Many people talked as if they’d never seen or felt anything like it. “This is the worst wind we’ve had,” was oft-repeated.
Remember, this is Las Vegas, where nobody remains unhappy about the weather, because it changes so often.
Where else can we have five consecutive days of dry, freezing cold, followed by two summer-like days, followed by winds up to 74 mph, and then a foot of snow? Winds between 74 and 95 mph constitute a Category 1 hurricane.
In one case, high winds deposited a house roof on to Seventh Street.
Did I mention it was windy Wednesday, so windy that several areas in and around town became powerless? And when did it happen that a power outage also cuts off the water?
Well, not one to exaggerate, I won’t say it was windy last week. It wasn’t really windy, but when I stepped on to my front porch for my copy of the Albuquerque Journal, there was a copy of the Los Angeles Times instead.
I’m not saying it was windy, but when Diego, who lives next door, came over and said something about Gone With the Wind, it wasn’t a DVD he wanted to borrow; he was referring to his two cats, who involuntarily got blown to another neighbor’s yard, have since been adopted and now wear flea-and-tick collars.
I’m not saying it was windy in the Meadow City, but when a friend said, “Let’s go over to the topless place,” he wasn’t referring to one of those a-go-go places like Hooters, but a real roofless place.
I’m not saying it was windy in San Miguel County, but many of us believed the county commissioners had already given the OK to install and operate wind turbines near Bernal, and Mother Nature had said, “You want wind? You’ve got it. Here goes.”
I’m not saying it was windy in Las Vegas, but I heard talk that the Fiesta Bowl scheduled around New Year’s Day might be moved to Perkins Stadium. Why? Well, half of Arizona, including Tempe, home of the gridiron game, has already blown this way.
I’m not saying it was windy, but it’s possible that Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer will try to have the Arizona immigration law (S.B. 1070) rescinded. It’s not as if our neighboring state’s politicos suddenly grew a heart and decided not to go after suspected illegals.
No, the new Brewer crew realizes the recent winds blew most of the immigrants over this way, to the Land of Enchantment, and so the cold-hearted legislation passed earlier this year is moot.
Before coming home Windnesday, I stopped at Alco for a supply of candles. The best buy was a 24-pack of votive-style candles that gave my darkened house a church-like appearance.
That naturally took me back to the days when we routinely lit a candle in church, made an offering of a few coins and uttered a prayer. A votive candle, according to my dictionary, is small, typically white, to be used in a religious ceremony.
Whereas I previously thought the use of votive candles was strictly a practice of Roman Catholics, my encyclopedia discusses their use in ceremonies of the Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist and other churches. But as for expanding on the church-like ambience of my house, my prayers were mainly for the power to go back on, for the night not to become too chilly and for the food in the freezer not to thaw.
Three hours later, the prayers were answered.
• • •
Many of us are going to miss David Giuliani, the Clark Kent of the Gallinas.
But I don’t begrudge a man who’s drawn back to his family and who appears to be making a wise career move. I’ll miss his insatiable quest for openness in government, his knowledge of issues, his near-flawless writing ability, his sense of what’s news and what isn’t and his ability to make complex issues seem simple. He’s the best newsman I’ve ever worked with. (I expect David to say something about my having ended the last sentence with a preposition, but I’m asking him to “stet” my error. For once).
What impresses me greatly is David’s dedication to the field. For example, when Bill Richardson became governor, he raided newspaper and television staffs big time. The new leader wanted experienced news people to join his team and serve as press and PR members for his administration.
But too suddenly, many of the former Journal, New Mexican and TV personnel, now working for Richardson, began to think of the governorship as a closed shop. “Oh, we can’t comment on that” was a common response when reporters like Giuliani would ask tough questions of those instant experts at writing puff pieces from the state capitol.
Giuliani heard repeated utterances of “no comment” and of “The awarding of the contract has nothing to do with the fact that the winner of the contract donated to the governor’s campaign.” David actually phoned or e-mailed some of the former journalists who, given a bigger paycheck, became State Capitol cheerleaders.
As one who has occupied a desk next to his for almost exactly six years, I’ve been asked by many about his departure. “Who they gonna replace him with?” (Or, as my English teacher would say, “With whom shall they replace him?”) Most people I’ve spoken with believe David’s departure will be a big loss for the newspaper and the community.
The newspaper in Sterling is about two hours from Chicago, the original windy city. But let’s get something straight: Las Vegas ought to be the official windy city. Chicago’s breezy reputation comes from wind — as in hot air — that Midwestern braggarts and politicians produce. Yes, it’s true that a gust coming off Lake Michigan when one walks across the bridge in winter can be frightful.
But that’s an entirely different kind of climate. Illinois lacks the deep blue New Mexico skies. And I believe our friend Davey will take a lot of sunshine with him.