Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Choc Hamilton and the Toots Mansfield Controversy Solved

November 6, 2012

   Kathy and I motored up the hill to Prescott on Sunday afternoon. We landed at the Hassayampa Inn and after we freshened up we walked down to the plaza and did the stroll, landing at a little bistro John Langellier turned me on to, called Gato Azul (The Blue Cat). Great little cafe tucked in the river bottom where the locals go. They had a jazz band playing on the patio. It was the sax player's birthday. Here they are ribbing him:

We sat in the dining room where we had a nice, quiet dinner of tapas and wine. (I have an aversion to sitting in front of live bands, probably because I ruined so many diners' dinners in my long stint as a drummer).

We got up early Monday morning and had a very nice breakfast in the dining room of the Hassayampa Inn:

I had the trout and eggs. Kathy had an egg and pancake. Left Prescott at eight and drove out via Chino Valley to Ashfork and then over to Seligman where we got off I-40 and traveled the old Route 66 roadway through Lone Valley, Peach Springs, Truxton, Crozier, Hackberry and Logasville. Here is a shot of Music Mountain, so named by Lt. Ives in 1854 because he thought the straight strata resembled a sheet of music:

Landed at the Sutton Funeral Home in Kingman at 11 and waded into a room full of cowboys. We were there to honor and pay our respects to Choc Hamilton (1914-2012). Here is Choc, at left, with his favorite horse Steve:

Choc's grandson, Craig Hamilton gave the eulogy and he did his grandpa proud. A very touching talk. I was honored to be one of the pall bearers:

Afterwards, Billy and his immediate family invited Kathy and I to lunch and over Mexican food I asked Billy about the family photo of him and I in which he is wearing his boots tucked in. Billy laughed and said, "My dad hated that I did that. He didn't even want to be seen with me, but I had seen Toots Mansfield with his boots tucked in and I wanted to be like him."

So, there you go. Here is my cousin Billy Hamilton and myself at Mountain View Cemetery. And both of us wear our boots untucked.


"I've never been this old before."

—Choc Hamilton, 98, in amazement