Lovin' Life Graphic

Avast, me hearties! Shiver me timbers! Today is Talk Like A Pirate Day. Someone once said the autumn wind is a pirate, and we’re on the verge of the end of the season with the first day of fall just a few days away. So, up that rigging and break out those sails and watch them fill with the changing wind.

Enough o' this, matey. On wit' this week's bilge. Aaaargh!

Last Saturday Chieftain Editor/Publisher Wanda and I took the trip to the annual Pie Festival for pie and to soak up the unfettered, unplugged pace of rural New Mexico, and yes, get some pie. Curiously, on the way there, driving through a canyon somewhere past Datil, we passed a couple riding bicycles. Being that it was out in the middle of nowhere it reminded me of all the coast-to-coast trekkers that have passed through our neck of the woods Highway 60.

Every year there’s a veritable hodge-podge of ‘em, with some people going west-to-east and some the other way around, and most of them are doing it to bring attention to a worthy cause and do fundraising for the American Cancer Society and the like.

They come in groups like the above-mentioned bicyclers a lot of the time, but some just walk. Or run. One year I met up with people at the VLA taking part in a nationwide relay on their way to Boston in remembrance of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.

The year before that there was a 90-year-old World War II veteran jogging across the continent to raise money to restore functional LST landing craft used on D-Day. As a matter of fact, there have been several veterans of Vietnam or Iraq hoofing it across the country. There was a paraplegic Marine on a specially fitted recumbent bike pedaling coast-to-coast to raise awareness for the Wounded Warriors foundation, and I know of at least a couple of other combat vets who just wanted to see the countryside and meet people.

One year outside of Lemitar I caught up with an older gentleman from Paris, Tennessee driving a tractor and pulling a trailer made up to look like a covered wagon. Or the guy from New Zealand who just wanted to add it to his list of countries.

Does anyone remember that retired police officer riding his one-eyed horse campaigning for the legalization of marijuana? Once in the True Value parking I met a kid skateboarding across America, and in Magdalena a stroke survivor dressed up like a cross between Charlie Chaplin and Benny Hill who played Elvis songs on his guitar as he walked along.

Then there was ‘ol Crazy George, a retired roofer who, after his two heart attacks, decided to hit the road in a golf cart modified to look like a ‘57 Chevy, pulling a little teardrop trailer where he sleeps. He said he was on his way to the Alamo, “to see their basement, just like Pee Wee Herman did. I ain’t gonna’ live forever, so why not do something different?”

He said he quit smoking, takes his blood thinners and vitamins, and showed me a baggie of beef jerky which he said keeps him going. I’m sure he had enough beef jerky to get him to the Alamo.

Speaking of eating, the Pie Festival last weekend didn’t do my waistline any favors, but that blueberry pie from the Pie-O-Neer was pretty darn good.

Seems like every year hordes of people come from parts unknown and even far away lands to experience the Pie Festival. This year it was a television crew from Holland who were interviewing locals at the pie judging contest at the Pie Town volunteer fire department. “You can’t miss them,” someone told me, “they’re the three tall blond guys.” Of course, the camera and boom mic was a big giveaway.

Turns out they were taping a segment for a Dutch travel show, “3 op Reis,” which translates to 3 on a Journey. The show’s host, Chris Zegers, told me the show travels the world to find interesting places off the beaten track, and when he heard about the Pie Festival they couldn’t resist. They simply had to do the story for their mensen back in Holland. ”You get the festival feel and that in itself is pretty American, but a festival about pies? Come on, community-wise this is quite rare and we wanted to tell the story,” he said. As he put it, it’s “the real USA.”

I couldn’t argue with that. I mean, it was one complete day where hundreds of people from all walks of life got together for fun, music and pie, and nothing but fun, music and pie.

Sounds familiar. Dare I say, Piestock?

And by the way, I learned how to say pie in Dutch. It’s "pie."