Thursday, May 6, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Friday, December 11, 2009
He filled the trailer's water storage tank and connected the propane tanks for the fridge, stove and water heater. To guarantee ample water for the shower, G.B. had his carpenters build a stand which held two water barrels behind the trailer. I thought he was carrying my water supply to an extreme when he had the men brace a third barrel in the fork of a juniper tree by my door. But G.B. knew I would run out of water, no matter how much I had.
The first morning at my new campsite, for a special treat, I fried a pan of bacon, onions, potatoes and an egg.
I carried my aromatic plate and a cold Pepsi outside into the cool, early morning sunshine and climbed up onto Huff, a loader G.B. had driven out from the stoneyard the day before.
As I ate my breakfast slowly, I scanned the scene below me; Mt. Floyd, Old Pocatch, and cinder cones along the horizon. I looked north but the valley soon disappeared behind the skirts of my mountain. South, the valley reached out to Ash Fork and beyond into the early morning haze.
My attention was drawn to the ground close below my campsite by the arrival of a huge, long legged jack rabbit. He sat quivering, wide eyed and still, then bolted on his zigzag path at the sounds of a passing cotton-tail. I looked up into the deepening sky and into the branches above my head. I called to a little bird who replied, "com'ere, com'ere."
Just where the valley road crossed the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad tracks into town, I noticed a puff of dust. Dust traced a vehicle's progress down the valley. Eventually the vehicle swung onto Quarry Road, crossed the cattle-guard and flashed between the trees along the frontage road. It was G.B. in the company pick-up bringing rock doodlers who did not have transportation up to the quarry.
In order to open the office at eight a.m., G.B. dropped off the men at seven-thirty, checked their water barrels and their equipment, gave his orders for the day, then roared back toward town.
On his way down the mountain, G.B. skidded to a stop by my campsite, saw I was gazing at the view below and asked me, "Charle, how can y'all just set thar doin' nothin'? Y'all git yer giddle on up the hill an' paint some pictures. I'll be back this evenin'."
He was off in a big puff of dust . . . and he was back at noon and at three o'clock and at five o'clock, but he never did come back the evening.
The next day I learned "evenin" is any time after twelve noon and G.B. had come back three times last evenin'
G.B. and the Strange Canadian Painter Lady
by Charlotte Madison and Nana Cook
Friday, November 27, 2009
I was camped in Ludwig atop the White Elephant quarry until G.B. could bring the pink trailer north from the Sun Valley Pink quarry. I pondered how to use the day.
G.B. was busy with special order customers - the Cotters, ranchers from Texas. They were building a large stone house on their cattle ranch and they had come to Ash Fork to order finishing touches - white flagstone for their floor to ceiling fireplace and stone for their mantle and hearth.
I felt hot and discomforted. Ludwig was messy, London was dusty and I was grimey. I decided to clean and hauled out my blankets, pillows and the narrow sheet of plywood that served as my bed. Out flew the cooler and canteens. London settled himself on the pile of blankets while I continued to pull things out of the van. After unloading almost everything I was too tired and hot to continue. I decided to finish it all in the cool of the evening.
For a change of pace I settled myself on the shady side of Ludwig and called London over to be groomed. As I pulled the brush through his fur removing burrs, goat-heads, grass seeds and twigs, I thought, with G.B. busy for the day and no one working in the quarry, it is a perfect opportunity to dye my hair.
I lined up the hair dye, shampoo, conditioner and jugs of sun warmed water. When it came to ablutions in a campsite, I was a well practiced expert from all the years of camping I had done. I donned an old dye stained shirt, which suggested I had slathered it with red dye and after waiting the required time, I rinsed out the dye, by pouring the jugs of water through my hair until it ran clear.
I squeezed out the excess water, straightened up, pulled my hair back from my face and saw the company pick-up rolling to a stop in front of me. G.B. was grinning with mischievous pleasure and to my horror, beside him were the smiling faces of the special customers from Texas.
Omar, a tall impressive Texan wearing a big Stetson hat, western styled clothes and fine custom made cowboy boots, climbed out of the pick- up. He was followed by his wife, Cleo, who was tall, beautiful and chic.
"Charle, y'all guess who these people are." G.B. ordered with glowing enthusiasm. Before I could reply, Cleo hurried over to me saying, "Oh y'all are G.B.'s Canadian painter lady! It's so nice to meet y'all. G.B. just talks and talks about y'all." Her smile and gracious words set me at ease immediatly.
Omar slowly ambled over to me, stuck out his hand to shake mine and said, "G.B. shore is proud a' y'all."
While we stood talking, y'alls flew 'round and 'round our heads.
That evening we all met in Williams, twenty miles east of Ash Fork. G.B suggested dinner at Rod's Steak House and Omar concurred by stating, "The only steaks worth eatin', this side a' Texas."
By nightfall we four had started a devoted friendship that could be interupted only by God.
G.B. AND THE STRANGE CANADIAN PAINTER LADY by Charlotte Madison and Nana Cook copyright 1994
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
G.B. lit fires of curiosity with that comment, so the next day, carrying water London and I headed across "yonder" . . . afoot.
I was accustomed to walking - it would not take long. It was not far as the owl flew but I was wearing thongs in the area of a cholla jungle. Necessity demanded a devious route, unless I planned on cholla acupunture.
"Hot London!" Too late, a cholla segment caught on his flank and nestled tightly into his fur. "Stay London." Instead he sat.
The movement involved in sitting allowed the barbed spines to pierce his skin. Abruptly and frantically he swung his head and took the vile thing into his soft fleshy mouth, where spines imbedded themselves.
It broke my heart to see him suffering and confused. Wanting to help, I grabbed a twig and tried to flick the cholla segment from his flank, instead I only managed to roll it deeper into his long fur. I needed more than a twig to help him. We had to get back to the trailer.
London endured extreme pain during the long hot walk home to the butte. Every time I looked at him with what appeared to be a mouthful of porcupine quills, my heart hurt and I thought of G.B.'s instructions, "Take the car!"
As soon as we reached the top of the butte I sat London in the shade of the trailer with a bucket of water. I settled myself on the ground in front of him with scissors, a pair of pliers and a metal bowl. I talked to London incessantly and cradled his head while I cut the fur and the cholla from his flank', and with the pliers I pulled out spines I could see in the short stubble of newly cut fur.
I did not know what to expect when I started on his mouth, but he understood I was going to help him. He whined and we cried while I removed hundreds of barbed spines from his lips, his gums and his tongue.
After more than an hour and a half, I was almost finished. There were two spines left in his bottom lip. I went for one and as soon as I pulled it out, he growled. I reached for the last one. London looked me in the eye and gave one commanding bark, "NO MORE!"
London rose with his head held high and with one large spine protruding from his bottom lip like a badge of courage, he trotted across the butte to "water a cactus."
G.B. and the Strange Canadian Painter Lady
by Charlotte Madison and Nana Cook copyright 1994