Monthly Archives: January 2017

‘When I was your age . . .’

A school child was greeted with a question as he came home. His mother asked, “Who’s president of the United States?” The boy answered, “Barrack Obama.”

“Wrrrronnng!” his mother replied. “It’s Donald Trump.” Apparently the mom expected her boy’s answer not only to be correct, but also timely.

And when Dad got home and was apprised of the boy’s having missed the answer, he said, as ALL fathers seem to say, “Well, when I was your age, I knew the names of all the presidents of the U.S., in order of their elections.”

And what did the kid reply? “Well, when you were my age, there weren’t as many presidents as there are now.” Notice that it’s hard not to appear like a smarty-pants whenever we begin any sentence with “Well, when I was your age.”

Yes, learning becomes a cumulative task. Some teachers may STILL require rote memorization of the order of presidents. When people my age were in school, merely having heard of a Roosevelt was about all that was expected of us for that presidential roll call. Continue reading

Going bankrupt? Again?

A resident of the tiny town of Ocate, N.M., just a few miles from Wagon Mound, proved that she can go bankrupt two or three times in just a few minutes but still have a tidy sum to get her back home.

We’re referring to Terri Mares, who with her daughter Tracy Alcon, made the trip to Culver City, outside of Los Angeles, in December, for the taping of the popular CBS program, “Wheel of Fortune.” The game involves trying to figure out words and familiar phrases on the basis of letters that appear on the board. Contestants are allowed to “buy” vowels to help compose words and phrases.

Getting on the program that stars host Pat Sajak and the letter-turning Vanna White was an arduous process that started with taking tests and undergoing interviews at the Buffalo Thunder Hotel near Albuquerque earlier.

Terri, a former business manager for Wagon Mound Schools and later the comptroller for Luna Community College, said she’s always been a bit competitive and thought of appearing on Wheel of Fortune as a great challenge and honor. “There must have been up to 150 people interested in taking the tests to get on the program,” Terri said. Continue reading

A career-ending punch

What do you suppose Ed, Art and Art Jr. did Monday night? One safe bet is that they gathered around a TV set to watch the national college championship football game between the Clemson Tigers and the Alabama Crimson Tide.

And why any particular interest in this game? They watched because they enjoy high-quality football but MAINLY because Ed, who is the son of Edward Leland Abreu, was a starting player for the South Carolina team some 40 years ago, in the Gator Bowl.

But as proud as area folk are of Ed Abreu’s athletic skills, the actions of an elderly coach for Clemson’s opponents, Ohio State, we need to accept that the actions of Ohio coach Woody Hayes drew many of the headlines week in 1978.

The name Woody Hayes became a household word because of a punch that might have hurt the puncher more than the punchee.

Close to the end of that year’s Gator Bowl, the legendary Ohio State football coach delivered the punch — more like a love tap than a real blow. Hayes’ pain assuredly came more from the punch that ended his illustrious football-coaching career with the Buckeyes.

Grid fanatics have told and retold the story millions of times. One of the players who was up close to the action was Ed Abreu, part of a crew of super athletes with that surname. Ed’s father is Leland Edward Abreu, the younger brother of the late Ernesto Abreu. Continue reading

How far from Mexico?

How many times have you had somebody, upon hearing you’re from New Mexico, ask 1) how far you live from Mexico City, 2) what unit of currency is in use in that place way south of the U.S., or 3) are you ever afraid the Immigration and Naturalization Department will be shipping you back home?

We denizens of the Meadow City often face another barrier to communication as we explain that we are not the glitzy gambling city in Nevada. Geographic confusion makes me wonder about the quality (or even the existence) of geography instruction in American schools. Why is it that of our dozen trips to Europe, all our acquaintances there seem able to locate New Mexico?

But yet, many fellow Americans had trouble recognizing this state. My three-year stint in Illinois when I was in my early 20s, included a recitation of explanations combined with mini-geography lessons. The I’m-not-from-Mexico-City routine is the essence of a column in New Mexico Magazine: “One of Our 50 is Missing.”

Usually the submitted items are about someone’s confusion as to whether to carry pesos rather than real dollars or whether we perform El Jarabe Tapatio (Mexican Hat Dance) upon rising each morning. Retired language professor, Sara Harris, provided the tapatio translation. If not for my former Highlands colleague, I might have interpreted “Jarabe Tapatio” as a blend of jam and tapioca. Continue reading