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Getting out of Dodge

September 13, 2018

As some of you old timer “Inside Sanpete” readers know, I like to prove now and again that it’s possible to get to anywhere in the world from right here in Sanpete. I know – it’s a simple concept, but there are some people who just don’t believe it’s possible. Or, maybe they just don’t feel the need or desire to get out of town. And that’s all right too.

It’s just that I have people say to me occasionally, “I wish I could go somewhere sometime and do something different.” I respond, “If you want to, you can. All you have to do is save a little money, plan a little bit and “go out on the edge of the diving board and jump.”

We decided that the three day weekend of Labor Day would be a good time to “Get out of Dodge,” as they say. I believe that phrase was made popular by the TV series “Gunsmoke” in a reference to the good guys telling the bad guys to leave town. The town was Dodge City, Kansas.

Ironically, over Labor Day weekend, we traveled to Tucson and Tombstone, Arizona. The bit of irony for me is that Tombstone is where Wyatt Earp went when he “got out of Dodge” where he was an assistant city marshal. It was 1879 and Tombstone was a mining boomtown. Silver was the attraction that created a place with over 100 saloons and many gambling halls and brothels.

We went to Tombstone for fun and by so doing put a little silver into the economy of the historic “tourist trappy” town. It was purely coincidental that it is currently the 25th anniversary of the Kurt Russell/Val Kilmer/Sam Elliott movie “Tombstone.” The bigscreen TVs in Big Nose Kate’s Saloon were silently playing the movie continuously.

Big Nose Kate was a “shady lady” in Tombstone and was Doc Holliday’s girlfriend. The saying you’ll see around town about her is: “Big Nose Kate, who loved Doc Holliday, and everyone else.”

The movie “Tombstone” is a bit of a classic favorite at our house with my wife basically knowing most of the dialogue. While having lunch at Big Nose Kate’s on Labor Day, Diane could lip synch the dialogue right along with the movie. That included one of the most poignant moments of the film when a very ill Doc Holliday is coughing violently, yet getting ready for the fight. Here’s the exchange:

Guy: Doc, you oughta be in bed. What the hell are you doing this for anyway?

Doc: Wyatt Earp is my friend.

Guy: Hell, I’ve got lots of friends.

Doc: I don’t.

The excuse for this little trip we took, not that we needed an excuse, was to go to the BYU vs. University of Arizona football game. It was an unexpected bonus to have the Cougars actually win the game. (I concluded long ago that I can’t base my happiness on the outcome of ball games – especially BYU football games.)

Before the game on Saturday, we drove out to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. When I read about it on a travel website, it said to count on three hours at the place. We were there for four and a half hours. It’s part zoo, part aquarium, part aviary, part botanical gardens, part hiking trails, part cave experience, and on and on.

Speaking of Doc Holliday and friends, we made a new friend at the museum. Samantha was traveling on her own from Houston, Texas. Having already scheduled for time off from work, she decided to forge ahead with her trip alone, in the face of her original traveling companions having to cancel.

After a couple of episodes of looking at the same exhibits together and finding out that she was on her own, we invited her to tag along with us. She was pleased to have company and we had a great time together. You can’t have too many friends. (Unless you’re talking about Facebook)

Seeing the desert in the Tucson area made me hope that we get a ton of snow in Sanpete this winter. Cacti are pretty. (Notice how I remembered the plural of cactus?) Some were blooming gorgeously. But we don’t need any more prickly pears or any additional plants with thorns and stickers in Sanpete.

When we drove south from Tucson to Tombstone, we stopped at the old Spanish mission, San Xavier. It’s called the “White Dove of the Desert.” While there, we talked to one of the Native Americans of the Tohono O’odham Nation. The mission church is on their reservation. They used to be known as Papago Indians, but the name was changed in the 1980s.

Their native language is actively used. And although most of the more than 24,000 people are Catholic, many native ceremonies from the “old way” are continued. These include a coming of age ceremony for girls and the ceremonial giving of a small amount of earth (dirt) to infants to eat. (I know people who won’t eat an M & M that’s fallen onto the carpet.)

As usual, it was good to get out of town and see some different scenery. Also, as usual, it was good to get back to Sanpete and see familiar faces and sleep in my own bed. If you haven’t taken a little jaunt for a while, consider it. It’ll “recharge your batteries” for returning to life here at home and you’ll make good memories.

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