New Mexico native Karen Karger lives in Portland, Oregon, but still thinks of the Land of Enchantment as home. So she was happy to hear during a Portland radio station’s fundraising drive that someone from Aztec, New Mexico, had called in a donation. But happiness turned to confusion when the host said: “It is so wonderful to know that our station is listened to not only across Oregon and the United States, but around the world!”

Granted, something like 1,200 miles separates the cities, but some of us know that they’re linked by nationality.

Socorro County native and current California resident Della Vallejos Celentano visited British Columbia recently and made sure she carried her passport. As she crossed the border back into Washington State, she presented her born–in–New Mexico passport and prepared for the worst. The agent eyed it and asked, “New Mexico?” “Yes,” she replied, anticipating a geography lesson. “It’s in the United States.” Then, in an unexpected reversal of our usual “Missing” story, he smiled and said, “I know. I’m from Roswell.”

Nikki Wilbur, one of the magazine’s Facebook fans, tipped us off to a recent article in the Observer, the web-only descendant of the New York Observer newspaper. The headline promised to help readers make “The Biggest Branding Decision of Your Life” by directing them to the best college in every state. It matters, the article contended, blaring in its sub-headline: “People Will Be Judging Your Choice for the Rest of Your Life.” The website turned to educational consultant John Addrizzo, a graduate of Georgetown and Columbia Universities—both of which made his list, by the way.

Even though the article promised to name a college in each state, one of those states curiously went missing. We’ll give you one guess which one it was. And yes, we’ll be judging that error for the rest of our lives.

While going through some of her mother’s “gonna do something with this someday” collections, JoAnn Talley found a news story clipped from an issue of the Alamogordo Daily News of unknown vintage. Headlined “Bank Says New Mexico Not in U.S.,” the story told of a Delaware institution that had turned down a local resident’s request for a Visa/Mastercard. “Because you presently reside outside our market area, we are unable to issue you a card. However, if you should move back to the United States at a future date, we would be pleased to reconsider your request.” Talley knows that her mother, a Tucumcari native who moved to Alamogordo in 1956, was likely “gonna send that someday” to “One of Our Fifty Is Missing.”

In memory of her mom’s New Mexican bona fides and amusement at our state’s ability to confound others, she shared it with us so that we could share it with you.

Last year, Los Alamos native Gail Beasley wrote from her Anacortes, Washington, home about a local grocer selling Hatch chiles under two false premises: First, the store misspelled chile (“chili”), then it said the fruits were “Grown in  Mexico.” She had alerted the produce manager, so you might think this year would see an improvement.

No such luck. Not only was the misspelling and mislocation repeated, but the woebegone sign was tacked onto produce boxes that both spelled the word chile correctly and identified where it was in fact grown. Not content to merely voice her displeasure, Beasley did what any right-thinking New Mexican would: She took out a pen and scratched the word “New” onto the sign. Next year she may add that elusive E, too.  

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. Thanks!