Monday, February 1, 2010

Singing Wind

I drove to Benson

for a Cowboy/Cowgirl Round-Up here, at Singing Wind Bookshop

which is, as the sign announces, the headquarters for books about the Southwest.

It's owned, operated and is a reflection of

Winn Bundy, an official Arizona Culturekeeper.

There were fans of all sizes and descriptions.
These folks said that they were new to Arizona.
I wonder if they've gone a little over-board with the gear?

Perhaps not. There's no doubt that these folks are for real:

I thought this guy was a bit over the top

but it turns out that he's Jim Olsen, author of My Cowboy Heroes
and the last performer of the afternoon.

It was a decidedly low-tech affair, with the exception of an exemplary sound system which never screeched or squealed and brought the inside and outside audiences together as one. Yes, there were rows of chairs on the enclosed sun-porch, and then there were assorted picnic tables and long benches and stackable plastic lawn chair scattered around the grounds.

The performers were their own roadies:

and the Green Room was right out there with the rest of us

And don't let me forget the catering. It was a long drive from home, and I wasn't in the mood for fast food or for being inside so I'd resigned myself to being hungry. When I arrived, Winn's long table was covered with edibles - guacamole and salsa and cheese and homemade vegetable soup and breads and veggies - and no one asked for any money. Nope. Not a dime. She'd invited us into her home, and all she asked was that we stay til the end and buy lots of books and cd's which the performers had available inside and not give her any guff. Her words.

I grabbed a bowl and a plate and a napkin and a spoon and made my way outside, under the mesquite, comfortable in an armchair right outside the open doorway. It was heaven.

There were authors who were story-tellers, including this 90 year old cowboy

and yes, that's how Beth Aycock describes herself.

I heard about shirt-tail relatives and steer wrestling (bite the steer's lip and you can control it..... .... that's what Sid Hausman said....oy ) and the Pleasant Valley War (killed more people in one year than lived in the entire Valley .... think about that for a while... huh??) and Roy Rogers (there was a lot of Roy Rogers) and Black Jack Ketchum and a fortuitous turn of events described as "found a bird's nest right there on the ground."

The Katy Creek Band

invited us all to their House Party Concerts in Maricopa County, which they said were pretty much just like this afternoon we were all sharing.

Mrs. Aycock came out into the audience to listen with us. I'd be either one of these women when I'm 90!

There were boots

and hats

and as I drove home in the purple haze I was smiling.

When people ask me why we live here, it's days like this that I tell them about.
Free. Beautiful. Quirky. Welcoming. And New... always something new.


  1. Oh, Ashleigh, this made my heart ache for Arizona! I know I've mentioned, we had four of the best years of our lives in Mesa when my husband was flying F5's out of Williams AFB. Our son was born there. It doesn't get any better than books, authors, warmth, authenticity, music, and free guacamole. Wish I was there! Thank you so much for loading all these fabulous pictures!

  2. And I wish you had been here to go with me, Nance!
    Mesa's bigger now, but it's still (for this year at least) home to my Cubbies..

  3. You've named the reasons I love Tucson, too! Thanks for putting it into words--and for the photos too. It's cold and mostly gray where we are and this cheered me up.

  4. Glad to bring a bit of sunshine into your world, Laura! It really was a special afternoon.

    Thanks for reading!

  5. im new to a computer. I love to read but time has taken another turn in my life, Your writings are beautiful and gives me a really pleasant start to the day. I really think you are there just for me sometimes. thanks, PHYL

  6. Oh, PHYL, you've made my day.... my week.... my month... my year! I'll be writing to you every weekday at 6am Tucson Time. And welcome to cyberspace; don't be afraid to click around. If you get stuck, just turn it off and try again later. The computer won't mind at all ;)

  7. Such a nice post, My spouse and i liked the idea a whole lot! I like your style! Amazing pictures!
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