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News hen gives thanks to newsmakers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — As we prepare for a day of gluttony and gratitude, of stuffing and sloth, let us all join hands and bow our heads as I quote from one of our esteemed and most learned social commentators. All together now, “Moo, moo, oink, oink!”

Really, every day is Thanksgiving Day when you work in the news business and public officials have low inhibitions and access to Twitter. And when cops in Deming hand out colonoscopies to folks who roll through stop signs as they’re leaving Wal-Mart.

All we’re missing to make this day of thanks a perfect 10 (besides more pie) is a mayor who smokes crack, denies he smokes crack and then says he must have smoked his crack when he was passed out drunk. And adds that, no, he won’t resign because he’s a positive role model for kids. On that score, the lucky city of Toronto has us beat.

Besides the tasty tidbits of human tomfoolery, what more does a news hen have to give thanks for?

All the amazing experiences that come her way during the “workweek,” for one. Really, is it fair to call it work when I get to hang out with a couple of wolves in the Jemez Mountains and go dumpster diving with bears in Raton? Not to mention getting to write about feral pigs and feral horses, and Bigfoot. And those are just the four-legged creatures.

Next week, I mark my 25th anniversary in this job and every one of those 25 years has brought a crowded party of new faces into my life. For that, I am truly thankful. Other highlights are when good things happen to the good people I get to meet in this so-called “job.”

In this space last month, we met a man named Hari Subedi, a refugee from Bhutan who had spent 17 years living in a refugee camp in Nepal. Subedi found a home in the United States and was in the final stages of becoming an American citizen when he hit a glitch.

Subedi had registered to vote (although he had not yet cast a ballot) without understanding that registering to vote is something only citizens can do. When immigration officials found that out – because Subedi answered honestly when asked – his dream of becoming an American citizen was denied.

After that column was published, a local immigration lawyer agreed to take Subedi’s case for free. For that, I am grateful.

And the office of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., is also going to bat for Subedi, a 35-year-old bundle of energy who holds down two jobs and has a house filled with American flags. And for that, I am grateful.

On Nov. 20, Subedi got a chance to appeal his citizenship denial. The decision hasn’t come down yet, but I am hopeful for a better outcome and grateful to have met someone with such verve for living in the country I was born in.

Before we adjourn to the kitchen for the real business of the day, let me mention just one more wonderful thing.

In July, Albuquerque cookbook collector par excellence Sue Jimenez made her official attempt to become the Guinness World Record holder for the title of largest cookbook collection.

Well, it’s no doubt a happy Thanksgiving in her household with many a cookbook open and delicious dishes on the stove, because Jimenez found out this month that her official total of 2,970 cookbooks was enough to win the title “largest collection of cookbooks.”

I found this out in an email from Jimenez titled, “I did it!”

Jimenez, who loves books and history, points out that her feat puts her in good company with the dog who can hold the most tennis balls in his mouth and the lady who can touch her ears to the back of her knees while popping balloons.

Jimenez, who has given over one of her bedrooms to her cookbook collection, also told me she has continued to add some special books to the collection.

“You see, in the interim between the ‘big count’ and now I’ve managed to accumulate a few additional ones,” Jimenez wrote. “The current total stands at 3,693.”

What are you grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day?

UpFront is a daily front-page news and opinion column. Comment directly to Leslie at 823-3914 or Go to to submit a letter to the editor.