Day 16

Miles 0

Got to Mom’s house just after 8am with the truck.  She hopped in and after a stop at the grocery store to get sandwich stuff, we were off.

The desert drive was so familiar.  This mountain range, and that.  Shadowy canyons folded into cinnamon hills.  The Painted Desert.  Tiny towns crumbling to dust around their tens of inhabitants.  The Sun Eating Everything.

I love the desert.  I love that every day looks much like the last.  So Timeless.

Four hours later, we pulled into the property.  I walked around, remembering the old mule they once had here.  The happy working dogs.  The lawn that used to be alive.  The once enormous garden my Grandfather whittled out of the lifeless dirt.

He would sit on an overturned five gallon bucket with another bucket right side up next to him in his hot pepper garden.  He’d be out there in the sandy burning summer sun, picking peppers and telling stories.  One hot pepper he’d throw in the bucket, the next he’d pop into his mouth.  He’d laugh and laugh as his face grew red and sweat poured from the tippy top of his head and ran down until it got sucked up by his shirt, unchecked.

I went in the house and thought of the turkey dinners we had at Thanksgiving.  The Pie.

We started sorting boxes and wrapping things in newspaper.  Carefully throwing away dangerously swollen cans of food, expired long ago.  Giant glass jars of manicotti.  Drawers of Top Ramen.  Tossing AARP magazines from 2009.  Cookbooks from 1982.

What are we going to do?  So much stuff.

We sat on a picnic bench outside and made sandwiches.  Drank some water.

The desert had decided to come inside, and we coughed our way around all the dusty objects.

A neighbor showed up and made an offer on the property.  As is.  He’d clean everything out.  Mom accepted.  What a relief.

One last look around this place with so many memories.  The Era Was Over.  I’d probably never be here again.  This dusty speck of land.  So Many Feelings.

We did a dump run with what we’d already bagged up.  Then we tucked the stuff we did want into the truck, and made our slow way back to Mom’s house.

She brought notes she’d made throughout the years, and read them to me as we drove.  Stories of family.  Rodeos and misbehaving mules.  Adventuring and herding cows.  Wild Mustangs and Uncle So-And-So Who’d Drive 100 Miles to Get in A Good Fight.

The Wild West.

The wind slapped the truck around and shrieked through the night sky…

Categories: Life

1 Comment

Aidan Gullickson · June 20, 2016 at 7:54 pm

Great entry! Love the descriptions of the scenery. So evocative. Also, David wanted me to pass on how much he enjoyed this entry too. He said it’s one of his all time favorites.

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