I am finding out that there is a life after Grapevine…..
We are about finished with the clearing out of the Grapevine business files, I have established a nice little office at my house at the Cobre Loma, and with increased leisure I am more free to watch life around me. And so here are the latest doings of my dog Tuffy…
Some time back I was at the local butchers, doing the necessary things one needs to do in order to survive now that the Grapevine kitchen is no longer there to sustain me, and, in a fit of devotion, I bought Tuffy a humongous bone. Now this butcher is none else than the slaughter house just north of Sunsites, so this was not one of your ordinary, packaged, sterilized, ”pretend” bones of the normal grocery store variety, but an-honest-to-goodness hunk of cow as large as my thigh, succulent, and impossible to devour at a sitting. When I bought it I thought it would keep Tuff happy for a day or so, and then be discarded along with the other little bits and pieces that make up a dog’s life – but not this bone. It has become the main focus of her daily routine, and it seems to have transformed her from a happy-go-lucky ranch dog into a worried canine capitalist. No longer the careless saunter in the cool of late afternoon – now she is too busy worrying about her bone. In the evenings she hides it, not in some routine, ordinary place like the front yard, but way out, by the round pen, in the retired horse pasture – and every morning she retrieves it and carries it back to the front yard to love and devour more bits of it. Now, some days later, I discern in her a certain unsettled state of mind, reminiscent of people with a lot of money. What to do with the bone so that nobody else can find it? This morning, while Danny and I were sitting by my back door enjoying our cup of coffee while we plan our attack on the day, I saw her fish it out of its hidey hole and set off towards the road to the house. After a few steps she changed her mind, and went back, still carrying it, obviously not content with the present plan. She went by some more bushes, and then we heard the sound of busy digging down there in the horse trap – evidently a new place of concealment had to be found. And I got to thinking – she is exhibiting all the signs of neuroses suffered by humans in a similar predicament – now that I have this precious thing, what to do with it so that nobody else can have it!! So wasn’t she happier in the days Before the Bone? A couple of days back I saw her dig it up from by the round pen, carry it around the side of the Cowboy House next door to mine and take it into its front yard, where, presumably it was deposited for some time – only to be retrieved and taken back to the safety of the round pen vicinity. I do believe I am beginning to see signs of wrinkles around her furry face! Capitalism at its worst. It reminds me of my current favorite TV ad where the dog worries about its bone and finally takes it to a bank deposit vault. I’m so glad the nearest bank is 6 miles away, or we may be faced with the same solution!
Apart from that, and on a more serious note, some of you may be wondering how we are coping with the fires burning all around Arizona. Of course, the big fire in the north is occupying the national news, but the one in the Chiricahua Mountains across the valley is of immediate concern and heartbreak for us. The other day I spoke to one of the Forest Rangers who is out there fighting it – he said he had not been home for three weeks now, and that the fire had burnt, up to then, more than two thirds of the Chiricahuas. What a tragedy – and to think it was started, not by some freak of nature like lightning, but by people. Steve said it had got into the Monument, had burnt Rhyolite Canyon – those of you who have ridden there with us will remember Rhyolite. Once you pass the Ranger Station and begin up the mountain, after some distance you come to a split in the trail. We take the upper trail which leads to Big Balanced Rock at the top. The lower trail leads to Rhyolite – and in fact, we had also ridden the lower trail at times – that is all burnt now. So far I believe the historic buildings of the Faraway Ranch are still safe. It is an awful sight, every night, to look across the valley and see the dull red glow stretching over miles and miles of the skyline, in several separate places. Steve said it has also descended to the Flats and burnt some acreage there, along with several houses, and some forest cabins in Turkey Creek. I forgot to ask him if the old cavalry camp of Camp Rucker was safe – I had heard that the fire had burnt around Rucker Lake, but that is some distance up the mountain from the camp. It had begun on the other side of the mountains, by the town of Portal, then crossed over the top to our side. I believe that this fire, unlike the northern one, is about 40% contained. What an awful year for our poor country, what with the oil spill, the tornadoes, the floods, and now the fires.
And finally I want to thank all of you for your wonderful comments and e- mails to me about Grapevine and what it had meant to you. I am so happy that it had made some difference to your lives, as it had to mine, and I hope that someday someone will again enjoy its incredible beauty, the tranquility of the canyon and its rich history. It’s too bad that, not having heirs who want to succeed me, I have to leave it. But, as the Apaches used to say, “only the rocks live forever” – everything has to have an end. I am happy that Grapevine made a difference to a lot of people- the ashes of some are scattered across it, as mine will be one day- and I hope the memory of it will remain with all of us for our time. Thanks again for having shared its magic with us!