The Socorro County Fair coming up next week and I say it’s about time. It’s another one of those great levelers where it’s you’re not judged on who you are, but rather what your cow looks like. Or goat or lamb, chicken or pig or rabbit or duck.

That’s what it’s all about, everything ag, and the thing about it that impresses me is the work the 4H and FFA kids put into it. Watching these young people bringing out the animals they’ve raised and tended to over the past year gives me confidence about who we are turning the future over to. These are the people who will be joining the adult world in not too many years and we need them to straighten us out. Hopefully.

I don’t know if you caught it, but last Sunday was National Senior Citizens Day. But I’m not sure who qualifies, exactly. We usually assume someone is a senior citizen because of — and I’m speaking for myself — the tell-tale signs of various and sundry wrinkles where there were no wrinkles before and those funny little spots which pop up that didn’t use to be there. But really, it’s all a matter of subjection.

I can’t believe I just used the word subjection.

Anyway, when it comes to aging my epiphany happened back in the 1990s at a Moody Blues concert — I think they were opening for Chicago that night — at a big outdoor amphitheater. I don’t know if I’ve told you this story before, but I had a press pass and got through the gates way early, looking to interview with the band, and while trying to find where I was supposed to go, ran into a couple of older gentlemen strolling up near the concession area. We got to talking about how cool the Moody Blues were after all these years and then it slowly began to dawn on me. These old guys with British accents were actually two members of the band; Graeme Edge and Justin Hayward.

But wait, they couldn’t be I thought to myself, they had white hair and all. They didn’t look that way on their album covers. Oh yeah, right … one doesn’t age on album covers. From 1969.

I felt pretty foolish not recognizing them, but that’s not the first time I’ve been foolish. Seniors, they may be, they still knew how to rock.

At any rate, at what age is one considered senior?

Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, they’re still going out there and working. And have you seen Bob Dylan or Willie Nelson lately? They still seem to have some spring in their step. Even septuagenarian Brian Wilson will be turning 80 next year and he’s going on tour again starting this month, so I guess him singing I Get Around still has merit.

I’ve been listening to a lot of old Beach Boys songs lately and had all but forgotten how good those little two-and-a-half-minute ditties could be. And not only that but how appropriate they were for teenagers going through the pangs of growing up.

There are songs about fancy cars, the beach, girls, boys, parents, high school, and how hard it is to be cool. You know, typical youth angst, but still pretty relatable stuff for a teen. For instance, their song When I Grow Up (To Be A Man), that was popular when I was something like 14 or 15 years old, but the lyrics still apply to me, in a way.

“Will I dig the same things that turn me on as a kid?

Will I look back and say that I wish I hadn’t done what I did?

Will I joke around and still dig those sounds

When I grow up to be a man?”

In other words – in today’s parlance – adulting. Frankly, there are moments when I still wonder what it would feel like to grow up, just like those of us who would rather listen to The Beach Boys as opposed to the hitmakers du jour, I guess.

Thinking back on my teen years… Well. Those were pretty crazy times – Vietnam, the Cold War, civil rights, women’s lib and don’t forget the advent of X and R rated movies – so it’s hard to make a comparison. But as for just being teenagers, I guess today’s bunch face the same growing-up issues like puberty, pimples and parents.

Since those “times they are a-changin’ days” parents have tried to raise their kids to be nice or at least be tolerant of each other. Maybe better than some of us seniors were raised.

Especially those who grow up on a farm or ranch in Socorro County.

Hey, see for yourself at the county fair.