Under A Gentle Mist


July 26, 2022- I woke this morning, to a router/modem combo that was struggling to even fully load, and a candle pot that had somehow crashed to the floor and shattered, overnight. After cleaning up the pieces of ceramic and vacuuming the shards, I looked carefully at the device, and found its power supply was running very hot. So, the whole thing was unplugged and will remain so, until a technician from Sparklight comes over, tomorrow at some point. Thus do I write from the pleasant surroundings of Wild Iris Coffee House and will communicate with others, this evening, from Raven Cafe.

There is a misty rain in Prescott, this morning, a gentle reminder that, no matter how difficult things may seem at times, there is always a Guiding Hand that will help keep things on an even keel. Last night, as I walked from Bill’s Pizza, following a pleasant dinner served by a precious soul, I was approached by a longtime friend, who is a Youth Pastor. He asked my opinion on the political events of the past two years, then stated his disaffection with a certain defeated candidate for the presidency. My contention that any one of us can be dumb at times, but few are stupid, was reinforced by our conversation. My conservative friend has a good heart and a discerning mind.

I got a reasonable estimate from the auto body shop that I use here, so Saturn should be repaired, relatively easily, sometime in August, courtesy of the culpable party’s insurance company. In the meantime, it’s roadworthy and will get its welcome back oil & lube on Thursday.

Late August and early September will find me in Colorado and northern New Mexico, with a Baha’i school in Colorado Springs as the centerpiece. The second half of October will bring a visit to northern Nevada and eastern Idaho. I had considered a train ride to Sacramento, and renting a car from there, but the time and money required to drive up there is actually less than a train/rental car combination. So, once again, it’ll be Saturn and me going forth together. Thanksgiving will, most likely, be a Texas affair, with Christmas right here at Home Base, but more on those, later.

This is a community of very finely-tuned synchronicity. I left the coffee house, momentarily, to change parking spots, as there is a two-hour limit. Spotting an empty space in Iris’s lot, I went to the car, turned around and, lo and behold, the car in front of me got the empty space. Having been raised with a mindset of abundance, I pulled around the corner and found several spaces available. There is, most often, room for everyone in this world.

Acker Night, 2021


December 10, 2021-

For some, it was a chance to engage in a mass dance performance, based on the pop song “Baby Shark”. For another singer, it was a chance to regale an infant girl and her family with that same silly little tune.

For most, the evening was a chance to raise funds for arts education programs in our area. It was also a chance to get yet more photos of the magnificent light display on Courthouse Square. I have posted such photos, in years past and may yet get better shots this year.

For some, it meant crowding into Raven Cafe, The County Seat, or other such eateries, to relax as much as one can in a standing room only setting. There were also those who stood in a long line, outside a real estate office, where live music was also on offer. Then, there were those places, like two of our three downtown bookstores, which opted out of the festivities. Bill’s Pizza had no choice in the matter-Omicron is believed to have come calling, earlier this month and one of the best little pizzerias in Prescott is temporarily closed.

For me, it meant taking in a couple of performances, and leaving a tip in each fund-raising jar. It was quite a crowded event, but with so many places opting out of this year’s participation, the mood was a bit more subdued.

I think, though, that Acker Night will endure, and be a fine fundraising event for years to come.

Dreams Not Deferred


May 21, 2020-

After visiting the newly reopened American Legion Post 6 and stopping by Bill’s Pizza for a couple of slices, which I then enjoyed at a park bench, in Courthouse Square, I headed along North Cortez Street, and made note of more places re-opening, this coming weekend.

It was another of life’s sublime pleasures, to see a fairly good cross section of our area’s graduating high school seniors, lining up in their vehicles-sedans, trucks, SUVs and Jeeps, preparing for a motorcade through downtown, after which they would go to Pioneer Park, on the north side, for a group celebration. I stayed around and cheered all of the grads, as they drove by my perch on the outside of a long-defunct Chinese restaurant.

This group has been challenged to complete their course of study, in ways not seen since World War II. People of my parents’ generation may well identify, yet at least they got to finish school in their buildings. This spring semester, at all schools, has been an intense swirl of innovation-much of it accomplished on the spur of the moment. The best of it has relied on inquiry and discussion, followed by students coming up with solid new ways to accomplish things that had relied on formula, for far too long.

I had little to do with the achievements of this class of seniors, but I did cheer one young lady, a special needs person, who learned the value of setting personal boundaries and safeguarding herself, without, thankfully, having to undergo trauma. She can now take her place among those pursuing, and realizing, their dreams-hers being to work as a cosmetologist.

May each of these remarkable souls make their mark, not waylaid by any future misfortune-either greater or lesser than the one that interrupted, but did not dismantle, their last year of high school.

Workaday Hollywood, and The Slog


November 12, 2019, Indio-

Among my circle of family and friends, a half dozen or so live in and work around Hollywood, with a view towards making it in the film industry.  I have a sense that each of them will make their mark; some being steady and modest successes and others rising to considerable fame.  This is a harsh environment, both in terms of the level of competition and in the amount of stress that striving to entertain others produces.  Then, there is all that comes with living in Los Angeles- Knowing how to adapt to high volumes of  vehicular traffic and living among a lot of people with intense schedules and lifestyles.  The same could be said of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta or Seattle; in fact, of any large city.   Los Angeles, though, has The Allure; a generally mild climate and a goodly number of laid-back people, scattered among the intense crowd.

Penny and I visited Hollywood, in the Spring of 1986, heading straight for the Walk of Fame, after having spent a day in Disneyland and the following evening at Knotts Berry Farm.  This was our only trip to LA.  All other California visits focused on San Diego, Santa Cruz and, once, Santa Barbara.  Since she’s been gone, I’ve been in the LA area a few times, but today was my first visit back to Hollywood.  This time, the Walk of Fame was not on the agenda.  My purpose was a visit with one of the above-mentioned aspirants in my circle, who is one of my son’s best friends, and the venue was a small eatery on Hollywood Boulevard:  Division 3.


As you can see, Hollywood, as it exists for many people who live there, is rather densely built, with parking at a high premium.  All manner of people are out and about.  I initially parked about a half-mile away, near a Catholic school, well off the main drag.  When I.P. arrived, we walked up to my parking spot and he told me of better, closer spaces.  So, Elantra ended up about two blocks south of Hollywood and Bronson.

Back at Division 3, we enjoyed about 2 1/2 hours of conversation, catching up on all that transpired since Aram had last visited Phoenix, about four years ago.  As it happened, that was the length of time that the harried restaurant chef needed to fill our order.  Hollywood establishments frequently get slammed with large, spur-of-the-moment orders, especially at lunch time.  The fare was worth it, as neither of us happened to be in much of a rush.  One touching moment was a homeless man, seemingly a bit confused, asking me where Michael J. Fox was.  I told him Mr. Fox was off working for Parkinson’s research, which made him feel better.  IP and I got in our Hollywood, 2019 photos. (That’s my camera case, on my right hip, BTW.)



The meet-up ended all too soon, and I was off on the last part of this LA adventure: The Slog.  Hollywood-to-Rossmore-to-Wilshire-to-Crenshaw-to- I-10 was pretty much a breeze.  LA to Palm Desert was far less so.  It was 3:15, when I merged onto my moving home, for the next four hours.  What is comforting about The Slog is that, as in Chicago and New York, people have worked it out. Public Enemy # One would be anyone who causes an accident; things are hard enough as it is.  We were family in anonymity,  keeping watch for those who were moving slower or faster than the majority.  No one, in my scrum, was injured or inconvenienced, and by 7:15, I was in Palm Desert,  stopping to visit Bill Tracey’s crew at the third branch of Bill’s Pizza.  It is a large, spacious and very welcoming edifice, off Highway 111.



The Slog is hardly something in which I will be partaking, frequently.  It is an ungainly use of  energy, time and space, necessary, for the foreseeable future-but crying out for alternatives.  Surface roads help out some; yet mass transit and more regional urban villages need to be a greater part of the mix.

I am stopped for the night, at Western Sands Motel, in this easternmost edge of LA’s Metro Extension.  Tomorrow, I head back to Home Base and preparations for what may turn into an early winter-snow is part of the forecast, next week and the week after.

The Gold Standard


September 9, 2019-

Bill Tracy passed away last Thursday, after a month-long decline, triggered by a fall from the roof of his Palm Desert restaurant.  Bill was one of those rare individuals whose concept of business was primarily as a means of giving back. He had three restaurants in Prescott-The Dinner Bell (ironically, a breakfast and lunch establishment), Bill’s Pizza and Bill’s Grill.  Feeling age, he sold those establishments, in 2015, to a friend who has kept Bill’s vision.  Bill’s Pizza, for example, donated about twenty large pies to the Farmers’ Market Board, yesterday, to feed volunteers and staff at the Farm-to-Table Dinner.

Bill’s philanthropy was where his heart was.  He gave to a variety of causes and regarded the needs of the community, both in Prescott and in the Palm Springs area. He has helped our local Red Cross Chapter, as well as the Farmers’ Market and a local street ministry. Bill hired those who were disadvantaged, and worked with them to develop job skills.  I have eaten at all three of his restaurants, on several occasions over the years.  I never met the man, but I saw his ethic at work and notice that there is a close camaraderie in each of the establishments.

People like Bill Tracy are the gold standard, combining social sense, business sense and deep character.   Many of us strive to develop one or another of these qualities, and make a good effort at it.  Bill had the drive and sense of constancy to keep up with the changes and chances of economic downturns-and was a force in establishing shelters and care programs for the homeless, both in Prescott and in the Palm Springs area.

He won’t return to Prescott, but I daresay his spirit will never leave this community.