Damphewmore Acres, Kan.
We had a big change in the weather here in the Valley of the Sun. It rained — a total of less than a quarter of an inch — the locals were impressed by the amount. Ol’ Nevah and I were not. Other than settle a little dust, it just dropped the temperatures into the chilly 50s for a day. Eat your hearts out.
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Other than that little weather blip. It’s the same every day — sun, sun, and more sun. So, we get out every day to try and do something new and different.
Probably our most “different” activity for the week wuz eating at the Organ Stop Pizza and Italian Restaurant in Mesa. The name sounds a little weird for an eating place, but the name has a purpose. It’s big for a restaurant. The sitting area is as big as a basketball court, and there is seating in the balcony, too.
When you enter, you get into one of three lines to make your order and pay for it — cash or personal checks only — no credit cards. Guess the owners want to rake in that 4% credit card user fee for themselves. Once we got our order entered, they gave us a number and told us to watch the “scoreboard” for our number, then come pick up our order and take it to our seats.
Getting seats was what I’d call a “cattle car scramble.” It was do-it-yourself seating in the extreme, like finding a seat on Southwest Airlines. After we found some seats, we settled in to watch the entertainment — which explained the Organ Stop name.
A stage at the front of the eating area is at least 6-feet tall. With a big fanfare, lights, bells and whistles, out of the stage arises a GIANT pipe organ. It’s an ornate one with silver and gold on the sides. The entire wall behind it, at least 75-feet wide, houses the organ pipes protected by glass, so we could watch the pipes shake and vibrate as the organ player did song after song.
Mostly the songs were patriotic, but some were humorous. All were loud. During one song aimed at the children in the audience, curtains right behind the organ opened to a puppet show.
All in all it was quite entertaining and the food was good, too. The owners found a novel way to attract customers. A giant organ in a pizza joint. Go figure.
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Last Saturday Nevah and I traveled south 100 miles to Tucson to renew familial relationships with a first cousin I hadn’t seen since our maternal grandmother’s funeral in the late 1970s.
My cousin is almost seven years older than me and lives alone, with her friendly Chihuahua, Chloe, although her two sons live nearby. She owns a flat-roofed stucco townhouse in southwestern fashion, with cacti and succulent desert plants everywhere.
My cuz has been a world traveler and her home contains an eclectic array of world artifacts, sculptures and paintings.
After we spent a few hours getting caught up on family history, my cuz treated us to our noon meal in an elegant restaurant named Vivace’s. It’s located in the mountain foothills in northwest Tucson. The view of the mountains wuz splendid.
After the valet parked our car, we entered and the waitstaff greeted cuz familiarly. I had an excellent open faced beef tenderloin sandwich with a red wine sauce. And, the best part of the meal is that cuz picked up our bill.
I laughed and told her that she’s lucky I didn’t embarrass her and wear my overalls into Vivace’s. As it was, I was out of place wearing bermuda shorts.
All in all, we had a most pleasant family reunion and I told cuz that my dear old dad, and her uncle, Czar E. Yield, had a saying about eating in such an elegant restaurant. He’d have said, “Well, son, that was a huckleberry above our persimmon.”
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I finally said the heck with the pain in my balky knee, took a couple of ibuprofen tabs, and played golf again a couple of days ago. It wuz a really nice course and Nevah and I got to play as a two-some because it wuz towards evening and the course wuzn’t crowded.
Then this morning I read a story about research showing that folks who play golf, even if they don’t play regularly or good, are far more likely to outlive folks who don’t play golf. I often don’t trust research results, but I’m buying into this research study 100%.
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A gal who wuz ol’ Nevah’s closest neighbor growing up south of LaHarpe, Kan., now has a winter home in Sun City West, which is near the Kansas City Royals spring training camp, but an hour and half drive from where we’re staying. She and her hubby invited us up to look at where they live and we took them up.
Sun City West is a huge retirement community with every type of amenity you could think of from golf to cards and from bocce ball to ballroom dancing to bowling. The four of us opted to play 18 holes of miniature golf. Afterwards, we picked fresh lemons from a community orchard and then oranges and grapefruit from trees in their backyard. It wuz a fun day.
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Time for this week’s closing story: An old rural guy like me went to a new doctor for a physical. During his physical, the doctor asked him about his daily activities.
The old guy described a typical day this way: ”Well, yesterday afternoon, I waded along the edge of a lake, drank eight beers, escaped from a rabid coyote in the heavy brush, jumped away from an aggressive rattlesnake, marched up and down several rocky hills, stood in a patch of poison ivy, crawled out of quicksand and peed four times behind big trees. And, I carried a club every minute.”
Inspired by the story, the doctor said, “You must be one heck of an outdoorsman!
“Nah,” the old guy replied, “I’m just a really lousy golfer.”
Have a good ‘un. ❖