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Communion by camera in a troubled border town

A Walk in the Park
How Dwight Pitcaithley chronicled "America's best idea"

An Affinity with the Spirits
Dermatologist and curandero Dr. Gilbert Arizaga

The Secret History of "Arizona"
Border battles and Pinos Altos gold

Vagabond of the Water Birds
The far-flying Cattle Egret

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Desert Diary

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About the cover

  D e s e r t   E x p o s u r e   January 2010


Desert Diary

Page: 2


Don't get mad. We know, of course, that kids say the darnedest things, but this tale from Jess Hossinaround in Arenas Valley turns that notion on its head:

"A woman in a grocery store happens upon a grandfather and his poorly behaved three-year-old grandson. It's obvious to her that Gramps has his hands full with the child screaming for candy in the candy aisle, cookies in the cookie aisle; same for fruit, cereal and soda in their respective aisles. Meanwhile, Gramps is working his way around, saying in a controlled voice, 'Easy, Albert, we won't be long — easy, boy.'

"Another outburst, and she hears Gramps calmly say, 'It's okay, Albert, just a couple more minutes and we'll be out of here. Hang in there, boy.'

"At the checkout, the little terror is throwing items out of the cart, and Gramps again in a controlled voice is saying, 'Albert, Albert, relax buddy, don't get upset. We'll be home in five minutes; stay cool, Albert.'

"Very impressed, the woman goes outside, where Gramps is loading his groceries and the boy into the car. 'You know, sir, it's none of my business, but you were amazing in there. I don't know how you did it. That whole time, you kept your composure, and no matter how loud and disruptive he got, you just calmly kept saying things would be okay. Albert is very lucky to have you as his grandpa.'

"'Thanks, lady,' says Gramps, 'But I'm Albert — the little bastard's name is Steve. I'm going to spank the crap out of him when I get him home.'"

Pondering the imponderables If you're as intrigued by this list from Bert of the Burros as we were, we invite you to submit your own entries (to diary@desertexposure.com, naturally):

"What's the difference between:

"A hoot and a holler

"Alas and alack.

"Hustle and bustle

"A nook and a cranny

"Beck and call

"Nip and tuck

"Hemming and hawing

"Hook or crook

"Hither and yon

"To and fro

"Muck and mire

"Footloose and fancy free

"Frick and frack

"Snick and snee

"Black and blue

"Tit and tat

"Spic and span

"Hale and hearty

"Neither and nor

"Topsy and turvy

"Flim and flam

"Itsy and bitsy

"Vim and vigor

"Hanky and panky?"

Persons of the blonde persuasion Speaking of twists, as we were a few paragraphs back, we love the one in this yarn from new correspondent Constance:

"A blonde city girl named Amy marries a Colorado rancher. One morning, on his way out to check on the cows, the rancher says to Amy, 'The insemination man is coming over to impregnate one of our cows today, so I drove a nail into the 2 x 4 just above where the cow's stall is in the barn. Please show him where the cow is when he gets here, OK?'

"The rancher leaves for the fields. After a while, the artificial insemination man arrives and knocks on the front door. Amy takes him down to the barn. They walk along the row of cows and when Amy sees the nail, she tells him, 'This is the one right here.'

"The man, assuming he is dealing with an airhead blonde, says, 'Tell me lady, because I'm dying to know: How would YOU know that this is the right cow to be bred?'

"'That's simple. By the nail that's over its stall,' she explains very confidently.

"Laughing rudely at her, the man says, 'And what, pray tell, is the nail for?'

"The blonde turns to walk away and says sweetly over her shoulder, 'I guess it's to hang your pants on.'

"(It's nice to see a blonde winning once in awhile.)"

Capital pun-ishment Don't say we didn't warn you about this one — also with a Catholic theme! — from Cardmomma of the Burros. (Does she know Bert of the Burros, we wonder?)

"This may come as a surprise to those of you not living in Las Vegas , but there are more Catholic churches there than casinos. Not surprisingly, some worshipers at Sunday services will give casino chips rather than cash when the basket is passed.

"Since they get chips from many different casinos, the churches have devised a method to collect and cash in the offerings. The churches send all their collected chips to a nearby Franciscan monastery for sorting, and then the chips are taken to the casinos of origin and cashed in.

"This is done by the chip monks."

Waxing philosophical Finally, these pithy words of wisdom — appropriate, too, for the start of a new year — come from Aletteration:

"As I ramble through my 80s, I realize that life is like a roll of toilet paper, going faster and faster as you get to the end."

Send your favorite jokes, anecdotes, puns and tall tales to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062, fax 534-4134, email diary@desertexposure.com The best submission each month gets a brand-new Desert Exposure mouse pad, scientifically proven to take the strain out of emailing jokes to Desert Diary.

Postcards from the edge. This month's first photo of a peripatetic reader holding a copy of "the biggest little paper in the Southwest" comes from Ron Wolhart of Silver City, who writes: "About six years ago, I decided to walk across England on the Wainwright Trail (a walk of 192 miles) in my 70th year of life. Other things came up to interfere, so I changed it to my 75th year. This time it worked out and I made the walk. This is a picture in front of our bed and breakfast in Robin Hood Bay, our destination. After 14 days on the trail, we were ready for a pint and a good night's rest."



Thanks, Ron, we're honored to have kept you company on your trek! Hope you'll take us along wherever you go for your 80th.

Our second photo, shot by Alex Burr of Las Cruces, shows Marjorie Burr holding the June Desert Exposure (yes, we're a little behind, but don't let that stop you from submitting your own picture — we'll get to them all!) in front of Vadso, Norway, well above the Arctic Circle. The Burrs note, "The photograph was taken at supper time but needed no additional light because it was 800 hours before sunset."


dairy 2

Now that's something to ponder as we begin the long, slow climb back to the sunlit evenings of summer! In the meantime, whether you're headed to the Arctic or the Antarctic, take along a copy of Desert Exposure and get a photo of yourself with it "on location." Send to Desert Diary, PO Box 191, Silver City, NM 88062 or email diary@desertexposure.com

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