Local Flavor.

Having your folks “invade” your world is always somewhat of an interesting situation.

All of my weekly plans, agendas, routines have been turned around and upside down. It’s amazing at how my life is structured and once that gets a little skewed – how I become somewhat discombobulated. I’ve always thought of myself as a very spontaneous person. However, after these past couple of days, I’ve come to realize that I’m more structured and “set in my ways” than I realized.

Yesterday’s adventures included driving out to Apache Junction to basically “find” some cousins of my mother who live out there. Apache Junction, known to the rest of the Phoenix area as “AJ” sit nestled against the Superstition Mountains. It’s nice, quiet, small, deserty. I have been out there once before in all my five years of living here – and that was enough for me.

This trip was decided upon as Mom, Dad and I were shopping at the Biltmore Shopping Plaza – in the snooty Biltmore district here in Phoenix. It was kinda warmish outside – like…103….and Mom said,

“Hey, let’s go stop by and see Orville and Helen. I’ve got their address. How far is that from here?”

“Where do they live?”

“Oh, I’m sure it’s close.” Thumbing though her address book, she produced a phone number and physical address for the AJ Cousins.

So we stopped by the Apple store at the Biltmore and I Mapquest’d the addy.

“What’s all that brown area?” asked Dad.

“That’s what we locals refer to as Desert Dirt, Pops. Yeah, there’s NOTHING out there.”

My Dad – ever the consummate gentleman – gave me the Rolled Eye – just out of vision of Mom. He didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

Off we went!

We finally found the place. Classy. It totally reminded me of National Lampoon’s Vacation – when the Grizwold’s stop by Randy Quaid’s pad in the middle of Kansas (or one of the Square States). Fenced in yard, dirt lawn, five dogs running wild, an old rocking swing that was missing the cushion. I tell you – I come from a classy background.

After chatting for about an hour – we were off. And I was starving.

“Let’s just eat out here.” I suggested. “It’ll be good, local color for us.” Everyone agreed. So we set out on the Main Drag in town to find something that would be suitable for dinner.

We opted on a place called Chubby’s.

Yes. I know. The marquee on the outside of the place proudly announced Hair, Beer and Scrapbooking along with the daily special of All You Can Eat Chicken Fried Steak. As we were walking into the smoke-filled 1950’s style dinner, my Dad leaned over to me and whispered, “There HAS to be interesting stories here!” What? Is Dad a Closet Blogger???

The interior of the joint was nicotine stained Navaho White walls complete with flowery drapes that hung carelessly low to each table. Turquoise-painted cowboy boots adorned each table with plastic flowers propped in them. Naugahide blue booths called out to us as if to say, “Come on down, sit a spell…take your shoes off.” We did all that – except the shoes part.

Our waitress, who I nicknamed Flo Casselberry, was more than gracious. She even brought me a side of applesauce – because, in her words I looked as if I were “hunkerin’ for a taste of the sauce.” Perhaps I was. I’m not sure what look that would be….

We ate, joked, laughed and chatted through the entire meal. It was just like old times with my parents. Like when I was younger and the whole family (including my sister) would pile in the 1972 yellow Chevy Truck with Camper and head out across the country on summer vacation. The highlight for me was getting to stop at the Stuckey’s Gas Stations and load up on Fun Books and markers. I checked in the “gift section” at Chubby’s for the coloring books – but alas – they didn’t seem to carry those in the merchandise. Bummer. All I spotted were postcards of cactus and a stuffed roadrunner (fake of course).

As we were leaving the city limits of AJ, mom piped up from the backseat of the rented Toyota corolla and announced, “I feel like an overachiever in this town. I have all my own teeth.”

I cracked up. Oh – Lois Ann – you are a snarky one.

Their flight left today about 2:45pm. I was sad to see them go but glad that a surprise visit was had. I love my parents. They are about the coolest kids I know.

Thanks for the messing up my Daily Schedule. I’m glad you did.

1 Comment so far

  1. Jackie (unregistered) on August 26th, 2005 @ 9:32 am

    I loved stopping at Stuckey’s too. And dangit, I still want one of those little thingys that you turn over and they moo like a cow.



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