I love New Mexico. That’s what I want to talk about. I want to talk about seeing antelopes in the fields as I drive from Logan to Clovis. I want to tell you the where the cleanest restrooms are between Albuquerque and Tucumcari. I want you to know how it feels to be in an intertube in a cove in Ute Lake on a July afternoon. I want to talk you into a cold beer at the Mine Shaft in Madrid after an early morning at the balloon fiesta. I want to show you where my grandpa Terry homesteaded in Quay County in 1918. I want to take you to a feast day celebration at Santa Domingo Pueblo, or to Popejoy Hall for the Nutcracker, or to Pie Town for a slice of cherry pie. I want to take you dancing at the Bull Of the Woods in Red River. I want you to see the magic of an Albuquerque cemetery on Christmas Eve.
I’m a native, and I’ve lived my life here in the simplest fashion. I was born and raised in the least populated and possibly least traveled corner of the state. After years of living all over the state – in Las Cruces and Albuquerque and Farmington and even Clovis and Portales, I’m back home, in Logan, New Mexico, pop. 1100.
I’m not a travel writer or a politician. I’m not someone who’s paid to have an opinion about my subjects. I’m never going to tell you I love a place or event or even a meal in New Mexico unless I truly do.
I’m a single mom who’s done her best to live a life filled with adventure and excitement on the slimmest of budgets – I figured all along that my job as a mom was to keep my kids safe and cordial while giving them a pile of great memories. So a lot of what we’ve done for fun has been to get in the car and go somewhere really inexpensive but fun, someplace close to home, but exciting and exotic just because that’s what we do so well here in the land of enchantment.
So I love New Mexico. My ancestors came to Quay County just after the turn of the century, and my grandparents on both sides each had ten children. At the tail end of those were my parents. We Terrys and Ayres’s have a long and checkered past in Eastern New Mexico. And there are lots of us! I think I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 74 first cousins.
I’ve left a couple of times. Moved to West Texas for a year, came home happy to be back, then moved to Kansas for a year. Came back to Albuquerque relieved to be among some diversity and great food. Then moved to North Carolina for 355 days. I sat in a cemetery in Asheboro North Carolina one February afternoon in my ski jacket, thinking about the way the sunlight looks at the top of Kachina Bowl at Taos, and swore to God that if he would just get me back home, I would never leave again. Obviously a year away has always been my personal limit.
So, yeah, I love New Mexico with a sentimentality that will possibly be viewed as a little sappy and silly. I have been away, and amongst strangers who didn’t even know that my home state was part of the country. I have dreamed dreams of western style hash browns at the Frontier and carne adovada at Sadie’s. I have cried because I went a season without smelling green chile roasting in the fall air. My qualifications for writing about New Mexico have nothing to do with skill or connections, and everything to do with heart. This is my home, and it never fails to remind me that I belong here.
Let me tell you all about it. . .