AT THE RISK OF SOUNDING LIKE I’m pandering, I’m just going to come out and say it: Our readers are the best. Don’t take my word for it—read the stuff they wrote for this issue.
“Mailbag” consists of three personal responses to features in the September issue. The first details one California family’s nostalgic, multi-generational bonding through Hatch chiles, thanks to the NM-born dad’s insistence on savoring the signature flavor of his home state. Next there’s a shoutout to Professor Paul G. Zolbrod from a former student who read his article on teaching college in Navajo country and was compelled to share that he’s one of the best teachers she ever had. Finally, R.M. Gomez wrote a letter in response to David Pike’s piece on Fort Bayard that amounts to a tightly telescoped family history that starts with his father and works back to his great-great-grandparents.

The letters indicate a high level of heartfelt engagement with the stories we print. And it’s going to the next level when a reader writes an essay that embraces the ethos of the magazine and the state it represents so intimately that it honestly feels like family. That’s exactly what Holly Shumaker Knox did with a touching piece of personal history. Easterners both, Knox and her late husband were originally drawn to New Mexico by cultural curiosity and the aesthetic pull of desert topography, especially in the Farmington/Four Corners area.

Knox’s poignant memoir exemplifies the theme of the upcoming year—“The Heart of NM”—and we’re running it now as a preview and an open invitation for others to contribute letters and pieces that answer the question “What does the Heart of NM mean to you?” Could be a place, a person, an event or experience … anything. Send them to us at And for daily fixes of NM feel-good vibes, join with some 110,000 souls in our neighborly Facebook community. We’re all in this together!



Dave Herndon