I was waiting in line to order a piece of Clara’s fry bread at Bobby Winston’s gas station in Magdalena on Saturday, 6-feet away from a friend who mentioned that it seemed warmer than normal for the middle of October. I said it sure seemed so, and then we both agreed it would be nice to have a little rain.

But to hear what the National Weather Service folks in Albuquerque are saying, things won’t change for a while. They’re telling us we’ll probably have a drier winter this time — and warmer — which means La Niña will be knocking on our meteorological door.

John Larson

In simple terms, La Niña es el opposite de El Niño. During a La Niña winter, warmer and drier conditions usually arise from here to Southern California. This does not bode well for moisture, since New Mexico is already dealing with record heat and lower than average rainfall.

But why “the girl” and why “the boy?”

I was reading that the earliest use of the term El Niño was in 1892 in Lima, Peru, by a ship’s captain who said that sailors named the warm north-flowing current El Niño because it was most noticeable around Christmas and connected that with the baby Jesus.

If you watch TV weather people, they get all excited and high falutin’ predicting dire consequences; cold and wet here, hot and dry there, hot and cold and damp and dry somewhere else. But then at the end, they’ll say maybe not.

I’m not trying to ridicule the weather persons, they’re just doing their job. I guess I got wised up to a lot of TV weathermen back in the early 1970s, when a friend of mine, fellow radio disc jockey Pat Sajdak, got a job as the weekend weatherman for a television station in Nashville, a couple of hours drive away.

As far as I know, he had no formal education in meteorology. All told, his work experience was spinning 45s and being funny between songs, and I came to the conclusion that the real meteorologists were in some back room huddled over their charts and radar printouts and compasses.

All that being said, though, I have to admit, weather forecasters on TV have gotten a lot better in the last 50 years. Used to be, there was a map of the lower 48 on the wall and the guy would actually draw temperatures and fronts and circles right on the map, so he had to know what he was talking about as he marked up the chart on live TV.

In fact, when NBC’s Today Show started back in the 1950s, the first host, Dave Garroway, would pick up a telephone and dial a meteorologist at the weather bureau on camera, and draw his circles and arrows on the map right then and there.

Back to the present, I don’t know what the forecast will be for Halloween, but whatever it is, things may be a little different this time around. One thing I always look forward to is seeing the huge inflatable yard decorations go up in front of Randy’s Ace Hardware. It’s almost a California Street tradition.

At any rate, I have noticed some people have gone all out with decorating their porches and yard and such, but I’m not exactly sure how trick or treating will go this year. I’m just waiting to see some spooky COVID-19 masks at the very least.

Switching gears here, I don’t know how I missed this, but yesterday, Oct. 21 to be exact, was the International Day of the Nacho. Again, my mind is on comfort food, and nachos being a priority on that list.

Anyway, the day commemorates one fateful night in 1943 that Miguel Ignacio Anaya threw together some random ingredients at the behest of some late-coming diners.

The story goes — and this is according to Anaya’s son — that he was maitre d’ at the El Moderno Restaurant in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. One evening after the restaurant’s kitchen had closed for the night, some U.S. Army wives stationed at Fort Duncan in nearby Eagle Pass, Texas, came in after a day of shopping and wanted a snack.

With the kitchen staff gone, Anaya took it upon himself to grab some tostadas and cut them into triangles, topping them with shredded cheese and sliced jalapenos, and heated them up in the oven. They turned out to be such a hit with the women they named the dish Nacho’s Special, even before he could make another batch.

Word got around and people from all over tried them, loved them, and over time what was known as Nacho’s Special became known simply as nachos. I say gracias, Señor Anaya.

Oh, and before I forget it, we are preparing our salute to veterans for our issue prior to Veterans Day, so if you are, or know a veteran, send us their photo and information.