With winters frigid hand being removed from my sluggish brain I finally have regained a sense of urgency to pen my memoirs. Unlike a famous president or a ding bat celebrity, my adventures will never make it much past my grave, but whilst alive someone should endure my escapades.
Somewhere in the late 90's when the gold rush settled down..,ooops wrong century. Somewhere in the late 90's , before I mistakenly edged my way back to Ohio, I concluded city living--Los Angeles–had undertaken its best shot to drive me batty, so I hitched up my Ford and headed east as to escape the masses.
I don’t know if it was the spirit of ancestral chieftains or glossy magazine ads but somehow I found myself in Sedona, ala Aquarius, Arizona. I planed to spend several days staring at the inspirational red rocks and listening to the peaceful babbling brooks that Sedona is so famous for--but sadly my escapades starts here.
During my numerous years out west I found a cornucopia of restaurants that served absolutely great food whether it was a three star establishment or a cast iron kettle baking up a delectable sunrise over a campfire of mesquite wood, but this day all I wanted was simple plate of biscuits and gravy to help me return to life after the long drive to the land of crystals and aged hippies.
The locals, who sat about meditating all day, hoping their extraterrestrial vibes would somehow converge on the gift shop, recommenced Cosmic Connies for a great breakfast. So I, the tired traveler, ambled into the new age cowboy hangout and as I perused the menu, the closest I could find to the biscuitx and gravy breakfast was the Solstice Special for $18.95.
Understand now, I was born and raised a farm gal and to this day I love a breakfast that slaps you in the face and says get off your butt and go slop the hogs, bring down 20 bales of hay and plow the back 40 before lunch. In other words give me lots of caffeine, eggs smothered in Tabasco sauce and a good slab of homemade bread slathered with a ton of preserves. A full throttle breakfast is what we are talking here.
So as I sat up to the counter and planted my rear on the red vinyl stool to order this Solstice Special I looked about for a bottle of hot sauce with nothing in sight. Soon my speculative, philosophical, metaphysical waitress, covered with crystals and assorted tropical beads, brought me a plate, made from natural red clay, of simulated victuals.
The waitress kindly took time to explain to me what delicacies lie before me. First, the two large objects in the middle were biodegradable-tofu-based hot cakes covered with trade free maple syrup from hungry foresters in Vermont. The egg-like substances, she explained were earth-friendly, a concoction of Marigolds, virgin olive oil and several other secret ingredients to give one an egg-like taste. The coffee, she told me, came from organic oak bark with a sprinkle of chicory.
"Just don’t stare it down and your mind will convince you it is the real deal, your conscience will thank you and so will the little critters of the woodlands," she remarked.
After dipping one of her many crystals in my oak bark coffee, she handed me the outrageous bill for the breakfast that followed me around for the rest of the day. Fortunately the Grand Canyon beckoned me and Cosmic Connie, her earth food and Sedona became little more than a slight gastric distraction.
After a day of burning off rolls of Kodachrome at the Canyon, the early spring day soon came to a close and I returned to my noisy burrow in Flagstaff. Somehow, the railroad across the street didn’t seem quite as noisy when I checked in. Never-the-less, I grabbed the collection of real estate catalogues I picked up at assorted stops about the area. Sadly I discovered a small little cabin anywhere near this quaint old rail town started around 450 Grand. No way could a starving writer who plyed herself off as a two bit recording studio gal afford this wonderful Arizona town.
Just as my heavy eyes were about to close up shop for the evening I discovered cowgirl Navarna in a ragged old real estate propaganda pamphlet. Early the next morning the bags were tossed in my old Ford and I headed back west about 50 miles or so searching for the Arizona Himalayan paradise the article promised.
I pulled down off the two lane onto the main street of the dusty Arizona town and when I found the real estate office I quickly pulled into the parking lot. But, when the Realtor saw my California plates she figured me for a city slicker and attempted to lock me out. Didn’t work. Then she yelled through the door in a fake western accent, "Sorry ma’am, we ain’t got no water here ‘bouts so ya got ta carry your water in from town."
"Fine," I said.
"Well this is country here and some folks take a penchant to rollin’ over cars in their front yard."
"Fine," I repeated, "just as long as they don’t roll my car over, after all what people do in their front yard is no business of mine."
She slowly started to trust me, but had to give it one more anti-California test.
"Grab your coat and we’ll go look at some land," the Realtor said.
We jumped into her pickup and went looking at some pretty rough terrain where even the ground squirrels used ropes to climb the rocks. I fell in love with the area and found five acres that suited my purpose.
As we headed back she pulled off the blacktop to show me an old cemetery. Somehow I felt there had to be a purpose behind her going to the rusty gated area where old tombstones popped up above the prairie grass. She rolled down the window and pointed to the oldest section of the graveyard.
"There lie the three most notorious cowboys ever to live in our area–Two Finger Pete, The Diaper Kid and Whiskey Breath Wilson."
At the other edge of the cemetery I noticed seven or eight fresh unmarked graves. I asked a little hesitantly, who occupied those spots.
"Oh those. Them were some city folks who stopped down at the local bar, put a quarter in the juke box, played Achy Breaky Heart ,then had the audacity to start line dancin’. Had to shoot em."
I joyfully yanked my checkbook out and forgot about the five acres and instead bought 40 of the roughest, meanest terrain I ever lived on. I couldn’t believe my luck. Cowboy boots, pickups, pancakes made with flour, real coffee and best of all, no line dancers.
The next morning I headed back west on Rt 66. My mind literary raced with ideas on building my mountain dream home and wondering if my near 50 (ha!) body could withstand the altitude and hard work. I pulled into my driveway late that night and picked up the local rag I wrote for and noticed in big headlines, "Fun Center Soon To Open In Valencia."
Among the numerous ideas for this big city "funatorium" was a Line Dancing Palace. My Lord in heaven, what did I come home to. Now Soccer moms from all about the valley had the opportunity to squeeze into their size 14 Levis, $200 phony cowboy boots and shake their achy breaky booties.
By the way, you don’t mind my asking--they don’t shoot yuppie line dancers, do they?
Settle in, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy your stay here at Shelly's. The pie is great, the coffee pot is always on and soon you will find this to be the best place in town. SOON TO BE AMERICA'S MOST READ BLOG