March 20, 2005
Joel Klasky and I took off for Tucson before sunrise. Rained off and on, but we cruised through Phoenix encountering very little traffic. Got down to Tucson and had breakfast at Micha's on South Forth Avenue. Huevos rancheros and decaf ($15.27 plus $4 tip, biz account).
Got to the Tucson Train Station at 9:45 for the dedication of the Transportation Museum and the unveiling of the Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday statues. I was very encouraged by the size of the crowd at the station and it proves or at least indicates that more than a few are interested in our little historical corner of the world.
I was anxious to meet Neil Carmony. In this computer age I have worked with him for almost a decade yet I've never met him. He was sitting in the row in front of us and I tapped him on the shoulder and asked him if he was, in fact, the notorious Neil Carmony. We laughed and shook hands. Several times during the ceremonies when some radio commentator named Don Collier would make incorrect historical gaffs (Morgan Earp's body was not on the train, his body came through the day before the Stilwell encounter), Neil would turn to me and mouth the words B-- S----. Funny.
Tom Peterson of the Arizona Historical Society read editorial excerpts from the Tucson newspapers regarding the arrival of the railroad on March 20, 1880. Waxing floridly, as was the style, one editorial writer imagined the day when "aereo-cars" would sail overhead to distant destinations. Of course, other pronouncements were ludicrous as is most prognostication. Just as Tom finished his remarks a Southern Pacific train blared its horn and the crowd cheered as it rumbled by, right on cue.
I met a guy named Bill (a railroader buff, who's allegedly writing a book called "Tucson Was A Railroad Town") and he told me his gut tells him there was a small station house at Papago Station and that it was probably dark at the time the Earp crowd showed up. He claims the SP built these mini-stations at regular intervals to facilitate two-way traffic, with a siding, etc. I agree with him that the name itself, Papago Station, is probably the strongest evidence that it was more than a siding. Anyway that is how I will illustrate it. And in the cutline I'll debate the logic of it, the opposing thoughts and how it changes the dynamic of Wyatt's actions.
After the ceremonies Joel and I drove out to Papago Station. Houghton Road was closed so we had to settle for Rita Road (a mile short), but I got some good reference photos of the view back to downtown and the relationship to the Tucson Mountains, the Catalinas and the Tortilitas (sp?). That was fun.
Speaking of trains, I got this Email from Jim Hatzell:
"I got the new True West magazine in the mail today. I was intending to skim through it but here it is 2 hours later and I'm still reading. I was a brakeman for 2 different railroads on and off for 10 years so I have a soft spot for trains. ( I even have a railroad section in my new website www.fiddlersgreenstudio.com )"
Joel and I then drove back to Phoenix taking the res cut-off and arriving back at Festival of the West at about three. (True West filled up Joel’s van with gas: $48, $2.10 a gallon! Ouch).
It was quite encouraging this year at the Festival how many people are aware of the magazine. Of course some people act so silly. One woman came up to our booth, looked at the array of True Wests spread out on the table and said, and I quote, "Which one has the most history in it?" I grabbed one at random and said authoritatively, "This one." She thanked me and took it. When she left we laughed. That's like picking up a stack of newspapers and saying "Which one has the most news?"
Just got this report from Carole: the total sold at Festival of the West is $1828.
"They who see only what they wish to see in those around them are very fortunate."
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