Posts Tagged With: donkeys


Adware is so ominous, it boggles the brain. After a couple of free hours on my computer, the ads were back, taking over, interfering with everything I tried to do on my computer. The company I paid, put in another half day. It gave me an evening of productive use of my computer. Then, back it came. Frustration is just a word. I wanted to pitch this computer in the garbage and I could feel steam coming out of my ears. A hell week.

It was no better this morning, as I left for an appointment with my tax man. I chose flooring at Lowes for the new house before returning home.  I changed default browsers just now and I’m finally putting words on this page. Temporarily, anyway.

Not that I have anything of great import to convey, but it has been a trusty habit to communicate via these pages, and sort of journal what happens around me.

Sometimes it is misfortune that gathers families together. My cousin Bob Moore was in town with his inlaws who live in Murphys, after we had met two days earlier at a funeral for his nephew, my kid’s cousin, Barry Moore, only 48 years young.

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Brother Bill and cousin, Bob Moore at the end of the table on a beautiful sunny, Sunday morning.  His Mother-in-law Marilyn, daughter Leslie, and across from them,  my grandson Stewart and daughter-in-law Laurie. We like to meet for brunch at the Magnolia Cafe.

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This is my breakfast burrito with eggs, potatoes, beans, tomatos and turkey chorizo.

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At the other end of the gathering, Leslie’s brother Brian and my son Ken. As we age we think it unfortunate that the only time we get family together is funerals and weddings.

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Magnolia is a local hangout on the hiway, but I discovered this particular Sunday that the tourists have discovered it too. They tend to stay downtown, but I saw New York license plates and plenty of cars with skis on top. I complain but I shouldn’t. I know what it is like to try and make a go of a business in  a small town like Murphys.

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Then, on March 21st, I went downtown to check out Murphys Irish Day. They have a parade and all types of food and drink from both locals and out-of-towners who bring their wares to tempt us all.

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Irish Day is now sponsored by the Community Club. They have permission from Cal-Trans to paint a couple of huge four leaf clovers on he street. It wasn’t always so. Jim Riggs, a local businessman and his buddy Bob Bliss,g four-leaf clover, and then have a whoop-de-do at his place of business with corned beef and whatever anyone wanted to share. One year, the Highway Patrol lay in wait and he was  arrested, but Judge Airola dismissed the case and let  him out with orders: “Do not paint the street again-this year.” After drinking a good bit of beer, the line was often pretty crooked, but we did have fun. Now, it’s a big shindig, pretty tidy and raises money for local causes.

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My favorite part of Irish Days used to be the parade.

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And having assisted in several of them in the past, I especially appreciate the horses. It was a struggle at times to afford the insurance to have horses in the parades, especially since some of the old cowhands, half tanked up, used to gallop at the end of the parade and then nose through the swinging doors of he Murphys Hotel and order a drink from their horse. Another arrest put a stop to that practice.

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The wild has gone out of the west in some respects but we do appreciate the tidy pooper-scooper who follows the horses and puts things right again.

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Now my favorite part of Irish Days is the food choices. Oh, my. Where else are you going o find Asian fusion barbecue chicken on a stick and bacon wrapped bratwurst in the same booth?

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And, Dogz On The Run. (Gotta feed the kids, too.)

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And, chocolate dipped goodies. Hey, why not. Ever since some guy decided to deep fry a twinkie dipped and fried treats abound.

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Now, let me tell you, I like ’em all. But, poor me, I’m having a bit of stomach trouble and couldn’t eat or drink anything at the street fair. I was bummed about that.

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No Ethnic group was left out.

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I couldn’t manage a green beer, but green lemonade?  It’s okay. But I passed.

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I did some people watching…

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A lot of people really get into the spirit of the day, and dress the part.

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This guy told me his wife did his tattoo. Neat, with cool  green shoes. St. Paddy woulda been proud if he was sober.

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I might go back for that free beer. I need a sign like that.

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Now this is something every good beer drinker needs for his kegger party. Yeah!

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The green wig reminded me of the purple one I bought for Mardi Gras, still in the Motor Home. I should have chosen green, then it would be good for two festivals.

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I looked into every booth. There were over 200 of them. These crystal pieces caught my eye because I have a friend who beads. They were quite nice, but I have enough jewelry that I already don’t wear.

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I liked this multi-media painting from the Bonsack Gallery because that is how I used to swing as a kid. High enough to turn upside down. Check out the band-aid on her knee.

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She and her husband are both locals. They have two galleries, one locally in Arnold. Her paintings tend to go right off the canvas.

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Well, I had a lot of fun. Saw a lot of fun costumes, people and some good music.

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For me, there is always something that triggers a past memory. I once had a friend, Lila Suiter, a Commander in the Navy who used to say, especially when she had one too many cocktails, “When I retire, I’m going to raise Miniature Mediterranean Donkeys.”  This miniature pony reminded me of Lila. Salud! Old friend.










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It is Halloween. Vicki wishes us a Happy Halloween.  It’s strange  to think  of this American Holiday in the midst of  a an ancient city, dining on fried dumplings and sweet black  rice in a hotel with no glass in the windows.  We hate to leave this beautiful mountain village of Jiliang as we are still aglow with unforgettable memories of our time here.

From the bus, we see overladen donkeys hauling goods, people walking the roads, scenic villages, cows, horses, children drying corn or grain outside.  Most pictures from the bus are too blurry to keep.

We look back at the Eastern Himalayas, our last look at the beautiful mountain and marvel at the many exciting experiences we had in this special area just 250 miles from Tibet. So close. Tour mates discuss our next trip and we swear it will be Tibet. Someone recommended the movie, Seven Years in Tibet, Lady Yang, about a famous concubine, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and so it goes as we head for the airport  to fly to Kumming. (koo-ming.)

At the Naxi Stone Drum Village, we stop for lunch.  The restaurant is crowded with Naxi people. Service here is more casual than other restaurants we’ve been to, Vicki tells us. The food simpler. Did we care?  The place was fascinating with its chili pepper curtains, dividing the outdoor diners from the indoor diners. We are seated inside a  small room with a wonderful view of this interesting gathering.

The faces are intent as they play mah jong. We realize no one is eating lunch but us.

Everyone plays. Women tend to stick to tables with women, but mix when the numbers are uneven.

This old fellow sits and watches the game, quietly smoking his opium pipe.

Viki said it is unusual to find this group of people gathered  here and she asks around and finds out a government official is set to visit the village and the “seniors” are waiting in the courtyard to hear his speech.

I sneak a peek into the open air kitchen.

There is no refrigeration. Everything is fresh or stored in vinegar.

A photo bonanza for us, as we watch the activity and listen to them chatter among themselves. They totally ignore us. This table of women is playing some kind of card game and have apples to snack on. One woman is asleep at the table with her head bent low.

When the government official arrives, they listen with rapt attention.

Their meeting ends about the same time as our lunch.  Wanning, with an interpreter tries to engage this elderly gent as everyone leaves the restaurant.  But,  the dialect is obscure, and she nor the interpreter can understand anything he says.

Now the Naxi are very curious about us. They do not shy from the camera and enjoy seeing themselves in our little screens with smiles and much straightening of their clothing. No hands come out for money.

We walk around the area to see what we can see and stretch our legs. This gentleman apparently has a car. He took out a bench from his trunk and proudly showed it to us. Or, maybe he was hoping we would buy it. We couldn’t tell. A car here is quite rare. We see almost no private auto traffic on the roads.

As we load into the bus, a beggar woman stands outside our window gesturing her need for food in her plastic covered dish or to sell us something Viki speculates.  Vicki says it is too late but those in the bus who have snacks demand to stop and hand her some salty nuts, candy bars and a few yuan we offer. Vicki disapproves of encouraging begging and she says it is also very unusual to find a beggar in this remote village.

As we get back on the road in the bus, we see these two Naxi women walking back to their homes. Everyone seems to enjoy relatively good health and good spirits. Walking is their main mode of travel. Tomorrow, Kumming.


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Western Arizona, like Texas, retains a bit of its wildness. The characters of the past, reveal true grit, and occasionally in some of those we meet along the way. Belle Starr has true grit. She has multiple sclerosis, and is confined to a wheel chair. Her Silverado Ranch is where we camped  the last three nights while visiting Douglas, the Slaughter Ranch and Bizbee.

She has donkeys, horses, dogs, cats, a parrot, chickens and one helper. She takes in campers. Dry campers are free for the first seven days, after that she asks a $10 donation. For using hook-ups, she has two, she asks for $10 a night and a bit of help around the place.

I gave the animals some food, and tried to trim one little dog’s toenails. Jim did most of the helping by working three afternoons on her computer. Aaron, here helper knows nothing about computer. The truth is, we were mightily entertained for our efforts. The stories flowed. The one that sticks is her encounter with the Border Patrol.

Her ranch is near the Mexican border and the border patrol would routinely come in and search her little outbuildings, two of them “camping” cabins. One time they broke her gate, another time they practically dismantled one of the cabins and then wanted to “invade” her house. She drew a gun on them and told them No.  Both agents drew guns on her and ordered her to put the gun down. She did. Two weeks later she got a visit from the CIA and the FBI. She told them, keep those “bas—–” off my place. They told her they would take care of it and she hasn’t been bothered since.

This is Belle at 52 with a $1700 fighting cock. Her third husband was a member of the mafia and she escaped him and changed her name from Bell Santos, to Belle Starr, legally. She is remotely related to the famous female bandit.

A fountain for the birds.

In this corral she has four horses. Another holds three. In another eight miniature donkeys and two full-sized donkeys in yet another. We counted six dogs and one cat.

Plus chickens.

This little dog, Margarita, was so loveable I wanted to take her home with me. I do miss my animals now that I travel half the year. I feel lucky to be able to enjoy other people’s pets as we go.

Jim, too!  We are now at Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus, New Mexico hunkered in for a few days of cold windy weather. I’ll tell you all about an amazing historical event that happened in Bizbee,  tomorrow.

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After your lives have taken separate paths, we often get disconnected from cousins and old friends. One of the best things about being a road warrior is reconnecting with family and friends who live more stationary lives; people you see infrequently, or friendships reduced to a Christmas card per year. Saturday afternoon, my cousin Vicky and her husband Rod met us at Gold Canyon for a family get-together. I believe I’ve only met Vicky three times, twice when she was a young child and once at a family reunion in 2003. That is what often happens to us.

Vicky and her husband Rod, myself and Karen enjoyed dinner at Karen’s house in Gold Canyon. The years just peeled away, looking at pictures and talking about our common ancestors. Do you know how my mom and dad met? I knew cousin Myron played drums but I didn’t know your father played in a band? Who is that beautiful woman who looks like aunt Delores? The ties become warmer, closer, meaningful, memorable.
Gold Canyon is a small sprawling residential area next to the Superstition Mountains. Gorgeous country, great hiking trails into the desert, giant saguaro cactus and blossoming chollo.

My friend Sandee Voges lives in Tuscon and we were able to drive about equal distance and met at a small town called Florence on Sunday morning. From all descriptions, its a “nothing” stop on the road with a McDonalds restaurant and a state prison. The blooming chollo, barrels and saguaro were nothing short of spectacular in the countryside.  And yes, Florence is a small place with few visable amenities. But, we discovered Mt. Athos, a greek restaurant, a wonderful greek restaurant as it turned out. The waitress took our picture, above.  The help patiently allowed us to yap and yap for a couple of hours without hovering and inching us out the door by subtle over-service.

Sandee briefly walked her dog and got acquainted with Costas, parked nearby. He comes to the St. Anthony’s Monastery in Florence to cleanse himself of the city. Monastery? He described this beautiful place with five churches, gorgeous grounds, orchards and an olive plantation. His love for the Greek Orthodox religion showed in his smile and words. He told us about the donkeys that are descendants of the bibilical donkeys that carried the Christ Child.  They have a cross on their backs.
We had to go.

It was started in 1995 with St. Anthony’s Monastery, named for a third century ascetic of Egypt, the father of monasticism.

St. Nicholas Chapel is considered the most beautiful, but it is hard to decide. Each chapel is named for saints popular with Greeks. George the Great, Nicholas the Wonder-worker, Panteleimon the Healer, Elijah the prophet, John the Baptist, Seraphin of Savov, Demetrios of Thesalonica.

The grounds are elaborate, cooling and allow privacy and contemplation.

The wood, stained glass, marble floors and tiles and grounds made you to know this is one of the most beautiful monasteries in the United States.

The Chapel of St. George, Romanian in style. The monastery is serviced by 40 resident monks.

This is the Russian Chapel dedicated to St. Seraphim. Visitors can stay on the premises.

This is the Russian Cross. The bottom slanted bar is the footrest. It is slanted because the thief crucified with Jesus on the right was saved and went to heaven. Thus the right side is slanted toward heaven. The thief on the left went to hell and the left side of the bar is slanted downward. (My picture was taken from the back side of the cross.)

Saint Elijah’s Chapel.

If you are in Phoenix, Tuscon, or anywhere near this wonderful place, you must visit. I took many pictures. If you want to see the album click here:
If you’d like to view the website to learn more about this amazing place, click on the link below:

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