It’s a question I have been asked several times as of late. That, and if I’m sad to be leaving. The truth of the matter is that no matter which direction I’m going – be it to Arizona for winter and spring or Colorado for summer and fall, I feel somewhat sad and know that there are things that I will miss.
After giving it some thought, here is my list, in no particular order.
Martinis on Dave’s patio as I watch the sun set over the city
My brother lives at the foot of Superstition Mountain, and from his backyard you see a panoramic view of Phoenix facing west. Watching a beautiful Arizona sunset with an ice cold martini in my hand certainly ranks as one of my favorite things. You can almost watch the sun move as it sets behind the city. The clouds turn orange and purple, and as it gets dark, you can see the lights go on in the city. And then, of course, there’s that ice cold martini……
Watching the birds on our patio
I was surprised to see just how many birds we have in Arizona, and how many different varieties I can watch from my back patio. In years past, the stars of the show have been the mockingbirds. They are funny birds because their bird call takes on many forms. Recently we watched and listened as a mockingbird sitting on our neighbor’s roof went through his entire repertoire. This year, however, we have been entertained by a multitude of quails. They are the funniest birds. They definitely fly, but they seem to enjoy simply running about. As we walk down our street heading to the grocery market, we watch them — always in a group – run back and forth across the street. Their nest must be on one side and their food source on the other. In the past few days they have taken to walking across our back fence in a line of three or four birds. They make me laugh. We also watch the hawks as they search for something to eat in the desert area behind our house.
Guido’s, Chicagoland Hot Dogs, Fuddruckers
I hate to have food be something I’ll miss, but alas, it’s true. Chicagoland is very close to our house, and we frequently have our lunch there. The owner is a young man who moved to Phoenix from – you guessed it – Chicago, and along with his father-in-law, opened this very genuine Chicago restaurant. Despite what you might think, all Chicago dogs are not the same, and his are very good. Guido’s is an Italian restaurant and market in Scottsdale. It is too far for us to visit very often, but we try to make our way there at least once in a while. They have the very best Italian sub sandwich I have ever eaten. I am on a quest to find a sandwich like that in Denver, but have been unsuccessful to date. I can’t tell you exactly why it’s so good. The meat is good, the bread is delicious, and as you eat, the dressing literally drips off of sandwich onto your plate (or your lap, depending on where you’re holding it). And it’s an exceptionally good Italian market as well. Finally, Fuddruckers is my favorite hamburger and I’m sad they went away entirely in Colorado. We visited Fuddruckers here often.
Yes, I’ve said it. You have heard me complain endlessly about the so-called Snowbirds, but while they can drive a person crazy, they are often kind, friendly, and full of fun. Almost every day this winter I saw a group of men riding their motorcycles towards Saguaro Lake. The motorcycles are very fancy, often with three wheels. I also have enjoyed seeing the plethora of vintage cars ranging from totally refurbished Model Ts to 1960 Ford Fairlanes. Bill always knows what kind of car it is. I of course never know, but I spotted this one parked in front of Subway the other day. I think it’s a Ford Fairlane. So fun…..
1,350 square feet and fake grass
I love my house in Denver. In particular, I love my magnificent back yard. But our Denver house, while not a mansion, is way big for us two simple folks. Bill and I literally use one bedroom, one bath, our family room, our kitchen, and Bill’s office. That leaves a dining room, living room, and three bedrooms virtually untouched. (Well, except for grandkids’ sleepovers.) Here our house is a 1,350 square foot ranch with a small backyard. Last year Bill installed artificial grass, making the upkeep negligible-to-non-existent. I LOVE this little house. It is the perfect size. It makes me realize that we are very close to being ready to sell our big house in Denver and buy something smaller. If it wasn’t for that magnificent back yard…..
Walk to Basha’s
Basha’s is one of those rare commodities – a locally-owned grocery store chain. It is an Arizona chain (though I think there is one in Gallup, NM, and Needles, CA), and is a full-service grocery store. Our nearest grocery store is Basha’s, and it is two blocks from our house. I walk over nearly every day. It makes me feel very European. The checkers have come to know me. Best of all – they sell wine!
I love the desert. That’s all I’ll say about that. P.S. – I don’t love rattlesnakes or scorpions.
I have lived 40 years in Colorado, and yet (and don’t hate me for this) my favorite mountain is right here in Arizona. I love Superstition Mountain. There is something absolutely glorious about the way it looks in the morning and the evening – all lavender and hazy. I see it from our house, and will miss looking at it every day.
But, while my lists of things I will miss has been in no particular order, the thing I will miss the most is…
After years of living far away from Bec and Dave, it is such a blessing to be so close to them for so many months out of the year. I still can’t believe that I can call Bec on the phone and we can meet for a cup of coffee. Bill and I often visit my brother at whatever Basha’s he’s working at that day for a donut and a quick chat. And how lovely to be able to get to know my great nieces and nephews and spend time with Erik, Maggie, Christopher, Kacy, Jessie, and Brooke and their families. I will miss everyone.
The good news is I’m going home to just as many blessings.
Nana’s Notes: The title of this post comes from the song Arizona by Mark Lindsay. You’d know it if you heard it.