Life in Kickapoo Center at the Turn of the Century
I will spare you one more cute story about the Pooch. I'll leave out the parts about the house creaking and groaning in subzero temperatures, the coating of ice on every outside surface from a sleet storm over the weekend and another fantasy about traveling to a warmer climate.I can't resist, however, including the latest Pooch picture. We are dumbstruck halfway through kitchen renovation. On Sunday, my wife and I remove every visible screw and brace holding the cabinets in place. The churlish cupboards wouldn't budge. To add to the fun, the climbing up and down on a kitchen chair turned my knee into a throbbing, pulsing demon. If it had a light on it, the constant on/off surges of pain would warn ships across the ocean of impending danger. I give up, mix up some meatballs for dinner and retire on my recliner to Father Joe by Tony Hendra. It's subtitled The man who saved my soul. What follows is an excerpt from My Thong is Humming subtitled Boomtown Follies. The time is April, 2003.
The force be with you. Feelings are running high here in Boomtown since the Red Rock News featured an opinion section about "The War". It's a series of letters that are mostly knee jerk reaction and wild speculation. No one is buying duct tape and sheet plastic to cover their windows in case of an Iraqi invasion. The prices are too high in West Sedona's Ace hardware store. The morning commute of 5 winding miles through the Coconino National Forest is now a 30 minute trip. To the tune of My Favorite Things, I sing, "Tourists on cell phones and bright yellow Hummers..." In the village, the Coyote Station convenience store was dealt a low blow when they were forced to redesign the the familiar red and yellow banner around the Shell station in keeping with design restrictions to enhance the scenic surroundings.
After recent heavy rains, Oak Creek has returned to a thin trickle in the lowlands and a more moderate rapids at the bridge near Tlaquepaque. Snow at 5,000 feet is gone and spring is in full bloom. At first glance there appears to be a roadside bloom of small white flowers. In reality it's a Waste Management spill of foam peanuts. Male quail ( would that be the cock?) crow, announcing the arrival of warmer temperature and higher hormone levels. The trees behind Tuck Bartlett's house rustle with activity in daylight hours. Bert Bubnick removed the chili ristra wreaths from the front of his house. Purple Finches started a nest in one. In front of the Art Co-op where I am employed, nesting material lay on the sidewalk after pidgeons roost in the turquosie beams above the door...And Stevie has a new boyfriend.
She arrives for work as the front doors open for business at 10 am. Her usual routine is to spend the first half hour sitting behind the counter putting on make-up. Then, a half hour conference with the store manager follows. They review the previous evenings highlights of fun at the Highway Cafe where the manager performs in a rock band. If the manager's wife is in the store at the same time, she'll complain about interrupting their conversation to ring up a sale. In a former life, Stevie was Playboy Bunny in Hollywood. Her last boyfriend-Lester- a waiter at the martini bar proved unreliable. She's set her sights on a man who plays electronic keyboard for tourists at the Mexican Village. Breakfast for her is a caramel latte. A banana or a boiled egg is lunch. No one dare ever look in the gray back pack she carries and dumps on the floor behind the cash register. In the afternoon, if business is slow, she writes correspondence and pays bills. The shelf below the cash register holds her cell phone, Riccola cherry cough drops and Mentos.
(special note:I have to be honest. I must have run out of descriptive elements. Comment about plastic surgery gone wrong and her surgically enhanced breasts would have been too catty, even for me. Boomtown Follies goes into a pictorial review of: My grandparents marriage license ? A picture of a Mexican teenager from the early 20th century wearing a dagger, sword, pistol, crossed ammunition belts, a rifle at his side and more ammunition at his feet. The caption at the top reads: Behind every four star general is one heavily armed teenager ! The picture is followed by a fictional letter to the President protesting the Iraqi war. In the middle of the letter is a scanned copy of a note addressed to my mother from President and Mrs. Harding thanking her for thinking of them and the warm wishes. The next page is simply a postcard from a friend at Christmas. The postcard is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr concerning violence. It ends with the line, Hate cannot drive out hate;only love can do that.)
The fun doesn't end here. A copy of a letter from my step sister's daughter who at that time was in prison, my reply and a Larson cartoon showing wolves at a cocktail party. Classic Gavrillo. A classic line pops up in my head. I tape a racy cartoon to Tuck Bartlett's car window. His wife's car is in the shop and she drives his to work. As we are returning home later in the day, an irate Mrs. Tuck Bartlett rolls down her window and yells What were you thinking ? What was I thinking when I assembled this mish-mosh? The conclusion of Boomtown Follies continues.
That's it for Boomtown Follies folks. Boomtown, although suffering from a downturn in tourism is still the same old place. As I have said before, living here is like being married to a gorgeous blond movie star with a bad attitude. One is stunned by the beauty and repelled by the rest. At the junction of 179 and highway 89A another resort is being built. They've removed the scrub pine that punctuated the hillside and replaced them with a communications tower and faux adobe timeshares. A resort on the outside of town took advantage of a quirk in the laws and converted a trailer park into timeshares by surfacing mobile homes with adobe.
Gerry's dog, a shitsue-went blind and died a a result of a spider bite. Now that Tuck Bartlett's Wunderdawg is gone, we don't get reports of news in "the hood". Gerry and he no longer make their daily rounds of the subdivision. Every day on my way to work I see the same yellow MG Midget waiting to turn left at the Coffee Pot restaurant. That's the famous place where I order three enchiladas for a pot-luck at work. The bill is $33. When I question the tab, the owner says, "You ordered 3 enchilada dinners, right?" In the evening there's the same black pick-up driven by another blond at corner near Walgreen's. For fun I'm making wood benches with pig and rainbow applique cutouts. I call them Pigs Over the Rainbow. The Mrs. is making soap. She says it's easier transporting soap than pails of coconut oil, tubs of vegetable shortening and gallons of olive oil if we decide to move from this place. Slowly I saw up recycled wood for firewood.