A few weeks ago I met a young man from San Felipe Pueblo
Ray Lucero makes custom-made moccasins in the traditional method.
He traced my left foot, ("your left foot is always the biggest"),
and about a week later I was enjoying my fawn-colored low-cut moccasins.
Ray is self-taught;
"I watched other make them over the years and figured I could try".
And I quickly decided to become one of his dedicated customers
after looking over a wide array of turquoise, dark blue, black, white, and wine-red samples
at a craft show held at my hospital.
I purchased a low-cut fawn-tone pair. I wear about an 8-1/2; so the moccasins were $85.
He makes infant, toddler, children and adult-sized moccasins; both low-cut and high-top.
He specializes in high-top white moccasins for the Pueblo/Native dancers.
This past week, I met his sisters.
They were quick to ask if I liked my moccasins
(Yes! Very much!)
asked if I would be wearing them to work at the hospital
(Heavens NO! Too much wet and slimy, scary stuff on the floors!)
and to give me information for a local shoe repair shop;
to have my leather-soled moccasins protected with rubber soles.
I'll probably pass:
I can appreciate protecting the shoes to last longer, and being able to wear them outdoors.
But I'd like to think I am more traditional in my style sense.
These moccasins will stay inside; on our warm rug, padding across our stone or tile floors,
or simply resting on the leather footstool near my reading chair.
Ray Lucero lives in San Felipe Pueblo; between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
San Felipe Pueblo a traditional Pueblo;
and many who live there are working to bring back their language, "Keresan",
a lilting, soft, breathy language that is a joy to listen to.
I listened to his sisters and his mother talk and laugh for a good 30 minutes,
hearing words like "therapist", medicine", and "Albuquerque"
sprinkled through the conversation, and not understanding anything else.
One sister told me about volunteering at a language school the Pueblo has recently started.
Ray doesn't have email or a website. He doesn't own a computer.
He doesn't drive much; (his mom says, "that old truck doesn't run too well"),
and he doesn't handle credit cards.
He will take cash once the moccasins are done,
(he doesn't have a bank account; so it may take a little time to have a check cashed),
but he is a sweet young man with a quick, shy smile.
And wonderful hand-made moccasins.
PO Box 4062
San Felipe Pueblo, NM 87001
Please tell Ray that "Marty from Kindred Hospital in Albuquerque" told you about him.
When I started this blog in May 2007, it was for the sole purpose of staying in touch with friends and family while we traveled to Europe for three months. I am still staying in touch. "Traveller's Joy" clematis vitalba: Wildflower found throughout southwest Europe/Africa. Used for medicinal purposes and found "climbing and covering" the roadsides of Europe.
We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential. ~Ellen Goodman