From Arizona to Callifornia and Nevada

Troup train from Virginia to California

Troup train from Virginia to California in 1945

Nate and Kathy had carefully planned my stay with them.  I should have known they would because of  Kathy’s career as an executive hostess for two colleges. Nate presented more than 1,800 seminars for business and industry leaders and employees over the past 35 years, and had published a book on the Magic of Listening. They were a thoughtful host and hostess.  On our first day together they took me to Needles, California.

This stirred my memory of coming to an oasis of green after seeing only desert for hours while on the troop train enroute to CPS duty 60 years ago. Again fields of green pleased the eye. Now I knew they were grown by Native Americans on their reservation. Seeing the words “Santa Fe” on railroad cars brought memories from 1945 of the Santa Fe Railroad, Harvy’s Restaurants and waitresses known as Harvey Girls all a part of that trip.  I enjoy Needles.


Kathy takes pictures of US 66 insignia

Then Nate took the historic highway 66 to Oatman, Nevada.  Oatman began as a tent city, then boomed for a few years as a gold mining town. It faded as mining diminished. It serves now as a museum town with shops that sell resonably priced souveniers and artifacts. For more history, with pictures and a video click here.

I mingled with the crowds on the town streets until I saw an advertisement for pure Arizona mesquite IMG_4103honey. According to my research, mesquite was important for the Native Americans of the Southwest. They used honey from the flowers, food from seed pods and roots, tools and tips for their arrows from wood. I was drawn into a store by this sign about the honey.  The line to the cashier was crowded until the “gunfight” started in the street outside and the sound of shots penetrated the store.  Everyone in the store but me emptied into the street to watch the fight.

I bought the honey and also a bottle of IMG_4323Sioux City Sarsaparilla which advertised itself as “the grandaddy of all root beers.” I was surprised to learn that Sarsaparilla has been used for medicinal purposes before the development of drugs by big pharma. On my return to Goshen Joyce and I enjoyed what I considered the best root beer float of my life. I consume such floats in memory of Rhoda.  It was her favorite indulgance.

After my purchases I returned to the street and worked my way through the crowd to find Nate and the car. The fight disturbed me.  I began to shout:  “That’s what’s wrong with this country. We got off to a bad start by fighting with guns over money!”  Some looked puzzled. A few nodded in agreement. Does anyone remember the ranting old man from the East?  Perhaps most wondered what he was so riled up about?  I am an Old Fool, and proved it by a rant.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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2 Responses to From Arizona to Callifornia and Nevada

  1. Bill swartzendruber says:

    You probably have a few something to think about. Good for you!! Bill Swartzendruber

  2. So glad it was possible to make this great trip!!! You took it all in, didn’t you !? I can’t think of you missing anything!? 🙂

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