area. Just to explain the odd neighborhood, I will tell you about the Wisemans. They built a Buddhist stupa (sp?) on their property for community use. Later the Wiseman’s got divorced. The wife began calling herself Lorna Wisewoman. Because the commune folks homeschooled their children (School of the Northstar) we were sometimes invited to participate in homeschool activities. One activity that the Wisemans (Woman) put on was a Christmas play. We chose not to participate for several reasons. One of my friends asked me why we were not participating in the Christmas play. I said, "Because they are Buddhist." as if that would explain my feelings, but my friend said, "Oh then it is okay, because they are Christian–Buddhists." I still said no thanks. Later my friend came to me and said, "Guess what? It turns out the Wisemans are not only Christian-Buddhists, but they are also Jewish!" That was normalcy in El Rito.
My closest neighbor was an older couple who had retired and moved to the area. The wife, Sylvan, was a Crazy Cajun from Baton Rouge. They had several rental houses on their property – one renter owned about seven wolf dogs. Sylvan raised miniature donkeys or wolf food as we called them. The Edwards who lived further up the mountain owned Questa Honey (good stuff), and had been part of the commune at one time. They were fairly normal people – friendly enough, but yet different. One winter, Sylvan (Cajun lady) invited us to her son’s wedding. We had never met the guy, but the neighbors came out of the woodwork for the party (winters can be boring). I can’t begin to tell you how odd this wedding was. The wolf people came. He had a big knot on his for head that caused my kids to stare while he sang the oddest wedding song (really badly - causing the rest of us to stare). His wife wore a purple shirt belted at the waist that barely covered her bottom and purple leotards making her look like a purple fairy. The wedding was officiated by a Baptist preacher form OK. He sang too with his hick Okie accent making quite the contrast with the wolfman. The bride’s son had a huge flower (tigerlily) pinned on his shirt. We later learned he had pulled it from some floral arrangement since he did not have a boutonniere. The Edward’s son was wearing a white shirt with a tie and sweat pants. Sylvan’s daughter came to the wedding with her new husband and baby. The odd thing was that she was about 30 years old and had been runner up to Miss Texas in her day. She was gorgeous. Her husband was 65 – not nearly so cute. Their baby was a few months old at the time. During the party, I was holding the baby - setting next to the old man. B. Edwards (honey farm) was sitting near me. She said, "What an adorable baby! What is her name?" Since I did not know the baby’s name, I turned to father and asked. He answered. Then B Edwards said, "Oh, is that the grandfather?" I smiled and said, "No, that is the father." The look on B’s face was priceless, but then she smiled and said, "Oh how very interesting." Some how, we managed to keep straight faces, but that was such an understatement for the whole evening. After that "How very interesting" became my statement for any and all oddities – it works well in all situations.