Even in these times of that god-awful coronavirus and now something called monkeypox, it seems things are slowly getting back to some semblance of normalcy. I don’t want to jump the gun on this, but it looks like, after two years of pandemic cancelations, Catron County’s celebration of our alternative to cake is returning.

I got a call last week from Nita Laronde up in Pie Town, who tells me that the Pie Festival is a go for this year. For what seems like forever, Nita has been involved with the event, most visibly the wrangler for the pie-eating contests. Outside of the pie baking competition, that’s the one Pie Festival event that draws the most attention, watching kids – and some adults – jam their faces into chocolate cream or berry pies in hopes of winning that coveted blue ribbon.

If all goes as planned, this will be the 40th Pie Festival, the event that usually draws over 1,000 to tiny Pie Town to sample pies and barbeque, shop the rows of arts and crafts vendors, and dance to fiddle music. All told, the annual September throwback to simple pastimes and good ol’ family gatherings is worth the 80-mile trip from Socorro.

One thing, late summer temps at the continental divide generally make for a respite from the furnace fan of summer.

Am I being too dramatic?

Think about it. First, there was Blazin’ Cheetos, then Blazin’ Fritos, Blazin’ Doritos, and now it’s us that’s blazin’. Oh, and also the “Flamin'” category. Has Frito-Lay invested in our temperatures? And don’t get me started on Takis.

Why is it that every summer I start whining about the heat? I mean, of course, it’s going to be hot. Regardless of climate change or global warming, Socorro’s summer weather remains, more or less, true to form.

I have mentioned before in this space that although the Inuit people in Alaska have 50 separate words for snow, why oh why, do we not have 50 words for heat in the desert southwest? This is what’s got me baffled.

While I’m in the mood to be baffled, how about these other pointless questions I found while wasting my time on the internet:

  • If your fingers have fingertips do your toes have toetips? I mean, you can tiptoe but not tipfinger. What’s with that?
  • Why do we press harder on the remote when we know the batteries are bad?
  • Why do banks charge a fee on “insufficient funds” when they know there isn’t enough?
  • Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
  • Why does someone believe it when you say there are billions of stars but check when you say the paint is wet?
  • Whose idea was it to put an ‘s’ in the word lisp?
  • What is the speed of darkness?
  • Why is it that people say they slept like a baby when babies wake up every couple of hours?
  • How is it that we could put a man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?
  • Why do toasters have a setting so high it will burn the toast to a horrible crisp that no one would want to eat?

Moving on.

I don’t know about you, but I get a kick out of reading our Socorro Rewind column every week. It’s compiled by our Denise, who peruses old issues to pick out things to highlight from 50, 25, and 10 years ago. We have big bound volumes going back almost 100 years of Socorro news.

There’s a lot of history in those old issues, and when you think about it, in the far future people will be reading what you’re reading in The Chieftain this week. And last week. And next week. It just occurred to me that people in the far-flung future can even be reading the little musings in this here column, and that…is a scary thought.

I’m thinking, however, that if the grid goes out and every one of the digital articles on the internet are no longer retrievable, all we’ll have to get our news is in the newspaper. I mean, a-hem, the news “paper.”

While we’re waxing nostalgic maybe we should bring back the bicycle-riding paperboys, too, like when I was 14 and flinging the Paducah Sun-Democrat onto doorsteps and lawns and bushes around the neighborhood. If I recall, my weekly earnings for delivering the daily newspaper were around $8, which was enough to buy the newest record by The Beatles and go to the movies. And still have enough for a hotdog and coke for lunch at the drug store.

But I digress.

When it comes to reporting local news and getting it right, I’m reminded of a sign documented by Oscar Wilde in a Colorado bar in 1882: “Please don’t shoot the piano player. He is doing his best.”