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Sometimes when I have nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon, I like to wander around the backroads of Socorro County.

My grandparents used to do this. They called it their Sunday afternoon excursion. They’d drive to see relatives, visit with them and stop at the local ice cream parlor for an ice cream cone before driving home for supper.

As a kid, I loved to take those drives with grandma and grandpa. We got to enjoy some of grandpa’s old haunts, look at the crops growing and check out his old fishing holes. Plus they take us to the old cemeteries to see where our relatives were buried or where my grandpa’s brother's hatchery and feed store was in Springbrook. Other times, we’d have a picnic in Bellevue along the shores of the Mississippi River.

After my grandparents died, my parents would go on Sunday afternoon tractorcade rides. A tractorcade is a tractor ride with old tractors that have been restored.

My dad used to go on several tractorcades in his restored Oliver 77. He’d join up with his old high school buddies and their families. Dad would pull an old restored wagon. We’d sit in the wagon enjoying the countryside at a slower speed. It kind of gives you a better feel for the countryside.

We’d do this about one weekend a month during the summer, after the route was decided at the local coffee shop earlier in the week. My dad and his high school chums would pick out the rest stops at some city park. The tractors would be lined up and visitors could stop by and chat while the rest of us would enjoy a wonderful picnic in the shade.

Today, the tractorcades are organized by large farm radio stations. Sometimes the tractorcades are several miles long. Twenty years ago when my sister got married, a small organized tractorcade rolled by our farm. Lawn chairs were placed in our farm’s front yard to watch the tractors roll by as part of her wedding reception. We thought it was rather cool … others didn’t.

Here in New Mexico, I usually load up Hopalong Cassidy (my dog) and head in whatever direction looks interesting. I’ll admit … I do get lost sometimes and have to ask for directions. And once in a great while, I’ll get behind a tractor, moving rather slow. And that’s OK … because I know they’ve got work to do keeping up on their farm or ranch.

So if I happened to be out on my Sunday afternoon drive and end up getting lost and pulling up into your homestead … don’t be alarmed. It’s only the Iowa girl out wandering around and enjoying the countryside.

And final note … if you happen to be going to the Old Timers Reunion in Magdalena this weekend, be sure to take in the La Luz De La Cruz (Light of the Cross) exhibit.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to visit Casa Santiago (one mile south of U.S. 60 in Magdalena, then turn left on State Highway 107) after John Larson wrote about it in the El Defensor Chieftain. The home is marked with a cross in the yard and is on the left hand side of the road.

I ended up staying at the home for almost two hours viewing the various crosses on exhibit. I did end up buying a couple of crosses. If you decide to purchase a cross, all proceeds benefit the Magdalena Samarian Center.

The exhibit is open weekends (Saturday and Sunday) throughout the summer.