Thursday, January 15
“How ’bout we take a little ride into town?”
Bridget replies by disappearing out the door of the Best Little Trailer to hop, wiggle, prance in circles, and yip excitedly at the side door of the Perfect Tow Vehicle.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” I open the door and toss her inside. We leave our Sonoran Desert camp in southern Arizona.
We pass the Border Patrol Station.
We pass the school, the Chamber of Commerce, the Spanish-style church building, and the businesses of the town square. Not being in the mood to walk around town with my camera, I take a few, quick, drive-by photos and let it go at that for today.
If you’ve never been to Ajo, it’s a charming, little town that manages to have an artsy flavor while maintaining a normal desert town atmosphere. . . in spite of seasonal visitors like me.
I don’t remember seeing this when we were here last . . . .
I agree. Ajo rocks!
“Okay, okay. Let me find a good place for you.” I pull around an empty building and park in the back. Bridget is a good girl, quickly taking care of business in the bushes and returning to the PTV’s side door.
“You’re all set now. No need to fuss when I go in for groceries, right?”
Olsen’s Market is on the far side of town.
Whoa… This place is busy today…
Olsen’s proves a store doesn’t have to be humongous to be good. People sit at cafe-style tables set between the cash registers and produce, enjoying Mexican fare and treats from the deli. I ask for a container of cole slaw. (I know. Boring.)
Here’s something I notice about Olsen’s . . .
You know how people often behave in a crowded grocery store, impatient for you to get out of their way and their presence being equally annoying as well?
At Olsen’s people act like they came for a grocery shopping experience. There’s a high percentage of couples today with both parties interested in the shopping, casually discussing the avocados, the sale on broccoli, and whatnot, drifting around, perusing the spices, exclaiming to the butcher about a cut of meat handed over the case . . . . Shoppers seem to be in a mellow mood. And somehow, even though the store is small and very busy, everyone has elbow room.
I pick up a few fruits and vegetables.
On impulse I buy a bunch of swiss chard in memory of my mother.
My mother and father both died on January 17th, one year apart, about 25 years ago. My mother loved swiss chard. I haven’t eaten it since the one mouthful I tried and rejected during childhood. Maybe I’ll like it now . . . Funny the things one remembers . . . . I can hear her urging me and my sisters, “Try it! It’s GOOD!”
She also said that about rhubarb without success. I still resent rhubarb for ruining her strawberry pies.
After this brief sojourn into society, I’m ready to return to the desert.
I let a few cars pass us in order to enjoy a lazy drift home. I like having a travel trailer for our home-on-wheels for many reasons. One big reason is being able to come home to it.
There’s our home waiting for us . . . . “We’re home, Bridge!”
The stones around the saguaro and creosote bush aren’t merely decorative. They warn when one drives too closely, preventing tragic side-swipes. These saguaros are precious treasures. Sorry, creosote… You’re just a young’un. (Maybe I’m wrong about the creosote. See note at end of post.)
I sit in the lounger reading my Paperwhite, absently brushing away a flying insect. This goes on for a while until suddenly I become aware of the buzzing. It’s a bee!
“Go away, darn it,” I wave impatiently. More buzzing . . . .
Oh my, what in the world?
A swarm of bees is inside the BLT!
“What is going on?” I ask out loud, getting up to investigate. “Why all the bees?”
A glance at Bridget’s water dish by the doorway gives me the answer.
Six or seven yellow bees float in the water. A few more crawl on the edge of the dish. Even more hover above. They don’t seem aggravated or hostile. I walk through them, open the cupboard, and pull out a bright, coral-colored plate.
I pick up Bridget’s water dish and address the bees.
“C’mon, everybody. Out you go.”
At the edge of the campsite I place the plate on the ground and pour the water and some bees into it. I return to the remaining bees who fly in confused circles in the doorway of the BLT. I step inside, pick up the throw rug, and use it to herd the bees outside, quickly shutting the screen door behind me.
In only a few minutes all the bees have found the new watering “hole” and I go back to reading. Bridget will let me know when she wants to go inside for a drink.
Weird combination, but who’s to judge? I put a dab of butter and a sprinkle of salt on the chard.
Mmm…. not bad, Mother, not bad.
NOTE: I’ve since learned that creosote can live a long time.
“In a few areas of the Mojave Desert clonal creosote rings have been found that are several yards in diameter. Near Lucerne Valley, “King Clone” has an average diameter of 45 feet! Using radiocarbon dating and known growth rates of creosote, scientists have estimated the age of “King Clone” as 11,700 years. Some of these common residents have been here continuously since the last ice age.” Harold DeLisle, PhD., crossingworlds.com
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