Thursday, January 01, 2009

A Rip in the Fabric of My Life

I am the older one. I thought I would pass first. But instead my best friend, my little sister, and always my giver of absolution and absolute love is gone before me. She would want me to get on with my adventures but who now will I tell my most secret fearful thoughts, sacriligious ponderings, outlandish dreams, and prideful triumphs to? We shared childhood memories that now are mine alone. I must tell her children of the pranks, the dramas, the fun, and the love that helped shape the women we two sisters became. Lately, I feel her gently but firmly urging me to get back to the pleasures of living. So, sigh, since I always listened to her advice more than she ever listened to mine, I'm back punching my way out of the gloom of loss and jumping back into living life once more.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Tumbleweed Talk in Mayer, AZ Big Bug Station

Today Robin from Chino strolled into Big Bug Station. She drives a medical van and had some time to kill before a pickup. With her cup of coffee in hand we introduced ourselves all round. This morning was a pretty full house. I brought up something I’d heard about Chino,AZ yesterday. I’d heard there were hundreds of tumbleweeds that blow back and forth and pile up along the fences in Chino area. Robin agreed and shared that horses absolutely love to eat tumbleweeds! You wouldn’t think that cause they are sooo dry and prickly but it’s a fact. They will gallop across a field to get to a stray tumbleweed first.

I spend a lot of time in Australia and there they call a tumbleweed “a roly poly.” Course here a roly poly is a potato bug or someone with a bit weight around their middle. Today’s picture is of me with an Aussie roly poly.

Robin went on to say that it seems no matter how old you are if you review your day you will find that you found out something new. And today “roly poly” is new. For me, horses loving to eat tumbleweeds was new.

In the 1930s Bob Nolan, songwriter and cofounder of the singing group Sons of the Pioneers, wrote Tumbling Tumbleweeds.

Lyrics to Tumbling Tumbleweeds

I'm a roaming cowboy riding all day long,
Tumbleweeds around me sing their lonely song.
Nights underneath the prairie moon,
I ride along and sing this tune.
See them tumbling down
Pledging their love to the ground
Lonely but free I'll be found
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.
Cares of the past are behind
Nowhere to go but I'll find
Just where the trail will wind
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.
I know when night has gone
That a new world's born at dawn.
I'll keep rolling alongDeep in my heart is a song
Here on the range I belong
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.

Monday, September 01, 2008 Features Other Blog

The electronic version of Big Bug News newspaper features more and different-from-this-blog writings of mine about the lives, past and present, of those who live in Mayer, AZ.

click on and go to the header and click on "blogs"

That will take you to...

Big Bug Station Mayer, AZ
Barbara McCondra
Barbara is a freelance writer, book author and lecturer. She draws caricatures, writes verbal portraits and is now also sharing her observations and humor about Arizona characters and the historic town of Mayer.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Back in Mayer, AZ

I've been on the road, broke down, put in new alternator and returned tail between legs. However, Big Bug Station made me feel at home and I was served an excellent cold pressed cup of coffee and welcomed back. Sam Mardian Jr. popped in on his way for his usual hiking trek each day and gifted me with a great book written by as he put it, "my wild child cousin wrote this." It is Siren's Feast an Edible Odyssey by Nancy Mehagian. I love it. a bio with recipes and so well written. How could I not perk up now with my car repaired, back home with friends, and a good read tucked under my arm.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Turquoise Quest Ends in Mayer, AZ

Remember the late 1940s Sky King and his cereal box offer of Sky King’s Turquoise Secret Decoder Ring? (this is Sky King of radio fame not yet TV). Oh the thrill of taping your hard earned allowance money onto the cardboard cutout from the cereal box and mailing it in. The rush to the mailbox each day. The anticipation. I loved it but it was too big. Not to worry. It had been advertised that it was an adjustable ring. Well two fine lined fractured teeth later it was on my finger. One finally broke off twenty years later. Turquoise is usually on my mind anytime I look in the mirror. and see the cracks and the cap. But a slightly snaggle toothed grin breaks out at the memory anyway. Well, I still have a fondness for turquoise, the Native American sky stone. I live in a state famous for the mining of it. It is December’s birthstone, my birthstone. It also is Diana’s birthstone. Diana lives across the street from me in the Old Town Mayer white frame two story hotel converted to apartments. Diana and I run into each other getting coffee at Big Bug Station. She is one of those who have sent me on the turquoise quest.

Beings that I run in the Southwest’s rockhound circle when on the road, people ask me for turquoise, opal, tanzanite, etc. So what did I find and bring back to Mayer last week? A box of fishing lures. That sparked some interest with the fellows that hang at big Bug Station but brought out that dullness of disappointment in my turquoise searchers’ eyes. So I feel triumphant today with having found some turquoise jewelry to show Diana. Trouble is I like it so much, I want it. Oh these demons I do battle with daily. They wear me down. However, last week when Diana’s eyes glimmered in anticipation as mine did each trip to the mailbox nearly sixty years ago, and then the light dimmed at the news I had only fishing lures, I vowed to bring her several sky stones to choose from next time.

I will triumphantly return to Mayer this week with much sky stone in my pocket.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Anything Can Happen at Big Bug Station In Mayer, AZ

Busy Morning at Big Bug Station.

Sam brought in a Cherokee Nation Newspaper from Oklahoma and a discussion on the Cherokee written alphabet (the only Native American alphabet created so Native Americans could have “talking leaves’ the written word on paper) caught our interest. It is a syllabary…symbols for syllables rather than a true alphabet with symbols for consonants and vowels.

Carol snagged a three wheel electric scooter at Hope’s Attic (our in town second hand shop) I tried to talk her into turning it into a Rat Rod Scooter a sorta Rat Scooter until I saw it was already a hot candy apple red and to paint it with grey black primer would be a crime. Adding perhaps an antique auto grill would be cool though. You shoulda seen the look she gave me…I think the Rat Rod Scooter idea is out.

Mike was pawing through a box of World War I and II army helmets. We all wondered about the several tiny holes in the World War II one. Ventilation perhaps?

Tim mentioned flying saucers and Don painted a word picture of he and Deb’s encounter with a beaver and its den or lodge in Kansas. So I googled and found this interesting theory on why beavers build dams or rather why SOME beavers build dams. Be surprised and check it out

I flew the coop early to play catch up on my writing but shared time later in the cool of late afternoon in front of my apartment on the veranda swing while Mike’s daughter Claire, Carol, and I each savored a root beer float in glasses I had chilled in the freezer. A nice small town cocktail hour sans booze. Tame but soul satisfying.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Memorial Day in Mayer,AZ at Big Bug Station

The old Dance Hall was “purty busy” on Memorial Monday at Big Bug Station. I suffered a bit of character overload. The Stitch and Bitch group was there sharing crochet and needle crafting secrets with each other. You can thank Rose (who else of course) for the group’s name.

Our local musical duo, D Squared, was playing an assortment of harp and guitar music for potential clients. The bar was lined with a couple of Dons (not the mafia type, today anyway) myself, and a Spring Valley local we nicknamed Gabby. She was telling us her plan to go back out in the hills and pan for gold. Don One was sitting neat and dapper in his western gear but without fiddle today. He seemed somewhat amazed at the number of people gathered today as was I. We usually have a fairly steady stream of a few at a time.

Don Two was telling me he used to live on a hilltop high above Phoenix in the late 1950s. His family turned their home into The Cloud Nine Restaurant. Customers had to bang on a pipe at the bottom of Shaw Butte for his father to come down the steep incline in a four wheel drive vehicle. His dad would drive them personally up to the restaurant. The Movers and Shakers of the time were the restaurant’s patrons. Men like Carl Hayden, Barry Goldwater and star power entertainers.

The old dance hall windows in the back cast a bright glow into the room and silhouetted those inside. The windows give frame a view toward Big Bug Creek. And there in the back sat Alan, seemingly as one with his laptop and the antique padded church pew bench he sat upon. He is a Tai Chi Master who holds classes here on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Alan was in for a little WiFi. For those of you who are not exactly cyber literate, WiFi is an internet access that Big Bug Station has so patrons can use their laptop. Just the other day Alan was in using the laptop to talk back and forth with a friend in Russia. It makes feel calmer to see Alan. I think a sense of peace walks with him. Alan blends in with his surrounds. Probably that makes for a good Thai Chi Master.