Dave Patterson loves telling his father-in-law’s “Missing” tale. While working at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo during the 1970s, his in-law struck up a conversation with a young airman from New York. The airman said that his mother warned him before he moved to Holloman that he should never leave the base. Why? Because of all the banditos roaming around on horseback. “Not only did the airman’s mother think he was being sent to a foreign country,” Patterson said, “she thought he was going back in time as well.”

When Louis Gallegos was in the Navy, he tried to mail a package to his family in Villanueva, New Mexico. The ship’s postal clerk wanted to charge an international rate. Gallegos explained that New Mexico was in the United States, but the clerk still didn’t get it, saying he never knew the US military allowed foreign nationals to enlist. Fortunately, a superior set the clerk straight. “Carry on smartly,” Gallegos said.

As Rob McCorkle prepared to move from Kerrville, Texas, to Las Cruces this spring, he started a live chat on SiriusXM radio’s website to ask how to reconnect their service on a new radio. He and “Mable,” the representative, went back and forth on whether the satellite services would extend into a foreign country. “New Mexico is a state that lies just west of Texas,” he typed. “I understand,” she replied, “however, our satellite services are not available in Mexico.” McCorkle persisted and finally got through. After the representative told him he could simply type in a zip code, McCorkle signed off, “Muchas gracias, Mable.”

A few years back, Eric Lyon of Seattle attempted to mail his New Mexico tax return to Santa Fe, using the pre-printed envelope from the state’s Personal Income Tax packet. It may have been good enough for New Mexico, but apparently not for the US Postal Service. “They returned it to me marked ‘Return to Sender—Address Unknown,’” Lyon said.

After Henry Suazo married his wife, Sue, 58 years ago in Sheffield, Alabama, they moved to his duty station at Manzano Base (now Kirtland Air Force Base). The next time they visited Alabama, Sue met up with old friends and teachers at her hometown church. When she told them that she now lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico, they asked if she needed a visa or passport to go home. “Not unless the New Mexico border was moved while I was gone,” she replied.

Not long ago, Hal Behl traveled from his Albuquerque home to Long Island for a funeral. Upon landing at LaGuardia Airport, he checked into La Quinta Inn. Given the Spanish-language roots of the hotel’s name, he likely expected better than he got. After looking at Behl’s New Mexico driver’s license, the desk manager asked to see his passport. Behl protested that he’d left it at home, but the staffer held firm—until another manager happened by and explained that New Mexico is in the same country as New York. “No problems thereafter,” Behl reports.

When Adrienne Digneo called in to order some merchandise, she was asked for her state. “NM,” Digneo said, which seemed to confuse the representative. “Is that Northern Minnesota?” came the response.

After Digneo had stopped laughing, she said that as far as she knew Northern Minnesota isn’t one of the 50 states. Silence on the other end. “No,” Digneo continued, “it’s New Mexico.” The representative replied, “Where’s that?”

Send it to fifty@nmmagazine.com or Fifty, New Mexico Magazine, 495 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Include your name, hometown, and state. We’ll write it up. Thanks! 

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