Thursday, February 14, 2019

Return of the Blog

There has been a definite dearth of blogs in the past 24 months, and more particularly the past 12 months with a total absence. That situation has, no doubt, brought hope and light to the lives of many who have followed this blog. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but to misquote Elton John: The Blog is Back.

Oh, one more thing: Surprise! We’re not in New Mexico anymore, Toto. This is coming to you from South Dakota. How did we get here from there? Well, let’s take a look back. (If you’re not clear about how/why we came to be in New Mexico to begin with, click to read the blog “Never Say Never.”)

So, in the past 36 months what have I learned? For starters, one truly can’t go home. The Silver City Mrs. Poynor and I had known in 1972 bore no resemblance to the one of current times, physically or socially. 

The physical changes were obvious, but livable. The heart of Silver City, the old downtown, was still familiar, but most businesses in downtown are now geared toward tourism. Those businesses associated with the commerce of permanent small town residents – the car dealers, the hardware stores, the clothing shops – have either been displaced entirely, or relocated to the outskirts of town near the new mecca of shopping, Walmart.

As for the social changes, let’s just say Silver has been progressive. Not so much as in possessing a forward-looking attitude, but politically. The Silver City area has always been very much Democratic-leaning, albeit in a conservative way, but in recent years has shifted to a decidedly “progressive” Democratic climate. Along with that switch, the inherent aggressive and intolerant attitudes exhibited by Representative Ocasio-Cortez and her ilk have become the norm. As an example, I’ll relate an incident that took place shortly after we moved to Silver. 

Mrs. Poynor's archenemy - "Big Daddy"
A close friend was running for a county commissioner seat. He and the four other candidates – both Democrat and Republican – were invited to a public forum hosted by the local Democratic Party. Being new to the area, and wanting to show support for my friend, I decided to attend the forum. (One needs to know that in New Mexico the primaries are closed so one must declare a party when registering to vote. I couldn’t register as an Independent as I had in Alaska, without giving up my right to vote in primaries. Consequently, I registered as a Republican.) Holy ballot box, Batman! When the cranky old gal running the forum found out there was a Republican in the room, she almost had an apoplectic seizure and pointedly told me I was not welcome.

In the barn, and old... ummm... running public forums
 
Fortunately, all the candidates readily agreed they’d gladly accept my vote. The fires under the cauldrons of tar were extinguished and the feathers were returned to the pillows. Unfortunately, the rest of time we lived in Silver it was the rule to avoid any public discussion involving politics such was the rancor.

Some of the critters living around the house made life in New Mexico sketchy at times. I’ve already addressed Mrs. Poynor’s aversion to lizards (see Welcome Home), but there were other creatures that we found less than desirable to have around.

Bats. There were bats in the barn from April until November. I didn’t mind them so much, except the guano dropped on everything and was gross to clean up. However, my spouse never got comfortable with their presence and pointedly avoided the barn. (Just as an aside, I eventually installed strobe lights which drove them off.)

Hairy and scary, but big enough to keep track of
Multi-legged crawling critters are a fact of life. It’s estimated that the average healthy acre of forest will host over a million spiders (hey, enjoy that next campout). Of the literally thousands of species of spiders, only one doesn’t really bother me: tarantulas. If a little spider should happen to drop on me, and I have something in my hands, I will pummel myself into unconsciousness. Tarantulas, however, are big enough to keep an eye on and are, therefore, trustworthy. They never bothered the missus because she thought they ate lizards.

Dollar bill = 6 inches

Worse, by far in my estimation, were the centipedes. Anything with that many legs is JUST WRONG. They were around in profusion, showing up in the most unexpected times and places. It seemed like every time I picked up something in the yard there was a centipede under it – not a problem, although I usually did a fair imitation of a flamenco dancer. It was picking things up in the house and finding one dashing about that caused issues. I’m not ashamed to admit I shrieked loud and high enough to call the bats out of the barn… at least once.

We had plenty of birds to enjoy. There were various woodpeckers, chickadees, jays and hummingbirds. Boy did we have hummingbirds! The first summer we made the mistake of putting a feeder on the porch. Hard to carry on a conversation when dozens of hummers are buzzing in and out. Then there were the vultures. (Just as a “gee-whiz” fact, there are three terms for a flock of vultures: kettle refers to a flock in flight, committee refers to a roosting flock, and wake is what a feeding flock is called.) When one looks out and sees several vultures roosting in the back yard, it’s hard not to ask, “Honey, how are you feeling?”

"I've got dibs on the fat guy!"
Realistically, a few bugs, bats, lizards, scavenging birds and political rancor should not be enough to force a relocation. All those things have work arounds. But there was one thing that simply had no way to work around, or through: we missed a real winter. Honest. After more than 30 years in Alaska, not having a winter was just too much to bear. Granted, we didn’t want six months of winter, but we wanted to live someplace where it froze and snowed for more than just a day. Hence, the move to Rapid City, South Dakota in October.

I’ll keep you posted on how that works out.

Worst of the winter Silver City offered - both days of it.