Let’s keep it on memory lane

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All the talk lately about Governor Richardson running for president has had me thinking about the men who have occupied the governor’s seat in New Mexico. It’s funny, I lived there from the early 70’s through the 90’s and off the top of my head I can only remember two (though there were more).

Toney Anaya. He served from 1983 to 1987. That was when I was in high school. My mom used to call him Toney Annoy-ya. He was this little nebbish of a man. To be honest, the only thing I remember about him is that in the waning days of his leadership, he commuted every death sentence in the state to life in prison. Oh man, were there some hostile folks about that. New Mexico is traditionally a very Democratic state. But there is a good portion of New Mexico (farmers and ranchers, mostly) that are as conservative as heck. My dad was an engineer and as is traditional for the engineering folk, also incredibly conservative. He leaned so far to the right I’m surprised he didn’t flop over when he walked. Thankfully one of his offspring (me) has turned out quite moderate. I can even walk in a straight line. I remember when this whole thing went down with Anaya he would fume and talk back to the television when the news was reporting about the details. At the time I remember thinking it was a pretty compassionate thing to do, but wondered how we’d pay for it all. Governor Anaya certainly left an impression on the state. On me too, it seems.

The other one I remember is Bruce King. He served from 1971 to 1975 and again from 1979 to 1983 and then again from 1991 to 1995. No wonder I remember him so well, he was governor for most of life. The memory I’m here to talk about today had to be from his first incarnation as governor. My memory is pretty fuzzy about my childhood, and so dates are tough, but there are certain memories that are vivid in the visuals. This is one.

I was in grade school, had to be maybe first or second grade. We went on a field trip to the capitol building in Santa Fe (“The Roundhouse”) and had a tour. I remember the state legislature was in session. We all had to go in and sit quietly and listened for a while. I can only say this from my memory…boooooring.

The tour continued and we went on to the office of the governor. I remember standing around when the teacher and other adults suddenly got twitterpated. Without warning the largest, loudest man I’d ever seen in my life in the biggest brownest polyester suit emerged from some hidden doorway and came out to greet the children. Many of the kids ran to him and hugged his leg. I had zero idea who the hell that was (I was always a head in the clouds kind of child) and I sure as hell wasn’t going to hug a man that scared me senseless.

He came around to us, one by one, patting heads (in hindsight, kind of like a priest). I remember when he patted my own head he stank of cigar smoke. He scared me even further up close. I have sensitive ears and that guy was *loud*.

I’ve included a photo I found on the web at the end of this post. I have no idea of the date of that photo but I can say he makes Bill Clinton look small in that photo, and Clinton is no tiny man.

I think that brief meeting of a “man of power” at a young age sort of tinged my view of all governors…and maybe presidents too. I expect them to be all verbose, bluster and polyester. I may not be too far off the mark.

Anyone had the chance to meet Bill Richardson? What’s he all about? Shoot me a comment or an email, I’d love to know.

And we care about this why again?

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Shame on you ABQjournal for making a non-story, a less than b list celeb story, into top of web page linkatude….for several days in a row now.

ABQjournal reporter Leslie Linthicum reports today on the latest in the story regarding Don Imus, called by the ABQjournal “a sometime New Mexican”, and his radio numbers would suggest the answer is a big fat round NO.

Imus has his knickers in a knot because he thought Richardson was stalling on granting financing to turn the old Ribera (pop. 2,326…no I didn’t leave a digit off) school house to a community center. What? Where?

C’mon!?! You think the oh I don’t know, GOVERNOR of a whole state, with Legislature in session, *might* maybe have some OTHER more pressing items to deal with?!?!?

Imus is a media whore. He’s riding on Bill Richardson’s coattails. And the ABQjournal bought into it posting no less than two blog entries about it then writing a full article.

Who. Cares.

I realize that this playing out on the national scene seems enticing. A shiny object to glom onto. Unfortunately, the ABQjournal is keeping our fair state firmly wallowing in podunkery if they think *anyone* who has an opinion that matters gives a rip about ANY opinion Imus has to offer. The once popular and influential radioman has sunk to near anonymity. C’mon! Let’s pay attention to things that give momentum to the growing recognition of our state! Leave the celebrity rabble behind and make our great state a nationally recognized great state!

I yearn for the day when New Mexico Magazine can cancel their long running section “One of our Fifty is Missing” because not just the US but the world knows who and what New Mexico is about.

Then again….maybe it’s better for all of us…the natives, to have no one know. Let’s let it be our little secret. An even better reason to ignore that waste of radio waves….

My head hurts…I need a margarita…..

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 fa├žade. 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