When I was much younger in the small town on the Arkansas/Texas border where I grew-up I'd spend time with my father, an aspiring Cherokee Medicine Man and member of the Western Tribe (second string) of the Cherokee Nation.

Being proficient in animal behavior and especially in regional native zoology, my father is even now a great resource for general wildlife information. I asked him on a recent visit why we never saw bobcats when I was younger. He replied that we didn't see them because that was the way they liked it, and also because their range (about 10 square miles) made an encounter unlikely given their keen awareness of their surroundings. I do recall him telling me that I'd likely meet a bobcat the same day I discovered a black bear - both of which he assured where in plentiful supply.

Several days ago I was speaking with an employee of mine who revealed that she moonlights as a bead-seller. When I asked her in what location, she responded "oh, mostly in doctor's offices, hospitals, restaurants, and such as that."

I was not prepared for this revelation. First, San Antonio, despite its Mexican cultural influences, is not known for being a Mecca for peddlers of any stripe. Second, I frequent many of the restaurants that my employee named and I have never seen a peddler in a hospital or doctor's lobby either. When I showed amazement at such a discovery she was just as shocked at my ignorance. I've never seen anyone selling anything at those restaurants, much less at the hospitals. I said. To which she replied, "That's strange. Every time I'm in the medical complex I see the rolling massage guy. And the first thing the nurses at the hospital tell me every Thursday is 'the purse lady was just here!’"

I take pleasure in thinking that both my old, black woods back home and the wood-grained black market of Old San Antonio are thriving, even if I just discovered both.


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