When it rains

When it rains in Tucson, it’s time to water the cactus on your windowsill back in Kansas, or at least that’s our story. We had rain yesterday, all the way from drizzle to downpour, from mid-morning until into the night, but the sun is shining and the birds are singing this afternoon.

Also, when it rains, it pours. That’s our experience with having company. After Bernritters left several weeks ago, we were alone again until the 19th when my sister Florence Marie Walter arrived from Nebraska. While her family back home has been shivering, she’s been wearing capris and wearing sandals here in Arizona! This morning our RVing friends, Tom and Barb Westerfield, came to visit us at church. Today was our bilingual service and potluck, so we twisted their arms to stay. (Well, it doesn’t take much twisting to get any RVer to stay anywhere there is food.) The associate director of Evangelical Friends Missions (EFM) Matt Macy was our speaker this morning and he and his extended family have been good friends of ours since he was a baby. We’ve had a great day of visiting and catching up. Later this week, our friend Ed Frey and Patches will be stopping by for a short visit so we feel abundantly blessed with friends.

This is Florence Marie’s first visit to Arizona so we’re dragged her all over the southeastern part of the state showing her some of our favorite places. We always enjoy seeing it new from someone else’s perspective. The feature we love most in the desert landscape is the saguaro cactus, so we took her to Saguaro National Park to learn more about them.

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We always love watching the raptor free flight demonstration at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and this time was no exception. We saw a variety of birds, ending with the Harris’s Hawk family. They are the only birds that hunt as a family.

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Mt. Lemmon, elevation 9,157, stands just off the desert floor in Tucson. Temperatures on top are 10 or 20 degrees cooler than here at the church and the scenery in between provides a real contrast to the saguaro on the lower slopes. We stopped at the the Mt. Lemmon Cookie Cabin in Summerhaven for pizza and a Rachel cookie which was big enough for all three of us. Both on the way up and the way down, traffic was stopped for a short while because a camera crew was filming a commercial and as we were stopped, I got this picture of someone braver by far than I!

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The shops at Tubac caught our attention early last week, but we limited our time there to keep from wearing ourselves out before the week was started. We did eat at Wisdom’s Cafe, which we’ve heard about for several years but never visited.

Several people in our local church work or have worked with Bible translation in Mexico and are now mostly located here. Since we were raised in a missions-minded family and both her children have served as missionaries, I thought Florence Marie might be interested in seeing the Summer Institute for Language (area headquarters for Wycliffe Bible Translators) so we spent a morning touring their facilities.  One of Florence Marie’s former co-teachers in Hutchinson is affiliated with that branch, although he spends most of his time in Mexico.

Sabino Canyon is a welcome respite from city life and a tram runs daily all year long. Our driver/narrator kept us busy looking at trees and rocks and told us stories of long-ago adventures in the canyon. It would be a nice place to hike as there are lots of trails there. And there are a lot of Gneiss (nice) rocks as well!

Probably our favorite “touristy” places are  Tombstone and Bisbee, so we couldn’t miss those. Big Nose Kate’s saloon in Tombstone provided a great lunch and the Bisbee Coffee Company served a nice cup of coffee to go with our afternoon ice cream from the Bisbee Scoop. Florence Marie will not be able to say we starved her when she goes home!

There’s more to come this week before we send Florence Marie back to the frozen plains of Nebraska on Wednesday, but I think she’s at least thawed out to travel!

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