The time has come, Lewis Carroll once wrote, to talk of many things; of boots and sheep and horses’ tacks, and many other things. Pardon the mixed metaphor, but the Socorro County Fair is this week where you’re not judged on who you are, but rather what your cow looks like. Or, I might add, your horse or goat or lamb or chicken or pig or rabbit or duck.
That’s what it’s all about, everything Ag, and 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.
I mean, the future ain’t what it used to be. Neither is growing up, I suspect.
Pondering my own teen years… Well. Those were pretty confusing times – Vietnam, the Cold War, the Kennedy assassination, the arrival of X rated movies, and don’t forget My Mother the Car and lava lamps – so it’s hard to make a comparison. But as for just being teenagers, I guess they face the same growing-up issues.
Since those “times they are a changin’ days” we’ve tried to raise our kids to be nice, or at least be tolerant with each other. For the most part they don’t smoke or drink as much, and although there is the oft-reported bullying they generally aren’t as mean to each other.
Especially those who grow up on a farm or ranch, or even a small town like Socorro.
I was witness to a good example of this when I happened to swing by the fairgrounds last Saturday where judging for the fair royalty (Queen, Princess and Sweetheart) was going on. There were 12 in all – short, tall, slim and stout – and each had to give a short talk about what was important to them. One talked about her heritage, one talked about her animals, one her family, and so forth.
One even talked about what it’s like to be a teenager (in these equally confusing times).
It reminded me of an article I read in the New York Times about a two-year study on today’s young‘uns by a clinical psychologist, Wendy Mogel, whose findings were reassuring. She summed it up this way: “The press and general public like to see them as spoiled and not having to work hard for anything except grades and being very entitled. But they’re courageous, energetic, optimistic and really smart.”
That’s quite a summation and I hesitate to think otherwise. I must, however, add that unfortunately some kids are jerks and there will always a “bad crowd.” But then again, every generation has its share of jerks and bad crowds.
No matter the era, close knit communities like Socorro and Magdalena are the best kind of places to raise up a passel of kids.
Before you say it, I know that no towns are picture-perfect, but people in these parts cope and keep up with the times. Old folks pass away and babies are born, a business will close and a business will open, and all the while we continue on and take things in stride.
What Heraclitus said around 500 BC still goes, that the only thing that’s constant is change. And change isn’t necessarily bad, and some of the changes can improve our lives, such as using a piece of plastic to pay for things, but even that’s not new.
Take for instance a scene in the 1930 Marx Brothers movie Animal Crackers where the romantic lead’s young fiancé said, “Oh, we don’t need money. I’ve got credit cards to all the department stores.”
On the other hand, someone once said life was a lot simpler when what we honored was father and mother instead of major credit cards.
I was going to call this column “What I did on my summer vacation,” but me getting lost in Albuquerque trying to find the BioPark last week was the high point.
It was only after I found my way back home that my wife reminded me I have this Google GPS thing on my phone that could’ve given me directions. Silly me. I’m still thinking a phone is for phone calls.
Anyway, the winners of the abovementioned royalty competition haven’t been announced yet, but they all sure do deserve recognition for giving it a shot. The same goes for all the kids entering something in the county fair. While, yes, they have their Snapchat and Instagram and what-all they’re still participants in the real world like the rest of us.
In case you’re wondering, I’ve heard that Facebook has become passé with the younger set and is now the domain for us older folks.
If that’s true, I guess “get off my lawn” is now “get off my bandwidth.”