DIXON SURE GETS a lot of attention for a village of fewer than a thousand souls. In this issue you’ll find contributions from two noteworthy residents whose work adds in no small part to the town’s renown and allure.
In Becoming New Mexican, author Stanley Crawford describes his five-decade journey from accidental newcomer to garlic-farming community leader. In literary terms, no one has done more to put Dixon on the map than he has, and the piece is a perfect example of why that’s so. In garlicky terms, well, once you’re hooked on his produce, there’s no going back to store-bought.
Crawford’s essay is illustrated by the paintings of Jim Vogel, a son of Roswell who also lives in Dixon. His characterizations of rural northern New Mexico life exemplify the very themes Crawford writes about. And Vogel’s own essay, Oddly Enough, articulates a core truth about the state’s quirky identity.
A recent article in the Santa Fe New Mexican reported that Dixon is considered a model community for its success in garnering USDA funds dedicated to developing small businesses, a food co-op, and a library that was named one of the five best in the nation two years ago.
I asked Crawford what makes Dixon so special. “We’ve got a great mix of people and things that attract them—a beautiful valley, and a lot of water,” he says. “And we’re just far enough from Taos, Española, and Santa Fe that it’s an incentive for people to do things here.” The community has traditionally welcomed newcomers, he explains, because Baptists and Presbyterians recruited them. Hispano retirees are returning to the area, and the right kind of relocators are moving in—the kind who volunteer. But because there are no big parcels of land, it’s not attractive to “really wealthy people” who might upset the town’s ecosystem. You’ll be reading more about Dixon, and Crawford, as the year unfolds.