I grew up just north of Las Cruces, NM in a little town called Hatch. Hatch is known all over the country as the Chile Capitol of the World and backs that title up with the annual Hatch Chile Festival. Although the festival itself isn’t that impressive (at least to a local lol) it typically attracts tens of thousands of people to our sleepy little town each year. But besides hatch chile being famous, Hatch is a neat town all on its own. From Sparky’s, the quirky family owned and operated burger and bbq joint, to Pepper Pot, the famous New Mexican restaurant, Hatch has a lot of charm. In high school, my friends and I ate at one of the local joints every day and sat beside tourists and farmers alike as we had our “world famous” (Sparky’s self titled special green chile cheese burger) or our green chile chicken enchiladas at “the pot” (we also affectionately called it p squared at times). But, more importantly than even our world famous chile and green chile cheeseburgers is the fact that Hatch is a community, and by community I mean people actually care.

Unless you’re from a small town, you might find it odd if someone greeted you on the street and knew your name (even if you didn’t remember theirs or who they were or even how they knew you). In Hatch, it’s a daily¬†occurrence. Everybody knows not only your name, but who your parents are, who their parents are, and so on in a seemingly endless recitation of the genealogy that you never even knew you had.

I graduated Valedictorian of the Hatch Valley High School class of 2009 and moved on to NMSU that fall only to realize just what I was giving up. Everybody really is famous in a small town…