” Sometimes the road you travel doesn’t lead to the destination you had hoped for. But if you can look back on the trip and smile…then it was worth it.”
Trigger warning- subject covers what it is like during a pandemic here in Arizona. If anyone reading this is fed up with the negative stories (and I don’t blame you) then skip this post. Ghost stories and pandemics and just the stress of everything may not be what you want to read right now, but there are fun parts to this post too. Not to worry though, I will be back to my regular posting of DIY’s and garden updates following this one. Have a beautiful day where ever you are out in the world, God bless you all and please stay safe.
Please Pray…I had this post pre-scheduled from a trip we took up to Our Little Red House in May and this morning June 22 we just got contacted with warnings from the county Our Little Red House is in. They are telling people in that zip code to get ready to pack up, if they have animals to get them ready to transport…sadly that fear I had in the first post I wrote about a couple weeks ago is turning into reality. The fires have started. I am very upset right now but I decided to continue with this second post to share with you all anyway. The winds are going to pick up, they are worried for the towns up there. So much beauty, and so many people up there. I will be busy praying that the land I grew up loving as a child does not get burned down and the people I care for up there are also safe, as well as their furry family members, homes and businesses. Our Little Red House sits alone, nothing valuable in it, just the memories we all had in it and the new ones we hope to make in the future. My husband and son were planning on heading up there for a father and son adventure to fix up Winter repairs today but now they are staying put until we see where these fires lead. The whole area has fires surrounding it. They are trying to keep all these small fires under control. Two road closures that lead to OLRH, it is pretty hard to get up there right now.
Back to the little Red House…part two.
May 22 2020
We were done exploring when we decided to check messages from back in the city. Just like we have neighbors up north to keep an eye on things, we also have lots of neighbors that watch our place in the city as well. We check for any messages from them if something comes up. We are all little communities helping each other out. This is the way it should always be. Sharing food, driving each other to the hospital during emergency situations, and watching out for each other daily. Every neighborhood should be like that. Please encourage this whichever country you live in, get to know and love your neighbors, especially during these times.
The way we check messages on our devices is through the little library in town that has free WiFi. We weren’t the only ones there when we pulled up in our truck. There were two cyclist dressed in matching uniforms that were also checking their online messages. My son stayed back at Our Little Red House to cook Pizza for everyone. Poor guy, he was tired.
It was getting dark and off in the distance I watched an American flag wave in the wind. I could hear it flapping back and forth. It is so silent out there in the country, you can hear everything.
All those sounds from the city become one sound but in the country it’s so quiet, you can hear the flapping of an American flag. Like it was trying to speak, to tell us all what it really represents. Which is that all of us united have so much strength. All races, sexes and religions united stand strong…and free, can’t forget that.
This is what it means to be free, what this flag stands for and even trying to change it’s story will never change the history of it’s true heroes that stood beside it to protect the weak and fight for freedoms all around the world.
There are people that are out there in every situation, in churches, in hospitals and schools that take the good in those places and try to change it’s stories by doing ugly and cruel things. Why?…to get others to not trust the ones we go to, the ones that we trust the most. The same can be said for the good stories this country has to tell. Only the ugly tales get told in the media but remember those are rare tales they pass onto us. The world is not as ugly as they would like us to believe. Yes, there are bad guys, but the good guys always out weigh the bad, at least this is what I want and pray for the world.
It was mesmerizing watching that flag and it also hurt my soul. So much hate I thought to myself as I watched that flag, where is it leading us.This was before the peaceful protesting and riots would begin, and that is where I am leaving it, not touching that subject with a ten foot pole as they say, not even one with an American flag attached to it.
Even people that approach that topic with good intentions and love are attacked and threatened. I only see the positive things to what it means to be American, a half full kind of gal never the half empty type. In the bible we are taught to forgive and move forward. Now we know why that is. Hate breeds hate. When did man become such an enemy of man.
We drove away after we got our messages, drove away from that misunderstood flag standing proud and all alone, as the darkness of night crawled into town, and headed over to our friends place to try out this new trend everyone was talking about called social distancing.
I started laughing when we were driving over to our neighbors house.
“What’s so funny.” my husband asked
“Oh, I was just thinking, that instead of socializing we are headed over to friends to do some social distancing instead.” I answered
When we got to our friends place we had our masks on, and we made sure to stay several feet away from each other. We all sat in the biggest room they had, a room they built themselves with their own two hands, and right next to it is an old cowboy saloon that they also built.
Sometimes there are people who rent the place for weddings and events.
This night there were no guests. The state did not officially open until the next day so everything was still empty. There were some people that booked the saloon for the weekend, so there were people coming up the next day. Probably be in another crowd like we saw earlier. When we all sat down several feet away from each other to visit, we were the only souls around.
I walked around the saloon remembering the parties that were held there.
All the people laughing and playing pool. Such a happy time. I hope we see that come back soon. Just that feeling of not being afraid to be near one another. Walking around remembering those times of playing Bingo and watching Survivor in an old cowboy saloon, made it seem like a 100 years ago when in fact it wasn’t that long ago at all.
We don’t drink, none of us, except my husband loves his wine, it’s an Italian thing I always tease him. Even our friends that designed and built this old saloon don’t drink alcohol. It is rare to run across adults that don’t drink alcohol. If you want to rent the saloon for parties with alcohol then you have to bring your own. This old cowboy saloon is a dry bar.
There are also areas to sleep in the back of the saloon.
Two rooms side by side and a huge loft above them for lots of kids and even adults if they want.
The rooms remind me of old western movies.
They might be shooting a western movie here our neighbors told us that night. That would be so cool I answered back.
I love how they designed the kitchen area.
It was hard to get a good shot with the flash and I am a bit of a snob when it comes to lighting, I love natural light, that is when I mostly shoot.
“ Hey, check out Karla’s new paintings she did.” Robin called up to me where I was hanging out up in the loft.
Way up high I was really doing some serious social distancing. I looked over the stairway and answered back.
“These are so cool Karla, you are so talented.” the room looked even bigger from way up there. That old Red Monster wasn’t going to reach me up there in that loft. Of course here is that sarcasm of mine…of course I wasn’t being that anti social or paranoid.
Our friends and neighbors up north are not only designers but Karla also paints western art in her free time, when she can find some that is. Those two are workaholics. How many times have I brought that up in these post.
We talked about what was new in town. Some politics but not a whole lot was spoken about that because that breaks friendships, again, there is that hate lingering around now out in the world and the Red Monster only intensifies things.
Karla told us a funny story about the old store across the street from Our Little Red House. It’s a museum that they eventually plan to live in full time, for now they are still fixing it up.
We can throw a stone to it, that is how close it is to Our Little Red House. When we first bought the little red house we would drive up from the city and work all day and night then drive back to the city after spending hours rebuilding things. No breaks, just straight there which takes 3 hours then work 12 or more hours and drive back to the city.
I remember being so exhausted that there were tears and blisters with that part of fixing the place. So much frustrations come with fixing up any property. We had to get the bathroom situation running, and we had no kitchen. Old plumbing is the worse when repairing and upgrading old buildings. Our Little Red House was built in the 1940’s and was the town post office at one time.
Anyway, one time we saw someone up in the old Hoagland store early one dawn morning before we were drove back to the city, some man standing there looking through those huge glass windows in the front of the store. Like he was just standing there watching us while we got ready to leave and were cleaning up.
Latter we asked our neighbors “ Who is that man who lives up there.”
We were new to the neighborhood and we always try to greet everyone. Our next door neighbors answered back “No one, that old place has been boarded up for decades.”
Told ourselves it was a trick of the sun or something. The windows were dirty after all, the whole place was filthy. Sometimes this happens in those old homes, reflections off of the glass, maybe a coat rack inside that looks like a person…who really knows.
Another time when we were stuck up north because of a Winter storm that blew in one night, I would wake up at 2 am wide awake. The roads were all closed coming in and out up there from the storm, so we were stuck there for that night. Wide awake after the storm I wanted to see what being snowed in looked like. It was like Christmas morning when I realized there would be a ton of snow outside. I couldn’t wait to see it. The wind had stopped. It was calm outside when I woke up.
I threw my coat on over my PJ’s and headed out to the front of our place and stepped out to see the most snow I had ever seen in my entire life. It was like tiny diamonds everywhere. Then something caught the corner of my eye, a tiny light up across the street at the Old Hoaghland store. It was like a dull flashlight or lamp light, hard to explain. On for awhile, floating like a lamp would act blowing from wind, but there was no wind out at that time, and then it was gone. The light just disappeared. It was pitch black now where moments before a light was .
I shook my head and blamed it on the snow. Up close once your eyes adjust in the dark it did look like tiny sparkly crystals everywhere. Yeah, that’s what it was I told myself while looking across the street up at the old store, now only in shadows. Too dark to see anything across the street I decided to head back inside Our Little Red House. It was toasty warm inside from the old cook-stove burning logs all night.
I didn’t want to stay outside after seeing that light up the hill. What if some stranger was up there wandering around looking for antiques. I know it was two in the morning but isn’t that when some people break in to places. This was before our friends bought the place. I wasn’t about to walk across the street still in my Pj’s and yell up there “Hey, what are you doing out here.” Plus there was another Winter blizzard headed in and it was cold out there.More then likely it was probably just a trick of the eyes or maybe the original owners were there…who knows.
Once inside the warm and safe place of Our Little Red House I closed the front door and crawled back into bed. My husband is a light sleeper, so he was awake when I crawled back into bed and he asked me what I was doing awake so early.
“ Nothing, just looking at what beautiful snow looks like, I grew up in the desert remember, so snow is a rare treat for me.” I told him. I wanted to get back to sleep so I didn’t bring up that strange light I saw.
My husband is not a big fan of snow and ice, He was born in Michigan. His early years were always cold he says. He loves the warm temps over ice and cold.
Now here it was a couple years later and our friends the new owners of that old store were talking about their own strange stories from the place. Those old cabins make noises when the wind blows at night and being as how quiet everything is up there, it can be spooky.
Even Our Little Red House has some tales to tell. I blame it on a mouse…yeah, those country mice get blamed for all those ghost stories told around campfires. I bet those mice listen in too, doing little mouse giggles to themselves while they eat any discarded marshmallow bits or food crumbs we leave around. They have all us humans deceived into thinking there are ghost everywhere.
Karla continued telling us this new tale of an unexplained noise one night while she and a friend were up at the Hoaghland store. They were visiting with each other in the main room. She said her and her friend started hearing someone whistling somewhere, either somewhere in the building or around the building outside.
There are rooms under the store where they kept ice and meat to keep cool back when the store was open many decades ago.
Walking down into them you will need to take a flashlight with you because it is so dark. My son refuses to go to the store or those rooms after dark. It is in these rooms he has always felt the most uncomfortable.
No one else was there with Karla and her friend when they heard the whistling late that night . When Karla told us this new spooky tale we all started laughing and we told her that they were scaring themselves that night, and maybe it was just the wind.
Glad my son was back at the little red house cooking us dinner instead of hearing this story. Ever since we bought Our Little Red House he has always been spooked seeing that old store across from it.
He is grown up now but he still does not feel conformable in the cellar rooms under the store. I am with him on that, I don’t like going down there either. I even told Karla this.
“These rooms are too spooky, you need to fix these up, paint them white, add some fluffy pillows or something.” that’s the decorator in me speaking now. That room needs a make over desperately.
When my son was a little boy I explained to him that old buildings always make strange noises, especially ones out in the country, out in the middle of nowhere. Everything is so quiet you can hear every little noise, even little mice that scatter about at night.
It is hard to get used to silence and those small noises in the country once you leave the loud nightly noises of the city. We are kind of in the middle of things here in the city. Next to a hospital we always hear sirens and helicopters all night long. I think those city noises have become comforting in a way to my children.
Anyway it was getting very late when Karla told us this newest ghost tale from the old country store. It is actually really cool and a fun place to explore, just stay away from those rooms below it late at night, they are a bit creepy. We ended our night with air hugs and good byes until the next time we saw each other. We had to get back to Our Little Red House where pizza dinner was waiting for us all.
We ate pizza and read books late into the night. I picked out one from our library about events around Arizona. I read it out loud to everyone. I was so excited telling everyone we should go to all these events. This is what happens when you are locked in for so long, you forget the reasons why you were locked in and that is when things become dangerous. I stopped reading aloud and realized that these normal yearly events in our state were now all probably canceled because of the Red Monster.
“Even the wool festival in Flagstaff, you think that is canceled too?” I looked to my husband for an answer and he just shook his head.
“Well that just sucks, I would have gone to that one for sure.” I continued with my complaint.
Apparently at this yearly wool festival, before the red monster that is, you could watch them sheer the sheep. Plus they sell lots of beautiful yarns and wool for felters…how fun would that be? It is up in Flagstaff in the cool pines during the summer time. I am going to look into that, maybe since it is an outdoor event they are still going to have it.
My son was reading a book called The worse times about the great American dust bowl. I did warn you that he and I are similar in character, always looking to prepare ourselves, for what, who even knows anymore. My husband was reading a book about the Apollo 8 flight and I am not sure what my daughter was reading, think she was sleeping at the time.
We didn’t have time to watch movies but I picked up a bunch of titles from a thrift shop in town as soon as they opened their doors. It was right next to the grocery store so I hoped in to check it out. I found an original copy of Red Dawn for my son, a black and white romantic classic for my daughter and Gattica for my husband. For me, I found Mommy Dearest. You regular followers of mine will understand the dark humor in that one.
Oh and I found a western movie with Sam Elliot. The old movies went into our entertainment library to be watched another time. We had to get up super early to beat the traffic. We couldn’t stay up all night watching movies. Well, maybe, if we drank enough coffee that is.
The next morning we got up with the roosters and headed out trying to avoid the deer and elk that are out that early in the morning. Oh, and we saw some wild pigs with their babies on this trip as well. I never have my camera ready and when I do it is always shots of their behinds, who wants to see that.
Since we were up early I said we should stop up at the lake that is on the road into town. It was just too pretty of a morning not to take a walk around the lake. The light is always so soft at that time. I love all the shadows and soft glow of everything.
No one was around that early so again it was like we were the only ones on the planet.
Just the little critters out, ones we could see and the ones we couldn’t. Looking out across the lake I remembered what one of our neighbors said “Watch the woods, there are strangers out there.” I always enjoyed exploring out in the woods but now I was spooked after decades of loving nature, now I was on high alert. It’s not just the Red Monster we have to worry about, now we also have to worry about it’s two legged allies as well.
After stopping off at the lake we headed over to the creek to get some rocks for my art in the garden days back in the city.
I gave the little girls across the street from us here in the city a whole laundry basket full of different shaped rocks and lots of paints and even a book on rock painting to help keep them busy. I wonder what they painted during their lock downs.
I will even take a fun break out in the garden and paint rocks sometimes when I need some peace time. It is very calming and afterwards I drop them in one of my flower pots.
We got home safely and just in time. That weekend there were road closures from traffic accidents and just too much traffic. There was no way to control it, so they had to turn people back. It was like the whole city left Phoenix and headed up there for the weekend after the lock down.
It was about two weeks later that the Red Monster numbers started coming in at record reports of cases here in Arizona. Each day it was getting higher and higher. Most of these cases were 20-44 year olds. The hospitals starting filling up. They are getting concerned about ICU beds now.
Here in Arizona we even made national news as huge increases of cases kept going up. A young man in his 20’s was being interviewed on the news stations, he was from Phoenix. He talked about how he went up north for Memorial day and then he came down with the virus. He had a warning for all the young people out there to please take this seriously which he is sorry he didn’t.
He is right, we do need to take this seriously and realize it is no picnic this bug. Another 20 year old who got it and was in the hospital for 4 weeks said the virus makes you feel like your lungs are full of glass and acid every time you take a breath. And another young woman in her twenties had to have a double lung transplant because the virus destroyed both her healthy ones.
The cases up north and here in our city are increasing every day. When I think about how we were right in the middle of it, I think about how as a family we were still able to stick to my strict rules.
We wore our masks, and glasses to protect our eyes. We social distanced from others at all times. We sprayed all items and disinfected them. We wash and disinfected ourselves. We changed our clothes when we stepped out of our home environments. May seem too extreme to some, but so far we are okay. I pray everyday that we all stay healthy and everyday we are I am very grateful and thankful. No one can say for sure what is happening. I am going with my gut feeling here, God gave it to us all for a reason.
Again I started noticing things when I had time to reflect back on this little mini adventure of ours, just like that post I wrote about angels being out there watching over us. I remember a lot of the mom and pop stores were closed when I stopped by and maybe all along that was a God thing again. I just wasn’t meant to go into them.
That mistake of mine of going up that weekend of a holiday and first official opening after a long lock down…another God thing. If we would have gone up the following weekend after all that exposure from the people driving and staying up there from the city, then we would have been at greater risk of exposure. The Red Monster would have had time to incubate and spread within that week if we would have waited. Everything being closed up for months was fresh and clean the first time I would walk into then like that little thrift store I bought a bunch of movies at.
I hope you all enjoyed this trip back with us all. This trip was a little spooky and strange to me, between ghost stories and strangers out in the woods, it reminds me of what my father always taught me “Be careful of those things from the dark, stay in the light, don’t go dark.”
As a child I wasn’t sure what he was talking about but the things I am seeing and hearing now, I now know what he meant. My father grew up in a very abusive family, some of them continued that chain of emotional and physical abuse and some were able to recognize it and break that chain, the ones that continued with the abuse stayed in the darkness.
This trip up north had our friends and us talking about those invisible things that we may fear every now and then but can not get a grasp on. Strangers we do not know hanging out in areas we normally never see them in, strange noises in the night, and that old invisible enemy of ours the Red Monster that we are all trying to avoid right now.
These are not things we can put our hands on and even see with our own two eyes. We tell ourselves they aren’t there because we can’t see them so they must not exist after all. We never see the pain someone is suffering when they are sick, we don’t feel the emotions someone feels when they are being bullied, we can not know what it is like to walk in others shoes, to be them. We never see these ugly things that do exist in our societies. But deep inside we understand that if there is good then there is also evil, and even though we can not see it , we can still feel it or sense it if we are near something that bothers us.
Those things mostly hide in the shadows of darkness, showing themselves in the dark situations only. Staying in places where the light shines keeps us close to God. There is always a peace in the light. Hey, even the Red Monster, scientist have discovered, does not like UV rays. My father was always trying to stress this to me. Always stay in the light.
That’s it for our adventures for awhile, with the Red Monster numbers going up we are back inside doing voluntary lock down until we get a better feel for this, while we watch things for awhile. Back to home deliveries and disinfecting those items coming into our homes. Stay safe everyone, continue living and having adventures. Spend time with your love ones, make lots of happy memories, spread kindness when ever possible, just stay safe while you are doing that. Have a great weekend where ever you are out there in the world and God bless you all from all of us at Our Little Red House.
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