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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

ARIZONA HIGHWAYS AND A COWGIRLS DREAM

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?

7 comments:

Hawkeye® said...

Well Ms Inkslinger (formerly known as Ms RightWing, Ink... formerly known as Micheala... formerly known as Prince... formerly... ohhh never mind),

OK, "Two Finger Pete" and "Whiskey Breath Wilson" sound reasonable for bad guys, but "The Diaper Kid"?? Who was this guy, a two-year old? Or was he 89 and incontinent? Hey, I'm beginning to think that maybe these stories your tellin' are a bit a yarn-spinnin'...

(:D) Best Regards

Ms. Inkslinger said...

Hawkeye®,Hawkeye®,Hawkeye®

How can you doubt my integrity. Sure, I didn't buy the land but the rest is almost 100% true. Perteneer

I went to Sedona. I saw, I left and ended up in a small town west of Flagstaff. So the real story would be rather boring so a little puff here and a little puff there. So where does a storyteller get her stories???

Oh, by the way, I am still Micheala

Hankmeister said...

All this reminds me of America's Ventura Highway:

Chewing on a piece of grass
Walking down the road
Tell me, how long you gonna stay here, joe?
Some people say this town don't look good in snow
You dont care, I know

Ventura highway in the sunshine
Where the days are longer
The nights are stronger than moonshine
Youre gonna go I know

cause the free wind is blowin through your hair
And the days surround your daylight there
Seasons crying no despair
Alligator lizards in the air, in the air


Godspeed, Ms Rightwing.

camojack said...

"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."

Sounds like justifiable homicide t'me...

Beerme said...

Sounds like a David Allen Coe song to me:

"Country DJs all think I'm an outlaw. They'd never come to see me in this dive, where bikers stare at cowboys who are laughin' at the hippies, who are prayin' they'll get outta here alive..."

Ms. Inkslinger said...

gee, I didn't mean to invoke every country song alive, but if that is what they will write about my stories 100 years after I die, then so be it.

Well, I'm running down the road
tryin' to loosen my load
I've got seven women on
my mind,
Four that wanna own me,
Two that wanna stone me,
One says she's a friend of mine
Take It easy, take it easy
Don't let the sound of your own wheels
drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
don't even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
and take it easy
Well, I'm a standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona
and such a fine sight to see
It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed
Ford slowin' down to take a look at me
Come on, baby, don't say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me
We may lose and we may win though
we will never be here again
so open up, I'm climbin' in,
so take it easy
Well I'm running down the road trying to loosen
my load, got a world of trouble on my mind
lookin' for a lover who won't blow my
cover, she's so hard to find
Take it easy, take it easy
don't let the sound of your own
wheels make you crazy
come on baby, don't say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me, oh oh oh
Oh we got it easy
We oughta take it easy

conserve-a-tips said...

Have you ever seen The Rounders? Movie from the 60's with Henry Fonda and Glen Ford and absolutely hilarious? They are all about making it to the rodeo in Sedona, AZ. Good times.

Your piece was great! I giggled all the way through. Hey, speaking of that breakfast with thick slabs of homemade breads and tons of fresh preserves - could you email me at whiteacres@allegiance.tv? I have a gift that I would like to send you if you are accepting late birthday presents!