This time of year, as the digital thermometer in my car finds higher numbers to display and I learn to steer with two fingers, I fall back on the old saw: “If you can’t beat the heat, you might as well try to enjoy it.” I was thinking of reviving the old ice bucket challenge and say I’m doing it for a worthy cause. On the other hand, head over to the rodeo complex next Tuesday for the big Fourth of July bash and the best “F” words ever: food, family, the Fourth and fireworks.
Fun fact: 818. That’s the number of hot dogs consumed every second between Memorial Day and Labor Day nationwide (my liberal contribution included).
Anyway, have a happy Fourth no matter what you have going on, but keep in mind what the signing of the Declaration of Independence was all about: splitting off from England and mad King George II. It’s a good thing, too, because here in the colonies – besides setting our own rules – we were making up our own vocabulary.
I’ve mentioned before how I watch shows like Doctor Who and other TV programs from across the pond but often can’t understand what they’re talking about. Some terminology I was already familiar with; lorry, petrol, bonnet and boot. Flat, telly, lift and loo too.
But I recently learned they call the Big Dipper the “Plough.” Our second floor is their first floor. Our eraser is their rubber. Main Street is High Street over there. And just so you don’t get confused, our sidewalk is their pavement, and our pavement is their “road surface.” Plus, when they are sick, they go to “hospital,” but nurses and doctors work in “the” hospital.
What’s more, I can find no letter “f” in lieutenant.
Digressing here, I think I’m finally getting the hang of this Bluetooth thing. I know it’s been around for quite a few years, but in a way, it still doesn’t feel right. I mean, it goes through a routine of “waiting for pairing” and then, a moment later… “paired.” Who’s in control here?
This whole wireless thing got me wondering how much juice was streaming through me if I am between one end and the other. Of course, if Nikola Tesla would’ve had his way, there’d be Wardenclyffe towers all over the place remotely beaming alternating current into our homes, cars, and earbuds.
Now, I’m not sure when electricity first came to Magdalena, but a century ago, there must have been quite a competition. I was reading that in addition to the KW Light and Power Company, there was also the Magdalena Coal Company which put up a power plant in 1918. On top of that, old-timers remembered the Stendel Electric Works operated by Skipp Stendel, who also sold Buicks and Chevrolets on First Street.
Anyway, Magdalena is firmly a part of the 21st Century with not only Wi-Fi, but the village’s wireless digital water meters, where the utility guys can just drive by and get an accurate reading of how much digital water you’ve used.
That’s a far cry from the town’s sans-plumbing early days when many a family had to haul water up from Pueblo Springs. And from what I learned, some filled up discarded staved barrels, and it wasn’t unheard of that their water might have a tinge of ale or molasses.
While we’re on the subject, this weekend, Magdalena is hosting its annual Frontier Festival, a kind of living history event where you can get a peek into some of the old ways, and I mean older than old-school. We’re talking homesteader days. Pre-electricity days. Back when a feller was good for his word. Back when wireless might’ve meant barbed-wireless. Back when canned goods were called airtights, and a pack of cigarettes was called a pack of tailormades.
Speaking of a feller’s words, here we go again with more long-gone terminology. Words used on the frontier are mostly forgotten, but maybe some should come back. For instance, when something was the best, you’d say it was crack. You’d say bettermost instead of better. Daisy meant something was excellent, and you’d say you were just ducky over your best gal.
On the other hand, the 1800s also gave us some old reliables that are still around: dude; giddy-up; fair to middlin’; fixin’ (to); get a wiggle on; high-tail; hold your horses; no-how; plumb, as in “pert near but not plumb.”
But I digress. Magdalena has gone through both glory days and hard times, and it perseveres, even as New Mexico, in general, is dotted with ghost towns and forgotten dreams.
If the Frontier Festival – or should I say frontier whoop-dee-doo – is anything like previous years, then it should be all it’s “cracked up to be.”
So to speak.