You never know what’ll pop up when you plug in “Arizona Highways” in Google… in this case, a blog post by Vicki Goodwin was the winning hit. Ms. Goodwin wrote about her grandmother’s stack of Arizona Highways that sat on her coffee table, and the pictures each issue painted in her mind about this far away place… you see, Ms. Goodwin lived in Alabama.
I think we said it best in our August 2011, Best of AZ, issue: “People like to complain. About their jobs, their neighbors, their lot in life. People like to complain about Arizona, too. It’s too hot, it’s too dry, it’s too this, it’s too that. Admittedly, Arizona isn’t perfect — no place is. Nevertheless, there’s a lot that’s right with Arizona”
Thank you Ms. Goodwin for sharing your memories.
Revisiting the Arizona Highways
My grandmother, Mama Kate, always had copies of the magazine Arizona Highways on her coffee table and in her magazine racks. It was one of those magazines that you never tossed out. It was the magazine I could look through time and again. The sky was different than the ones we had back home in Alabama. The colors were more vivid and the clouds stood taller in the sky.
The one thing that always stood out to me was the Reds. The reds of the dirt, the red of the Grand Canyon and the reds of the sunsets. The towering white clouds edged in red, contrasting with the turquoise sky between. Now I realize they took the pictures of those tall massive clouds because they were rare.
In my mind that was Arizona. The Indian School on Indian School road. This was the place that my grandparents supported with financial donations all while I was growing up and we would receive little Indian dolls. This was the gift my grandmother received for her devotion to the little school that helped the Indian children learn English, math and science. As an adult I have learned that they were not all happy to be here, but my grandparents helped out of the goodness of their hearts and the faith in the beliefs of the times.
Again in my mind that was Arizona.
Today all that came flooding back when I saw a woman that had gotten out of her car on the side of the road and was taking pictures of the sky. The towering clouds with the little touches of turquoise between. Oh did I mention the reds. Because each white cloud had just the faintest hint of red and in my mind, I had just sat down on the floor with my back up against the cold marble coffee table with the Arizona Highways magazine.
Other than wishing I too could pull over on Indian School Road as that woman had, and watch the sunset melt into the ribbon of red that it would soon become I realized I am living my own copy of Mama Kate’s Arizona Highways magazine.