Hey, don’t forget that today, Sept. 13, back in 1814 (the same year ‘we took a little trip, along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip’), Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the words that became the national anthem. Key was so horrified at the use of those new-fangled British rockets bombarding Fort McHenry all night long he figured the fort would be destroyed. But it wasn’t, and when the sun came up he was so inspired by the sight of the fort’s huge American flag still flying, he sat down and started rendering his thoughts in poem form, which he later put to the tune of a popular drinking song. Little did he know it would top the Hit Parade for America for over 200 years.

The ever-watchful weather forecasters at the Old Famers Almanac are predicting a “less severe winter” for this year. I’m not sure if they are using wooly worms for their prognostication this time around, but it wouldn’t hurt if here in New Mexico if we got a bit more moisture than last winter.

Weathermen, er, weatherpersons, always bandy about terms like El Niño and La Niña but, as personal experience bears out, when you get down to actual weather in Socorro County a coin flip is as good as any meteorological calculation.

If anything, the weather in Pie Town last Saturday was, in a word, sterling. It seems every year the crowds at the Pie Festival are a little bigger, and this time I’ve never seen so many folks having a good ol’ time.

I left with a jar of Nancy Coonridge’s gourmet parsley-sage-rosemary-thyme cheese (which she named Scarborough Fair). For 35 years Nancy has been making and marketing goat-cheese from her off-the-grid farm north of Pie Town, and to get to it you might want something like a World War II Army jitney to maneuver that bouncy road. But she does fine selling her cheese nationwide over the internet and makes trips to town twice a month to fulfill orders.

I also snagged a slice of Kathy Knapp’s New Mexico Green Chile-Apple Pie at the Pie-O-Neer. She and her crew made 250 pies for the festival and were sold out by 3 o’clock.

Speaking of green chile apple pie, that’s just one of the delicacies you can find at the New Mexico State Fair, wrapping up this weekend. Among the plethora of gastronomic challenges up there include a Deep Fried Green Chile Bacon Mozzarella Stick, a Pineapple Upside-Down Funnel Cake, Deep Fried Chile Relleno Chile Cheese Dog, Deep Fried Doritos Covered Mozzarella On A Stick, Deep Fried Taco Green Chile Cheese Curds, and a Cotton Candy Burrito. And for the suppressed Cajun in all of us, there’s the Crawfish Taco.

I’m wondering, since this being tarantula migration week in the Land of Enchantment, someone won’t offer up Eight Legged Freaks on a Stick (chocolate-covered and deep fried).

Based on other state fairs, though, our chow looks rather tame. Just about anything you can fry, dip in chocolate, cover with cheese or put on a stick, you can find at various and sundry state fairs. In Texas they have Fried Beer. It’s Python Kebabs in California. In Alaska you can eat Reindeer Sausage. Illinois serves Alligator on a Stick. Other state fairs tempt the unsuspecting with Fried Pepsi, Chocolate Covered Scorpions, Chocolate Covered Bacon On A Stick, Chicken Fried Bacon, Deep Fried White Castle Burgers and Deep Fried Egg On A Stick.

And you gotta’ try Elvis On A Stick, a deep-fried banana-battered peanut butter cup with bacon.

Having said all that, I’ve been reading some of the click-bait articles on eating right and never eat or do anything that’s not healthy. You can’t get away from people telling us how to get healthy and stay healthy and live to a ripe old age. But how can you tell you are ripe?

It’s not only current “correct” food that’s advertised, but also the hawking of all those herbal capsules and alternative medical cures.

Apparently, this kind of marketing goes way back to when little bottles of heroin were advertised in newspapers as a headache cure. And then along came the guy who had an epiphany one day to start mixing cocaine into his carbonated soft drink. “Feel better fast” used to be the slogan for Bayer aspirin, but it could have been used by that original Coke. It was advertised at an intellectual beverage and temperance drink that is “a valuable brain tonic and a cure for all nervous afflictions – headache, neuralgia, hysteria, melancholy, etc.”

Oh, and a cocaine habit, maybe?

Truth be told, we’re all looking for something a little extra to help feel healthy – along with wealth and wisdom – but all in all I keep being told to just eat a balanced diet.

OK fine, but would it be alright if I start after the state fair?

Maybe they’ll have a glazed doughnut with a coffee filling. You know, pre-dunked.