In observing St. Patrick’s Day, we went downtown Carlsbad to celebrate at a nice restaurant – Marion’s. It is a new restaurant with modern décor with black as a theme color: black ceilings, black napkins, and black and white photos on the tan color wall. A big stone walled fireplace was at one end of the dining room and a bar was at the corner of the other end. Three big TVs on the wall playing sports. Big iron wrought sunray shades covered windows. Staff were hanging up decorations outside for Paddy Day. We had the traditional Irish meal: corn beef and cabbage. The corn beef was pretty good and not very salty. We were glad to find a good restaurant in town.
Then we went to Carlsbad Museum. Two rows of redbuds were in full bloom in front of the museum. A nice mural was drawn on the top wall behind the redbuds. The artful sculptures near the museum drew us into the museum. It showcased artworks from the local and regional artists. One gallery was holding the Carlsbad Area Art Association exhibition. It also housed artifacts of local history. There was a nice collection of native Americans’ arrow heads. An ancient Monitor brand washing machine (c. 1910) was on display. A big room was filled with mini model trains and railway tracks running through the mini version of Carlsbad.
The photo Carlsbad Cavern Lunch Room taken by Herman Hemler or Ray Davis in 1952 showed the mammoth size of the cavern. Another photo caught the scene of a big pile of light bulbs and three men at the Carlsbad Cavern after taking the “Big Shot” of the Big Room. There were 2,400 light bulbs in that pile, used by photographer Tex Helm to light up the Big Room. Mr. Helm used 18 cameras set at different exposures to capture the panoramic view of the Big Room. Wow!
It became sunny and we strolled on the Riverwalk along Pecos River. I was surprised to see a wide river in the middle of desert. For a whole winter, we only saw a tiny stream of water flowing on the river bed of Rio Grande River. I was also amazed by the color of Pecos River. It was a shade of green that was similar to the glacier water. Water was cascading from the dam. A narrow pedestrian bridge suspended right above the river. People sat or stood on the deck fishing. Some ducks and coots were swimming on the calm river. Seagulls flied around. We chatted with an elderly fisherman who was fishing together with his son. He proudly showed us three trout he caught. Local people walked their dogs, walked along the river, sat on the benches and enjoyed the sun, fed the birds. Life is good in this warm spring day.
There was a water park in the distance. A big playground was situated on the other side of the river. So we walked across the bridge. Branches covered with new leaves swayed in the breeze. Kids climbed up the playground and had fun. We saw a stand looked like a mobile food stand by a building from afar. Curiosity drew us over there. It turned out to be Fireman’s Pit Bar-B-Que. Owner Robert showcased his smokers. He and his family was preparing food for a wedding. Robert was a retired middle aged fireman who was injured in an accident. He bought Johnson smokers from Texas and started this family business. He has been in business for over a year using a recipe that was used by four generations. He catered BBQ for a crowd up to 500 people. They prepared for this catering for a whole day yesterday. He told us that he cooked the meats at 225 °F for up to 20 hours. We had a pleasant conversation. At last, he pulled out the BBQ pit and put a good amount of pulled pork and beef brisket on a piece of paper and handed the food to Stephen.
“How much do I owe you?” Stephen asked.
“It’s free!” Robert replied. Wow! That was a big surprise. How could we be so lucky? The meats were tender. It would be really delicious when we put on the BBQ sauce we got from Rudy’s BBQ in Las Cruces.