Mountains, resorts, cathedrals, spas, fine dining. . . .none of those travel memories mean much when you take the people factor out of them. Meeting new people and meeting up with people already in my life are the very best part of vacation memories. We outstate Minnesotans wave at everyone on the road and can’t get in and out of a grocery store without holding a dozen side conversations. You can imagine my frustration over sitting next to a young man on my flight from Phoenix to Minneapolis who said nothing to me throughout the whole entire flight. That’s just crazy! No ‘hello’, no eye contact, no answer to my couple of little questions, no nothing! I’m fine with reading, sleeping, eating and sitting quietly but somewhere in there, in that over 3 hours of time, I need a nod, a smile or a couple of words to acknowledge that you see me, Mister! Back to thinking about some of the great ones. . .the special people who made their way into my little- winter- get- away- in- AZ memories to stay.
This may be one of my favorite photos ever. We were traveling by train, 2 hours deep into the Verde Canyon, listening to the annoying tour guide talk about the shapes of the various mountains.(I’m not being mean, we all agreed that the breathtaking scenery was complimented so grandly by the old western tunes being played between the times when he was laughing at his own bad mountain-shape jokes) The waitress had just finished telling us about a home that was built deep in the canyon with a 1 hour and 45 minute travel time to make it up the driveway! Watching for the sight as the train whizzed past,”Hey, there she is, giving us a wave.” I felt kind of helpless. . . .like I should have brought an extra gallon of milk or a bag of oranges to toss out for her. I am happy to have had my camera ready and really enjoyed seeing that old gal in the country. Wish we could have had a visit! Bet she could give that kid on the plane a lesson.
You find a kind of unexplained energy in this area of our great United States. All that talk about healing properties, vortex, spirit energy? Certain thoughts and feelings were so vivid and refused to leave. What’s that all about? This is the spot in the Verde Valley where the first homestead settlers from the East arrived and ‘settled’. No surprise, they claimed land that had been cleared at an earlier time by Indian people of the area. The mountain road had been curvy and scary so I may have simply felt happy to get out of the car and put my feet on the ground but I had a sense that someone I knew was there with me. Maybe a gardener who is anxious for spring planting season, like I am?
This is the guy I like a lot! It took me FOUR years to convince him to take a winter vacation and what is he doing on the balcony in his robe? Really, he never wears shorts or goes barefoot! His answer, “I’m sun tanning my head.” Now there’s a worthy expenditure of vacation time. . . . when you’ve had a hat covering that area for the last five months. Don’t tell him you saw his legs.
I don’t know the lady who lived and died here, but I like her. Story goes, this beautiful adobe style home was five years in the building some time back in the 1960’s. The husband ran off before it was finished but his wife moved in, grew old and enjoyed the remote mountain area on her own. There’s always more to the story but, hey, you’ve got to admire her tenacity.
Some people can manage to do their job and have fun at the same time; Bambi is that gal! She joked with us, “Do you know how many times I been asked if Bambi is my ‘stage name’? If I had a ‘stage name’ do you think I would be waiting tables?” You might. Thanks for putting a little extra kindness into the world, Bambi!
Dinner music. . . .everything tastes better with live music! Great tunes, Jim!