I’ve been humming “Home on the Range” all day. As a child my father would engage my brother and I in random sing-a-longs. “Home on the Range” was one of his favorites, as was Eddie Fisher’s “Oh My Papa.” In truth, my dad only taught my brother and I the first two lines of the latter, but what more does a father need than for his two small children to follow him around caroling, “Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so wonderful. Oh, my pa-pa, to me he was so great.” As for “Home on the Range,” my father was born in Detroit, and his penchant for the unofficial anthem of the American West eludes me to this day.
For those whose fathers did not encourage the commitment of this ditty to memory and outbursts of off-key family singing, here are the words to the chorus:Home, home on the range, Where the deer and the antelope play; Where seldom is heard a discouraging word And the skies are not cloudy all day.
You may be wondering, what’s all this got to do with anything? I’m headed out West, first to Denver, Colorado, and then Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Land of Enchantment. The great American West. Home on the range. While I’m not likely to see any deer or antelopes play, I’m looking forward to big endless skies, dear friends, and the permeating smell and taste of green chile.
Some say green chile is addictive. It is. Before I moved from New Mexico to New York, green chile was a staple food. It went on and in everything: burritos, macaroni and cheese, chocolate, sushi. And after one year of subsisting on substandard mail-order chile, I can hardly wait for the real thing. I’m licking my lips just thinking about it.
The very topic of green chile just so happened to come up today at the Laundromat of all places, where I met Terez, a grade school teacher who just happens to have lived in Santa Fe for 17 years. It was one of those funny conversations where you start out making small talk and then realize you have a surprising number of things in common. As soon as we made the Santa Fe connection, the conversation went from green chile to red chile – the best restaurants for each – and then back to green chile again. Coincidentally, Terez was washing a Zozobra t-shirt for a grand child, an entirely different wonderful and strange Santa Fe phenomenon.
When our laundry and conversation was over, I promised to return to Brooklyn with a bountiful selection of our favorite chiles and make her an authentic New Mexican breakfast burrito.
“Do you believe in synchronicity?” Terez asked me before leaving.
Yes, and serendipity too. Be kind.