Home Base

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June 12, 2019-

Tomorrow, I will head up for a few days in another of my heart homes – Dineh/Hopi.  Yes, there are many of those, and this Home Base is one.  The road will then curve eastward.

In the meantime, life goes on here in Prescott-with a vengeance.  Many of you may be taking journeys of your own, over the next few months, and I can say time spent in this area is well worth the drive, or flight (Ernest A. Love Regional Airport is expanding its own “wings”, with more destinations offered by its tenant carriers).  So, let me go all Chamber of Commerce on you.

I’d offer my own Home Base on Airbnb, but it’s a tiny place and the landlord would not be happy.  So, I recommend either of two hostels:  Prescott International, on McCormick Street. (https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g31323-d4309329-Reviews-Prescott_International_Travelers_Hostel-Prescott_Arizona.html) or House in the Pines Hostel, on Virginia Street, two blocks west of my place, actually(https://www.hiphostelaz.com/).  There are a couple of great boutique hotels:  The Grand Highland, right smack downtown, on Whiskey Row (https://www.grandhighlandhotel.com) and Hotel Vendome, one block south of downtown, on Cortez Street (https://www.vendomehotel.com/).  There are two grand hotels:  Hassayampa Inn, on the corner of Gurley and Marina, is a premier spot for jazz in the courtyard (https://www.hassayampainn.com/) and Hotel St. Michael, on the north end of Whiskey Row, at the corner of Montezuma and Gurley, is a prime meeting place for locals and visitors alike. (http://www.stmichaelhotel.com/).  The chains have fine reps here, as well:  Hampton Inn, Marriott and Spring Hill Suites are either downtown, or within a short drive.  An independent hotel, Forest Hills Suites, is near the Marriott, east of town.

Now, the entertainment part:  Nature calls, pretty loudly, here, if you’ve seen my earlier posts.  The man-made lakes- Goldwater, Lynx, Watson, Willow and Granite Basin are all great for fishing, kayaking, canoeing and picnicking.  Lynx Lake has a paddle boat concession, as well.  Each of these has good trail systems, so the hiker is bound to feel happy.  Speaking of which, mountain trails abound, at all levels of difficulty, from Peavine Trail (easy) to Granite Mountain and Mt. Union (strenuous).  In between, are Thumb Butte, Prescott’s signature landmark, west of downtown and Granite Dells, a warren of trails, north of town, and mostly on private land, but generously shared with the public.  I have enjoyed most of the trails available here, over the past eight years.

Indoors?  Lots of good stuff here, too.  We have Elks Theater, in a restored grand opera house and Prescott Center for the Arts, in a restored church.  Both are downtown.  The Courthouse Plaza has many evening concerts, during the warmer months and street festivals abound, particularly on weekends.  Yavapai College, on the east side of town, and Prescott College, slightly northwest of downtown, offer many artistic events, as well.  YC hosts Prescott Farmers Market, on Saturday mornings (7:30-12).  Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, 5 miles north of downtown, has an Observatory open to the public.  Sharlot Hall Museum is a must, for anyone seeking to understand Prescott’s history.

Now for the  brew.  I don’t imbibe alcohol, but there are more places to sit and hoist a few than this post has space.  A  few, for which I can vouch:  Matt’s, The Bird Cage, Rickety Cricket and Lil’s are all on Whiskey Row.  The Raven Cafe, one of my favourite restaurants and music venues, also has a full bar.  Brewery/Restaurants also are in no short supply:  Prescott Brewing Company, Granite Mountain Brewing, Coppertop Alehouse, Barley Hound-you get the picture.  Coffee is also in plethora:  Wild Iris, Ms. Natural’s (my absolute fave restaurant, as well), The Porch, Frannie’s (also has great frozen yogurt and pastries), Cupper’s, Firehouse Coffee, McQueen/Rustic Pie (also a  food fave), Method (on the north side of town) and Third Shot (in Gateway Mall, three miles east of town) are a few who come to mind.

Prescott’s Eats?- I mentioned Ms. Natural’s (The owner and a couple of the servers are personal friends and the name says it all, with regard to the fare).  Rustic Pie, Shannon’s Gourmet Deli, Dinner Bell Cafe, El Gato Azul, Rosati’s, Two Mamas Pizzeria, Chi’s Cuisine and Bill’s Pizza are all relatively small venues, but well worth a try.  So, too, are the larger places- Murphy’s, Gurley Street Grill, The Office, Rosa’s Pizzeria, Lone Spur, Bill’s Grill, Zeke’s Eatin’ Place (in Frontier Village, east of town), Park Plaza Liquor/Deli.  Other spots abound, so have fun exploring.

Finally, a few words about the periphery.  Prescott Valley, our sister town, is worthy of a day or two of exploration all its own.  It’s a lot of strip malls to take in, but they have a warm feel about them.  Rafter Eleven is a superb place for wine, coffee and dipping oils, located a block north of Highway 69, off Glassford Hill Road.  Backburner Cafe is on the north side of town, at the corner of Robert Road and Spouse.  Further east are:  Dewey-Humboldt, with Leff-T’s Steak House and Casa Perez Family Restaurant, plus a cute “Main Street”, at Humboldt; Mayer, with Flourstone Bakery and Arcosanti, a fascinating eco-architectural establishment.  Northwards is Chino Valley, with Danny B’s Seafood Cafe and the fascinating  Garchen Buddhist Institute, about seven miles east on Perkinsville Road (The access road is narrow, windy and steep in places).  Westward lie Kirkland, with its own steakhouse, replete with sawdust on the floor and bowls of unshelled peanuts on the table and Yarnell, with some interesting antique shops, Shrine of St. Joseph and, south of town, Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial State Park, where one may hike five miles or so, to the site of the tragic 2013 fire, which claimed the lives of 19 Wildland Fire Fighters, paying respects along the way. Nichols West Restaurant, in Congress, at the base of Yarnell Hill, is a fine place to replenish oneself, after such an outing.  Finally, fifteen miles northeast, on Highway 89A, is the mountain town of Jerome, with Haunted Hamburger, Mile Hi Grill, Bobby D’s BBQ, Flatiron Coffee House, Jerome State Park and an inn that was once a brothel. The road, both east and west of town, is not for the faint of heart-yet the streets are routinely packed with visitors from Phoenix, Scottsdale and all over.  Get there early.

This is my longest post ever, I know, but Home Base is worth every word.

 

Sacrifice

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May 31, 2019-

I was mildly upbraided for my summer plans, with the person exhorting me to consider “sacrifice”, for the sake of those who might need me to be here.  Sacrifice does mean giving up something, for a larger good.  So, let me look at that.

I live in one of the most desirable communities I’ve ever known.  It would, actually, be the easiest thing in the world, to stay here through the summer, and be at the beck and call of a relative handful of people.  Summers in Prescott are laid back. I could walk down to Courthouse Square or over to one of the colleges that are within walking distance.  I could hang out at Ms. Natural’s or The Raven Cafe, in the morning hours, then get together with friends in the evening, for regular spiritual study or other elevated conversations.

I live, however, for the wider world-as well as for my Home Base.   My journeys are NOT “taking a break from routine”, as was suggested.  Perhaps the person making that statement sees self, and some others up here, as feeling trapped- perhaps.  In truth, none of us here are trapped, in the literal sense.  I use time that is not devoted to work, to connect with other friends and family- not to hang out in luxury accommodations or visit theme parks.

There have been several years in my life, when the wider world had to wait, precisely because responsibilities did occupy my life, 24/7.  Such circumstances could find me again.  In any of these cases, it is a labour of love.  I do not view time spent here as a sacrifice, in any way, shape or form.  Nor do I view time spent on the road as an extravagance.

The Realm of Caring

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January 2, 2019, Prescott-

I sat in comfort, on New Year’s Eve, not knowing that a new friend was toughing it out, on snow shoes, of all things, headed to and from Courthouse Square.  When she finally shared this with me, this evening, I could only say:  “Next time, please call me and never mind the time.”

This is how I was raised and how the people in my circle of friends were for one another.  Even in the worst phases of my autism, I knew better than to ever leave a family member or friend in the lurch.  I wasn’t always so good at it, but I did make the effort.

A few minutes later, there came a post from another friend, elsewhere in the country, about a particularly nettlesome difficulty she was facing, due to other people’s inefficiency and lack of communication. I am furious on her behalf and could only say as much, whilst praying for resolution of the matter.

I have faced the harshest of communication and the most endearing that it can convey, over the past six decades and eight years.  I have also had good friends up and leave, without so much as a “Farewell”.  I will not chase after them, and if they come back, I will be as glad to see them, as if they never left.

Caring, in my view, does not mean patronizing or groveling.  In fact, it’s the opposite.  We are here to raise each other up, period.  Tomorrow, I will join my above-mentioned local friend in a leisurely activity, likely taking some children on an ice-skating venture.  This, from one who tried skating three times, as a child, and fell down each time I got up, should be interesting.

Crowds

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December 3, 2016, Prescott-  I am pinching my pennies, for the next two weeks, as it is both high bill time and a cause for continuing severance of expenditures that no longer make sense.  Satellite TV and landline telephone have gone by the boards, as a result.  Even my essential oils purchases are cut, since I’m the only one buying from me.  There also won’t be many meals out, if I’m dining alone.  It doesn’t take much to make me happy, anyway.

Watching this evening’s lighting of Courthouse Square, including the Christmas tree, was a free delight, though.  The melodic voices of children of all ages added sonic luster to the event.  I was a needle in a humongous crowd- I’d estimate 2,000 people on the lawn, and another 500 or so, walking the streets and patronizing every restaurant, cafe and shop within a half-mile radius of the Square.   I found a small deli, a bit off the beaten track, and contented myself with a cheap, delicious bowl of meatball,kale and white bean soup.

Although I am perfectly happy being alone, I like crowds.  They bring prosperity to my otherwise struggling friends and neighbours in the downtown shops and restaurants. I learn from listening to different people talking, as we all stand and watch the festivities, or while  walking along the sidewalks. Although, they can try people’s   patience, they also bring a chance to think outside the box and to develop networks of co-operation, that otherwise would not have a chance to be established.  One never knows when such networks will be imperative.

Last Sunday, at a gas station just this side of the Colorado River, I happened upon the usual chaotic, end-of-holiday scene.  I took my place in a pump queue, moved up in amazingly short order, and filled the Hyundai’s tank.  As I was preparing to drive out, after paying, another driver backed into the spot in front of me, boxing me in and keeping the person behind me from pulling up to the tank.  The driver behind me got out and started yelling at the miscreant, who, as it happened, did not speak English, but  looked determined not to co-operate, in any event.  Fortunately, there was an attendant on scene, who directed me around the car and carefully past the store front, which was also insanely busy.

Thinking outside the box seems to be the only way, as we move through a most unsettled and chaotic time.

The Road to 65, Mile 359: That Which Brings A Smile

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November 22, 2015, Prescott- This is the last day of Positivity Week, and I have been asked to mention those people and things in my life which make me smile.

So, in no particular order:  My students, and hearing them sing and struggle with the winter song that is associated with the coming holidays.  I know they will sound just fine, with practice, by concert time.

The antics of teens in the neighbourhood Skate Park.  They have mastered some moves that I would look frightful doing, and they do nothing wrong, while there.
“Peanuts”, and other such remnants of the days when childhood was indeed a world apart.  I know the teacher is made to look non-existent, but that’s part of the allure.Mission Inn

Pets, and their silliness.  The love of an animal keeps a lot of people sane, who would otherwise be underwater, emotionally.

The ambiance of places like Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, and Tucson, at this time of year.  Even Riverside, CA will command a stop, when I head back here from San Diego, next Sunday. Mission Inn has a legendary holiday display.  Our Courthouse Square, though, sets the mould.

The cards I am getting, in advance of my hexagenarian midpoint.  I am always grateful for those who help me “ring in” my personal New.

Positivity Week is now drawing to a close, but a positive spirit need never do so.

 

The Road to 65, Mile 290: The Soup of Good Fortune

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September 13, 2015, Prescott-   I spent three hours today, in one of the most worthwhile of endeavours.  The Empty Bowls Project is an annual event in Prescott, on Courthouse Square, where so many of our great community events take place.  I was given the job of Gazpacho Ladeler.  Each of us ladelers gave a contributing patron 6 oz. of soup in either a ceramic bowl, which they had purchased, or in a free Styrofoam bowl.  Patrons could come back for second helpings, so one or two of the more popular soups (i.e. lobster bisque) ran out.

Various restaurants in Prescott and nearby Prescott Valley sent a plenitude of soups, most of them hot.  The gazpacho seemed to be the only one that wasn’t.  Even so, there was just about a bowl left over, when we stopped at 2:10, and the chef came to get her materials. My tangible reward for this effort was two 16 oz. cups of soup, one minestrone and one coconut cauliflower curry.  Far greater, of course, is knowing that a substantial amount of money was raised for the benefit of local food banks.

I went back to the house afterward, and finished reading “Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior”, which recounts Dan Millman’s experiences, whilst on Oahu and Molokai.  I sat, totally concentrating on the last fifty pages of the book, and journeyed with him through various dimensions and states of mind.  He did not use hallucinogens, and I can identify with that, since my own mind can make its way to worlds that hardly make sense, in a tangible context.  This afternoon, I only followed his lead.

After my reading was finished, I was given the message to prepare a certain soup of my own.  I first peeled the rind off a butternut squash, after cleaning out its seeds and slicing off the ends.  Then, I did the same with an eggplant and a red pepper, adding lean ground beef and a few figs, with various seasonings.  Turmeric was put in there, for some reason.  I don’t usually add it to a vegetable soup, but there it was.

The scraps and seeds were then buried in the backyard, in an impromptu garden plot.  I’ve never heard of planting so close to Fall, but that was the message I got- and well, trust the journey.  We’ll see what transpires.

I will regard the resulting concoction as a soup of good fortune- celebrating what appear to be doors opening for me, even as a door of friendship, of two years’ duration, seems to be closing.  Everything happens in its time.

The Road to 65, Mile 53: The Same Boat

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January 20, 2015, Prescott- “We may have arrived on different ships, but we are all in the same boat.”  This was one of the messages being carried by the some 400 marchers in Prescott, AZ, yesterday, during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day march, from Prescott College around Courthouse Square and to the United Methodist Church, where a rousing rally, with gospel music and a stirring address by Reverend Michael Cannon awaited our assemblage.

My parents raised us to regard each person we met, on an individual basis.  They were prisoners, somewhat, of their generation’s tendency to fear “the other”, but my folks desperately wanted out of that box, and looked to us to show the way towards a more inclusive world. There were classmates of Asian descent, in my high school, who were congenial.  I did not, however, have friends who were African-American or Hispanic until I was in the Army, and it was much later that my circle grew to include Native Americans and people who hailed from the Middle East.

We are in a far more open world now.  My son does well with people, regardless of ethnicity, faith or sexual orientation, as do I.  The Baha’i Faith, to which I adhere, enjoins anyone from acting out of prejudice.  Our task is to root out the bias and replace it with an understanding of the people whose backgrounds differ from ours.  The thing to be opposed, in this great Age, is an unseemly character.

That was the bedrock of Dr.King’s speeches, and actions, in the 1950’s and ’60’s.  It was the overriding theme of Rev. Mr.Cannon’s address, yesterday morning and again last night, at St. Luke’s Ebony Christian Church, where he is Associate Pastor.  It is the foundation of that which every person who seeks uprightness in this life, does every day.  Imperfect souls own their flaws, and still march towards the light, casting the burden of foulness aside as they go.  I know of many people, myself included, who have aspects of their past which, if left unaddressed and uncorrected, would serve as a personal Tar Pit.  On we go, though, grateful for forgiveness and grace.

This is huge boat, and we each have a part to play in its successful voyage.  So, if you are African-American, come to the table.  If you are a lower-income, or lower-middle-class person of European descent, come to the table.  If you are of a family indigenous to these continents we call America, come to the table.  If you are from the world’s most populous continent, anywhere from the eastern Mediterranean to the western Pacific, come to the table.  If you came from Africa, during the past century, or from Australasia, come to the table.

You may be, like me, attracted solely to the opposite gender- and you belong here.  You may be drawn to those of the same gender, or both, or may feel you need gender reassignment, or already have had it- and you belong here.  Regardless of age, ability level, or employment status, you belong here.  Whether you are Liberal, Conservative, Moderate, Tea Party or Occupy Anything With A Corner Office, you have a part to play.

We need to uphold the rule of law, AND the law has to be humane.  We surely need to expect those entering our country to respect and obey our laws, just as those of us Americans who visit other countries must adhere to their laws.  We do best to remember that the task of the individual is to show mercy, and that of the human institution, from the family to the nation-state, is to show justice.

The great boat will not list, will not leak and will not sink, so long as we all remember:  Each has a place.