Arizona recap | TheFencePost.com

Arizona recap

Laugh Tracks in the Dust
Milo Yield
Damphewmore Acres, Kan.

Folks, I’m squeezing in one last Arizona column before heading back to “late winter country.” So, it’s time I summarize what I’ve seen and learned about the Valley of the Sun — better known as Greater Phoenix.

First, while huge when combined, all the cities that make up Greater Phoenix are wide open, spacious, and clean. While we didn’t not try to find “seedy” areas of Phoenix, we didn’t seek to avoid them either and we went about everywhere. By and large, even the older neighborhoods are clean.

For a huge metropolitan area, traffic in and around Phoenix moves remarkably well. Most streets are six lanes wide, with ample turn lanes and two turn lanes.

Dining opportunities? Well, there’s a plethora of them and a wide variety. Ol Nevah and I speculated that you could eat at a different kind of restaurant on every day of a year.

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Strip malls abound and regular “indoor” malls are hard to find. This wuz surprising because you’d think air-conditioned malls would prevail in all the hot months. That’s not the case.

Also, surprisingly, there is still a lot of irrigated agriculture inside the city limits of Greater Phoenix. There are still thousands of acres of irrigated alfalfa and durum wheat, and a little cotton. In fact, the alfalfa farmers are already baling their first cutting. Ample markets for alfalfa exist with the huge dairies that haven’t yet been squeezed out by housing developments, plus there are hundreds of acreages with riding horses or a few cattle, goats and sheep.

I’ve surmised that all these “irrigated city farms” must be owned by farmers with senior water rights and they are just holding out for higher bidders who will rapidly turn their irrigated land into homes, condos, apartments and strip malls. I bet the cities hate to deliver water to those inner-city fields, but irrigation canals of all sizes still deliver water to the fields. All the irrigation is furrow, not sprinkler.

We learned that there are way more kinds of cacti than we thought.

And, lastly, the weather in Phoenix is fantastic in January and February. Every morning between 40-50 degrees and the late afternoons between 65-75. Yesterday the high was 78 — and I wuz golfing at 6 p.m. It’s seldom cloudy nor windy.

All in all, it’s been an enjoyable 60-day stay in the Valley of the Sun. There’s a good chance we’ll return next winter.

•••

Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.

After a big bull bulled his way through the flimsy headgate, an old grizzled rancher wuz thoroughly maimed and knocked senseless. When the old rancher finally regained consciousness, he was in a hospital and in a lot of pain.

He found himself in the intensive care unit, with tubes/IV drips in both arms, a breathing mask, wires monitoring every function and a young nurse hovering over him, looking worried. It was obvious he was in a life-threatening situation.

The nurse leaned over, gave him a serious look, straight into his eyes, and spoke to him softly and slowly, enunciating each word: “You may not feel anything from the waist down.”

Somehow the old rancher managed to mumble in reply, “Does that mean that anything above the waist is fair game?”

And that, my friends, is a real positive attitude.

•••

Valentine’s Day passed without comment or story from me. Well, here’s a couple to make up for the lost opportunity.

Joe was a nerdy-type young farmer, way more at home behind his computer than he wuz behind the steering wheel of his tractor. So, it was kind of natural that he met a rural woman online at a popular dating site for rural folks.

They had been dating online for over a year. When they finally met in person, she introduced Joe to her farmer dad, who was fascinated by the fact that they met over the internet.

So, her Dad asked Joe, “What kind of line did you use to pick up my daughter?”

Ever the geek, Joe naively replied, “I just used a regular 56K modem.”

•••

A husband — a certified public accountant whose main clientele wuz farmers and ranchers — worked 15-hour days for the first few weels of the year getting ready for tax time.

In spite of his hectic schedule, he took time out to order Valentine’s Day flowers for his wife. While pondering what sweet endearment to write on the card, he obviously began thinking of the many hours of work still ahead of him. His note read: “Roses are red, violets are blue. If I weren’t thinking of you, I’d probably be through.’”

•••

Here a few words of wisdom to ponder while I’m rolling on the pavement back to the Flint Hills:

“Respect your elders. They graduated from school without the internet.”

“Some words are better left unsaid. I usually realize this just after I’ve said them.”

Have a good ‘un. ❖


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