Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nutcrackers and Getting Skunked

Before moving on, we are pleased to announce that we now have 100 followers! Or at least 100 people who have signed up as Followers and haven't dropped us! Our newest Follower is Ruth of Five-Just Rolling Down the Road, another one of those delightful Canadian bloggers.

Now to the subject of the day.

What could be more "traditional" for Chrstmas than a silly old Nutcracker? At least traditional as far back as Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite," where the Nutcracker Prince defeats the Mouse King and goes on to the Sugar Plum Fairy's ball. You know that story. And if you are like me, I remember the recording my parents bought of Spike Jones' rendition of the ballet music. Yes, good old Spike Jones I have remembered all my 70 plus years nearly every word and whiz-bang sound Spike and his zany troupe put into the story.

For those who are interested, you can purchase the Spike Jones version of the Nutcracker Suite at the iTunes store on the Internet. It comes as part of a collection of several different presentations of the Nutcracker. We bought it this year, and Suzy loves it as much as I do.

Anyway, the question, as I remember it, is what could be more traditional that a silly old Nutcracker?

How about 18 Nutcrackers? Our collection began with one little Christmas tree ornament years ago, and has grown into this veritable nutcracker army. We'll surely be adding more as the years go on.

The most recent additions are the grilling chef....

and the Nuctracker Prince's arch-enemy, the Mouse King, who seems to be holding a prisoner!

Now, about being skunked. Inspired by Bayfield Al's recent post about Cochise's Council Rock a short distance from here, we decided to do a little exploring on our own. First we searched for "Cochise Stronghold" on our DeLorme Street Atlas and found two nearby items of interest: a Cochise Stronghold Indian Museum in St. David (population 1800 if you count all the surrounding ranches) just 7 miles south, and the Cochise Visitor Center in Willcox, AZ, up on I-10, just 38 miles away.

We headed to St. David, couldn't even find the street, finally stopped at the town's only gas station / convenience store. The manager directed us to the street but told us there's no museum anywhere near that area, but there was an old fort in the neighborhood. Sure enough, there wasn't any museum, or even anything that looked much like it might have been one a hundred years ago.

But we did find "Fort Montgomery" which looks to us like a very old log building that had been added onto as a private residence, but abandoned sometime perhaps last century, which really wasn't all that long ago.
There were downspouts, a gas meter, and a flagpole with windchimes, but no sign of life at all. A closer look didn't help.
So we struck out in St. David, except for a nice lunch at the Tiger Den Cafe. The Tiger Den is a plain fronted cinderblock building that looks like it's closed, except for the "open" sign in the window. As we arrived, a man was coming out, so I asked him if they served good food. He replied, "Oh, yeah, and there's lots of it!" We had the daily special, a "hot dog chili size with French fries or slaw." It was definitly good food, and plenty of it!

So it was on to Willcox (yes, it is spelled with two Ls, even though the town was named after a Mr. Wilcox with only one L). We found the "Cochise Visitor Center," which turned out to be the standard Arizona State Visitor Welcome Center, with maps and handouts for tourist attractions throughout the state.

So on our search for some good old Arizona history, we got skunked. At least we had a day out and a nice lunch! 

And here's a heart-felt wish for a very merry and blessed Christmas from Suzy and Jerry, living ... Our Life on Wheels.


  1. Well, we have had a few of those 'skunky'days as well so know of what it is you speak. In fact we have had some days that have turned out to be real downright stinkers!!

  2. That "skunking" has happened to us by following Mapquest on occasion....At least you had a nice ride ...and a great sounding lunch!!

  3. Ah, nutcrackers. I collect them, too, but my collection isn't as impressive as yours. I also enjoy looking at nutcrackers in stores, like the ones in Leavenworth, WA. I definitely don't have your nutcracker chef or the Mouse King. I enjoyed seeing your collection!

  4. A day like that has happened to us a lot in our travels but like you and Suzy, it usually ends up in something different and interesting to see. A nice lunch always helps too!

    That's a great little 'army' of nutcrackers you have there!!


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