Monthly Archives: April 2017

You must taste new stamps

All right, students: Raise your hand if you’ve ever had ceviche. Nobody? No, Wise-Guy in the third row, ceviche is not Spanish for a beer.

Then how about sancocho? Still nobody?

Well, don’t feel bad, students. I’d never heard of either of these things either — until I read today’s paper.

We’re talking spicy treats. They’re about to be featured in a dedication ceremony at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque on Thursday. Oddly, Spain is divided, as any country is, into areas of special or local favorites. Don’t try ordering chile in España. And if you order a tortilla, you’ll receive an eggs-and-potatoes omelet. As for the cultural center’s ceremony, I may know when and where it was scheduled to take place, but that doesn’t get me much closer to knowing what I just quizzed you on.

You, Juan, our class clown: You confused “ceviche” with “cerveza,” which is understandable. I remember once when I was your age that a guy who didn’t like being beaten by my team in tackle football, called one of us a “cerviche” — or something like that. In the heat of passion, spurred by an intense football game, we sometimes slur our words, and a word that sounds a bit like “cerviche” almost started a fight. Continue reading

Remember old O.L.O.S. bulletins?

A friend made a habit of collecting and saving Sunday bulletins for Our Lady of Sorrows Sunday church services.

Considering the number of years represented in these bulletins, it’s safe to say she was a faithful church member. Most of the bulletins that she passed on to me date back to the 1960s, and all contain a historical photo on the cover and list a slew of activities: wedding banns, a bingo prize of $230, baptisms and special events. The pastor at that time was the Rev. James T. Burke.

Particularly interesting is the number and kind of businesses whose 1×2-inch ads fill the last page. The issues I’m looking at list the following advertisers:

Gonzales Funeral Home, Louie’s Auto Service, Saibe’s Confectionery, Plaza Jewelers, El Alto Supper Club, Tony’s Dry Goods, Highway Shopping Center, Ludi’s Bakery and Grocery, Model Cleaners, Joe G. Maloof, Priscilla’s Coiffure Salon, Road Runner Distributing Co., Plaza Supper Club, California Store, Northern Hardware, Sal’s Barber Shop, Peterson Insurance Agency, Olivas 7-11, Popular Dry Goods, Art’s Food Market, Plaza Shoe & Dry Goods Store, Guerin’s Food Market and Korte’s Furniture. Continue reading

Dream was no big deal

Last night I had a dream. I could call it a science fiction dream, but that would be redundant, as, in retrospect, most of my dreams turn out to be unrealistic.

No, I didn’t dream about Catherine Zeta Jones (and if I ever do, I’ll make sure my wife doesn’t hear about.) This dream lacked the kind of CZJ excitement others might dream about. Instead it was on a topic that usually causes my tummy to tie up in knots.

But enough suspense:

My dream last night was about an announcement to the effect that taxpayers no longer needed to fill out long, complicated forms. It came from the I.R.S., whose staff deemed that people spend too much time trying to determine what’s deductible and what’s not. Coincidentally, I told my wife, just a few days before the filing deadline, all about how we used to be able to send our tax information on a single card. Does anybody remember that era? I’m not making this up.

Everything went on that card, eliminating the tedious filling in of information on how much we earned, how many zoos are in our home town, and the first and last name of the first girl I kissed. Are humans expected to have that great a memory? Continue reading

Having and losing a Friend

I don’t have any friends. True, there are many acquaintances, lots of colleagues, classmates, neighbors, co-workers, primos and primas, but no friends.

At least not anymore. The only person I believe was my Friend died last week.

I’m going to miss him. My sons called him Vince-Uncle, I suppose because our youngest son, Ben, mixed up the words, and that stuck. I liked our artificially appending “uncle” to our names; somehow that made me feel closer. We go back about 50 years, to when my wife and I joined the faculty at Cuba (N.M.) Schools, where Vince-Uncle had been teaching.

Vince was a gentle giant, standing at 6-1 and 230 pounds in his prime. Most of the rest of us teachers stood at around 5-8. When in Cuba, we heard about the time when, as a class sponsor, Vince arranged to borrow a small car to pull a float for the Cuba Rams’ homecoming parade.

But the car’s owner never showed up, so Vince hitched straps to himself and ran the parade route, much to the thrill of the crowds.

I admired Vince-Uncle. We rode bikes to school. He lived some five miles out; we lived three miles out. We rode to school almost every day, but since I was a smoker then, I struggled to keep up with him. Continue reading