Land of Enchantment has much to offer

By Ryn Gargulinski: Columnist

When TV Honeymooner Ralph Kramden always joked about sending his wife to the moon, he could have done it easier than his proposed punching her hard enough in the head.

He could have simply sent her to New Mexico.

Yes, it is cool that the Land of Enchantment is on the cutting edge when it comes to hurling things into outer space — after all, with a sky that giant, there’s plenty of space to be outer in.

But a little bird, who saw it whiz by before it crashed, also mentioned the latest rocket launched from Las Cruces went kaput. Although it was supposed to have soared to an altitude of 70 miles, it went a mere seven before it plunged back to Earth.

At least it got the seven part right.

Cynics would say this means people aren’t supposed to send things into outer space and if we were meant to be astronauts we would have been born with bubble things over our heads.

True, there has been a fair share of things gone wrong. Like the monkeys that supposedly escaped from a Russian craft and now inhabit Mars. And the fiasco with Major Tom.

Anyone unfamiliar with the “Major Tom” David Bowie song needs to check it out, preferably in a maudlin state while downing a bottle of rum. A sad, wailing man is on the radio trying to locate poor Major Tom who goes floating out in space.

Although the song ends with the major lost forever, the same bird who knew about the Las Cruces rocket crash said Major Tom was last spotted somewhere near Mars, playing chess with Russian monkeys.

Despite the sad tales and lead balloons, New Mexico is going to keep reaching for higher heights. The state even invested thousands of dollars to repaint one of otsmobile visitor information centers (aka a really big bus) from its eye-catching red to a black sky that includes a depiction of the moon.

The giant vehicle is going to tool around parts of the state, encouraging school kids and other captivated audiences to learn more about outer space and New Mexico’s role in getting there.

Unfortunately, the bus has no scheduled stops listed for Clovis, Portales or Tucumcari. There is no excuse for skipping these places. Heck, half the people I met in those towns would love a chance to learn more about playing chess with Russian monkeys.

But maybe it figures things in the High Plains are weird enough already; who needs to add talk of little green men coming into the mix.

In any event, that doesn’t mean those communities need to be left out altogether. With things like the kite festival and air shows, these folks are already soaring to high heights. And having more fun than a barrel of monkeys while they’re getting there.