The State’s answer isn’t mine.

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On March 15, 2007, Arnold Vigil wrote an article in the ABQjournal titled “To Mix, or Not Chiles?” (terrible grammar, by the way…..).

In this article, Mr. Vigil discussed that the New Mexico State Legislature, currently in session, is contemplating a “State Answer” to the “State Question” which was established on the books in 1999. The state question, as most natives already know, is “Red or Green”, asked by wait staff in restaurants and referring to which type of chile you want on your eats.

The proposed State Answer is….get this…”Christmas”….referring to wanting both.

Ok…I don’t want the state answering for me. Mainly because I never order both. But also because that answer is dumb.

None of my friends order both. We are confirmed green chile fans. Hell, I know a few folks from Hatch and other spots who contribute their crops to the state’s supply of green chile. Plus, I like the taste of green better. Red chile is usually left out in the field too long and roasted too long and it takes on a bitter flavor. Bitter is NOT what I want on my huevos. No, a nice smoky green chile is the stuff of life. Red is okay. I’ll have it on enchiladas sometimes…nice on carne adovada, of course. But I’m a green girl and most of my buddies are too.

And if we did order both, we’d say both. I think I remember one time at Gardunos when I was a kid, my dad ordered both, but he said “both”. No self-respecting native would say “Christmas” or even more schlocky “Navidad”. Ugh!

As New Mexicans, sometimes I think we shoot ourselves in our own feet by giving over to scholcky and silly. Actually, a lot of that comes from, I believe, people who moved to NM…but moved there like 20 or 30 years ago and fancy themselves to be natives. No.

Maybe a turista can giggle and feel so “in” by ordering “Christmas” on their burrito. The waitperson will bring it to them. And all will be fine. But those of us from there originally will roll our eyes at the ridiculousness. I guess coming from there you have to learn to give over to some of the silliness. If I can endure Nelson Martinez on the news and then endless commercials for his Mariachi band, schlocky content set on “extreme”, then I can handle my own freaking legislature catering to the inane.

Hey, this may be a north vs south thing. Maybe up North they say “Christmas” with frequency. South of the Sandia Casino, no self-respecting New Mexican would give in to that.

And I have to be honest…I’m a little tweaked that the Legislature thinks they can answer the age old “red or green” question for me. If this passes, does this mean everyone has to have both all the time? Oh the horror at the thought! My mouthwatering Chopes chicken enchiladas with a fried egg on top, smothered in green and *gasp* bitter ass red? NO!

I don’t want this to pass! I don’t want this answer on the books! I’m outraged!

Who is the lobbyist that can best represent the interest of us the few, the proud, the hungry!??! In the name of Sadies and Gardunos and Nopalitos I DEMAND that I be given a choice! My choice!

Don’t let the government dictate your combo plate!

“Christmas”…fer chrissakes…forcing an answer in un-American.


Photo by Karen Fayeth

A Little South of the Big I

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Since I barely kicked this thing off a day ago, probably best for my own mind as much as anything, to jot down where I’m headed with this blog.

This is my first foray into blogging after having read quite a few out there, some good, some downright compelling, and some hardly worth the mouse click. I can’t really say what I think makes some work and others flop. Something interesting to say, perhaps. Frequency of posting helps too. Topical, popular, and hip all make a dent as well.

Can’t say I’m any of that. When asked why I’m starting a blog, the honest answer is that at my heart, I’m a writer. That’s all I want to be when I grow up, a professional writer. A blogger I like (who writes for a local paper in her hometown) mentioned that a blog is a great way for exposure. Now…she’s got quite a hook to her blog, what with being a professional sex worker and all. But I take what she says seriously. She’s got quite a following.

But maybe more than exposure, this has a deeper meaning. Discipline. See, I’m a lazy writer. I tend to write when I’m inspired and languish about when no great ideas hit my mind. That is lazy. Every Learning Annex class on writing and every book on writing and every person doling out advice on writing tell you to write every day. And I don’t. But maybe with a blog, I will.

Then again, once the new wears off, will the posts tail away?

With a shrug, all I can say is…it remains to be seen.

In a brainstorming over coffee with someone who has opinions I respect very much, we kicked around the idea of a blog. I knew I wanted to try it, but didn’t have much to say on any one topic. A blog about my own self, expounding on my own pent up thoughts seemed a bit self-serving. My partner, who is wise beyond belief, suggested I write about New Mexico because he knows how much it means to me to have been raised there. I long for it, feel homesick for it, and speak about it all the time, to anyone will listen.

The more I thought about his idea, the more I knew he was right. If nothing else, this will allow me the space and the freedom to lament and remember and give in to bouts of homesick melancholy. For nothing is ever as grand as you see it in your memories. When I go back home, I love it for about three days then begin see the cracks in the adobe façade. The ristra is just a little bit tattered. There are too many orange barrels for comfort.

And when I leave and come back to my new home…I always lament how fast Californians move, how crowded it is, how the rain leaves me cold. But in my heart, I love New Mexico. And in my way, I love the Bay Area too. So inside, I have the best of them both.

Most of the stuff out there in the press about New Mexico is pretty well focused on Northern New Mexico. From the celebs in Taos to our Governor (and Democratic Presidential Candidate)’s big doin’s in Santa Fe.

Oh, towns south of Santa Fe get the occasional oddball like the stolen baby found in Clovis and the runaway bride found in Albuquerque, but generally, there is no love for the parts of the state south of La Bajada Hill.

Well, there was NMSU’s brief run at the NCAA this year. But even then, the media focus was more about the Hollywood coach than it was about the school.

So this blog aims to look a little bit south of the Big I. We’re talking Albuquerque on south. Oh, sure, will there be an occasional Northern New Mexico entry? Sure. I reserve that right. Hell, I plan to rant about Richardson pretty soon. This will be about my thoughts on current stuff, my memories from growing up and going to school at NMSU, my laments and thoughts and whatever else comes to mind about the great state of New Mexico, what with it being all enchanting and everything…


photo by Karen Fayeth

In the beginning…….

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Oh Fair New Mexico. It starts as a song. Our State Song….

Written by Elizabeth Garrett (daughter of Pat Garrett, the man who took down Billy the Kid) three years after New Mexico became the 47th state in the Union, in 1912…

Set to music by John Philip Sousa. Sing along:
_____________
Under a sky of azure, where balmy breezes blow,
Kissed by the golden sunshine, is Nuevo Mejico.
Land of the Montezuma, with firey hearts aglow,
Land of the deeds historic, is Nuevo Mejico.

Chorus:
Oh! Fair New Mexico, we love, we love you so,
Our hearts with pride o’re flow,
No matter where we go.
Oh! Fair New Mexico, we love, we love you so,
The grandest state we know — NEW MEXICO!

Rugged and high sierras, with deep canyons below,
Dotted with fertile valleys, is Nuevo Mejico.
Fields full of sweet alfalfa, Richest perfumes bestow,
State of apple blossoms, is Nuevo Mejico.

Chorus

Days that are full of heart-dreams, nights when the moon hangs low;
Beaming its benedictions, O’er Nuevo Mejico.
Land with its bright manana, Coming through weal and woe;
State of esperanza, Is Nuevo Mejico

Chorus
_____________

Sort of cheery and exclamation pointy, isn’t it, then?

Skies of azure, sunshine of gold…firey hearts and all that. Sounds pretty good, right?

Like any good “fight song” it sings of something of an ideal. Not reality.

I mean…the NMSU fight song…what with all its drinking to the Aggies winning is only half right, right?

But it says we’re a state of esperanza (hope) and maybe that’s true. A lot of folks move to the state with a hope of something. Peace. Quiet. Cheap land? They don’t bargain for poor infrastructure and some backward thinking. And a blowhard of a governor now running for president.

But the push pull of the state…new vs old, tradition vs progress, is what keeps people on their toes.

And so it begins…the first post in my new blog about my home state. I have a lot of good memories, thoughts and lots of mental stuff to work out on these pages. Figured it best to start out explaining the source for the title of this blog.

And so….

Oh! Fair New Mexico. From green chile to fry bread to cerulean skies…yes, as a matter of fact, we do love you so……..


photo by Karen Fayeth