Ramon Renteria: It’s dust to dust for 2 El Paso symbols

Dear Esteban,

Why didn’t you schedule your vacation for this past week?

You might have been caught in all this so-called “breaking news” hoopla that has invaded our lives for the past year or so.

It’s hard to imagine that you’ve been gone for 18 years. Might as well finish out your newspapering gig out on the East Coast.

By the time you read this, two once important El Paso symbols — the Asarco smokestacks that spewed obnoxious fumes and the glass-encased City Hall — will have literally bitten the dust or at least been reduced to dusty piles of rubble like so many other historic relics in this overgrown town.

You should have seen the commotion. Those of us in la frontera were mesmerized, almost oblivious to anything else around us but the back-to-back demolitions.

Speaking of overkill, Channel 7-KVIA reminded us day in and day out that we could just stay in bed and watch all the action on television. That’s no fun, considering that so much of what you see on TV these days is so phony or superficial. (Hey, homeless vato, what did you think of the demolition?)

No telling how many of us hit the streets, rooftops or mountain slopes to watch the demolition circus. Maybe the size of the Sunday collection plate at church will tell the story.

They say progress is inevitable. Believe it or not, Esteban, it’s been a while since El Paso has been this divided. Unfortunately, some people around here wouldn’t care if someone blew up
the Franklin Mountains.

We had so many photographers out on West Paisano recording the Asarco smokestacks one last time that it’s a miracle some enterprising Mexican didn’t set up a truck near the stationary Border Patrol units and sell taco demolition specials. Some guy even had a remote controlled gizmo with an attached video camera that flew over the stacks for a bird’s-eye view. (If you loved the stacks so much, how come you didn’t pitch in to save them?)

One dude turned the controversy into a worthy cause. El Paso artist Mitsu Overstreet designed a commemorative T-shirt depicting the Smeltertown Boomers and the Sun City Haulers slugging it out in the All City Demolition Championships. Proceeds will help provide affordable health care for El Paso artists and musicians.

Just before they killed City Hall, someone hung a huge banner from its concrete skeleton that said, “It’s happening.”

Well, Esteban, El Paso’s ever-changing landscape is losing two major once important symbols. (As they say, stuff happens.)

Like a respected El Chuco visionary said the other day: You can destroy a building but not its spirit.

Recuerdos dwell in our hearts until we expire.

Ramón Rentería may be reached at rrenteria@elpasotimes.com; 546-6146. Follow him on Twitter@RamonRrenteria or Facebook@RamonRenteriaEPTimes

Source: http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_23020790/ramon-renteria-its-dust-dust-2-el-paso