"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com

"The Jingle Bell Bum" (Read The Touching True Story...please!) Comment at patriciahanrion.com
Still available on Amazon for Nook and Kindle, hard copy booklett to re-print November 2013

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Apache Spirit Ranch,

So after many moons (so to speak) Here I am ready to give up half my mind. I have a tale to tell of Lies, romance and mystery...or in other words...our trip to Tomstone Arizona!

"Let's not sit around," says he!  "Perish the thought," says I. "I've only worked some horrendous hours...three 16 hour shifts in a row, so let's drive somewhere to see more sand."

Now mind you we are in Arizona at Patrick's condo next to Intel where he has been loaned out by the L.A. Office of Turner Construction.  In fact most those working there are from somewhere else I discovered. Chicago, New York, Mississippi, to name a few places. Arizona is not the bastion of beauty in my eyes...lots of sand for a beach...BUT WHERE IS THE WATER? They think to trick you... those tricky tricksters...and even put up lots of palm trees. Well to me, a palm tree means, Goody! Soon there will be waves and birds and boats...NAY NAY tis a lie, a lie I tell you!

those who put up such deceptive landscape should keep their eyes on me since I have my gun...on my hip. Well no I don't, but I could here in this state. But I digress. This is a story about our fun trip to Tombstone. Along the way I must have fallen asleep, but no loss. Just more sand and an occasional cactus.  20 miles to Tucson. Yea! Nay nay, again...only more sand and one lonely tall building marked the town. The few hotels I spotted looked old, seedy, and sandy. So "lets wait til Tombstone to get a room."

About an hour later there we were. Now I must admit...it was a slight climb to get there, maybe 500 feet or so. What a view. And on top of this mound of dirt was the town, looking like a run down Knotsberry farm without the rides. (Like it was when I was a kid but without the berries.) 

By now Patrick was determined to quell my sour attitude and find a nice place to stay so out he whipped his handy phone. The magic happened..and there it was...Welcome to Apache Spirit Ranch! The rooms in the 2x2 inch screen on his phone looked okay. I hoped for some shred of cleanliness at least.

After wandering around town with it's many fake cowboys waiting to have photos taken with the tourists....and then hoping to pocket a few dollars, we decided we were tired and wanted to get to "The Ranch ". I called and a foreign accent assaulted my ears..."Ver r u?"

Oh boy, I thought...this may be bad...and thought better than to ask how long it would take to drive back to Phoenix.  So after 45  min of wandering along a dirt road around cactus and some old fence...we arrived at Apache Spirit.
The Lovely German Girl, (no wonder I couldn't understand her) showed us our room.  We left the old barn where the registration desk was located and wandered down a street that had storefronts decorated as if it was a western town.

"U zee, de ruums r decorated like the fronts. Zat vun, de Bordello, zat vun de black schmit place, and all are inzide like it sayes. Ve hef fer yu, de Jail..."

With glee she opened a door and we peered in to see bars and cells, handcuffs and manacles on the walls. After she gave us the keys and left with a funny smile on her face, we could not stop laughing. "Honey can I handcuff you?" I asked...and then after the shock...I felt the beds, and with my "Princess and the Pea" imitation deemed they were at least bearable for one night.

"I think we have been transported to the twilight zone...." I said. And Patrick responded with "but dinner is included, and if we want to stay for a while tomorrow we can help with the cattle and go on a ride on the dusty trail. Like I did as a teenager on the family ranch.

After about a 30 min. nap we heard the unmistakable sound of a dinner triangle being rung. We trudged along the street with a few others who exited from their "storefront rooms." I felt out of place in my UCLA tee-shirt alongside my husband in his Seahawks ball-cap as we eyed the western garb they all wore.

I felt like we had missed wardrobe call for "Gun-smoke." Polished boots, stiff levis, sparkles and sequins covered everything. New cowboy-hats were worn by everyone we saw. We were definitely underdressed. It wasn't until we got closer I realized all were speaking German, the same as the accented receptionist.

The dining room was beautifully appointed. The tables were placed in a horseshoe shape with everyone facing each other.  "Oh boy", I thought, "this will be fun dinner conversation."  No one seemed interested in trying out their English on us and we were surrounded by throaty words which sounded like everyone had consumed too much dairy and tons of phlegm involved.

Then from behind me came a high pitched giggle, and a low rumble in (thank goodness) English. Into the empty space beside us sat a large woman and a man in worn cowboy garb, and his shoes were covered with mud. We soon discovered they were the entertainment for the evening. At least he was anyway. She was his new squeeze. A well-endowed freshly divorced woman from Tombstone. 

The food was well cooked, delicious and elegantly served. Surprise! After the meal, the barmaid invited everyone into the small lounge for the entertainment. Cowboy Bob, our dinner companion from Nashville was quite unexpected. His voice was rich and his guitar was mellow. Although his dinner conversation had been quiet, when he was on stage he transformed into the western singer his audience expected. The dark beer drinking crowd requested Johnny Cash songs by the number. Yet when he sang "Ghost Riders in the Sky" everyone except us had no clue this was closer to a real Cowboy song than most of the others he crooned.

The music had a strong beat that demanded toe-tapping and Patrick and I swayed and bounced to the tunes. I noticed none of the Germans moved at all. They sat like statues and hardly smiled. I decided they had no love of music or were a bit deaf. The stiff backed men continued to ask for Johnny Cash and a few Beatles tunes.

After the first music set we left the beer drinking crowd behind and retired to our room decorated with manacles and handcuffs. When we lay down to enjoy a little TV we discovered most of the stations were in German. Ehhh? Yes the stations must have been broadcast from some obscure German holding in the US.  The Twilight Zone continued.

The next day we were able to talk to the receptionist and learned the resort was owned by a, (go figure) German man who advertised heavily on the continent. She told us, "Many Germans want to experience western life just like they see in the movies."

We drove off down the road in a cloud of dust and wondered if the folks in the cowboy garb really believed they were having a true western experience or if they knew it was a fantasy.  I decided it really didn't matter, they were having fun. But I knew no real cowboy would have ever been seen in so many sequins. 


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