Posts tagged Arizona

Little bookstore at the ends of the earth

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Good to go with what people tell you to do when vacationing in Arizona over Christmas break. My friend from Peace Corps days, from the early 1980s, has been a wealth of information about what to do around the Tucson area.  We were intending to go to Bisbee and she remembered that there was a little bookstore where she had gone in the middle of desert and cattle country, near Benson.  She gave us the address and off we went a couple of days ago. I’m glad we had the address to put into GPS and even though we had all the details to reach the Singing Wind bookstore, we still got a bit lost. That’s how “ends of the earth” this bookstore is.  Yet people from ALL over the U.S. and even the rest of the world have heard about it by word of mouth. It has been in operation for over 33 years.

Once we got to Benson, what was ominous off the highway and onto a dirt road was a black mailbox that was shot through with bullets…part of the charm perhaps? Then we saw a big iron sign that read something like “Books from the Southwest” and I wish I had taken a photo of that.  That was ALL we had to go on to know we were on the right road.  Then, we saw a gate to our left but the GPS said that it should be on the right, it had S W like a brand for the cattle.  We overshot that gate and went more south to what was probably a LOT of parking spaces in the dusty area with barbed wire fence all around.  We backtracked when we saw that the house that was in the distance was like the picture in the newspaper article referring to this little gem of a place.

We went through the gate and were greeted by a donkey. One of the passengers of the car started sounding like a mule or donkey and the animal responded in kind.  It didn’t seem too happy with us and kept bellowing out its not too welcome response.  Then we parked by several other cars that we thought might be other customers to this bookstore.  We went to the main door on the west side and knocked, then someone of our party looked back to see there was a bell that we were supposed to ring.  So we did several times.  Apparently the buzzer at the door was not getting our hoped for response.  Then after ringing the big bell and no motion of interest, my husband opened the door and found a customer sitting and reading a book by the many shelves.

Signs posted about not bringing in any food or drink and we wandered the rooms full of books sitting on mesquite shelving. There was one room dedicated to just children’s books. I had found one of the books “Three Little Javelinas” while in Kazakhstan and there it was sitting on the top shelf. I had given it to one of the grandkids several years ago.  It was written by a Tucson author.  We looked at all the sections that were marked with different topics such as history, native American Indians, cooking, crafts, etc.   There was also a section where there were LOTS of Arcadia history books.  That was a good sign.

We met the 81 year old owner of the place, her name is Winn Bundy and she was formerly from Minnesota. She told me from Lake of the Isles area and I knew that she came from some money to have grown up there, close to Loring Park in the Twin Cities.  Her dad had worked for General Motors. She had gotten three masters degrees, one in library science, another in history and I forget the third.  She was an impressive and spunky lady. She had a surgery recently so she was wearing a neck brace.  I told her I wanted to write a book about Ukraine’s sad history during the 1930s. She seemed knowledgeable of that. I bought a book about writing family history but I am more interested in the country’s history. She wrote in it and encouraged me in my writing.

In fact, she is willing to buy five of my history books, I just have to mail them to her and she will send me a check.  She said something about 60/40. I’m not sure if I get the 60% of the $22 book or if she does.  I don’t care one way or the other, I have boxes of my history books about my hometown and I see that she lives frugally and cares about books. She even cares about authors and will have a big shindig the end of January where many authors will converge on her ranch and she will host the chili party.  This might be simultaneous to what they have going on in Tucson with authors meeting up there the end of January. In any case, she promotes authors and she has quite a following.  She does NOT accept credit cards because she doesn’t want to be bothered with the paperwork. She prefers checks or cash.  Fortunately, we had cash to do our shopping.

I hope she lives a long life, she has had two husbands and several children. The two former has passed away on her, the children have produced grandchildren for her.  My husband and I plan to come back next year to visit the ranch with the little, out of the way bookstore. She has energy, charm and vision to do something big like this.  More people need to be like her, I hope others will go visit the Singing Wind bookstore as a result of this post.  Just know that it is hard to find and VERY out of the way!  Their guestbook at the front of the store betrays that many people have heard about this place and have signed in, as we did several days ago.  Good to go with what the people here know as true gems and almost secret!

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New Octogenarian in our Midst

My Dad is now 80 years old, that means a new octogenarian in our midst.  What a party was put on in his honor with the main entertainment at the end of the musical program, being his quartet singing four, very funny numbers. Before that was featured solo violin piece, tap dancing, Hardangar fiddle number about lutefisk, sisters trio and of course the happy birthday song was sung.  A decorated birthday cake and other food for all the guests made it official as well.  His three older sisters were in attendance, two from Phoenix, Arizona and another from Los Angeles, California area.  More relatives from San Diego and Los Angeles, North Dakota and other parts of Minnesota also showed up to wish the birthday boy a happy day.  Aunt Alta had one funny story at the very end when Dad gave his thank yous to all those who attended this auspicious occasion. His 90 year old sister said that my Dad was always a ham even as a young boy he would sing at the landing of the stairs, then when finished he would run down the stairs and be the audience and clap for his own rendition.  Yes, that’s my Dad all right, loves to sing and I think that has been the secret that has kept him young looking.  May he enjoy many more years of entertainment!!!

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Photos of Arizona Trip

First, it was encouraging to see all the work Luke and Sabrina put into their newly built BIG house in Prescott.  I’m all for closure when it comes to big projects like a house.  That was a very quick Sunday trip up and back from Phoenix.  Then we visited the next morning with my two aunts in Mesa along with seeing my cousin Mike and Maradel for breakfast.  Thanks Aunt Eleanor!!! 

 

Later we drove south of Phoenix to visit with Laura and Steve at Casa Grande (the BIG house) National Park.  Laura gifted Ken with a senior lifetime pass for the National Parks, he has reached that golden age of 62.  We lingered over many lemonades and Mexican food in Coolidge (close to Casa Grande) and looked and laughed at the great photos Laura took with her fancy camera.  Also, we watched on my laptop some of Laura’s course projects she had accomplished for her graduate studies.  We hope to be able to celebrate her graduation with an M.A. degree in landscape architecture next spring, the Lord willing.

 

Finally, we stopped in on some friends of ours from over 15 years ago on our way back through Chandler. Todd and Sally are responsible for being OUR matchmakers while we lived and worked in Kazakhstan the summer of 1993.  We have come full circle with being successful matchmakers ourselves after participating in the Houston wedding of two friends of ours who met in Ukraine eight years ago.

 

So, as they say, a good time was had by us even though some of our visits were on very short notice.  Thanks to all who made our dropping in a fun time after our arduous time of slogging away at our teaching assignments in a foreign land such as Kazakhstan.  It really is WONDERFUL to be home on U.S. soil again!!!

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Witnessed Friends’ Wedding Yesterday

Sorry for dropping off the map with my blog entries the last several days. Our friends Jeannie and Ken got married yesterday in Texas and fortunately Ken and I flew to Houston to witness this fact. Their relationship has been eight years in the making.  We feel responsible for introducing these two people who are about our same ages.  Now we feel even MORE responsible that their marriage be a healthy one with fruitful ministry.  My husband Ken was the best man and I helped lead the congregation in singing some hymns. Jeannie’s younger sister was the matron of honor. There were about 50 people who were invited, mostly family and friends.  We were Ken’s friends and basically the only people he knew besides Jeannie’s immediate family, the rest were Jeannie’s colleagues, friends and other relatives.

Needless to say, we’ve been a bit busy travelling and I would call that WORK!  Going through security checks and x-ray machines after packing judiciously, boarding planes and disembarking, getting rental cars and dropping them off on time to board yet another plane.  We nearly missed our connection last night to Phoenix from Houston but now we are visiting friends and family in Arizona and enjoying it though the weather is hot like in Kazakhstan.  Supposedly this is monsoon season so we have had some rain. 

Which reminds me, I need to get back to tending my gardens in NW MN, they have become overgrown with much weeds.  Thistles can stand erect at nearly a yard tall.  Quack grass is the bane of my gardening existence.  The day before we left for TX, I was out frenetically pulling weeds for nearly 6-7 hours. 

Despite weeds in my garden, life is good!  Our friends are married off, we wish them all of God’s best!!!

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