The Whole Enchilada Fiesta will be without the enchilada. Bummer! I remember going to the Hillsboro Appleless Festival one year. There were no apples, they had a freeze. It was the first year I brought my parents to Hillsboro. I bribed my Dad with a promise of apple pie. They had good pies, he really didn’t care where the apples came from. Our Fiesta will continue to be reason to celebrate our community. Doing good is good for business. Our community thrives on this practice of doing good because it is good for business throughout the community and rewarding for the volunteers. Being part of a mission and having a purpose is necessary for a fulfilling life.
The past weekend five of our community volunteers were recognized at the Starry Night celebration at the ASNMSU Arts Center. I met Paul Taylor when I was nineteen. He welcomed me into his home as a friend of his son Robert. I saw him 2 weeks ago at Glenn Cutter’s as he examined a chalice from Germany. Ever on the search for sacramental artifacts, Paul, Jo-An Smith and I marveled at the love expressed through engraving on this one of a kind family heirloom.
Glenn and Sally Cutter were on the Arts Board and contributed to the design and building of the ASNMSU Arts Center. As did Pat and Lou Sisbarro, who are great lovers and collectors of the works of local artists. Frank Leto has come only recently to our community, yet he is now one of us because he has given of himself in so many ways. His passion at the moment is the downtown renovation and plaza. In making the decision years ago to re-build on the site of the original, Frank convinced the Sun News owners that building on the site indicated the company’s commitment to our community’s future.
Maybe that is why people make commitments, they believe in the future. Think about it, the future is only an idea, it does not come into existence until there is action, physical action. We exist in the physical world, a world governed by the laws of physics. As this column is usually about science and technology, not religion and philosophy, I seek to bring light to the actions that speak loudly about our community members. Frank Leto came here fully formed as a person who could commit to this community and its causes. So did Lou and Pat. I have never met the Johnsons who were also honored last Saturday, yet we have the enduring commitment to NMSU which manifests in many ways.
Commitment has brought NMSU once again into the national news because of the New Horizon’s mission to Pluto. Dr. Tombaugh, the man who predicted and then found Pluto, had a growing reputation and many opportunities to leave NMSU to teach and research at more prestigious universities. He stayed because of querencia, love of place. This place was his home, a place where he could make a difference. Las Cruces was the place where he, his colleagues and students worked together in harmony to create new fields of scientific research. Success that Dr. Tombaugh created was evident in his commitment to do good with and for his students. They now carry on his work and his message. Work hard, do good work, and share that good news with others always. I work with students daily. I find them critical consumers of this product we call education. They challenge me often to recommit to patience, belief in small accomplishments, and the importance of commitment to their success, not mine.
This small telescope now nearing Pluto is called Lorri, Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager. It is sending images to earth from the Pluto system. Pluto has five moons, Charon is the largest, the other tiny moons Kerbos, Styx, Nix and Hydra were discovered by a team using the Hubble Space Telescope. The project scientist, Alan Stern has been to Las Cruces many times, three times to the International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight. He has been a friend of the Tombaugh’s for years, and been to Tombaugh Elementary often.
The Whole Enchilada Fiesta was only an idea in the minds of Chamber of Commerce members, led at the time by Gene Elliot. I was not at the first meeting where it was finally decided to create the Whole Enchilada Fiesta. Yet, action was necessary, so they recruited people like me to get to work. I started working on it that year. The motivation was to bring people to our community. Why come here, what do we have to offer that is different? Until we started no one knew Robert Estrada could make the world’s largest enchilada. Mr. Estrada recently stated, “I said I’d make the enchilada for 20 years…and I went way past what I intended 34 years ago.” He had to build the first few before someone came up with the idea to attempt to get into the Guinness World Record competition. Success sneaks up on us sometimes yet it always takes people willing to do good to grow a great community.