It’s stuck in my head. The song Nat King Cole sang in 1963: “roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; those days of soda and pretzels and beer.” In other words, our annual permission to be lazy.
And today is Day One, the summer solstice, first day of summer. When the northern hemisphere tilts toward the sun, making us warmer than the bottom hemisphere, so to speak. The day with the most hours of sunlight – something like 14 hours – as opposed to the winter solstice when there's the most hours of moonlight.
It’s all about the tilt. The best evidence points to the idea that four and a half billion years ago, a ginormous asteroid or small planet smacked Earth with a glancing blow, knocking it 23 1/2 degrees off its axis, and throwing up molten rock which eventually became the Moon. That’s what I call “older than dirt.” No, I wasn’t there to witness that.
To be clear, I may be old, but not older than dirt. To wit:
If you ever pretended to smoke a candy cigarette, you may be old but not older than dirt.
If you can sing the theme of the Howdy Dowdy Show, you may be old but not older than dirt.
If you can correctly use the word cattywampus, you may be old but not older than dirt.
If you know what a milkman is, you may be old but not older than dirt.
If the phrase “number please” evokes a memory, you may be old but not older than dirt.
If you know the difference between wi-fi and hi-fi, you may be old but not older than dirt.
If you once paid a nickel for a bottle of Coke, you may be old but not older than dirt.
You get the picture. Oh, while we’re at it, the same reasoning goes for associating one’s age with flatulence.
Hmm. I sometimes wonder what it would be like if the above-mentioned impact hadn’t happened and there was no tilt of the earth. Mainly, there would be no seasons, which would be very boring, so depending on where you lived it would be like the middle of summer or the middle of fall or spring all year long. Maybe I’m over-thinking this but without seasons, agriculture would be radically different, if any at all, because the weather wouldn’t vary much, just the same ol’-same ol’. And without the need to deal with climate stuff, technology would not advance because a lot of that had to do with keeping warm in the winter. And maybe…well…I have no idea what I’m talking about, so I’ll leave it up to science fiction writers to come up with an alternate reality.
Back to real reality, we're in for three months of wonderful New Mexico dry heat. And probably dry rain, your basic virga.
They say good things come in threes and in the next two to three weeks we have the 4th of July celebration at Macey Center and Old Timers in Magdalena, but first check out the San Juan Bautista Church Fiesta this Saturday in Kelly. There’s a potluck, music, horseshoe-throwing and lots of visiting with old friends and acquaintances. It’s an all-day affair beginning with morning Mass at the little church, live music throughout the afternoon, and ending with dancing in the evening.
Running the show for many years is Carlos Tafoya, who has kept up his family’s tradition of “being in charge” of the Fiesta. Carlos tells the story of his brother Celso, who was the previous Mayordomo. In 1997 Celso was very sick, dying of leukemia. Carlos remembers riding in the ambulance with him to the hospital and Celso asking him, “Who will take care of our church when I am gone?” Carlos promised him he would, and he has ever since.
Besides the church and the ruins of the Kelly Mine with its towering headframe a little farther up the mountain, all that’s left of the town are a bunch of foundations, a bit of a concrete sidewalk and stone walls of a once thriving business, complete with an old rusted out safe.
It’s said so many men came to work for the Kelly, Patterson, Waldo or Linchburg mines that the two hotels ended up having to rent rooms in eight-hour shifts.
Bennie Zamora of Magdalena once reminisced with me about when her father, Antonio Otero, worked at the various mines in the district for 50 years, retiring at 69 years old. They lived in Magdalena and he would drive to work every day, although for a time he rode a burro the three and a half miles up the hill to the mines.
Anyway, the fiesta at the Kelly church is one of those New Mexico get-togethers that bring old friends back together and leaves the door open for new friends.
And hey, if you’re incredibly lucky you might look down and spot some Smithsonite. There’s a four inch chunk of it on eBay selling for $5,000. It’s listed as “used.”
Come to think of it, there’s something that may actually be older than dirt.