True West Historical Society

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February 2, 2014

Working on a couple paintings today: "Windswept Highway," "20,000 Cooties Under The Sea" and "Sailer's Camp Respite", all three for "The 66 Kid."


  I had a speech yesterday for the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Steward Retreat and on the way back home I spied this great bank of clouds.


Pima Road and Lone Mountain, looking north over Continental Mountain. I dig that python head, also the road design, shooting off to the right is a happy accident. I will use both. I took a second shot through the windshield to pick up the rest of the cloud bank:



Looked like it might rain but we got nothing out of it. I'm also working on my father's dream, that is, what he aspired to, and how he sold me on his dreams. Here's my first take on it:


My Father's Dream
  Almost every Sunday my father would take my mother and I for a drive. First to my grandparent's farm north of Thompson, and then from there to see gas stations, or other businesses for sale. Sometimes they would be combination-gas station-cafes and even more ideal, one such combo at Leland, had a small gas station with a cafe next door, behind a white picket fence and the house was above the cafe. My father would stop the car and let it idle and tell my mother and I how happy we would be with this three-in-one dreamboat property. I've always had a vivid imagination and I always bought what he was selling, or, in this case trying to buy.

  Even after we moved to Arizona, we would sometimes make a trip to Wickenburg to take a look at a Western Auto store he saw in the paper, or a Blakely Gas Station on the road to Wendon. I loved these trips because they gave us hope for a better life, an ideal, and a dream to shoot for.

  The part I didn't like was, as time went on, my father would come home and start drinking, which led to complaining about all his problems at the gas station. He had employees who were stealing from him. The oil company wanted to raise his lease, the local bulk plant was ripping him off. At some point I got the message loud and clear: I'm not sure what I am going to do with my life, but whatever it is, it won't be this. Which put a bit of a wedge between us, because I think my father always had a fantasy of a car related business with the signage—All Bell & Son—over the door. I wanted to please him, but given his unhappiness at the dinner table I instinctively knew I would not be going in that direction. It was just too obviously a dead end.

   The upshot being, I was very careful what I talked about at the dinner table with my own kids. But even with my careful resere, neither one wanted to be an artist, or a historian. So, looking back, I might as well have complained like crazy.

"What you get is not quite what you choose."

—JD Souther, in "The History of The Eagles"



Views: 121

Comment by Margaret-Anne Moore on February 2, 2014 at 1:12pm

May I ask, exactly, where Continental Mountain is located?  Great shots--I wish I had taken them!

Comment by Margaret-Anne Moore on February 2, 2014 at 1:21pm

If you want, you can still live part of your father's dream.  Many large-scale business came from small beginnings.  In our area, a small hot dog cart eventually became the world-famous Pink's which catered not only to ordinary customers, but to celebrities as well.  It is said that Orson Welles frequented Pink's and they made up a special  "dog"  to suit his tastes, and they still serve it years after his death.  Another small stand evolved into the Carl's Corporation.  Who knows?  You may set up a combination gas station, cafe or ice cream spot, and a small motel that may well evolve into a great and legendary place of business that might someday be taken over by Weston.


Comment by Bob Boze Bell on February 2, 2014 at 2:20pm

Okay, maybe one can also be too passionate about things you talk about at the dinner table. When my daughter Deena was 10 she wrote a one-page-book. In it, she said, "He always talks about Billy The Kid. That drives me crazy."

Comment by Jim Holden on February 2, 2014 at 3:00pm
You were actually very lucky. My dad was in the restaurant business. Consequently we had a "dinner table" only a few Holiday's per year. Also my Dad missed most of the things we could have done together, besides working side by side 4 or 5 nights a week. I still think I missed a lot of the conversations & activities that would have made us closer. So my decision to leave home at 17 for the USMC, & although we were close, I never lived at home again.
Comment by marshall swanson on February 2, 2014 at 9:11pm

I knew your dad very well, and I can see how you may have felt.  He was a really good and very wise.

Comment by Murray A. Gewirtz on February 3, 2014 at 12:36am

As long as your kids grow up to be decent, upright, responsible and loving people, you've gotten what you chose, and you shouldn't worry about not having molded them in your exact image.

By the way, just between you and me, it's "my father would take my mother and me," and "tell my mother and me (how happy we'd be)." Use me when you're the object of your father's action. Also, unless you had only one grandparent, it should be your grandparents' farm.

Grammar aside, you write well, as I'm sure you know. But that's why there are editors.

Comment by Bob Boze Bell on February 3, 2014 at 8:34am

Thanks Marshall, I agree. And thanks for the English lesson Murray. I never paid attention in English class because I was too busy entertaining everyone in class.


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