Friday, October 21, 2011

Old Trails & The Not So Gentle Tamers

October 21, 2011

I have been asked to come up with an image for one of the Arizona Centennial Commisions celebrating Arizona statehood (1912-2012). I submitted several ideas including "Old Trails" which illustrates probably the biggest change I have witnessed living here (1955-2012):

We had an "Old Trails Garage" in Kingman when I was growing up and it catered to cars breaking down on Route 66, which basically followed the old miner, scout and Indian trails (essentially Beale). But, in my lifetime Route 66 has also gone the way of old trails and today you can see typically short patches of the original roadway, with weeds growing up through the crumbling asphalt. Yes, that is a In-din riding in the clouds above the Dodge Rambler, rippling on the horizon, both relics of another era—my innocent youth!

Next up, I got the idea to do a twist on a painting I seem to remember called "The Gentle Tamers" which was a nod to the school marms and housewives who tamed the west gently and without violence. Well, that's not the women I grew up with! My grandmother and aunts were tough cookies. So, I thought, why not do a painting celebrating "The Not So Gentle Tamers":

Yes, that's a beheaded rattlesnake in her hand. I remember my grandmother beheading four chickens for dinner by placing their scrawny necks under her shoe on the back porch and quickly popping their heads off and letting them run around the yard until they collapsed, before frying them up for Dinner (yes, in those faraway days, the lunch time meal was dinner, supper was the evening meal).

"I don't know if I did the best I could. I am who I am and I did what I did."
—A Certain Kingman woman who does not want to be quoted

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