I’m feeling a bit sad and nostalgic as I write this, as this week marks a year since my dad died.
He had a great, long run — making it past 99 in reasonably good health with all your considerable wits intact is no small feat — so I am mostly thankful that we had him around for so long. But even so, my sisters and I miss him terribly.
I still find myself reaching for the phone to check in with him, and noting funny or odd things I want to tell him. I’m particularly missing him this fall, as I’m sure this presidential election would have been the occasion for some very humorous and extremely quotable quips.
Leaving aside the main candidates, who would undoubtedly have given Dad material enough for a late-blooming stand-up comedy career, I think he would have been particularly amused by Gary Johnson. The Libertarian candidate’s abject ignorance of the world and other countries is so stunning, and his campaign so lame, that I kind of wish they’d let him into the debates to provide a little comic relief.
I’d really like to hear the former governor of New Mexico — a state whose unofficial motto is “Thank God for Mississippi” (the only reason New Mexico doesn’t rank dead last in both poverty and education) — explain his qualifications for running the country.
I don’t mean to be overly picky or anything, but it does seem to me that someone hoping to be president of the U.S. should probably at least recognize the name of the ancient, historically important and thoroughly besieged city in Syria that our country is attempting to help this week. And maybe be able to name at least one leader of another country somewhere in the world. Wouldn’t ya think?
He’s pretty laughable, but I’m mostly sad that a recordable percentage of my fellow citizens are tempted to vote for such a know-nothing.
I’m sure Dad would have found more humor in him than I can. Though, as a very well-informed former journalist himself, he would also have been more than a bit depressed at Johnson’s rising poll numbers and the general increase in voter respect for pure ignorance.
However, having recently returned from a fun and delicious visit to Santa Fe — an oasis of wonderfulness in the desert — I can also think of at least one reason Dad might not have minded Johnson becoming president so much.
As you know, New Mexico is wildly, crazily mad for green chilies. At this time of year, when they are coming in fresh to the market, they put them in and on everything. And I mean everything. Of course, they show up on top of burgers (the green chile cheeseburger is a local obsession) and in dishes like huevos rancheros, where you might reasonably expect to find them. But they also put chile in mac ‘n’ cheese, on pizza, on waffles, in apple pie, in doughnuts and, yes, in ice cream.
And those peppers are hot! I thought of Dad as I ate them. He had a cast iron stomach and a particular penchant for all things burning. He once consumed a gigantic restaurant-sized can of Mexican chilies in a single day, sweating and smiling as he went.
Johnson wouldn’t have gotten his vote, but if by some dreadful election miscarriage he got in, Dad would at least have been tickled at the idea of a chile eater in the White House. He might even have started angling for an invitation.
Can you imagine the state dinners in a Gary Johnson administration? Just picture Angela Merkel, Theresa May, Justin Trudeau and Benjamin Netanyahu (to name just a few of the world leaders Johnson couldn’t) trying to keep their cool while discussing Aleppo over a plate of enchiladas swimming in chili verde. It’s a great image (though perhaps not reason enough to throw away a vote on the man).
Dad could find the humor in any situation, so I’m sure he’d be laughing, even while being completely appalled. I’m truly sorry he is missing this election, which offers so many possibilities for incredulous laughter.
On the other hand, I am glad to know he is resting in peace.
So please friends and voters out there, do me a favor and honor my dad’s memory. Don’t do anything stupid this fall, like electing an unprepared idiot (or a blustering blowhard, while you’re at it) as president.
I really don’t want to think of Dad turning in his grave.
Green chile gimlet
One of the best uses of green chile I encountered in Santa Fe was in this cocktail. I neglected to ask the bartender for the exact recipe, so this is my best approximation. It isn’t quite the same, though good. Authentic New Mexico Hatch chilies are hard to come by here, so I substituted a jalapeno, which tastes different but gives the requisite sneaky heat.
I think this would make a great accompaniment to the next debate, along with a plate of chips to crunch on every time you want to scream.
But please, drink responsibly. I thought about recommending that you shake up a batch of these and take a sip every time Donald interrupts Hillary, but I don’t want you to get alcohol poisoning.
2 ounces Old Tom gin
1/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/4 ounce jalapeno simple syrup (see below)
Sugar to rim the glass
Make the simple syrup by heating 1 cup water with 1/4 cup sugar and a couple slices of jalapeno (with seeds). When the sugar is dissolved, cool and strain.
Wet the rim of a cocktail glass and dip it in sugar.
In a cocktail shaker, mix the gin, lime juice and simple syrup. Shake until chilled, then strain into the cocktail glass.