By Ben Daitz

I was reflecting that over the years, I’ve contributed, as a writer, to a series of three unfortunate newspaper events,  two in Corrales.

The first was a poem I wrote in the summer of 1980, about a group of Corrales families who all ordered special, made to barbecue chicks at the same time, raised them, and then got together in early July for a massive chicken slaughter, plucking and BBQ.

Molly Ivins, the wonderful and intrepid New York Times reporter who was there, riffed on my poem’s line, “A plucking good time,” inserting “gang pluck” in her Page 1 story. She  was fired by the Times.

The second event was last week. A documentary film I made about the Rio Grande Sun, a great weekly newspaper in Española, was aired on NM PBS.

The Sun, one of the best small-town newspapers in America, and under the same family management for 60 years, was sold last a couple of weeks before to a consortium of business people and politicos. Many fear for its future.

And now, you’re retiring after 40 years of editing the Corrales Comment, and I was asked if I could find some musicians who could be playing off in the corner of Perea’s parking lot while everyone kibitzed and celebrated, but no luck on short notice, so I’m gonna read the song I wrote if we had been playing, “The Ballad of Jeff Radford.”

The Ballad of Jeff Radford

   (Not a single tweet)

The toxic plumes from Intel

and the politics of sewers

the battles over bridges

and the olders’ versus newers.’

The fire at the T-house

the skunky smell of weed

on the backroads of Corrales

he’s never short of ledes.

Chorus

There’s been 40 years of village news

and not a single tweet

that’s Jeff Radford and his Comment

and Corrales is his beat.

A house with 2 casitas?

the Village P& Z

there’s all the notes he’s taken

‘bout the MRGCD.

He’s made our village paper

the best, I must confess

Salud to Jeff and 40 years!

and to freedom of the press!

Chorus

There’s been 40 years of village news

And not a single tweet

It’s Jeff Radford and the Comment--

and Corrales is his beat.

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