Bob Huber: Local Columnist
If you’re a distinguished UFO-ologist emeritus like I am, you know that New Mexico holds the record for the most ballyhooed assaults from outer space. In fact, the coveted Black Hole Cup has been won by so many communities in this state that Rush Limbaugh has labeled them prime examples of liberal conspiracies.
What’s more, some senior citizens in Clovis continue to this day to boast about alleged sightings of “Clovis Lights,” a spatial incident dating back 50 years when patterns of bright red chilies dotted the night sky.
Sad to relate, only a few persons in Clovis knew what real chili was, so the aberration and its resulting heartburn faded into obscurity.
In other New Mexico communities similar cosmic capers took place, such as the landing of a gigantic Corelle dinner plate at Socorro, constant humming of “Chloe” near Taos, glowing grave markers at Dulce, and whining sports fans in Albuquerque.
But before these sagas got completely out of hand, the community of Roswell, in a grand gesture of conciliation, topped all space fantasies by exploiting its “Roswell Story,” a simple, ageless fable about a crashed spacecraft brimming with smooshed aliens, brass bands, confetti, Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders, and a top secret military cover up aimed at erasing an entire year in which absolutely nothing important took place.
The Roswell Story steam-rollered all efforts to stop the community from capturing UFO-dom’s towering award, the coveted “Orrery” trophy, resulting in even more fables dedicated to the proposition that Roswell promoters will say anything as long as they can lure tourists overnight on their way to the Carlsbad nuclear waste depository where the sun never sets.
Which brings us today to Portales and the nagging question—How come this community has never experienced a bona fide, happy-go-lucky alien invasion?
I lean toward an explanation that says local Post Office patrons are forced to play matador every day with 18-wheelers rumbling up First Street, and so they have little emotion left for green men from outer space. In fact, Hollywood’s gory Sci-fi movies, when compared to First Street, are classed locally as slapstick comedies.
Or maybe the reason Portales folks fail to get excited about space aliens is because nerve endings in this community have been eroded by odors of sour mash, cow deposits, diesel fumes, and cheese plant waste water.
However, stories of UFO sightings in Roosevelt County do exist, even though they’re only heard in tipsy whispers over campfires during hunting season, because no one takes them seriously without a couple drinks. Take the story of Yule Noffstocker who went snipe hunting one night and spotted a throbbing green light.
“What’s that, Daddy?” Yule asked his father, Noel Noffstocker.
“Shut up, Yule. You’ll scare off the snipes.”
Yule shook his head. “Ain’t no such a thing as snipes. Mama just wanted us out of the house so she could watch wrestling in peace.”
“Oh yeah?” Noel said. “Then what are those little slimy things running around with no clothes on? Ain’t they snipes or what?”
To cut the story down to size, they captured one of the creatures in a snipe sack
and lugged it home, to which Mrs. Noffstocker said, “Ain’t enough you bring home a space critter, you expect me to dress it too?”
So if Portales ever hopes to promote anything close to the Roswell Story, something must be done about the town’s unflagging apathy. But who cares?
Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales. He can be contacted at 356-3674.