Lovin' Life Graphic

This may come as a shock to you – or as a pleasant surprise, whichever – but summer is over. That's it. Adiós. So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye ... to quote the von Trapp family kids.

I know, I know, we still have five weeks or so until the autumnal equinox but face it, the municipal swimming pool has closed, school’s back in session and last Saturday in Magdalena a fellow with a truckload of firewood came knocking on our door. In two weeks it’ll be the Labor Day weekend, complete with a parade, ring cakes and cows at the county fair.

Speaking of cows, when we were driving to work from Magdalena a couple of weeks ago there were four or five bovines happily nibbling at black grama on the wrong side of the fence. I don’t know how they did it, but apparently, they figured the easement grass was better than the pasture grass.

Back up. I don’t know if cows actually nibble. Maybe chomp, chaw or grind, but unless they were eating hors d'oeuvres off a silver tray at a Gary Larson cocktail party, nibbling is out of the question. At any rate, we called the sheriff’s office and they said two other people had already called about the errant cattle.

You gotta’ watch out for stuff like that commuting back and forth between Magdalena and Socorro. We’ve encountered antelope, rabbit, mule deer, coyote, quail, fox, bighorn sheep, roadrunner, even a tarantula migrating, and once a Mexican gray wolf. But last Saturday was the

kicker.

How many remember the lyrics from the 1973 song by Loudin Wainwright?Take a whiff on me, that ain’t no rose

Roll up yer window and hold your nose

You don't have to look and you don’t have to see

‘Cause you can feel it in yer olfactory...

Dead skunks - two, in fact - in the middle of the road. And yes, they were stinking to high Heaven. I don’t know if it portends anything, but I remember reading an article last year about how folks over in Hagerman were invaded by skunks. But I digress.

This Labor Day weekend I’ll be taking my wife back to the airport for her trip to Ohio for a family visit. The last time we were there the Viejitos Car Club had brought in a couple of lowriders to display on the main level. Are lowriders the State Car? Could be. One was a cherry red 1958 Impala convertible and people were taking pictures and reminiscing with complete strangers. Me included.

When it comes to 1950s automobiles, there’s one place that’s a virtual gold mine of classic cars: Cuba. I don’t mean the one between Albuquerque and Farmington, that’s “koo-bah.” I mean the one in the Caribbean, “kew-ber” according to JFK. But regardless of how you say it, that place is chock full of pre-Castro Buicks, Fords, Desotos, Chevys, Plymouths and you name it from the forties and fifties. They keep them fixed up and many are passed down from generation to  generation, like family heirlooms.

It’s like they got stuck in the era of Lucy and Desi. Desi, of course, was Cuban and he played some mean congas, but I don’t remember ever seeing him on I Love Lucy smoke a cigar, for which the nation of his birth is famous. And while we’re on this tangent, they say the coffee down there is pretty good. But until things change with the powers that be, I guess the closest we can come to Cuban style coffee is Café Bustelo.

Hey, I could use a cup right now. I'm up to four cups a day, and as this is being written, I'm only at three. Incidentally, coffee lovers will be glad to know that I just read another article that said coffee can be a good source of antioxidants.

Besides that, I’m a firm believer that coffee is the most sociable drink we have, a beverage that cries out “sit down and let’s talk.” Like the late Luther Broaddus would say each time I saw him, “Come on by the house. I’ll have a pot of coffee on.”

And don’t forget what composer Johann Sebastian Bach said, “Without coffee, I’m just a dried up piece of roast goat.” He even wrote an opera called “The Coffee Cantata.”

I don’t know what all this is leading to except that maybe one day you’ll be able to cruise around Socorro in a cherry 1958 Chevy; singing Babalú, smoking a cigar that’s a foot long and stopping off at M Mountain Coffee House for a café Cubano. Pardon me, I seemed to have slipped into some sort of Ricky Ricardo universe.

In the meantime, I’m getting a head start on firewood splitting. On the other hand, I suspect the reports of summer’s demise are premature.