When you cook for yourself, or your family, do you follow a recipe or do you "cook by feel" where you toss in a "pinch of this" and a "smidge of that" until the meal is done? What if I asked you to cook something that was "traditional," so it seemed easy, but I didn't have a recipe for you to follow. You would need to prepare this meal so that everyone in the community could see what you've created, and you will likely need to share the meal.

Because you will be cooking without a recipe you will just have to "wing it" and improvise your way to success. You may have to look back on your experience cooking other meals, but similar experience will help guide your way through the process. If I asked you to prepare traditional Red Enchiladas without a recipe. Could you do it?

The answer to this question will vary from person to person. Some people are logical, or methodical, thinkers and would tackle the project in a step-by-step fashion. They would create a list of ingredients and a process for combining those ingredients together in a way that creates the enchiladas they are trying to prepare.

Visual thinkers will tackle the process in a slightly different manner. These thinkers have an idea of how Red Enchiladas should look. They work by envisioning the result and working until the actual product "looks" like it does in their mind. Visual thinkers think about the process of making Red Enchiladas and start with a mental picture of how the enchiladas should look and work to make it a reality. They may follow a different plan to get them from "start" to "finish" but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

For a project such as cooking Red Enchiladas it really doesn't matter if you are a visual thinker or a logical thinker. When you put your mind toward your goal you will, more than likely, achieve that goal. Either way you will create a recipe that you can follow the next time you are asked to cook Red Enchiladas.

As I write this week's column Romeo, Kaylee and I are actively planning the 2021 Independence Day Parade and Freedom Festival in Gough Park. We have been working on this event for the past few months and this process has not been without controversy or delay. Although the process for planning this event began as the Public Health Order, which was imposed by the NM Department of Health, was winding down it was still in place at the beginning of this process.

The goal of the Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce has been to create an event that was in keeping with the rich traditions of the county. It was important that we presented an event that didn't put our citizens at risk of being exposed to the Coronavirus. We were aware that, since our latest gating criteria deadline was June 30, 2021, the Independence Day events could be the first real events that Grant County could experience. We knew that an event spread out over a wider geographic area of Silver City could mitigate exposure to the virus, so we planned our event using that rationale.

In many ways I have compared the planning of this event to making traditional Red Enchiladas without a recipe. We know what the event should look like, and we understand how it should taste but we are preparing the meal (the event) without a recipe. We've gotten a great deal of input from people who love enchiladas and have an opinion about our planning process. As I stated before, our process hasn't been without controversy, but we've owned every decision that has been made. We stand behind everything we've done, and this is going to be a great event!

My advice to anybody who is planning an event of any size. Work the process in a logical manner and have the courage of your convictions when it comes to why you've done what you've done. Take the time to prepare a recipe, or a project plan, for the next time you are tasked with working without a recipe. Understand that you have the ability to make it happen successfully, but your focus shouldn't be on yourself and your ability, but on the chamber and its ability to recreate a sustainable event.

Remember that some people will taste your creation, or observe your process, and tell you that you aren't doing things the way they have always been done. Don't let those naysayers hinder your progress. Instead, invite them to join your planning committee and become part of the process for next year. Work hard to execute a fantastic event and it will all come together!

The theme for 2021 will be "Honoring our Heroes" and we will honor Grand Marshal Dan McBride, a WWII veteran and one of three surviving members of the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles, and Parade Marshalls Margaret Diaz, Jeff Fell and Lesliette Quesada for their service to our country and for all they, and their coworkers did to keep us on track during the pandemic.

I look forward to seeing you at Gough Park this weekend and along the parade route. Stop by the Chamber Information center at the park and tell us what you think of our event. Good, Bad or Indifferent, we value your opinion!