Yes, this is supposed to be good news to take our minds off the bad. This is mostly true–neither good nor bad but with a tiny bit of fictional speculation that has a bit of good within.
We followed the truck for miles, from Hatch along NM-26 to NM-27. Every hundred yards or so we’d see a red chile in the road. Hatch, New Mexico is the chile capital of the world. Some loose pods in the back, blowing from the uncovered load we supposed. The distributor’s loss. Gains for the ravens or crows—or spicy sustenance for a hungry lizard. No pain for them, unlike non-human mammals. Many folks like the burn.
Red or green? That’s what the order taker asks. A New Mexico thing–green chile cheeseburgers a menu staple. Chile relleno with the whole pod. Onions the size of Florida oranges, the giant ones. Ristras hang from porches—decorative on some, awaiting grinding into powder on others.
Barrels outside grocery stores roast the peppers each fall. Roadside vendors sell burlap bags filled with the red heat, cooked cooking as is for one dish or another. Chili—con carne for me, rather than the peppers. Still up for Kung Pao or General Tso’s Chicken—not much demand in the Southwest for those. Not quite an acclimated New Mexican foodie—yet.
Those unspoken observations ran through my mind on the trip enroute to Silver City. Then I saw the Mexican Jay. Just like the ones at home. Were they picky or kindly—knocking seed off our feeder? The other birds and the chipmunks scarf it up off the wall below. The chiles weren’t blown off, the jay was tossing them from the truck. Generous jay or?