Casa Grande – Ken Rodgers (2023)

Posted on March 11, 2014

Notes on Terlingua and Memory

Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.
William Faulkner

Memory may be the only thing of value that we carry out of this world when we exit. Memory revealed its strength to me the last few weeks as Betty and I peregrinated around the southwest. After screening our documentary film BRAVO! in my old home town of Casa Grande, we took a drive up around the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson towards San Manuel on our way to Benson, Arizona.

A range of mountains to our north came into view and even though it had been over thirty years since I had last seen those mountains, my memories of journeys into and along that range sprang right into the forefront of my attention. Galiuros…that was the name of the mountains, the Galiuros.

I remembered camping trips in the fifties when we hiked up the rough run of Aravaipa Canyon, and hunting trips into the deep cut flanks of the Santa Catalina foothills in the seventies and eighties. These memories were gratifying on some level that I am not sure I understand. Was it memory itself that made me satisfied, or was it the memories of those moments?

Those thoughts simmered inside me as we drove off the main highway between Tucson and Superior and took on the corduroy washboard they call the San Pedro-Reddington-Cascabel Road around the back side of the Santa Catalinas and the Rincon Mountains. This road is carved by arroyos exposing the geology of the country, the aggregate and white rock that glares when the sun beats on it. What surprised me, besides the pilgrims who had moved into the country over the thirty years since my last visit, were the forests of saguaro, the forests of cholla and ocotillo and prickly pear. The country in southern Arizona has become so developed that the large groupings of desert flora have been diminished to one or two examples of each species so that the developers can show their customers they are maintaining the integrity of the land as it was before the rush of folks from back east or California.

But what I was seeing out on that washboard road was straight out of my recollection of what the Sonoran Desert around Tucson used to be, before Del Webb and Pulte and all the other big-name builders showed up to mow down what got in the way of golf courses and club houses and streets and homes.

We arrived in Benson and spent a day and a half chasing birds around the San Pedro Riparian Wildlife Conservation Area outside Sierra Vista and in Portal Canyon in the Chiricahua Mountains on the New Mexico/Arizona border. My previous excursions in the region had only been pass-throughs, but memories of them floated up as we watched redtail hawks, white-breasted nuthatches, pyrrhuloxias and loggerhead shrikes. The southeast area of Arizona was home to some of my ancestors and even though I have little evidence of what happened to them there, the knowledge that their graves are in the old St. David cemetery and neighboring locations conjured up images of draft horses and Apache raids, and I wondered if those were manufactured in my own mind or remnants of a racial memory.

We journeyed on to Fort Davis, Texas, and two days of listening to cowboy poets and musicians ply their tunes and poems. Fort Davis and Alpine (where they had the cowboy poetry event) sit in wild country with cliffs and valleys and peaks that rear up like volcanoes we see in movies, like anvils and great monuments built in some kind of fantasy land where what is constructed is beyond the hand of man, created by a greater race of beings, now long gone with no signature but the rugged country that sings to our remembrance.

Then on to Big Bend and the wild jumble of Rio Grande country, the mix of Mexican and American heritage a permanent stamp on the culture. A culture still lodged in the memory of my youth.

The mountains at Big Bend look like they were shoved into mounds and blocks and pyramids and the land changes from grassy terrain to conifer heights. Bear, cougar and elk inhabit rugged topography not far from surroundings inhabited by desert denizens like diamondbacks and peccaries.

We spent a night in Terlingua, Texas, or more specifically, Terlingua Ghost Town which sits about five miles west of modern Terlingua. Terlingua Ghost Town is what remains of a once prosperous community whose citizens mostly worked in the mercury mines that were so important to the munitions industry in the first half of the twentieth century. Most of what remains of the ghost town’s glory is kept in the memories written down in books and portrayed in old photography.

Upon our arrival we were delivered a big surprise. We needed to go to the Terlingua Trading Company to check into our lodgings for the night in the ghost town and instead of goblins, ghosts and zombies, we found one of the most lively places we’d been in since arriving in the southwest part of Texas. The Trading Company is located in an old building with high and wide Texan porches. Gangs of people sat along walls and the edges of the porch, playing guitars, singing, palavering, drinking beer. They were a wild array of folks, old hippies, young hippies, Marines, cowboys, turistas, and then there were the dogs, mostly pit bulls and occasionally a mongrel of indefinable lineage.

Contrary to their reputations, these pit bulls were mellow, and it reminded me of my notion that dogs’ personalities reflect the personas of their masters. There were big signs along the wall of the Trading Company that read, “No Dogs on Porch,” but the dogs didn’t seem to mind the warnings and it was apparent they had yet to learn to read.

Terlingua Ghost Town has a “durn good” restaurant named The Starlight Theater and is housed in the same location as an old movie theater that showed films back in Terlingua’s mercury mining heyday. Now it serves margaritas, beer and some mighty fine green chile.

The next morning we discovered our biggest treat in the ghost town…the cemetery. Most of the folks buried in this cemetery died during the influenza epidemic of 1919-1920, but there are markers for earlier deaths and surprising to us, folks are still being buried there. The graveyard is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the site of an apparently well-attended Day of the Dead celebration held in early November.

The graveyard is a work of art, in its own way, with simple wooden-cross grave markers next to complex adobe monuments. The individual graves are crammed up against each other with lots of ornaments lying around on particular gravesites. Jars for money, beer cans, flowers, and other mementoes make this the most interesting cemetery I’ve been in, and that is quite a few.

The funny thing about my impressions of Terlingua Ghost Town is the memories the experience evokes: When I was a kid, of barbeques down on the washes that ran through the Arizona of my youth; a cow carcass, butchered and marinated in salts and peppers and oils, then buried with searing mesquite coals; and friends of my parents with cans of Coors and plates piled with spicy potato salad and garlic bread. Or later, when I was a young man, frying chicken in Dutch ovens out west of Casa Grande, or if not chickens, then calf fries. Playing softball and volleyball. Drinking wine and whiskey watching the kids play, hoping they didn’t find a rattlesnake. Listening to Neil Young and Jimi Hendrix.

Besides the cemetery, the images around Terlingua are ghostly, the hard white and sun-faded hues of the peaks, the arroyos that have chopped the land in their haste to make a meeting with the Rio Grande. These images as they filter back into my mind are like goblins dressed in long white gossamer gowns that remind me of Halloween or the times when I was a child when my grandmother (who lived with us) used to cry out to her long dead mother. Memories.

Posted on February 5, 2014February 5, 2014

Hola!

Hola from sunny Arizona!

We started out from Boise Monday morning in mist and snow, and roamed near Hagerman, Idaho, looking for cottonwood trees chock full of Bald Eagles. We found the tree, or the grove and yes, the limbs were festooned with Bald Eagles, looking to me like those Christmas cards painted with conifers decorated with candles. No, the eagles weren’t red and yellow—they were brown and white-headed—but the way they sat in those trees was ornamental.

The snow spit and the mist and fog shrouded everything south until we hit Jackpot on the Nevada-Idaho border and then the sun peeped out from behind sailing clouds and the farther south we drove under an ever more dazzling sun, the more snow we encountered on the ground. At Ely, the fresh snow was five or six inches deep.

From Ely we turned west over the edge of Great Basin National Park and then southeast through Baker and into Utah, across one valley after another, only three or four cars besides us in over eighty miles of big country. The wide, flat spaces between the mountain ranges reminded us of tundra and we must not have been too far wrong because on one road marker after another, the Rough-legged Hawks sat watching for prey, only to be alarmed by our coming, lifting off just before we arrived. Their escapes afforded glimpses of the black and white bands on their tails. We could see the white under-parts of the wings with the dark spots that reminded me of elbows. In winter, Rough-legged Hawks come south from the tundra of the north country.

The southwestern part of Utah has a lot of these big tundra-like flats and the snow cover made the sage look like it might collapse beneath the wet of the last storm. We passed juniper-dotted hills and line shacks and cattle, Ravens, Prairie Falcons and occasionally a Golden Eagle.

Yesterday we went through the southern part of Zion National Park on our way south from St. George to Phoenix. We hit the red cliffs as the sun came up and the colors were like tints pilfered from a painter’s palette.

Fresh snow was captured on the sheer cliffs of the cold sides. Once, we saw the winds sweep snow off a cliff, reminding me of gossamer garlands twisting in a breeze. It took us quite a while to drive the s-curves and tunnels of Utah Route 9 from the southwestern entrance to the eastern entrance of Zion. We snapped a lot of photos.

Up top, a bison herd filed by as we headed east. They rambled west below a pine-crested ridge foregrounded by a meadow full of fresh snow.

Just before Kanab on US Highway 89 we encountered a road closure so we had to turn a one-eighty north through the small communities of the upper Virgin River Valley, and at Glendale learned we could take a detour around that road closure. I had my doubts, but the folks at the local post office assured Betty that we could conquer whatever obstacles the road threw at us. It was rough and unpaved and luckily frozen or we’d have hauled a load of Utah red mud all the way to Arizona.

We motored by the Vermilion Cliffs in the Arizona Strip. We have been there many times before but “can’t not” come and stop if we are anywhere close. As Betty says, “They are majestic.” And yes they are vermilion, and red and rust and yellow and purple depending on light and the rocks’ mineral content. We also stopped at nearby Navajo Bridge at Marble Canyon looking for California Condors, but the wind was feisty and nothing moved except the humans, what few passed by pulling livestock trailers. The Navajo ladies at the bridge selling painted gourds and turquoise bracelets braved the lusty lashes of the winds inside the cabs of their pickups, Led Zeppelin pulsing through the floorboards.

We then turned south towards Phoenix, and saguaro and ocotillo and jumping cactus. On Interstate 17 just north of Phoenix at New River, a familiar mountain reared up just to the west. I said to Betty, “I can remember looking at that mountain as a kid and thinking we had so far to go.”

That was when my mother and I went south from Flagstaff, where my older sister went to college, towards our home in Casa Grande, south of the Valley of the Sun.

But now the years have sped up and the trips have too, what was long and arduous and never ending passes by us almost before we can enjoy it.

Posted on January 31, 2014

On Casa Grande, Terlingua and Journeys Through the West

Betty and I are getting ready to head south to the old home country to help screen our documentary film in Casa Grande, Arizona at the historic Paramount Theatre on February 13. I was born and went to school and lived in Casa Grande for a while after my return from the USMC. I have family there and we always look forward to the special time and the warm weather.

It’s been cold and foggy in Idaho with the inversion perched below the Boise Front like a wayfarer too weary to journey on. The hoarfrost has been a photographer’s delight, but I’m a desert rat and demand to see the sun every once in a while. To paraphrase the philosopher Francis Bacon, “If the sunshine will not come to Ken, Ken must go to the sunshine.”

And it is not just the sunshine; the journey from here to there is filled with visual delights: craggy peaks that needle up into scudding clouds flying off towards the Midwest and shadows of snow-covered sagebrush tattoo the land. Long vistas unfold from one mountain range to the next with the valleys in between often populated by a single line-shack shaded by the naked branches of a cottonwood tree, a corral sitting close with some bays and sorrels and a wayward Hereford cow that can’t find her crossbreed calf. And further south, like an outdoorsman’s rapture, lays the rugged red land of the great Colorado Basin, with Zion Canyon and Bryce Canyon and the Vermilion Cliffs and Sedona. The majesty of it all dares your camera to cram all the import of each moment onto the computer chip inside that captures memory. Even if that isn’t possible, just having the privilege to see it and store it in your reminiscence will provide many luscious moments when you are trapped behind your desk, or lying there awake hours before the sun shows up to announce another day.

After Arizona, we are motoring down to Alpine, TX, for some cowboy poetry and Big Bend, Marfa, Terlingua. Betty and I lived half a day away from Big Bend in the eighties and always thought that the journey down there was too far, but now we travel all over this country, and what seemed too difficult then is now something we can get done with little sweat.

We are looking forward to those long vistas across high desert that snake between the lofty ranges. We want to gaze down into the gorges cut through the limestone of the Chisos Mountains. We want that hot Terlingua chile, the kind those Terlinguista chile gourmands mention with the following caveat, “Sorry, no beans in this spectacle.” Just chile and carne and homemade tortillas steaming off the comal.

We are meeting our friends Mary and Roger Engle when we arrive in Texas and will tour the land and its treasures, and not just the Marfa Lights and the observatory at Fort Davis, but also those little things that appear in a moment that, if you are not willing to stop and see right then, are gone. Kind of like the lives we choose to live.

If you, dear reader are on your way south, we hope to see you and spend some time over javvy and fresh toast, or chile verde, or just a handshake, or a hug and some shared recall of what made us friends to begin with.

As they say along the border, “Hasta pronto.”

Posted on January 13, 2014

On Bruneau Dunes, Baboquivari Peak and White Horse Pass

Last weekend Betty and I motored down to Elmore and Owyhee Counties, Idaho, for a day of looking around at the snow (what remained), the birds, and the Columbia Basin landscape. The southwestern part of Idaho, upon initial encounters, appears to be harsh, ugly, boring and a lot of other pejorative adjectives, but in each season the sage brush plains and craggy mountains deliver up singular delights. One of our favorite times to get out into the region is the winter. Not to detract from both spring and fall, which deliver their own spectacular moments, the winter light that reaches low out of the southern sky casts a nostalgic glow on the snow and the land and the things that dwell in the harsh environment.

We stopped at Ted Trueblood Wildlife Management Area just north of Grandview and took a little saunter among the cattails and Russian olives. The song of Canada geese carried along on the breeze. We looked for owls but found none. A female belted kingfisher flew above us and stuttered its angry warnings, then flew off to kite like a kestrel over a slice of open water in an otherwise frozen pond. In the distance, the Owyhee Mountains jutted up from the flat horizon.

We traveled on to Bruneau Dunes and climbed to the spine of one of the big sandbanks. The gray sand was damp and frozen on the west side and dry and fine on the east. The ever present winds scaled over the rim of the dune and scattered a veil of sand off towards Wyoming. Down below, the small lakes were frozen with huge gaggles of Canada geese walking on the ice, cackling to each other, or who knows, maybe to us. Occasionally a dozen or so would rise with an alarmed riff of squawks and fly off to some undistinguishable destination, maybe grain stubble over towards Mountain Home or a fallow hay field along the highway to Hammett.

We traversed the spine of the dune, fighting to keep our balance as we stepped into a frozen spot that made us slip or a thawed place that acted like there was some not-so-benign intelligence down there intent on sucking us down. Down.

Often, when I talk about Idaho to folks domiciled in other locations, they think the state is all like the mighty Tetons or the photogenic Sawtooths, not a land of sage and sand. But like much of the American West, Idaho is a variety. Forested, mountainous, desert, swamp, lake and stream and river…and sand.

This makes me think of the sand in the southwest, the dunes outside of Yuma, Arizona, and the several dunes around my old home town. There was one dune in particular, on the Tohono O’odham Nation between my town, Casa Grande, and the Mexican border. Tohono O’odham means “desert people” or something close to that and is an apt description of the folks that live on the vast nation (or reservation), the second largest in the 48 states. When I was a kid growing up, we called them Papago Indians. Papago, I believe, comes from a Spanish language distortion of the Tohono O’odham word for “bean people.” I think the “beans” referred to in that moniker are probably mesquite beans which the Tohono O’odham people utilized in the form of flour, porridge, cake and drinks.

Mesquite, along with palo verde and ironwood, are the dominant trees of the Sonoran Desert and are members of the pea family. They nitrify the soil, provide beans that feed mourning dove and Gambel’s quail, desert big horn sheep, coyotes, wolves, rabbits, desert pronghorns and the indigenous people of the desert. Mesquite also makes excellent coals for cooking.

The particular dune I am writing about is positioned in what we local Anglos called White Horse Pass south of the Tohono O’odham village of Chuichu. White Horse Pass sits in among the Silver Reef Mountains and when I was a kid and a young man, it was a stop on the way further south to Arizona’s own version of the Sawtooth Mountains. We used to rattle down the dirt tracks into those rugged granitic fingers and points and teeth in search of agate to cut and polish and to make into jewelry. I relished the hunting and the finding of the raw agate and the bothering of the old core drillers who used to sleep on cots in the open air next to their well rigs as they prospected for gold and silver. Now the area is designated as part of the BLM-managed Ironwood National Monument.

In the old days, thirty, forty, fifty years ago, we used to go down there and spend a day rock hounding and maybe stop at the dune at White Horse Pass and climb up the dune which had been trapped by the wind against the south face of one of the Silver Bell massifs. Then we would tumble to the bottom, or we would climb up the dune and onto the top of the granite mountain and look south towards the Baboquivari Mountains and Kitt Peak National Observatory. Baboquivari Peak rears up out of the desert like a human male’s member and is what the Tohono O’odham call the “navel of the world.”

Some of the roughest country I have ever traversed on foot lies at the foot of Baboquivari Peak. Jaguars have been sighted there and in the fall, winter and spring it is a great place to visit if you want to climb rugged cap rock and hunt mule deer and quail among the spikey slopes loaded with ocotillo and prickly pear. And when I say hunt, I don’t necessarily mean with a weapon. You might have a camera, a set of binoculars, or both.

The Sonoran Desert in Arizona is part of the larger basin and range terrain that makes up much of the intermountain west where jutting, rugged mountain ranges rear off the desert floor with relatively narrow valleys in between; the Baboquivari Mountains and Picacho Peak and Newman Peak and the Sierra Estrellas and San Tan Mountains and the Vekol Mountains and the Silver Reefs and the Silver Bells and the Tucson Mountains where the movie site, Old Tucson, sits evoking memories of John Wayne shooting Christopher George in El Dorado. Moving east toward New Mexico the terrain lifts into the higher ranges, the Santa Ritas and the Santa Catalinas, the Galiuros and the Rincons, the Dragoons, the Pinaleños and the Chiricahuas.

When I was younger, besides rolling in the sand of the dunes at White Horse Pass or hunting agate in the Sawtooths, I hunted quail on the valley flats and if I was lucky to find a place where gone-by mesquite trees rotted in the ground, I’d wait until a wet spell in the weather and then take a four-wheel-drive truck and rip the roots of the dead mesquites right out of the ground with a big chain. We’d split the wood with sledge and wedge and maul and ax and load it into our pickups and haul it home to use in our homemade grills to cook lamb chops and prime rib and chicken. How I loved the sounds of those tools, the clink and clank, the chunk and later the hiss and sizzle of meat over red-orange coals.

When taking breaks from splitting into the red heart of hard mesquite, we could watch the drug runners in their Beach Barons and Cessna 172s flying low down the valleys from Mexico to deliver their loads of marijuana to the Phoenix area. Now the BLM warns you about going into the country south of White Horse Pass because of the migration of aliens out of Mexico. I suspect the folks from Mexico and El Salvador and Honduras who want to work are not the big problem, but the men who “manage” the migration; those coyotes are what should be avoided. Having lived in the desert for over thirty years, many times I ran into aliens (sans their managing coyotes) going north for work. Never once did I feel threatened.

Soon we will be down in that Sonoran Desert country screening our film and photographing saguaro cacti and adobe walls and looking at the Silver Reefs and Baboquivari. It will be fun to compare and contrast the sands from White Horse Pass with the sands of Bruneau Dunes.

Posted on October 1, 2013

Railroad Depots and Wool Bags

This winter, Betty and I expect to travel to southwest Texas to attend the 28th annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in the town of Alpine. While there with our friends Mary and Roger Engle, we intend to explore the area: Big Bend National Park, the ghost town in Terlingua, the Marfa lights, the old train depot in Sanderson and a lot of other spots. We’ve wanted to check the area out for nigh onto three decades and hopefully 2014 is going to be the year.

When I was a kid in southern Arizona, I spent some time herding sheep with a local Basque family. A lot of the sheep we herded came from the Big Bend country, so the names of the places Betty and I want to visit are lodged in my memory along with bleating ewes, coyotes skulking around a herd of mixed-breed Suffolk and Columbian lambs, traps, strychnine, fence, sheep trucks. And there’s the Southern Pacific Depot at Sanderson, Texas, constructed in the early 1880s which is now deserted. I want to see it before it gets torn down.

Thinking about the depot at Sanderson makes me think about the depot in my hometown, Casa Grande, Arizona. The last time I visited there, the depot was no more, having burned down in 2009. Even though it’s named on some of the rolls of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, it is no more.

That depot was the center of attention in my small town when I was a kid. We used to walk down Main Street and watch the cattle and sheep come down the ramps onto the asphalt paralleling the tracks, cowboys and drovers running around, or riding cayuses around, trying to keep the herds from straying off among the bail bondsman, the shoe stores and the pharmacy and the bars. That was before the railroad went way south, to employ an often overused metaphor. But railroads did head south, they dried up, and left the passenger/freight business to trucks and things like that. And I hate that because I loved the sounds of the trains, that metal-on-metal percussion of the wheels on the tracks, how it boogied over the tops of the gum trees that lined the streets of our old town.

But before the railroad died—oh, I know, it didn’t die, it just contracted into a long distance hauler, leaving all the old time short haul and passenger jobs for someone else, like bus lines, airlines, SUVs, hybrids, truckers, etc. But before it died, I got to go down to the old Southern Pacific Depot a few times with the Basque sheepherders and load wool bags onto boxcars. When I say Basque sheepherders, I’m not just talking about the ones I grew up with and went to school with, but also with men who came from Spain. Big-shouldered, thick-wristed men with biceps so muscled they looked like blocks, men who spoke no English. Men so strong…well, I have to show you…

Men with names like GRAN, meaning big, insinuating strength, and how strong he was and so were Benjamin (the way we said it, his name sounded something like Ben-hah-meen) and Marcelino and Augustine. The wool bags weighed four or five-hundred pounds and had girth enough for three men or more to get their arms around, and they were tall, ten feet or so, and unwieldy. The wool buyers wanted the wool bags at the mill, wherever that was, but we didn’t care about that. We cared about loading.

Loading and cramming the sacks into the boxcars. Sweat in our eyes and our tired muscles shouting at us…give us more, we want more work and as crazy as that sounds, we did. We wanted to be part of all these strong men, doing this ancient thing, loading wool bags, something not done with a forklift or a squeeze, but something done by the arms and backs of man.

And somehow we did it, and often it became a test of strength. The competitive nature of these Basque herders was amazing; they competed at everything. Building fence, tearing down fence, loading bobtail trucks with bulky loads of page wire, loading posts, jumping flat-footed onto a honky-tonk’s bar, shooting snooker. To them, work, and maybe life, had a bit of the game to it. They parlayed often difficult and necessary tasks into something to be anticipated, something to be enjoyed, and the joy wasn’t about winning, it was about the doing of it.

Who was the strongest and who might actually pick up a wool bag by himself…Gran could do it, and so could Augustine. And sometimes it wasn’t about one single mountain of a man bending down and shoving the bag up against the side of the box car then leveraging the bulk onto his shoulder and then dropping into a crouch and then up, somehow balancing all that weight as he thrust the wool bag into the open door of the boxcar. Sometimes it was about all of us, and the last man, the smaller man, the weaker man, getting his outstretched arms into just the right place to help get the bag inside, to make it all a little easier. And that collective sense that together we did something worthwhile, even though we didn’t speak the same language and came from different societies and most probably didn’t agree on politics, religion, marriage…that collective sense really mattered to me, and to them too, I believe.

Yes, in March, maybe we’ll go over to Sanderson and check out the old depot before it burns down or they knock it down in favor of something more…modern.

Posted on April 13, 2012

On Honky-tonks, Wild Folk and Newborns

Our daughter, Sarah, and her husband, Baruch, are expecting their first baby in July. We have grandkids already. One, Justyce, is already zooming her way to young adulthood. The prospect for the arrival of a newborn is damned exciting.

As I think about this new granddaughter, the season is Spring and outside the daffodils are smiling the color of the sun. Down the streets, pear trees’ white blossoms balloon the moods of commuters. Pink and reds and purples emerge. It is a season of birth, re-birth, new growth.

Then I think about the old days and how mothers produced sons and daughters that were cold as stone when they emerged from the womb. Youngsters died of measles, mumps, smallpox, scarlet fever before they had a chance to mate, get drunk, find Jesus, get old. Those were the days of small farms where women and men hoed rows of corn and dug their spuds. Milked cows, sheared sheep, cooked oat cakes over cast iron stoves that threw heat like the halls of hell. Chores galore; stirring dirty clothes in a big cast iron pot full of boiled water and harsh lye soap. Candle making, quilting, sewing; all created a dire need for lots of hands. Lots of children were needed to help out on the farm

In 1971 my father and I took my son, James, to see the movie Man In the Wilderness, set in the Northwest during the early 1800s, with Richard Harris and John Huston. The characters in the film were fur trappers and one of them, the Richard Harris character, voyeured a Native American woman giving birth to a child. Out in the thick woods, she just squatted, without help, as her man kept watch from afar, I suppose to keep grizzlies and wolves from attacking her as she birthed that baby.

At the time, I thought that scene was a little over the top in terms of dramatization. I remember my now-long-deceased friend Richard Madewell scoffing, “That’s all a bunch of BS to sell movie tickets.” I tended to agree. Son James, who was about three years old, seemed more interested in the bear that attacked Harris’s character and didn’t have much to say about the on-screen child birth.

That was back in the honky-tonking days of my youth. I spent spare time down at the bar on Main Street where the skid row drunks sat on the high curb and waited for the sun to come up and the bars to open. My watering hole was a rough location, a bar as old as any of the businesses in town.

Big fans beat the air around the pressed tin ceiling with its fancy curlicues and circles. We listened to Dire Straits and the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers, tunes from the Allman Brothers’ Idlewild South.

We downed flat draft beer and shots of cheap tequila, Bloody Marys, Spañada, wine coolers, bad Scotch and VO with Seven, not to mention more nefarious substances. We shot nine ball and eight ball, got in fights, in shootouts. We got drunk, and not drunk. Hippies, cowboys, college professors who taught Español, drug salesmen of both the legal and the not legal, ag teachers, baseball glove vendors, miners, cotton farmers, plumbers, sheepherders, butchers, house painters, short order cooks in Mexican food restaurants, wives, daughters, they all made their way to sit on the tall stools at the ancient bar.

Some wild individuals denizened the joint. One pair I recall—it was just around the time I went with father and son James to see Man In the Wilderness—showed up one day and joined right in. They usually arrived for tamales and red beers…that was breakfast. He had long, stringy hair and wore a beard a foot thick. He donned a stained and battered New York Yankee hat and claimed to be from Manhattan but his deep Texas accent belied that. His mate was wild, too, wore fringed buckskin shirts and trousers, blue and red and yellow beaded buckskin moccasins that looked like they were made before Geronimo went to Florida under guard of the United States Army. She claimed she made all her own clothing and I did not doubt that.

For some reason they liked to drink around me and I’d have to be pretty toasted to stand the scent of lard and mesquite-coal smoke that hung all over them. She bragged about cooking over one of those old cast iron stoves my grandmother used back before my mother was born. I didn’t doubt that, either. They rented a falling-down adobe building with rotten wood floors that was about as old as our town. The adobe sat behind Ronquillo’s Radiator Shop…I think I remember this right…at the corner of Sacaton and First. I always knew it as the Prickly Pear House because a prickly pear sat out in front of the old adobe. The cactus had big flat paddles wrinkled like the face of my grandmother and probably as old.
This particular wild bunch would also show up in the afternoon and drink their favorites….shots of Jose Cuervo with draft Coors back. One, two, three.

I always thought it was strange that she drank like that…as well as smoking unfiltered Camels and no telling what else…because she was heavy with their first child. Heavy….hung out like a hot air balloon. But one, two, three, down the hatch, she’d laugh and dance to Dickey Betts’ guitar riffs in “Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” Awkward and scruffy, she shuffled and puffed on her smoking Camel.

One hot August afternoon under the cooling click of the ceiling fans, a few of my friends and I sat and sucked down cold glasses of draft as the two of them, both of this wild pair, pirouetted and wheeled to the tunes blaring out of the juke box.

She suddenly stopped and yelled, “Honey, it’s time.”

Without another word they stomped out the front door. A moment later his thick-bearded face showed back in the doorway as he yelled, “Be right back.”

The barkeep chuckled and mumbled, “Right. She’ll be lucky if she and that kid survive, as much poison as she puts in her body.”

Two hours later they were back. That hot air balloon was suddenly gone and the leather blouse with the fringe on the seams looked almost big enough for two of her. She held a red, wrinkled baby in an old wool blanket. Her man began handing out cheap stogies with a cigar band that announced, “It’s a Girl.”

I said, “They let you out of the hospital that fast?”

She twanged, “Didn’t need no hospital. Done it myself.”

We all looked to her man. He grinned and nodded, “I watched, but that was all. She just squatted and spurted that young’un out.” He grinned and hugged her. “She’s one hell of a woman.”

The baby squalled and the mother giggled. The father let out a roar, “Barkeep. For my lady-love, a Jose Cuervo and cold Coors back”

He spun around, his long hair whirling like a jigging woman’s skirt. He yelled, “I’m a daddy.”

I sure hope Sarah and Baruch experience a different kind of delivery.

Posted on March 30, 2012

On Mice and Men–Mostly Men

Last week Betty and I watched the 1992 rendition of Of Mice and Men starring Gary Sinise and John Malkovich. This particular adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name was predated by a 1939 version starring Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Bob Steele.

Sometime around 1952 or 1953, at 111 Beech Street in Casa Grande, Arizona, I sat on the big oval hooked rug made from tatters of denim and other disregarded material that kept the chill off me from the concrete floor beneath. Towheaded, with my gapped front teeth already making their statement about the image I would become, I was watching KPHO TV Channel Five when the 1939 version of Of Mice and Men came on the tube.

My mother was in the kitchen baking chocolate chip cookies, and between visiting on the phone with friends, her mother, her brother’s snarly wife, she sang Mormon hymns. She must have heard the announcer presenting the day’s morning feature film—it was Saturday—because, and I distinctly remember her saying this, she told me, “Kenny, I don’t think you should watch that movie.”

I must have said, “Why?” because right now I recall the conversation definitely going on, the words flitting back and forth, my mother’s words coming out of the kitchen along with snippets of the tune “Give, Said the Little Stream,” and the scent of those sweet cookies.

What I probably sent back to her in response to her signals were mostly smart-assed mental messages. I probably made some faces, too, scrunching up my lips beneath the end of my nose, shaking my head and body as I silently mimicked, “Kenny, I don’t think you should watch that movie.”

She kept saying it, she kept saying it. She kept saying it. Even at that age, five or six years old, I already understood how my mother operated. If she really hadn’t wanted me to watch Of Mice and Men she’d have stomped into the front room and turned off the TV and if necessary she would have switched my butt with the flyswatter. Sometimes I forced that . . . the switching with the fly swatter.

But she didn’t switch my butt, she just kept sending me sweet-worded warnings along with the lyrics to a song.

I don’t remember many of the details of that 1939 version except hating the Bob Steele character, Curley, and loving the Lon Chaney, Jr., character Lenny (who suffered from what we now call a developmental disability). Because of how the story was structured, I was supposed to hate Curley and love Lenny.

In the end, Lon’s character, Lenny, kills Curley’s wife, not maliciously, but regardless, ends her life and so he must pay. Lenny’s best friend and protector, George, instead of allowing Lenny to be ripped apart and murdered by a mob (and probably also to save himself), shoots Lenny in the back of the head while telling Lenny about the wonderful farm they are going to own sometime down the road.

Until the sound and image of that murder, I really liked George, too, but instantly, besides being confused, I loathed George, and loathed something much larger which I could not reasonably articulate but certainly felt in my gut and bone marrow. I suspect that something larger and my loathing of it was what my mother was subtly warning me about.

I remember, much to my chagrin, breaking out in sobs after George shot Lenny. Sobs weren’t encouraged around our house, so I was flummoxed pretty good to break out the way I did, as if all the gates named reticence were broken down.

My mother took me in her arms and we lay on the couch, her soothing me and yet advising me how she’d not wanted me to watch that film.

Twelve years late, my senior year in high school, I checked Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men out of the library. My tow head had turned sandy brown and my gap teeth were definitely prominent. Reading about Curley and Lenny and George I received a dose of realism in the first degree.

Realism . . . Steinbeck wrote the book during the Depression and he aimed, I surmise, to portray the hard world of labor and poverty and wealth during that era. But he was also writing about the hard world of love and friendship and mutual respect.

George was hard on Lenny all through the story, but he loved Lenny and respected him as a person although in the end he killed him; one, for Lenny putting George in the position of being his protector and thus responsible for Lenny’s actions, and two, to forestall Lenny having to deal with what was to come. Talk about hard stuff . . . George’s realization that the decisions we make to save ourselves might also be the decisions that destroy us and often the decisions cannot be avoided.

Here it is almost sixty years since I first watched Of Mice and Men and the impact of Steinbeck’s tale still lives on in my thoughts. That’s what I call power in a story. We can rant and rail concerning the inequalities, or lack thereof, inherent in humanity’s behavior towards one another and it doesn’t mean much. But drape the issues on the backs of characters like Lenny and George and you can penetrate the human heart.

Steinbeck knew that. Tortilla Flat, East of Eden, and The Grapes of Wrath are some of his other novels that can bash our emotions. Steinbeck wrote about the essence of being human.

I suspect my mother, too, understood the power of story to move us and even though she warned me about Of Mice and Men, she let me watch it, let me get an early lesson about the power of story, and more than that, about humanity.

Posted on October 14, 2011

The Cave of Forgotten Dreams

When I was a kid in southern Arizona, I went caving and spelunking with a guy who was a middle school teacher in the town where I lived, Casa Grande, Arizona. We walked into basalt cave mouths in the Silver Bells and Silver Reef Mountains, and into our own little Sawtooths. We sniffed around for the scent of gas as he told us about canaries in coal mines. He was from coal mining country. We pitched rocks down mine shafts that had claim markers that looked like they were still maintained by prospectors. The rocks clicked and clacked and often we heard the rattle of diamondbacks climb out of the shafts. I wondered if they were albino rattlers or if they climbed out at night just like the ones we killed with forked sticks and shovels. I wondered if they captured and swallowed kangaroo rats and other small things, wrens, and such. Sometimes there were windlasses and big containers that would lower you into vertical mine shafts, but I was always frightened to go down in. The possibility of snakes scared me, and the thought of the ropes breaking scared me too, and that I might end up dying down there while the teacher and his two sons ran back to town in an effort to find someone to save me.

I have always had a primal fear of going into the bowels of the earth and admire miners with the way they go miles down into the tunnels that wind and penetrate below the surface. Likewise, I admire the men who go into caves and search below the earth for life and remnants of life.

Last Wednesday night, Betty and I went to see the Werner Herzog documentary film titled, The Cave of Forgotten Dreams. The film is available in 3D but our art house theater didn’t have that option, so we watched the film in two dimensions. Earlier this year, I heard Herzog talk about the film and one of the things he said was that it was the only film he would ever make in 3D.

But even in 2D it was impressive. The cinematography was outstanding from beginning to end with some very odd frame composition that worked, I think, to help set on end our modern arrogance about how smart we are. The cave, Chauvet, which is in southeastern France, is mostly off limits to anyone but scientists studying the geology; or the Paleolithic era information about cave bears and wolves and cave lions and horses and bison; or the astounding artwork, some as old as thirty-five thousand years. Human activity inside the cave presently is limited so the film crew was restrained as to the types of lighting and camera equipment they could employ. What they created is truly a fine work, particularly given the limited gear they could take into the cave.

All great films have obstacles that must be overcome by the characters on the way to reaching goals and in this documentary, the physical restraints and the restraints imposed by the French government become the obstacles that must be defeated. Herzog, who narrated the film, gives us this information right up front so the requisite tension to keep us interested is created.

What is on the walls of Chauvet are astounding paintings at least twice as old as anything previously discovered on this planet, and the likenesses were amazingly correct, not primitive like some of the old Hohokam rock scratchings that we used to find in the caves of southern Arizona, but sophisticated artwork displaying not only the fauna of the time, but fauna behavior that included breeding and hunting. The cave paintings included great, stunning murals of horses and bison being hunted by lions and bears; and wooly rhinos fighting each other. I think I was doubly stunned because of what the images told me about the intelligence of the people who created this ancient art. When T. S. Eliot came out from viewing the sixteen-thousand-year-old cave paintings at Lascaux, he is reported to have said something along the lines of, “We haven’t changed a bit,” and I could see that, I could see what he meant, as if Picasso or Klee or Matisse or de Kooning had been down there, painting away, or at least their spirits encaved in the bodies of Cro Magnon man.

I also liked the music in the film. It was often melodic and spiritual like the milieu it described, especially at the end, where the narration takes a holiday and lets the camera work. The fine lines of the cave drawings along with the choral voices allow us to step back into our racial memories, our racial minds, and contemplate the long run of humanity on this planet. They allow us to ponder what is possible, what might come to pass.

At one point in the film, Herzog takes us out of the cave and on a cinematic sojourn to the University of Tübingen in Germany where a large exhibit of small sculptures of Venus and animals of the Paleolithic era is housed. We get a clinical analysis of these artifacts‘ relationship to the paintings at Chauvet (evidently they are all from the same time period, give or take five thousand years) and how Cro Magnon could carry on so advanced a concept as paintings and art while his neighbor Neanderthals were not capable of creating anything of the sort. All of this was interesting, but to me, felt as if the magic created by the paintings, their rendition in Herzog’s film, and attention to the power of art were all defeated by the measuring stick-and-caliper outlook of the sciences of studying ancient peoples.

I was glad when that train of thought ended and we returned to the magnificence of the paintings, what they said about my ancestors’ intelligence, their powers of observation and creativity. Some of the paintings are five thousand years older than others, so the time frame in which the cave was used as a ceremonial site, but apparently not lived in, is as long as the history of the written word in our Homo sapiens sapiens sub-species.

Given my innate fear of caves, I sat and wondered if I would go down to look at these images and I have to say yes, I would. In the film, Herzog points out that he and his crew often felt as if they were being watched by the ancients, and he remarked that the anthropologists, the geologists, the paleontologist also had the same sensation, so maybe my old fears are not without grounding in the human psyche.

I would definitely recommend that you go see this film. It is a visual masterpiece, and to boot, stimulates the imagination. The Cave of Forgotten Dreams will force you to ponder various issues, how far apart we are from the artists who created the Chauvet paintings, and how alike we are. They were smart, as smart as the men who built the windlasses that lowered miners down into the vertical mine shafts that we investigated in my youth. As smart as we are now. Not yet with the tools that make us what we are in this time, but smart enough to understand the world they inhabited and to record and interpret what they saw.

Posted on September 30, 2011

Putting Up String Beans

Tuesday I went out back into the garden and picked a mess of green beans. Of all the things I harvest back there, the beans are my least favorite, not because I dislike their flavor but because they grow at just the right height for me to have to bend my knees and lean in to pick them. After a while, my knee joints and back hurt. The leaves are verdant and lush and the beans hide in among them, a strategy, I suspect, developed in the long millennia before we domesticated and hybridized them. That ability for the beans to camouflage between the thin stems and the broad leaves means other things are hiding in there too—yellow jackets and arachnids—and I might get stung or bitten on the bare hands that I snake in to find the beans.

But I had no mishaps except a sore back and knees and I picked myself a mess of string beans. That’s what my father used to call them, and I remember when I was a kid we used to listen to the Grand Ole Opry on the big wood-cased radio that sat in the front room, and there was a character called String Bean on that show who strummed a banjo and cracked corny jokes. My dad used to laugh at him a lot, but he wasn’t always so jovial when he demanded that I eat my string beans at dinnertime. The only ones we ever got in our house were the kind that were canned somewhere in California or came frozen from Safeway. Not like the ones I picked on Tuesday.

I picked them, and washed them and cut off the ends and then sliced them into inch long cuts and then blanched them in boiling water, chilled them in ice water and then froze them, but not until I had eaten a plate full…just plain, no pepper, no salt, no butter. Just plain. They were sharp and sweet. And even though they are frozen now, when we pull them out in November, when the slant of the sun’s rays lay like back porch light refracted off the icy bird bath, they will still be mighty fine chow.
There is something about growing and harvesting beans and broccoli and squash and tomatoes and beets that sets my mind at ease. I don’t know exactly what creates the satisfaction. The work is simple, things I learned long ago that besides the vagaries of the weather and water, seem to work no matter what, and I get a crop and I share it with friends and eat it and put it up. It is ….hmm…is it fun? No, I think it is more than that.

I always wanted to be a farmer since my high school days back in Casa Grande, AZ. The majority of the economic activity there was agriculture related so it was in the blood, so to speak. I even owned part of a farm one time in Lordsburg, NM; a big, twenty-five-hundred acre corn farm with ten wells and houses and a mule out in the trap behind the barns. The farm sat just below the foothills on north side of the Pyramid Mountains and the upper fields were steep with long runs so the irrigation water was like a torrent when it sluiced into the bottom end. We never farmed it. It was in the 0-92 program with the United States government. If we grew zero crops on it, they would pay us ninety-two percent of the historic yield of the crops grown on the place.

We got the farm from a bank in a trade and I doubt they knew about that particular largesse or they probably would have kept it. We spent the money on other things besides seed and fertilizer and tractor parts.

When I told all my farmer friends we were on welfare with the 0-92, they got a little antsy in their pants, because most of them were on some form of income redistribution where the government transferred money from the United States Treasury to their pockets for growing a particular kind of crop, or as in our case, no crop at all. A lot of those farmers used a strategy where they farmed the subsidy program, and not wheat, or cotton, or corn.

I used to get a chuckle when I heard them talking about the state of the nation and all the poor folks in Phoenix and back in Chicago on the take from the government. I pointed out that so was I, and so, in many cases, were they. According to their ways of looking at it, their kind of income redistribution was okay, other kinds not. Occasionally there were sharp words thrown around, some threats and then a wife or two would have to step in to keep the peace.

Once my partner and I palavered about planting a field of beans on that Lordsburg outfit because beans were outside the 0-92 program and we had a patch of land that we could have tilled and sown and watered. According to the professors at the agriculture college the price of beans was high right then and if we hit a lick we could make some money. Above and beyond our welfare payments.

But we didn’t. It might have turned out to be a lot of hot work; sore knees, sore hands, sore back. Instead, I think we went bird hunting.

Posted on August 26, 2011

A Day at the Races

I cleaned my office this last weekend and as I straightened the bookshelves, J Edward Chamberlain’s, Horse (Blue Ridge, New York, NY), fell on the floor. Horse is a narrative that laymen can read about how mankind and the horse have developed a somewhat unique, symbiotic relationship.

As I hefted the book, an image of the racetrack vaulted into my mind. Not just any racetrack, but the racetrack at Ruidoso, New Mexico where they specialize in American Quarter Horse racing with the distance being a quarter of a mile, the money pot being in the millions.

Ruidoso crouches beneath the shoulders of Sierra Blanca, a twelve-thousand-foot peak in the southern part of the state. A lot of big Texas “awl bidness” money hangs around the restaurants, boutiques and honky tonks. There is a ski area and more important to horse folk, a racetrack.

One of my father’s younger brothers, Hugh, and his wife Lona Beth, owned a house on the Rio Ruidoso in the older part of town. They had box seats at the race track, too. Betty and I, for a time, lived thirty miles south in the more modest village of Cloudcroft. But we got invited to the track and we sat and watched the races and we bet from the sheet and lost money until Aunt Lona Beth pointed out that one shouldn’t bet the horses. They should bet the trainers and the jockeys and the owners. I thought, but geez, that means you have to know them. She read my mind and smiled as she went back to her racing notes, and then to the window to get her winnings.

The rest of the day I imagined I witnessed(or maybe I really did see it) the jockeys on the favorite horses in particular races pulling back on the reins so that one of the other horse owners could win some money and pay a feed bill, pay the veterinarian, pay for his daughter’s wedding in Telluride or Steamboat Springs.

Right then, I understood what was meant years earlier in the palaver I heard in Prescott, AZ about jockeys holding the horses back. That was in1976 when I summer-long hung out at Bruno’s Buffet just across the main drag from the racetrack. Bruno’s was chock full of horse owners and trainers and jockeys, not to mention the other gambler denizens. I was more interested in the vintage pinball machines against the back wall and the homemade tamales and burritos and of course the Coors and the schnapps and the Dewars and water. But I do recall the men sitting at the bar winking and giggling about shenanigans at the track. Drugs to speed up a steed or slow him down, or her if she was a filly. They fought, too, bringing their competitive natures from the track into the bar where the liquor started doing the talking and then fists started cracking faces and the pointed toes of ostrich skin cowboy boots bomb-shelled into opponents’ soft groins. Humans are a competitive bunch and they sling their drive to win onto the shoulders of all kinds of things: their hands, their feet, their fellow man, their brains tied to poker hands of aces and queens, the back of a horse, a pinball machine.

Back in the early 1970s I used to hang out on Sunday afternoons outside of Casa Grande, Arizona at the weekly races sponsored by the Los Conquistadores, a local Hispanic caballero club. Cars would line up along a makeshift track, their trunks open and loaded with Corona and Dos Equis and Coca Cola and orange sodas from Fanta de Mexico, or Jarritos, and better yet, fresh tamales and burritos, lots of jalapeño and Serrano chile slices laced among the beans and meat. The kind of food that made your mouth burn and your nose run and your head sweat and goosed you so you felt like you might just get out there and run beside those elegant caballos whose owners let them strut and kick up puffs of dust to whet betting appetites. A lot of cash changed hands out there one race after another, the green hundred-dollar notes flapping in the breeze as one man agonized and another rejoiced. Sometimes the tempers flared and men threatened others, but then one of the gentes managing the race stepped in and refereed, negotiated.

Back then I used to work at a large agricultural concern out west of town in the flat Sonoran desert plain below Dick Nixon Mountain and Table Top. One of the owners’ sons, whom I will call Butch, loved racing horses and bought a fancy prancing young dun stud he hoped would win him money and fame. He didn’t ride it himself; he hired one of the hostlers who worked for the company instead. That man was a slight Vietnam Vet whose seamed and ruddy face told stories he would never relate. He sat a horse like he was part of the animal; they reminded me of a centaur. The dun stud and the hostler would lope across the flat, greasewood-pocked ground leaving their caliche clay signature on the wisps of the wind. That dun was a moody, cranky thing and the only man who could handle him was the hostler.

Late one Saturday evening a strange pickup truck and horse trailer pulled up outside the office and some Chicanos I had seen all my life, but did not know, unloaded a big dapple gray gelding who stood around and sniffed with suspicion the eighty-two-thousand head of Hereford, Brahma, and angus cross-bred cattle in the feed pens.

I asked a cowpoke what was up and he told me there was a match race for big money. Of a sudden, cars and pickups began to arrive and the hostler brought the dun out and it snorted and cavorted sideways as the hostler talked soft words of comfort in its ears that reminded me of radio antennae the way they checked out the hubbub building with the powdered dust of the parking lot.

All of a sudden too, big white Panama-hatted cowboys and long-haired hippies and Chicano dudes arrived in large groups, drinking Dos Equis and speaking Español; also a couple of Yaqui Indians who hung back, leaning against some sucker rod fence as they laughed at all the proceedings. And yes, the greenbacks started to flash and a lot of harsh talk, as if words of intimidation from one man to the next would make a difference in how a horse would run. One man had a .357 Magnum six-shooter sticking barrel first in his left rear pants pocket. I hoped it wouldn’t fall out, go off and hit me.

The jockeys jockeyed their horses to the line. A cotton farmer with a long-barreled .22 Magnum said something about the race, although I was more interested in the array of weapons I saw sticking out of boots, hanging on belts. I wondered when the war might start. Was this a horse race or were we going to invade Baja California? All the Chicanos and most of the hippies sided with the owner of the dappled gray. Most of the cowboys and some of the hippies sided with Butch, the hostler and the young dun stud.

A stocky man stomped back and forth between each group, swearing in English and Spanish as the horses snorted and jumped around as if infected with the sense of competition. The bets continued. I kept my wallet in my pocket.

The stocky man flexed his fists like he wanted to hit someone and I heard talk that he liked to drive sixteen-penny nails into railroad ties with those fists. I doubted he could do that and smiled, but only on the inside, as I thought how that might feel, to pound a nail with the fist. Why in the hell would someone want to do that unless to show somebody else up, I reckoned as I inched my way to the back of the cowboy crowd.

While I was watching the hammer-fisted dude slinging his vernacular of violence around, the .22 Magnum reported and as I stood on the toes of my boots I saw those two horses, the muscled dapple gray and the young dun stud, erupt like funny cars at the drag races. They were gone and each of the jockeys, especially the hostler, leaned off his ride, slapping at the other jockey with his quirt. A lot of the men in each crowd were busy hurling epithets at counterparts on the other side and missed Butch’s dun win the race by better than two lengths. An anti-climax, for sure.

I moved back and stood next to the Yaquis, anticipating the fireworks to come. My heart sped up with the thought of some fist fights, a knifing, a shooting; but while the winner’s crowd ganged around Butch, the hostler and the dun, the loser’s crowd quickly sneaked off, leaving a lot of hot-tempered talk about welching on bets and the like.

It’s amazing, I think, how a man and an animal can symbiotically interact and create an entire industry—horse racing—that so perfectly corrals some of the essential best, and worst, of human emotions. The horse usually being the one that does most of the heavy work. The humans creating the rest—the hubbub, the competition, the hate, and yes, the love.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Maia Crooks Jr

Last Updated: 11/23/2022

Views: 6132

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Maia Crooks Jr

Birthday: 1997-09-21

Address: 93119 Joseph Street, Peggyfurt, NC 11582

Phone: +2983088926881

Job: Principal Design Liaison

Hobby: Web surfing, Skiing, role-playing games, Sketching, Polo, Sewing, Genealogy

Introduction: My name is Maia Crooks Jr, I am a homely, joyous, shiny, successful, hilarious, thoughtful, joyous person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.