John Larson

I knew something was wrong.

It’s weird how the mind works, and it doesn’t take a year’s brain-training subscription to Lumosity to keep from making a mistake. The mind plays tricks on you and sometimes you think you’re thinking one thing and actually thinking something else, like walking into a room and forgetting why you’re there.

It happened when I was working on the story of Francesca Gutierrez and how she is the new Village clerk in Magdalena, but last week I – as the saying goes – skipped a groove, and gave her a different name.

Sometimes I think, “Man, I am getting old…” or, “I’m having a senior moment.” Yes, that may be true, and if that’s the case I think I was having senior moments when I was a little kid.

I realized that the other day when I heard the carol Good King Wenceslas. It jarred a memory from when I was five or six years old. I was having a senior moment even then, and thought the lyrics were: “Good King Wences’ car backed out, on the feet of Steven…”

Remember singing Frosty the Snowman “with a corncob pipe and a butt and nose…?” Or, “later on we’ll perspire, as we sit by the fire…” and “dashing through the snow, on a one-horse, soap and sleigh…”

There was also “round John Virgin, mother, and child…” Well … that’s what it sounded like.

Here’s one that I still can’t get out of my head: “In the meadow, we can build a snowman, then pretend he is parsley brown…”

Then there was “Fleas Navidad” and “Hark the Harold Angels sing…”

Of course, some of the kids just made up the wrong words on purpose and we’d all giggle at “bells on Bob’s tail ring…” or “he’s making a list, of chicken and rice…”

Enough. I’ll stop now before my grandkids come up with some new variations on Christmas songs.

It’s that time of year again when local weather forecasters are making their guesstimates for a white Christmas. Is it because of that song? I dare say we might because for the 18 years we’ve lived here it has snowed on or around Christmas Day 14 times. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some kind of weather junkie who keeps meticulous records in a meteorological diary, it’s just that since we get so little precipitation in Magdalena I run out and take a picture of it. They’re all stored on my hard drive. Rain, snow, hail, drizzle, fog. They’re all there.

Okay, I’ll admit that maybe it is a kind of addiction – taking pictures, that is – seeing as I’ve had to buy a couple of external drives. I mean, how many angles does it take to document the weather?

But I digress. The white stuff is a little more frequent in Magdalena, and there have been days when my wife and I will bundle up and drive down an icy Highway 60 only to find there’s zip-zero-nada, of it 2,000 feet lower in Socorro.

Every time we get it, I’m looking out the window watching it come down, a little at first and then more, but what’s the next thing I do? Check with the Weather Channel website. I’m thinking, can this be real? Is it supposed to be doing this?

Why do I do this? It’s coming down pretty steady. The cars are already making tracks on Main Street, and yet here I go checking the weather online to make sure it’s happening.

Hmm. Maybe I am a weather junkie after all.

Snow, on its own merit, is okay. It’s just when you have to drive on the highway that it can be dicey. There are a lot of people driving every morning between Socorro and Magdalena, and most know how to behave themselves on snow-packed roads. But sometimes unexpected things crop up, like whiteouts. And the random Christmas tree.

Let me clarify that Christmas tree part. It was in 2012 right around Thanksgiving that we were driving to Socorro from Magdalena a little after dark when what to my wondering eyes did appear a tree, nondecorated, rolling down the highway toward the car like a long green tumbleweed. We ended up bouncing over part of it and it cracked the right side of the bumper of our little car but not much else.

I figured somebody was carting that tree home but wasn’t very skilled at securing it to their vehicle and, whoosh, it went sailing off into the darkness. So, for the rest of the evening I was singing “Tie your Christmas tree down, sport, tie your Christmas tree down…” to the tune of the 1960 Australian pop song Tie Me Kangaroo Down. I’m surprised no one has released a version of that as a parody Christmas song.

But you never know.