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By Bob Alvarado

A picnic in the U.S. is usually just that, a simple outing with potato salad, sandwiches or fried chicken, a cooler filled with sodas and beer, a blanket thrown on the grass, and play by play action of the Sunday game on the radio. But in Mexico, these events are heralded with much greater fanfare and formality due to the shear size of the nucleus family and everyone's eagerness to go. So, in this country, a picnic is usually one big outdoor fiesta with the womenfolk each preparing a special dish, such as: mole poblano, carnitas, carne asada, etc., plus your mandatory rice and beans dishes, also in their varied styles: black beans, refried, frijoles charros and the different flavors of rice. And don't forget the half dozen or so salsas, guacamole and the comal for the freshly paddied tortillas. Did I forget anything? Oh yeah! In Mexico, almost everyone plays the guitar or sings, and now the picnic, or should I say fiesta, will go on 'til the wee hours of the night or until one can no longer tolerate the mosquitoes, noseeums or the sobering realization of the long drive back home. Mouth watering as this comparison may seem, is my effort to illustrate the colorfulness of just about any trade show in Mexico as opposed to the more somber events held in other counties.

For the few who missed, FINARTE 1999, art and antiques show in Monterrey, Mexico, this past January, it too was truly a fiesta. However, I'll save the details of the fine collection of great stuff and terrific people amassed in such a short time-- its the fiesta that I'd rather talk about. It started with a fancy steak dinner for all the participants and their crew in a swank restaurant with tequila and dessert. With live music, a wild auction and guest speakers, the five day event was indeed a ritzy one, as well as very profitable for most. Take the next ten months to plan your participation for FINARTE 2000, this show is very eager to have more U.S. dealers involved.

With this issue we finalize a cycle that we have all worked so hard to achieve, and that is the conclusion of our first six issues of volume number one. HURRAH! I congratulate our hard working staff and, most importantly, our loyal readers-- whose constant encouragement and criticism has fueled our desire to continue and improve with each new issue. Muchisimas gracias.

One of our objectives early on with El antiQuario was to write extensively on the formidable influence Mexico has had in the formation of the great American cowboy and the legends it has created, from the spurs and branding irons to the clothing and saddlery that has vastly improved the endurance of the rugged cowboy of yesterday and today (El antiQuario vol.' no.'). In tribute to the Mexican and American cowboy, we dedicate our milestone sixth issue to a fella' well known and remembered by hundreds of collectors and dealers, restaurantuers and decorators from coast to coast (and as far reaching as Denmark and Australia). That fella', or I should say "hombre", is Mr. Oscar Cardenas, cowboy-vaquero, collector, antiquarian, empresario, visionary and all around good guy from Laredo, Texas. See L.H. Guerra's story on this charismatic Mexican-American.

In keeping with our cowboy-charro-vaquero theme, we've made special room in this issue for an article by our very own Vermont cowgal, Suzy Kirchberg: "As American as Apple Pie and Pozole".

Thanks to Rogelio Agrasanchez, Jr., we were able print some great Mexican charro movie posters from his collection of cinema lobby cards from Mexico's golden age of cinematography (1936-1956).

As we wrap up our final issue of volume one, I want to thank you all for your letters and comments-- the supportive ones as well as the severe ones. Your thoughts and ideas are important to us, so keep sending them in and we'll continue doing our best to answer as quickly and honestly as we can. We are not a corporate or government backed publication, all of your letters cross my desk-- and we appreciate them.

We look forward to you following us as we move into volume two of El antiQuario, and I think you will be just as excited as we are about some of the features we have lined up for the new trek. Stay tuned!