Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving in Ajo, 2011

The Crater Range, North of Ajo.

6:17 AM, Thanksgiving Day. Holiday cheer had not yet arrived to the Continental desk at Gate A11, JAX; I doubt that it ever did. Before the flight attendant snidely scolded us for our tardiness, she gazed upon the disassembled stroller, the car seats balanced upon the over-the-size-limit bags, the twins, Cymande and I with an expression that seemed to say, “there is no plane designed that can accommodate your unique set of problems.” The airplane milieu wasn’t any better: the 45-ish man in front of us yelled at a 92-ish woman, “OK grandma, sit down!” She was not his biologic relative. Things improved though, Moss and Giles fell soundly asleep. We arrived at HOU for our connection to PHX with just enough time to board. As the plane lifted off I could feel the heavy colloidal mass, which was once a diaper, shift position. Then, I felt a slow deep warmth sink into my lap. 30,000 feet above the earth and moving at 550 mph I was soaked in Giles’ urine.

After landing, we drove our rental car southwest toward Ajo and the waiting Grandparents. We passed through Gila Bend. This town has achieved modest notoriety lately due to Prince Harry learning to drop bombs from his fighter jet at a nearby military base. Gila Bend also achieved some press after the Mayor allegedly warned Harry not to “fornicate” with the local girls. We passed through the intriguing Crater Range and arrived in Ajo.

Thanksgiving dinner was warmly waiting when we arrived. The boys were greeted by their excited Grandparents and an arsenal of homemade and home-modified toys. This inspired Giles to master the pronunciation of ‘car,’ ‘papa,’ and ‘nana’. Moss worked on ‘fan’, but settled for ‘fen’ (who needs toys when you have a ceiling fan?).

I love Ajo. I don’t have the mettle to live there, but it is such a unique place to visit. We befriended a one-legged man from Mississippi and his cute feral son at the playground. We attended the open studios at the Curley School where we had some type of intuitive chakra analysis performed by an ex-New Yorker/color-designer/artist (and of course it was precisely correct). There was a youthful grey-haired ceramic artist wearing Chuck Taylors and listening to Marvin Gaye. If you are interested in living a modest creative life and want to live way out in the desert, the Curley School is waiting. Or perhaps you enjoy mines or dioramas, or men talking about mines, or men talking about mine dioramas; the Phelps Dodge Mine in Ajo provides all your mine wants and desires. We visited the library and walked around the downtown plaza that was interestingly covered with a lumpy and stinky layer of cow manure. My parents said it was the result of 'community service'.

Saturday, Nana and Papa babysat and we travelled to visit our friends Julie and Jamie in Tucson. We travelled through the Tohono O’odham Nation which is about the size of Connecticut, but lacks the Audis. Ajo Road winds through beautiful desert covered with saguaro and organ pipe cacti. It eventually led us to a Circle K where we met Julie and Jamie for our evening walk in the desert. They took us to King’s Canyon where they revealed their semi-professional desert-guide status. Julie and I attempted to catch-up after not seeing each other for 15 years, but mostly we talked about the birds and the killer bees. We visited petroglyphs and an ancient outhouse. We walked by the light of the moon, by the light of the moon, we walked by the light of the moon...sort of, until we needed the Iphone flashlight app. Then onward to El Charro,the first mexican restaurant in America (really) and it was delicious. They dry meat suspended from a pole that towers over their restaurant. During our visit with Julie and Jamie I managed to take only one photo featuring either of them, and this is evidence of great conversation with great friends over amazing food and margaritas. Sadly, it had to end. The two hour drive back through the desert was full of loud hip-hop, roadside cattle, coffee and Cymande soundly asleep.

The next day we were visited by Cymande’s Uncle George, Aunt June and Aunt Carolyn. Papa, Moss and Giles put on a great patio show for everyone (and my father even managed to provide lunch). The Grandparents then bravely offered to babysit all night while we slept in the casita/little dude and a very rare full-night’s sleep was had. Thank you!

Our short trip to Ajo ended on Monday as did the pancake breakfasts, the onion rings, the on-call babysitters, the free laundry service and the Gambel’s Quails. The travel excitement didn’t end there though. Our connection in Atlanta featured an ATL employee telling me that she was going to call the police on me (twice!). The days of lap children are officially over and it will be worth every damn penny. We arrived home at 2AM.

Giles and Papa trade stories and hats.

Gambel's Quails outside of the kitchen window.

Cymande, my Desert Dandelion.

Garage in Ajo.

 The Copper Mine in Ajo.

 Open studios at the Curley School.

Giles in the Curley School.

Julie and Cymande.


Our hike in King's Canyon ran a little late.

Papa, Moss, Nana and Giles.

Church of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Ajo.

June, Carolyn, George, Cymande and I.

      Cactus garden the the front yard.

Giles and Nana.

Everyone packs except Moss who tried to escape through the bushes.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Happy Birthday!

I'm so happy to be on this journey with you.

Creative Commons License
Old Wire Road Blog by www.old-wire-road.blogspot.com is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.