Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Friday, May 21, 2010

Benson – Tombstone

1. Elliotts Ranch Gate
2. A couple of Paint Horses
3. Hippie shop in Bixbee
4. Tombstone - Universal feeling for Politicians
5. Emma-Lou and Wee Beastie

I finally got on the road – at about 11 a.m. rather than the 9 a.m. as I had planned.

I stopped at Casa Grande to visit a quilt store Myra told me I had to see - Of course, it was closed that day. But it sure looked interesting

Had no trouble finding the Elliott’s. You can see the highway from their house. Emmy Lou is the gal I met at a laundromat in National City, CA 50 years ago – when my oldest was an infant.

We were both there to wash diapers (Those were the Olden days when diapers were washed and dried, not pulled out of a bag or box) She had a toddler with her. It was instantaneous friendship, and we have kept in touch over all these years, but this was the first time I’ve seen her since our time in CA. We met, probably the first of March, I left CA in June for Montana, and she left in July for Minnesota. So we hung out for only about 3 months. I did not meet her husband, Tom in CA – I was too shy at the time, so I always made tracks when he was expected home. Emmy-Lou says I was the one who approached her in the laundromat when we met, cause she was also shy, and says we never would have met if left up to her.

About 15 years ago, they re-settled in Arizona – moving their Paint Horse ranch to the area of Benson, AZ. At one time they had about 50 horses, but now are down to 13.

Tom and Emma Lou have a band and during the winter, entertain at different venues in the area.

That nite I had a message from Stephanie! She was in Tucson – had been in Bisbee, and Tombstone already. So, Ladies, if you wonder why you can’t get her on the phone, it’s because she is out here in the old West!!!

The next morning, Emmy-Lou chauffeured me around the area. First we went to “downtown” Benson to look for a “Benson, AZ” hat pin for my niece. Found one, too.

Then we went on to Tombstone. It’s an interesting place. Very old-time western, and they re-enact the gun fight at OK Corral daily. We wandered in and out of shops, took photos of the stagecoach, reached the end of the road, and started back on the opposite side of the street.

We stopped in the Birdcage Saloon. It’s a very historic place. We didn’t go into the museum part, but enjoyed and informative talk by the “bartender”. The Birdcage was open for business 24/7 for 9 years. For 8 years, 5 months and 3 days (24 hours a day), it hosted a single high stakes poker game. I cost $1000 to join the game, and over $10 million dollars crossed over the table. As players joined and left, there was a 6 month waiting list for men wanting to lose their money. At that time there were over 100 bars in the town. Imagine! No small feat to locate the next fellow on the list there. (And good luck to any ladies looking in town for their men!) Some of the players are familiar – Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp (he met the love of his life at the bar), George Randolph Hearst, Diamond Jim Brady, and many others.

I saw some beautiful T-shirts, if you can call T-shirts beautiful, I talked myself out of buying one – maybe next year - I think I’ll collect T-shirts to make a blanket – for me!!!

Oops, I almost left out the “eye candy” three young French tourists, outfitted in brand-new Levi’s that looked like they had not been washed yet. I guess “when in France …… works both ways. (or is that “when in Rome” Well, either way…….)

I learned at a tender age to always pre-wash the jeans. Once, in a brand-new pair of unwashed jeans, I jumped on my horse, Snipper, and spent the day riding. Those days I didn’t have a saddle. Can you imagine how I felt when I finally slid off Ship’s wet, sweaty back? I thought I’d never ride – or walk – again!!!! Blisters as big as quarters!

We drove on to Bisbee, AZ – which is where Stephanie says all the hippies have moved.
It’s an old mining town. We had lunch at the Copper Queen hotel. Delicious! We strolled around town for awhile, then continued on our way! We stopped to look at the Open Pit mine. Very impressive, but not as big as the one in Butte, MT.

We continued our drive in a big circle – driving quite close to the Mexican border, we had to pass through a border patrol checkpoint. Being blue-eyed blonds, we were waived right through. The country around the Benson area is rugged desert with lots of cactus, beautiful mountains all around. There is lots of history to see here, but I’m saving some for my next visit.

The Elliott’s have put their southern Colorado ranch up for sale. So if you are interested in owning a ranch, with great hunting – Elk, Deer, Turkey, etc – let me know – I’ll put you in touch with them!

Emmy Lou and Tom: I’LL BE BA-A-A-ACK!!!!

On the way back to Phoenix, as I passed Casa Grande, Madame took the bit in her mouth, and on “auto pilot” took me right to the quilt shop. It was as great as Myra said, and, I can’t believe I did this, but I bought a quilt pattern for $20!!! What was I thinking, but just wait til you see the quilt when it’s finished!!!!

I got back to Phoenix in time to see the student art show at the school where Michelle teaches. Wow – you can really see the talent of her students. The art is incredible.

Michelle introduced me to a fellow teacher, saying I was the one who made the pottery aprons. As a result, I have a standing order for aprons the next time I’m in Phoenix. Isn’t that neat?

Michelle says the kids in her class are gratefully using the pottery aprons – no more clay spattered on their clothes!!!

I asked Ken if he missed me while I was gone. He said “No!” quite emphatically, but then followed with “Well, yes, a bit” I told him that was a good thing, cause I was going to stay an extra day. He lowered his chin, and glowered at me over his glasses!!! Yep, he’ll miss me.

Well, tomorrow morning, it’s off to California.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs


PS for Brooke. Your quilt has barely been started – as in, I cut the pictures off the T-shirts, but the fabric AND the sewing machine are in storage in Virginia. If all goes as planned, and I spend 3 months in Angie’s apartment, I should have all my quilts finished before I leave there!

PPS: I’m responding to your question here, just to see if you read my blog. (I know, I know, I’m a mean Mommy)

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