Skip to content

Red Sky at Morning

As The Santa Fe Review inches slowly toward blogdom, I am almost tempted to turn on the Comments feature. I received some wonderful responses to my last post. I’ll mention just a few. One reader remembered a night around 1970 when he lived on Hillside Street and the temperature dropped to 26 below. Gas pipes burst and people were without heat. Something like that is happening now in Española, Taos, and elsewhere in the state where gas pressure has dropped precipitously. Rosemary Romero, the city councilor for my district, wrote to say that her mother is driving in from Sombrillo because her house is without heat. We have been luckier so far in Santa Fe.

The account of my arctic Eastside walk reminded my friend Larry Calloway, legendary New Mexico journalist and editor in chief of the Crestone Conglomerate, of the time he worked with Richard Bradford (the author of Red Sky at Morning) and lived on Camino Don Miguel. (I didn’t mention in my post that parts of the movie were filmed there.):

Dick Bradford and I had adjoining desks at the NM Department of Development. We were both so poor, as I recall, that we carried our lunches. These were temp jobs writing tourist blurbs, thanks to a Republican governor (Cargo) who did not owe much to the usual hungry Democrats. One afternoon Dick took a call, listened for a long time, said quietly, “I am very glad to hear that,” and hung up. I asked him what the news was. He said in his emotionally flat, almost shy way: “My book is on the New York Times bestseller list.” And he walked out.

A couple of years later Tova and I began our ill fated marriage in a hovel rented from Bob Sinn on Camino Don Miguel. (It was not a friendly neighborhood in those days. Our welcoming included some guys bashing in the back window of our new Chevy pickup.) One afternoon agents of a film crew asked us to stay inside for a while. I looked out my study window and saw “John Boy” (Richard Thomas) waiting for his cue to run down the hill to Johnny’s Cash Market. The shot made it into “Red Sky at Morning.”

Sinn offerred to sell us the guest house for $17,000, but we did not think it was worth it. About ten years later at a juried art show, I saw a small watercolor of the front of the same crooked little house. The price tag was $10,000.

Larry Calloway

George Johnson