40 ODD MILES NORTH OF PHOENIX
London and I followed G.B. and Wayne, the carpenter, south to the Sun Valley Pink quarry near Phoenix. When we reached the temporarily inactive quarry G.B. turned left and towed the pink trailer up onto a butte, overlooking the stone company’s holdings.
After a brief debate with him, I reluctantly agreed to a propane hook-up to the stove and to the fridge, but I refused propane to the lights and the hot water. I told G.B. if he foisted them onto me I would move back into Ludwig.
“G.B., I have the niceties of life at home. I’m here so I can get away from them.”
He looked at me with flashes of pride, anger and confusion, then turned to Wayne and asked, “Isn’t she strange?”
Filled with concern for my comfort and well being, G.B. heaved a deep sigh, and then he and Wayne headed north to Ash Fork, the Flagstone Capitol of the U.S.A., hopefully having left London and me safe in the little pink trailer.
London and I camped on the butte at the Sun Valley Pink quarry for six months. While we roamed and I painted amid towering saguaro and evil, jumping cholla cactus, I kept finding weathered old signs bleached by the sun.
The roughly painted words on them were barely legible, and I wondered whether they dated back to Territorial days — and outlaws. The words held a strange combination of Bible-thumping, Hell and damnation quotes, Wild West phrases and evil threats. My curiosity was sparked. If it was wit, it was the blackest of humor. If it was anger — the author was raging!
On one of G.B.’s trips south to the head office of Western States Stone Company in Phoenix, he checked in with me, and I asked him who made the signs.
“Oh that would a’ been Glen, one a’ the quarry guards. Signs can save ‘em the trouble a’ shootin’ people who trespass, but most would as soon shoot y’all as bother talkin’ to ye, especially that one. I worry ‘bout leavin’ y’all here right now — all alone without a guard on duty.”
“Oh G.B., I like this place because I am alone.” I said, all the while grateful some gun toting madman was not guarding the rocks and watching me!
Obviously confused by that idea, he tried to carry on, “Charle, y’all take my pick-handle — to be safe.”
“Oh G.B. there isn’t room to swing it in the trailer, and I have too many other things to carry on my walks.”
With a snort he continued, “That ol’ cabin yonder, that’s where the quarry guards stay. Some are drifters, some are ol’ rock-doodlers an’ some are just hermits. Some like their dawgs better’n people — like y’all.” He looked thoughtfully at me and added, “Y’all’re a strange Canadian painter lady Charle.”