Sunday, July 13, 2003

July 12, 2003
Had a long one yesterday. Got up at 4:30, worked in studio. Got into office at eight. Worked on gathering up the loose ends of the Vera cover, the proposed Classic Gunfights cover and other odds and ends I wanted to bring Daniel up to speed on all of our graphic ideas and theories. Took off at 11:20 to make the arduous trip into the bowels of Phoenix. Got to Dan’s at noon, went over the Vera cover ideas. He isn’t thrilled about the painting and is not that hot on the upside down Vera either. We negotiated thru the impasses (we’ve only been doing this for 45 years) and tried to find common ground. I trust his instincts—most of the time (if two guys in business agree on everything, one of them is unnecessary.).

Took Dan to lunch at El Bravo on 7th St. and Butler. Great little hole-in-the-wall ($21 cash). Dan told about his and Darlene’s vacation to San Francisco and Napa Valley to see Hank W. (an old, wild college roommate of mine. He was the one who got us thrown in jail in Nogales in 1968). Then drove out to Mountain Shadows Resort for a teacher-librarian conference. Tag-teamed the speech with Tim Simmons (“When The Red Man Won”) and we did really well. I had a ton of my books and they lined up and bought all but three Docs. Not too surprising because teachers and librarians are readers. Imagine that?!

Drove back out to he house, swam about ten quick laps, packed in a hurry, Kathy came home around 5:15 and we took off down Scottsdale Road bound for Molise Cusina in south Scottsdale. for a big KXAM radio party for all the “former” employees. Great Big Wonderful and Wendy were there. Also, Gordon Smith, Buffalo Rick, Miss Connie, Heather the Weather Girl, Big-Bad Bob Baker, Bill Strauss and more than one producer whose name I couldn’t remember. Funny you work with these guys, sometimes under very trying situations, they save your bacon almost daily and you meet them five years later and it’s, “How are YOU doing, Man? YOU’re looking good. Kathy, this is my favorite producer. He was so great!” And Kathy takes her cue and says, “Hi my name is Kathy. What’s yours?”

Took off at seven and drove out the 101 (Kathy drove). I took over on the Indian Res and we cruised down toward Tucson at about 80. Everything looked smooth until I remembered I plum forgot my coumadin pills. Kathy got on her cell phone and called Walgreens in Casa Grande, they looked me up in the computer and we took the detour off the 10 pulled up to the downtown Walgreens, walked back to the prescription counter and the order was waiting ($25). Imagine that happening even ten years ago! Went thru old Casa Grande, downtown looking sad, cruised back on the 10 and when we got to Picacho we ran headlong into a huge Monsoon (or Guaca Muggy as we deemed it at KSLX). Bad dust storm, low visibility. Everyone slowed down to about 82. Traffic bumper to bumper all the way to the outskirts of Tucson. Everything stopped dead at Orange Tree. We got off and waded across town, past my old place on Ruthrauf Road (torn down), past the Longhorn Saloon where I played drums (still there, different name), past the ol’ stalwart Packem’ Inn (still there and still popular). Ended up downtown by the Convention Center at a little Mexican food place on the lip of the Barrio called El Minuto. Air was humid and smelled of rain as we walked across the parking lot and heard the staccato Mexican trumpets from inside the cafe. I was home. Had the casuella soup (carne asada) and a Corona. Kathy had the Topopo Salad ($19 cash). Enjoyed a cup of coffee and took off for Willcox at about 10:30. It’s an eighty mile run.

Lots of 18 Wheelers running at night. Tried to pass them all but there was always another five in front of the pack I just passed. The air was smokey and dusty (I think from the Aspen Fire on Mount Lemon). Laughed at all “The Thing—Can You Take It?” signs. Had a flight of fancy that I could take over that tourist trap and really make it groovy. Spent a quarter million in my mind, imagined all the vandalism to the restrooms and all the “priceless” museum artifacts disappearing and by the time we cruised by the place in the dark I had sold it at a big loss.

Got into Willcox at 11:30 and pulled into the Best Western. Computers down, power had been out. Huge storm had knocked out everything in town. The nightshift clerk couldn’t access our room. Finally got into our room (#223) at midnite. It was a smoker’s room but we were too tired to fight about it or complain. However, they didn’t have coffee (had the coffee maker, no coffee packets). The front desk clerk informed me the coffee was locked in the “storage room” so I walked across the street to a Circle K and bought a can of Yuban. The clerk helped me purloin a can opener out of one of those plastic packets that hang in the “Wanna-Pay-Double-For-A-Household-Item-You-Forgot? racks, and I cut open the can, got back to the room and crashed.

“Why do they lock gas station bathrooms? Are they afraid someone will clean them?”
—Old Vaquero Saying

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