Downtown Tombstone — Photo by Pat Bean
“…writers inevitably notice similar things from slightly different angles. How could it be otherwise.” – Frank Conroy
With My Son
My son, Lewis, in Boot Hill — Photo by Pat Bean
I’ve been to Tombstone, Arizona, which sits 75 miles southeast of my Tucson apartment three times. I barely remember the first, which I think was sometime in the early 70s. The second time was about 10 years ago during my full-time RV travels. The third time was just last Monday with my middle child, Lewis, who came to check up on his mom and have, as he called it, “his midlife road trip.”
My son taking a picture of a spoon player, who takes advantage of the Tombstone crowd to earn a few bucks. Lewis texted the photo to his wife, who replied: “I thought you were in Tombstone and not New Orleans. — Photo by Pat Bean
At least that’s what he called it when he showed up at my Tucson apartment, driving a brand new Jeep Wrangler and wearing a scruffy beard and long hair. I laughed when I saw him, and again after hearing that his wife told him the hair had to go when he got back home.
Lewis is an avid birdwatcher like his mom, from whom he caught the addiction. And Tucson is a great birding place – April through September. Sadly, the birding is dismal in November. So I looked for other options to entertain Lewis, and together we decided a visit to Tombstone might be fun.
Lewis said his wife, Karen, “had a thing about Wyatt Earp.”
It was a beautiful day, and with Lewis’s Jeep open to the air and sky, it was an adventurous, if windy ride. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As I did our exploration of Tombstone, which had evolved into a more touristy place since my last visit — when I watched a free re-enactment of the “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.”
I’m not sure what the Texas longhorn was doing in Arizona, either. — Photo by Pat Bean
Today, the re-enactment is performed inside a fenced-off area with stadium seating for the audience. Tickets to the show, which also include a reprinted copy of the Epitaph newspaper the day after the shooting, and entrance to a movie and diorama history presentation about the history of the old silver mining town, are now $10 per person.
Just about everything else, from stage coach rides to visits to old brothels, museums and haunted buildings, some of which were also free last time I visited, now come with a sticker price.
While my Lewis’ wife has a thing about Wyatt Earp, my other daughter-in-law and I share a fondness for John Wayne, especially his performance in Hatari. It’s one of our favorite movies. — Photo by Pat Bean
I treated for the shoot-out, but we bypassed most of the other attractions. We did, however, take a walk through boot hill, which is now well tended and organized, unlike how I remembered it from my last visit. Then, if I remember correctly, it was just an old graveyard with a few interesting headstones, my favorite being “Here lies Les Moore. Four slugs from a 44. No Les, no Moore. I couldn’t find that particular tombstone this time, however.
Tombstone, whose history is truly fascinating, is “more” today than it was on my earlier visit. Of course it was probably “more” when the town was booming than it is today.
The best thing about Tombstone this day was that I got to spend it with a son whom I seldom see, and he also enjoyed the day (and bought a Wyatt Earp T-shirt for his wife).
We ended the day’s adventure wiith a prime rib dinner (he treated) at a steakhouse in the tiny town of Sonorita, which we drove through on the scenic, backroad drive back to Tucson.
Blog pick of the day.
Bean Pat: Redtails over Sweetwater http://tinyurl.com/lytvas2 An artist’s blog, and a painting I love.
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