— John Prine, Christmas in Prison
Old home week in west Texas ...
LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO — "Wilmaaa!"
The homes in New Mexico look just like the Flintstones' house.
This is Bedrock.
I've already had a few "I can't believe I'm here" moments on this trip. Yesterday was another.
I drove past my old prison, La Tuna. It's just west of Anthony, Texas.
It looks pretty much like I remembered from 1986. It's a big, white adobe with a Spanish mission design. I don't know what La Tuna means.
I came there from the Omaha county jail, and the high-rise federal prison in downtown Chicago. We took a white prison bus from Chicago to Leavenworth for an overnight, then to the federal prison in El Reno, Oklahoma, then on to extreme west Texas.
I was there for a few months. The whole thing was a nightmare, but when I dream of La Tuna it's more like remembering a fond old neighborhood. It was warm there. I eventually started to settle in and sometimes it wasn't so bad. The Sunday morning Mexican brunch was really good.
It was so far from Nebraska that I really had trouble imagining that the moon I saw at night was the same that Ruth was seeing.
The Mexican Mafia was in La Tuna, and Italian guys, mob guys? I suppose.
I was there for stepping over a white line outside Offutt Air Force Base, near Omaha, in protest of the American military, the targeting of nuclear weapons, the spending of money on weapons to kill rather than the poor in north Omaha.
It was a misdemeanor. Try telling your prison buddies you are in on a misdemeanor.