Monday, April 28, 2008

Flagstaff 19 years later

Kaye informs me that it was 19 years ago that she and I first drove through Flagstaff, heading out to find our fortune in LA, where Kate hubby Val had a job lined up, and I hoped to find one somehow.

We drove up through Palo Duro Canyon in Texas, hit the I-40, passed through the sad land of drunk Indians in Gallup, NM, crossed through the hell that is Albuquerque and then found our way into the pine treed town that is Flagstaff. The day we were here happened to be the day of the homecoming parade, and hundreds of blond and pure apple pie people rode by us in convertibles, cheered along side us, as quarterbacks and cheerleaders looked out misty eyed from their parade float perches and I guess wondered what they'll ever do in life to top this.

The air was clean and light, the town was small and charming and it seemed impossible that something so innocent was still around, untouched.

I loved Flagstaff. I was so glad to be passing back through on our trip to New Orleans this week.

I thought maybe it was my faulty memory at work again when we hit the strip malls and Taco Bells and car washes that make up most of the town now. I thought maybe my memory of the idyllic Flagstaff was selective -- I maybe just chose to remember the cool parts, and forgot the scabby strip mall side of the town.

I called Kaye to check, and she confirmed that yes, it had been 19 years. It was pure when we were here.

Mark says he doesn't regret the change that happens to this world. You lose somethings, but then you gain some too.

As evidence he points to the excellent local Starbucks, which certainly was not here 19 years ago. We did appreciate that cup of fresh brewed Verona, indeed.


Rita said...

Nice writing, Michelle - visual and memorable. Makes a guy want to travel.

kateco said...

I think I have some pictures of that parade -- I'll look. Time does march on. We'll always have Flagstaff, baby, and those pancakes. Unfortunately, we will also have Gallup. Poor Gallup with its friendly, but sad, Pine Cone Inn. Anyway, the Flagstaff strip malls can't take that away from us.

But Mark has a point. Starbucks + Flagstaff = a predictable cup of coffee. There was none of that back in the wild west days of 1989. There wasn't a good cup of coffee to be had anywhere between New Orleans and San Francisco. They have transformed the arid regions! And there's something to be said for that.

Sleep tight! Love K

Janice said...

Now, Albuquerque is not hell. I lived there for three wonderful years. Stop by the Rio Grande. Head up to the top of the Sandia mountains. Stop by the valley of apple trees, the city parks with the collection of jugglers that meet every wednesday afternoon. Even the university is cool.

freda said...

my, my, doesn't time fly. You are right about the coffee, I never had a decent cup of coffee in this country till I got to Louisiana. The stuff they had in Texas was just brown dishwater. by the way, what time do you expect to arrive here? morning, afternoon, evening? thursday, right?