Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Arizona wrap up

Things is been bizzy. Obviously we survived the trip to Arizona, and I could honestly write thousands of pages on that experience. Perhaps I will. I wanted to take a minute and just write down a couple of highlights from the past (almost) month.

Southwest airlines didn't give us the option to take a bump at all, so we won't be flying free anywhere anytime soon. Damn.

My son is a wild man. He was a total pain in the ass on the plane unless I was reading Shel Silverstein to him. Benadryl. Works wonders. I felt so guilty drugging him, but hey. It was a long assed flight.

My friend Amy and her husband Bob live in Scottsdale. Their house totally kicks ass. Great little yard. Super patio with these cool misty things that blow mist on you while you sit in the desert heat. They have white carpeting, which frightened me when I walked in the door. See, you can't have white anything around the Boy. But the carpet survived... We tested Bob's patience... I felt bad. Very bad.

I have issues with Scottsdale/Phoenix overall. No offense intended to Bob and Amy, who rule. I grew up somewhere that had a downtown. I live somewhere that has a downtown. I love towns that actually have center. Scottsdale and Phoenix and all the towns right around there have strip malls... and everything is just growing without stopping and expanding and sprawling further and further out from what probably used to be the center... Phoenix. I counted FOUR Target stores when we were driving around. I got confused because I was trying to find my way around and thought I was looking for one mini-mall (the Arcadia Mall) when it was actually called the Arcadia CENTER or something. Oh God. And what used to be the center of things is now rotten and decrepid, and falling apart... where the poor people now live. Once things sprawl to where they can't sprawl anymore, someone will turn to the middle and rebuild it, thus "gentrifying" it and putting out the poor... It is amazing.

I liked Flagstaff. If I had to live somewhere in Arizona, I'd live in Flagstaff. It had a really nice feel. Good town. Downtown still lives in Flagstaff.

As nice as Arizona was, Utah was unfuckingbelievable. I was overwhelmed with the size, scope, color and beauty of the place. I've got an entry just on that topic alone.

The canyons were gorgeous, we didn't go to Moab or Monument Valley, but we did go to Vegas, baby. We skipped Zion, just caught the back end of it at Kolob Canyon... It was my favorite color combination... dark dark green and rich deep reddish brown. Amazing.

My kids are troopers. Especially the boy. We hiked in some of the hottest conditions I've ever put myself in, and my son just stuck with it, never wilting. He was in his element.

I am jealous that I didn't get to see the whole country, that Doug and Jessica got to experience it, but that's okay... some other time. I'll plan on it.

And, my mom has a great sense of humor for putting up with my shit.

After we got back, we went to the wedding of the century. Our friend Christopher J. Kelly, whose prose I have extoled here elsewhere, married the lovely and talented ChrisAnn Terruso. The ceremony was fully head-on Catholic (ie, long) and both of them had a lot to deal with right up to the festivities because Chrissy's mom died unexpectedly right prior to the wedding. But they pulled it all off, celebrating Jeanne Terruso and their own lives, and I can't say I've ever been more surprised or happy for anyone than I am for Christopher.

See, Chris once bemoaned the invisible bubble that kept him a prisoner in the Beaver Valley. He would complain that Doug had escaped and was on the outside of the bubble, and he and the millions of lost souls left behind were working at Sunoco or Gabriels and rotting from within in personal hells from which no saviour could ever provide rescue. Well, he surprised us one day by enrolling in college in the Scranton (PA) area, and graduating as the star pupil and hero of the writing program. He won awards. Awards he deserved because he applied his clever rapier wit to academia and kicked its pretentious collective ass. He got a good job... he wrote witty and insightful columns. He won more awards.

Chris is a celebrity in Scranton. And while some people may laugh at him being in Scranton, hell... King in Scranton beats the shit out of being zombie in Beaver. And I am so honored to know him.

We stopped at a drugstore on the way to the wedding and bought wrapping paper for their gift. The clerk at the drugstore noted the wrapping paper style and said "Ah, a wedding. Is it today?"

"Yes it is sir, a wedding I'm happy to attend" I quipped.

"Is it in the church up the hill here?" he asked pointing up towards the Catholic church at the top of the lane... "Who's wedding is it?"

"ChrisAnn Terruso and Chris Kelly..." I said.

"Ah! I read his article this morning!" the clerk beamed... "Great stuff! Too bad about the circumstances though. I read Chris' column every week. He's a good kid. I wish him the best."

I didn't understand the comment about the circumstances though, and I found out shortly upon arrival about Chrissy's mom. But it was weird to know that the citizens of the Scranton Area knew more about my friend's wedding than I did. He is celebrity though... strangers wishing him the best. I love it.

I have to run. Dinner with the inlaws awaits. For as much action as we've seen away from home, we now have a string of guests at our home. So I'm outta here. More on the Southwest later.

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