David Du Bois, a UNM graduate who now lives near Elmer, New Jersey, was reading his local paper, the Elmer Times, when he saw an obituary for a man who “was born in Albuquerque, New Jersey.” Du Bois is actually quite happy that Albuquerque made such a big move. “Now I won’t have so far to go for my favorite vacation spot.”  

Douglas McLeod is a New Mexico native who, despite relocating to Gainesville, Florida, still loves his first state and visits old friends here several times a year. One night, he was watching the news on a major network.

A measles epidemic in California had the Centers for Disease Control fearing it would soon head east to other states. A full-screen map of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico appeared, with a white background and bold black outlines of each state. The announcer began to list states facing contagion. As he said “California,” the white background turned red. The same thing happened when he said “Nevada” and “Arizona.”

“I sat up and was ready for my home state to turn red,” McLeod says. But when the announcer got to New Mexico, our state stayed white, and the entire northern half of Mexico turned red.“I was gratified,” McLeod concludes, “that New Mexico dodged that bullet.”  

Kayla and Jason Paulk are part of the music faculty at Eastern New Mexico University. This spring, they took 50 of their choir members on a performance tour of Paris and London. While in England, they toured Stonehenge, but first their guide went to the visitors’ booth for audio guides and printed guidebooks to help everyone understand what they were about to see.

“Imagine our surprise when all the printed guidebooks were in Spanish,” Kayla says. “Our guide was befuddled, but we knew exactly what had happened: One of our 50 was missing yet again!”

She and Jason explained our long-standing mistaken-identity problem to the guide, who got a big laugh from it, then returned the Spanish books for English ones.

Connecticut residents Anne and Paul Rapo love visiting New Mexico, but they have to board their cat, Pangea, before leaving. On their most recent trip, they were greeted by a new kennel manager, who reviewed Pangea’s prior record from their earlier trip to New Mexico. “Will you be leaving the country again?” the manager asked. “We quickly answered that we were going to New Mexico again and not Mexico,”Anne says.

The manager and her assistant stared quietly at each other, then changed the subject to feeding instructions for the cat. Upon returning, the Rapos realized that they had failed to leave their kitty with his favorite Mexican blankets to sleep on.

Anne wonders if that made the staff think they had left the country on their last visit. But Pangea, named for the globe’s onetime supercontinent, might say it’s really all one country anyway.

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