Don’t let the sugar cube and dainty bubbles fool you: This is a very stiff drink.
- 2 ounces Cognac (such as Courvoisier)
- ¼ ounces Chartreuse liqueur
Place sugar cube in a coupe glass and soak with Angostura bitters. Add a handful of cracked ice cubes and Cognac; top with Champagne. Drizzle with Chartreuse. Add ice until almost brimming.
- Place sugar cube in glass and top with bitters
- If using, add brandy
- Gently pour in Champagne
Instagram is a great way to get updates on new cocktails and keep up with everyone’s favorite redheads
The Champagne Cocktail is a timeless showstopper. Champagne itself is an indulgence for many, but there are celebrations that demand gilding the lily. This cocktail is the only bit of opulence fit to accompany the aggressively indulgent dropping of multiple tons of Waterford Crystal over a crowd of Yankee dandies. So ring in the New Year with a drink of equal parts science experiment and sequined dress.
The classic Champagne Cocktail is a simple mixture: soak a sugar cube in bitters and top with Champagne. When selecting a bubbly, there are two camps. The drink’s reliance on sparkling wine suggests a top shelf option is best suited to the role, however the purist would not dare pollute the natural delights of authentic Champagne. We favor economy, and suggest a tasty dry prosecco or cava. The drier the better to avoid sugar overload. If feeling particularly fancy, add a splash of quality brandy the spirit partners with bitters to warm the drink’s crisp sweetness. The classic recipe employs Angostura bitters, but there's plenty of room for creativity. To dress this drink to the nines we recommend Bittermens Burlesque Bitters. The slightly exotic hibiscus blend is ideal for a truly swanky soiree.
For optimal drama prepare the sugar cube in a glass and pour in the bubbly at the last minute. The cocktail’s glamour surfaces as the sugar cube dissolves in Champagne. As cute as a vintage coupe may seem, to maximize the effect and retain effervescence make sure to use a Champagne flute.
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He was born on Christmas Day in 1895 in Zellwood, Florida to Jane Paul Baker (1859-1916) and Charles Henry Baker Sr. (1848-1924). Both of his parents were from Pennsylvania.  He later attended Trinity College. By 1918, he was working at Norton Abrasives as a grinder in Worcester, Massachusetts  he later worked as a district sales manager.  He moved to New York City, where he worked as a magazine editor and submitted stories to small publications. In 1932, Baker met Pauline Elizabeth Paulsen, an heiress to the Paulsen mining fortune, on a world cruise where he had signed on as the cruise line's publicist.  After they were married they had built for them an art deco house called Java Head in Coconut Grove, Florida in which they lived for thirty years.  They built a second house in Coconut Grove called Java Head East, where they lived in the 1960s. They later moved to Naples, Florida. 
Baker spent much of his life traveling the world and chronicling food and drink recipes for magazines like Esquire, Town & Country, and Gourmet, for which he wrote a column during the 1940s called "Here's How".  Baker collected many of those recipes in his two-volume set The Gentleman's Companion: Being an Exotic Cookery and Drinking Book, originally published in 1939 by Derrydale Press.  John J. Poister in 1983 wrote, "Volume II of The Gentleman's Companion, by Charles H. Baker Jr., is the best book on exotic drinks I have ever encountered".  Condé Nast contributing writer St. John Frizell wrote, "It's his prose, not his recipes, that deserves a place in the canon of culinary literature . at times humorously grandiloquent, at times intimate and familiar, Baker fills his stories with colorful details about his environment and his drinking companions — Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner among them".  While his culinary nonfiction garnered Baker much praise, he was less well regarded as a novelist. His only novel, Blood of the Lamb, was published in 1946 by Rinehart & Company. About it, a Time reviewer wrote in the magazine's April 22, 1946, issue, "Blood of the Lamb is not much of a novel, but it is long on local color, loud piety, snuff, 'stump liquor' and local talk" 
Words to the Wise No. VII. Offering up an earnest plea for recentness in all eggs to be used in cocktails or drinks of any kind, for that matter. A stale or storage egg in a decent mixed drink is like a stale or storage joke in critical and intelligent company. Eschew them rabidly. If really fresh eggs can't be had, mix other type drinks, for the result will reflect no merit round the hearth, no matter how hospitable it may be. 
Some of Baker's exotic and often esoteric drink recipes from The Gentleman's Companion are once again finding favor at modern cocktail bars specializing in classic drinks, such as Manhattan's Pegu Club, where Baker's "Jimmie Roosevelt"—a mixture of champagne, cognac, and Chartreuse liqueur—was found on the menu. 
Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne
1 ounce Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac
¼ ounce Green Chartreuse
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Demerara sugar cube
Fill a large wine glass halfway with cracked ice cubes. In a separate vessel, saturate the sugar cube with Angostura bitters. Use a bar spoon to place the soaked sugar cube into the wine glass. Fill the remaining half of the wine glass with cracked ice cubes. Add the cognac. Fill the wine glass with champagne. Add the Green Chartreuse on top of the ice for aroma and flavor. No garnish.
Powers shakes together the classic cocktail, the Lion’s Tail.
Maxwell House Coffee History
The story of Maxwell House Coffee begins in rural Kentucky in 1873 when Joel Cheek, a traveling salesman for a wholesale grocery firm was asked by a customer what the best coffee that he sold was. In rural areas in the 1870's people bought their coffee green and roasted it at home. He naturally recommended the most expensive one, though he knew nothing about the differing qualities of coffee.
Whether bothered by his conscience or simply out of curiosity, that night he roasted some of each type of coffee that he sold and sampled them side by side. He decided that actually one of the cheaper brands had the best flavor. The next day he returned to the grocer that had asked him the question and explained why he would be shipping him the cheaper brand.
Continuing to experiment with different varieties of coffee, Cheek became quite the aficionado, recognizing that some brands had better body and some better acidity and yet another better flavor and aroma. He began mixing different coffees together to find just the right blend.
Many years passed before he would move to Nashville in 1884 and meet Roger Nolley Smith, a British coffee broker who could reportedly tell the origin of a coffee simply by smelling the green beans. The two became fast friends bound by their passion for coffee. This friendship would be the beginning of Maxwell House Coffee though it would be several more years before either of them knew it.
Over the next few years the two worked on finding the perfect blend and in 1892 Cheek believed they had found it. He approached the food buyer for the Maxwell House and gave him twenty pounds of his special blend for free. After a few days the coffee was gone and the hotel returned to its usual brand. After hearing of complaints from patrons, who liked Cheeks coffee better, the hotel bought Cheeks blend exclusively.
Inspired by his success Cheek quit his job and formed a wholesale grocery distributor with partner John Neal, The Nashville Coffee and Manufacturing Company, specializing in coffee with Maxwell House Coffee, as it came to be known, as the central brand.
Later the Nashville Coffee and Manufacturing Company was renamed the Cheek-Neal Coffee Company. Over the next several years the Maxwell House Coffee brand became a well respected name noted for its high-brow snob appeal that set it apart from the competition.
Like most coffee companies, the Cheek-Neal Coffee Company marketed many lower-grade brands of coffee keeping Maxwell House Coffee as its flagship. In 1910 the company was fined for adulteration and misbranding' of one of its lower grade coffees containing 10 percent chicory. There was a strip label across the lid indicating the use of chicory but the print was tiny and the main label read big and bold "Cheek & Neal Cup Quality Coffee."
The legal mess that resulted had little effect on the company or the reputation of Maxwell House Coffee and by the 1920's Maxwell House was a household name. In 1928 General Foods bought Maxwell House Coffee. Hope you enjoyed this little tidbit of Maxwell House Coffee History.
4. Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland hunted just about everything and fished just about everything. According to some sources, the outdoors became an obsession to him, which he wholeheartedly admitted in his writings.
“There can be no doubt that certain men are endowed with a sort of inherent and spontaneous instinct which leads them to hunting and fishing indulgence as the most alluring and satisfying of all recreations,” he wrote in his book Fishing and Shooting Sketches. “In this view, I believe it may be safely said that the true hunter or fisherman is born, not made. I believe, too, that those who thus by instinct and birthright belong to the sporting fraternity and are actuated by a genuine sporting spirit, are neither cruel, nor greedy and wasteful of the game and fish they pursue and I am convinced that there can be no better conservator the sensible and provident protection of game and fish than those who are enthusiastic in their pursuit, but who, at the same time, are regulated and restrained by the sort of chivalric fairness and generosity, felt and recognized by every true sportsman.”
Whether it was camping, fishing, or hunting a vast array of species, Cleveland was in his element outside. According to some sources, the president even assigned names to his individual rifles.
What really happened when federal officers persecuted Billie Holiday
When the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Suzan-Lori Parks was little and her parents put on Billie Holiday records, they often offered a vague editorial as accompaniment.
“They would say things like, ‘They got to her’ — but without any specifics,” says Parks during a conversation about her script for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” the new Lee Daniels-directed movie. “My dad was in the military, and as parents were very slow to criticize the government.”
The drama, which premiered Friday on Hulu, is based on Holiday’s years-long battle with federal drug agents obsessed with both her heroin addiction and her star-making rendition of the harrowing ballad “Strange Fruit.”
Writer Suzan-Lori Parks and director Lee Daniels present Lady Day as an early civil rights activist in “The United States vs. Billie Holiday,” starring Andra Day.
As Parks — best known for her plays “In the Blood” (1999), “Topdog/Underdog” (2001) and 2019’s “White Noise” and her screenplay for Spike Lee’s “Girl 6" — grew older, she began to understand what her parents meant by “they” and “got to her.”
“I could see around me many Black American people whose excellence was rewarded with very harsh treatment by the government, or the system in Hollywood, or the theater system or whatever,” Parks says. She added, “I did the math and realized it must have had something to do with the status quo, you know? The powers that be must have had some hand in Billie Holiday’s downfall.”
“The United States vs. Billie Holiday” indicts the institutional racism that caused that downfall and does so through the story of a brilliant American artist whose “Strange Fruit,” about a lynching in the South, remains as haunting today as when it was released more than 80 years ago.
Starring Andra Day as Holiday, the work is based on a chapter from “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs,” a 2015 nonfiction book by Johann Hari. Called “The Black Hand,” the chapter documents the real-life circumstances of, as Hari writes, “how Billie Holiday entered the drug war.”
The chapter involves Harry Anslinger, who was a hard-charging drug enforcement agent in J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI who, Hari writes, “did more than any other individual to create the drug world we now live in,” and the ways in which he targeted Holiday. By the time Daniels’ film begins, Holiday has already lived with the success of “Strange Fruit” for nearly a decade.
Told through Holiday’s experiences as the most charismatic singer of her generation, who also happened to be addicted to heroin, the film addresses the ways in which Anslinger (Garrett Hedlund) used both that addiction and a Black FBI agent named Jimmy Fletcher (Trevante Rhodes) as cudgels in his quest for power and prestige in the department.
“The core of the story was all on the table: ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’ — not ‘The Billie Holiday Story,’” Parks says. “Jimmy Fletcher is literally, actually an agent for the United States and she falls in love with him. To me, this is all about how we love this country and it dismisses us, and how for Black people, the fastest route to being an American is to throw someone of color under the bus. Whatever your race, actually.”
When Daniels read that chapter and Parks’ script, he saw that the Holiday portrayed in “Lady Sings the Blues,” the 1972 biopic starring Diana Ross, didn’t pursue that strand of Holiday’s narrative. “I found out that that wasn’t the real story, that Billie Holiday was a civil rights leader, that she wasn’t just a drug addict or a jazz singer,” Daniels recently told The Times.
Billie Holiday singing “Strange Fruit.”
Although some details of the relationships have been fictionalized for the film, the actions, indictments, convictions and conspiracies are well documented.
In 1947, Holiday was 32 and near the peak of her powers. Raised under harrowing circumstances in Baltimore, Holiday signed to a record label before she was 20 and across the 1930s became known for singing songs about failed love and shattered hopes. She was also a heroin user, a heavy drinker and a victim of rape and domestic violence at the hands of various men.
She fully embodies these horrifying experiences on the recording of “Strange Fruit,” songwriter Abel Meeropol‘s 1939 protest song. Though its lyrics don’t explicitly decry a lynching, each line evokes its putrid essence.
In the film, Day sings it after viewers have already witnessed Holiday overwhelm rapt crowds in 1940s New York with her singular phrasing and tone and watched her shoot up and get beaten down, only to stand on stage the next night, singing the blues.
Daniels shows her singing “Strange Fruit” in close-up, moaning through lines about “a fruit for the crows to pluck / For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck / For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop / Here is a strange and bitter crop.”
In Lee Daniels’ ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday,’ the ‘Rise Up’ and ‘Burn’ singer summons the singular style of an icon.
Chasing Down Childhood Memories: La Cola Nostra
I have always had a special relationship with root beer. On visits to my grandmother's house, we would discover her homemade version maturing on the porch. I remember those enormous glass jugs with tiny necks and the complex aroma that wafted out when the bottle was finally opened. Even today I can easily recall the flavors, the savory hints of the roots themselves mingled with a rich caramel to produce something tangy and bitter, yet still sweet. It was probably the most adult taste I had experienced until then. And then there was the delicate fizz undulating on surface of the tongue that commercial sodas fail to mimic. It was truly a magical experience that captured one of the most basic joys of youth: that of experiencing a truly memorable flavor. These sensory memories encased in a pleasant surprise stay with you always. I have been chasing that elusive flavor memory for years.
A couple of years ago when I was starting on my own homemade soda experiments, memories of my grandmother's root beer popped into my mind. But it's not like I ever really forgot. I must have tried every single small batch root beer that is available on the market, but none of them have captured that distinct flavor of my childhood. But as time passes, my idea of those vague, yet magical flavors becomes even less concrete. Could a modern commercial representation even come close to my memory tainted by time and nostalgia?
As this idea plagued me, I decided, after a reasonably successful batch of homemade ginger beer, that it couldn't be that hard to replicate--after all, my grandmother is still alive. So I pressed my mother for the recipe. Images of separate jars filled with various root "teas" filled my head. I began perusing local herb stores for different ingredients. But the results of my quest were underwhelming when my mother told me that my grandmother used the root beer extract from the grocery store. You would think that I would have been pleased considering how easy it would be to reproduce the flavors of my youth. But it's like finding out that your mother's recipe for your favorite dish comes from a packet, instead of some guarded family secret.
My obsession with small batch root beer did not diminish, however, though my interest in making it did. In fact, my need for old-fashioned soda flavors has only grown to include colas. The interesting idea that cola once included not only some form of lime juice, but also other herbs and spices that are mysteriously absent in modern recipes has fueled my interest in "ancient" forms. Brands like Fentimans have only further inspired this interest. And, it could be argued that my intense love for amari and bitters was honed during those visits to my grandparents' farm when we sipped from the big jugs of dark fizzy liquid.
Instead of a perfect soda recipe, I stumbled onto a cocktail, created by Don Lee formerly of PDT and Momofuku in New York City, that seems to capture my idea of an old-fashioned cola. In fact, it actually contains many of the ingredients that were in the original recipe for Coca-Cola that was created by Dr. John Pemberton in 1886. This cocktail was submitted for consideration in the Averna contest, Have a Look, in 2008 and took home top honors. After tasting it, you will understand why. For me personally, this drink satisfies my childhood memory as well as my adult tastes. But I haven't totally given up home: Look out root beer, one of these days I am going to figure you out.
La Cola Nostra (as created by Don Lee)
1 1/2 ounces rum
1 ounce Averna
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/4 ounce pimento dram
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or flute. Top with champagne (1 1/2 ounces).
Notes on Ingredients: I used Bacardi 8 rum, homemade pimento dram, Mount Ste Michelle Champagne, and a 1:1 simple syrup.
Science and Invention
Science and invention saw great strides during the 1930s. As international travel became easier, scientific and engineering thoughts and theories spread quickly word wide.
Clarence (#46) Birdseye patented the frozen food process in 1930. His method ushering in a new era of long-term food preservation, a key in modern food processing and delivery.
Clyde (#89) Tombaugh discovered Pluto, once thought to be the ninth planet. Today, it’s reclassified as a dwarf planet.
Roy (#39) J. Plunkett discovered the chemical substance best known as Teflon purely by accident in 1938. It’s commonly used to coat non-stick pans, though it has hundreds of applications in multiple industries including medical, plumbing, printing, and air filters.
Which of these 1930s names tickle your fancy? Below you can find the full lists!
Small New Mexican Towns Ride on History
THE LAND COMES FIRST. It always has. It was here at the beginning—it was the beginning𠅊nd its end will be our end, too. It is the place from which every story here in Harding County starts. Within its two-thousand-some-square-mile reach in northeastern New Mexico lie grasslands and canyons and rivers and ranches and towns and vestiges of abandoned prairie homesteads. There is a spirituality to it, the feeling of a greater presence, of attention paid no matter how small the detail. When the sun falls across it, the light turns windmills into sundials, warms the prairie breezes, and golden-frosts the tumbleweeds that gather along drift fences. Then the land itself seems to glow softly, as if lit from within. The grasses sway, the cattle murmur, and when you stand and let the wind rush past you, the land, all of it, moves—undulating in time to a rhythm that you sense more than hear.
The people here love the land and feel they should be stewards of it. Some of their ancestors came a hundred or more years ago, often as homesteaders, connecting this western edge of the prairie to the larger narrative of the Great Plains. They, like the land, are strong and subtle. Together, they endure.
In all of Harding County, you’ll find just two restaurants, one coffee shop, one brewery, two schools, one gas station, and 760 community leaders, business owners, ranchers, artists, teachers, and students. I didn’t get to meet all of them, as I had hoped. But I made a good dent, along the way discovering this community’s forward-thinking verve, tempered by the will to pause and appreciate.
DRIVING INTO MOSQUERO, I wonder how anyone here gets any sleep, what with all the commotion. Firefighters putting out a blaze. Two men strumming guitars. Cowboys driving cattle. And a helicopter!
Thing is, though, there’s not a sound. And nobody’s moving. All those people are past residents of Mosquero, remembered now in life-like representations painted on buildings. The idea came from Mosquero students in 2008. With their teacher, Donna Hazen, and the direction of a professional muralist, they painted the images from old family photos. The effect is transformative: a town alive with its past.
“This community is a gem,” Tuda Libby Crews says. She and her sister, Mary Libby Campbell, are my guides to Harding County. We gather in a lovely place called the Rectory. Once the home of local clergy, it fell into disrepair until Tuda restored it as a guest rental. One bedroom features a Murphy bed in a room where the priest had kept canaries. So if you sleep there and dream you’re flying, you’ll know why.
Mary and Tuda are among those working to keep Harding County healthy and forestall the out-migration trend that so often strikes rural communities. Mary is executive director of the Harding County MainStreet program, and she and her husband operate Yesterday’s Valley Ranch. Tuda runs the Ute Creek Cattle Company. Both were born and raised here. Over a home-cooked meal, we discuss some of the things they’ve done to bolster their communities. One in particular intrigues me. In 2007, about a hundred residents voted on things they wanted to see happen, like opportunities for youths and an improved economy. The top vote-getter—winning 58 votes—was a “positive, progressive outlook and attitude.”
Above: An abandoned homestead between Roy and Mosquero.
I get to see that attitude during my visit. And I can attest: so far, so good. “I drove through and liked it,” Jimmie Ridge says when I ask him how he came to Mosquero. We sit in his store, Elle J’s Town and Country Market. A world map on the wall prickles with pins marking the hometowns of visitors. His dog rests on the floor. Jimmy, retired from the military, had traveled often, but when he drove through Mosquero in 2010, it felt different.
“It called out to me and said, ‘Hey, make this your home.’” On a return trip, he saw that the store was for sale, so he bought it, and he’s been here ever since—happy to be where he can see almost all his neighbors on a daily basis.
Just down the road is Callahan West Brewery. Pete Callahan says he knows a good beer, so he purchased the building to start his own brewery. He offers three specialty beersrk, medium, and light𠅊long with New Mexico wines. He makes good use of the space: The bar is the old mercantile counter left over from the Schollenberger Mercantile Company, the former occupant. But what I notice first is the wall of books, more than 3,000 of them, history and romance and even books specially formatted to fit cowboys’ pants pockets. Pete began reading Ian Fleming spy novels at age five, he says, so Dick and Jane came as a disappointment.
“I’m pretty happy here,” he says. r and books.” When Jill and Jack Chatfield decided in 2016 that they wanted to open a restaurant in Mosquero, they realized they already had one—they just needed to put walls around it. So they rented the building at the end of the street, a former mercantile with a garage door, through which they pulled the mobile food truck they𠆝 used for catering, and made it the kitchen of their Headquarters restaurant. “The community has been so happy,” Jill says. And if they ever want to expand, she and her husband joke, they can just put in a double-wide.
Headquarters’ specialty is the KendraBurger, invented by the cook, Kendra Price, who replaces the top bun with 𠇏irecracker beans.” There’s no wrong way to eat one—you just go. Soon your mouth is filled with the flavors of beef, cheese, onions, and other ingredients I can’t list because I spilled the explosively spicy beans on my notes.
Look around the restaurant and you might see Jill’s father, Harry H. Hopson. Born in 1927, he’ll tell tales of growing up and working as a cowboy around northeastern New Mexico. Like riding with the cowboys when he was only five, laying his bedroll over oat sacks in the chuck wagon to keep hungry mules away at night. Or loading cattle onto the old Dawson Railway that ran through Harding County and whose vestiges still remain along NM 39. “I broke horses all my life,” he says as country music plays and everyone who comes in or out stops to greet him.
Ranching is an important part of the heritage and economic viability of Harding County. Blair Clavel, the county extension agent, says that, barring a few acres of Forest Service land and the towns themselves, the entire county is dedicated to ranching and agriculture. So I happily accept an invitation to visit Tuda on her ranch in Bueyeros. Founded in the early 1800s, it’s a beautiful place, with low grassy hills and endless views. Tuda describes it with the Spanish word tranquilo. Her compassionate care for both the cattle and the land earned the ranch an Excellence in Range Management award from the international Society for Range Management. And the bird sanctuary she created on a hill behind her house, with fruit trees and watering fountains, has netted her a nickname, “the Bird Lady of Bueyeros.”
We’re on the way to see a project she undertook with the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program that uses small plastic balls to reduce stock-tank evaporation when, passing her husband, Jack, and the ranch manager, Jeremiah, moving cattle between pastures, Tuda pulls over so we can watch. We sit quietly and admire their cowboy skills. It’s a charming interlude. Tranquilo.
ONE BRIGHT AFTERNOON finds me with Vanita Menapace at a rock dugout built into a hillside in Solano. We duck inside to a cool interior, empty and earthen but solid, a rock fireplace in one corner, the original cedar beams holding up the roof. This was the homestead that Vanita’s grandfather built to shelter his wife and eight kids after they arrived from Kansas around 1900. Vanita points out where the rocks, hauled by wagon from a hill a quarter-mile away, meet the hillside. n you imagine carrying those things around?” she asks. I can’t.
Eventually, her grandfather built a grander house a mile away, where Vanita now lives. She’s recently added cabins and opened them as a guest ranch. But the place needed a catchy name. Vanita liked the song “The Rhythm Ranch” by the pop group Huey Lewis and the News, and she𠆝 even met Lewis himself a few times. Once, at a concert, she asked if it would be okay to name her ranch after his song. He agreed, although he hasn’t visited the ranch—yet.
If your tank is close to E, you better stop at the Roy Fuel Stop, in Roy, because this is the only gas station in Harding County. Between fixing flats and changing oil, Rick Hazen, who runs the garage, finds time to talk. We sit on folding chairs in the shade, so it’s cool despite the warm breeze off the prairie. Cars pass by, and the drivers wave and we wave back. “It’s something that’s needed here,” Rick says of the station. The place is authentically vintage, built in the 1920s and not much changed since then, except that the pumps now take credit cards.
Rick was raised in Mosquero and went to college to study woodworking. He started teaching industrial arts in Roswell, then here in Roy. Eventually he became superintendent, a job he held for the last eight years of his 30-year tenure. Several times, he turned down superintendent jobs in other districts because he liked Roy and wanted to raise his kids in a small town. “People are pretty close here,” he says. “You know everybody. People watch out for each other. It’s a Western town.” Rick’s mother, Lonita Hazen, is remembered in the name of Lonita’s Cafe, down the street, the only other restaurant in the county. Before she passed, Lonita had been in the restaurant business for 40 years, including in a different building here in town. When Rick’s daughter bought the current building and opened it as a restaurant in 2017, she named it in her grandmother’s honor and gave jobs to local folks such as June Mahoney.
The motto printed on the menu boasts, 𠇊 small town café for a big appetite!” I qualify, so over a few days I frequent the place: hamburger one day, enchiladas another, even the fried pickles. Their specialty is homemade pies𠅌oconut cream, chocolate, peach𠅊ll from Lonita’s original recipes. That’s her, Lonita, in the photograph on the wall, keeping an eye on things.
AT ROY HIGH SCHOOL, I get to meet the senior class. His name is Tyler Overberger. While there are almost 50 students in Roy, most are in the lower grades, leaving Tyler alone at the top. He knows the other kids are watching him, which may be why he does so much: Boys State, football, 4-H, student council. He’s a member of Harding County MainStreet and the Chamber of Commerce. He also somehow finds time to run his own landscaping business.
“I have high expectations for myself,” Tyler says. He shows me around the school, including the cattle feeder he built in shop class last year and the classroom where he takes distance-learning courses to earn college credit. Outside, we walk the length of the football field. To ensure enough players for a team, students in Roy and Mosquero join to form one team, supported by both communities.
Above (from left to right): Rick Hazen, Tyler Overberger, and June Mahoney.
Later, Tyler drives me to his old family ranch house, now empty. This was the home of his maternal great-grandfather, who arrived from Germany just before Hitler’s rise. Finding work with the couple who had homesteaded this property, he eventually bought it and raised a family through difficult times: Tyler’s grandmother recalls playing with the Dust Bowl dirt that forced its way past the blankets covering the windows. She remembers also the day their last horse died, choked to death by the dirt in the air—remembers it clearly, because it was the only time she ever saw her father cry. But he never left. This was his home. Tyler wants to go into politics to give something back to the community. Remember his name. You’ll hear it again.
I&aposM LATE FOR MY VISIT with U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Mike Atkinson, because the sun is coming up and everything is purple and I can’t keep my eyes on the road. I have to pull over and take it in. It’s impossible to multitask during a Harding County sunrise. Mike forgives me because, he confesses, he has often done the same thing himself.
We drive the uneven road down into Mills Canyon, to the ruins of the Orchard Ranch, the dream of turn-of-the-century tycoon Melvin Mills, who planted fruit trees on the fertile bottomlands alongside the Canadian River. Mike and I wander the two-story remains of what was once the main house, looking at joints in the stonework and trying to imagine the original layout of the rooms. We wouldn’t have to imagine had a late September rain in 1904 not flooded the canyon and destroyed the ranch. Mills tried again, but he never recovered, dying broke and broken a few years later. It’s a haunting place, and I’m glad I’m not here alone.
Making our way back to the highway, Mike points north to Sugarloaf Mountain. Mountains like that, he says, rising above the open landscape, served as markers for early travelers. We discuss the land, so wide and unending. There’s a beauty here, Mike says, that wraps itself around you. It reminds him of his time in the Navy and the vastness of the ocean.
“It all looks the same, except there are subtle changes,” he says. “Like when the sky darkens, the ocean reflects that darkness. And the landscape here does the same.”
As my ramble through Harding County comes to a close, I realize how right he is. To dismiss this land as featureless, as some drive-through travelers do, is to miss the forest for the lack of trees. It’s the subtleties of the land that give it depth, that make it move. And just like there were landmarks for early travelers on the land itself, there are landmarks in daily life, little things that offer a sense of security, let you know you’re on the right path. Like beds that make you dream of flying. And meals that warm you inside. A community that comes together to improve itself, and a young man who plans to one day help guide it. It’s handshakes and laughter and quiet moments spent watching the world pass beautifully by.
ALL THE NEWS
The main source of Harding County news comes courtesy of Mosquero High students, who produce the Harding County Roundup, covering local events, agriculture, marriages, and deaths. You can subscribe, even if you don’t live there (575-673-2271).
HARDING COUNTY HOW-TO
Part of La Frontera del Llano Scenic Byway runs through Harding County, connecting the communities of Mosquero, Solano, Roy, and Mills. Kiowa National Grassland—the only national grassland in New Mexico—surrounds the village of Mills, from which you can reach Mills Canyon for hiking, bouldering, and camping. High-clearance vehicle suggested (575-374-9652, nmmag.us/NFSKiowa). Tuda Libby Crews will show visitors around her Ute Creek Cattle Company, in Bueyeros (575-673-2267, utecreekcattlecompany.com).
Harding County artists include Mae Shaw, who paints and crafts jewelry from old silverware (221 E. 5th St., Roy, 575-485-4739), and Leroy Trujillo, a santero working in the traditional Spanish Colonial style (220 Roosevelt Ave., Roy, 575-207-8768).
Callahan West Brewery serves three craft beers, New Mexico wines, and wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, 4 p.m., Monday–Saturday (22 Main St., Mosquero, 575-366-3330, on Facebook).
Headquarters restaurant satisfies eaters May through August, Monday–Saturday, 7 a.m.𠄷 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m.𠄳 p.m. September through April, Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m.𠄶 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m.𠄲 p.m. (20 Main St., Mosquero, 575-673-0201, on Facebook).
Lonita’s Cafe dishes up fine pies, Monday𠄿riday, 11 a.m.𠄷 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m.𠄷 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m.𠄲 p.m. (275 Richelieu St., Roy, 575-485-0191, on Facebook).
Claudia’s Coffee serves homemade sweets and breakfast burritos within Ma Sally’s Mercantile (which sells pretty much everything else), Monday𠄿riday, 7 a.m. (450 Richelieu St., Roy, 575-485-5599).
The Rectory offers fine accommodations in a restored parsonage (10 S. 4th St., Mosquero, 575-673-2267, utecreekcattlecompany.com).
The Bunkhouse has the essentials at a low price: two-bedroom suites with a kitchenette (35 S. 3rd St., Mosquero, 575-673-3030).
At the Rhythm Ranch, guests enjoy two cabins, a recreation room, and an old wagon repurposed as a stargazing platform. Cabins have refrigerators, stoves, bathrooms, and Wi-Fi. Open from the last weekend of April through the last weekend of September (565 Ross Road, Solano, 575-673-0003, or email [email protected]).
The Sundance Bed and Bath has one-bedroom apartment-style places with kitchenettes and Wi-Fi (408 Chicosa St., Roy, 575-447-7026).
At the historic Mesa Hotel, some rooms don’t have showers, so ask for one if preferrred (584 Richelieu St., Roy, 575-485-2661).
La Casita is a guesthouse with a bunkhouse vibe RV parking available (150 NM 120, Roy, 575-265-9088).
The RV Ranch and Horse Hotel, on the Ray Ranch, offers a historic four-room rock house with full kitchen (89 Salamon Road, Roy, 575-485-2559).