Because I was born in southern Arizona, desert dwelling was
my childhood way of life. My mother had followed her father
into prospecting, and I followed them from one claim to the
next while my father reluctantly blasted for minerals. She
loved the desert plants, especially the flowers, and taught
me about their uses. Medicinal plants were especially handy
when I got wounded from the hard lessons the desert was famous
for. I also loved to trail my father from one water-hole to
the next as we worked half-Brahma steers.
My favorite sound is the windmill
squawking in the distance, each turn bringing water to the
surface. My beloved horse, a wise, white desert-sure broom-tail
always managed to get me home. Summers sometimes took me north
where I guided horseback riders through the northern Arizona
mountains. Everything there from the green of the valleys
and forests to the beautiful refreshing streams was wonderful
except for the fierce afternoon lightening storms which scared
the crap out of both the horse and me.
I lost this life when I was sent
off for book learning and made a new life as a school teacher.
I met Nel, the love of my life, at Arizona State University.
During our first years together we wrote curriculum, including
a media textbook that sold around the world, and we eventually
directed school media centers until we retired.
Once we retired, the desert heat
lost its appeal, so we moved to a Pacific Northwest coastal
town as close to water as we could get. Once again, we found
a whole new way of living. Over the year we opened a bookstore
and two bed and breakfasts, worked on renovating and building
houses, started a publishing company, and edited The Butch
Cookbook. I also wrote three novels, two about Loni Wagner
and another about a three teens stranded on the desert, and
I got involved in photography.
The future? Maybe I'll write
another Loni Wagner novel. Or take more photos. What I do
know is that I'm looking forward to whatever's behind the
next door I open.