e're on the lam for a few days. No authorities are
hot on our trail, however; just life and responsiblities. I'm in the air with two guys from my church, Tate & Jon, heading to Navajo Country
in Arizona. An evening flight meant no bleary-eyed rush to shut off alarms and get up and out on time. It did mean a normal workday for everyone, and putting off packing until the last 30 minutes before the car pool showed up. It's strictly carry-on for this trip, though Jon claims that he "packed like a woman." I'm guessing/hoping he means "organized and with floral scents" and not "are these cutoffs too tight?"
Jon is leading our trio while Tate and I follow along. Jon's been to this area of the country numerous times, and has a heart for working with the Navajo people. He's also the fella that led the trip to the Basque region of Spain that I went on a few years ago. He and his missus just had baby recently, so I know he's probably feeling some ambivalence about heading out for a number of days. I'll just assume he's out to rediscover bachelorhood and cut loose. That's probably how he rolls.
Tate is a bit unknown to me, but he came bearing snacks and sock monkeys, so I'm willing to cut him some slack. He's also about six times better looking than Jon or I, so it will be a relief to not have to endure all the lacivious stares that typically burden me so.
Me? I'm just here to play the heavy. Grump, curmudgeon, professional wet blanket - that's my purview. Oh, you're having a good time? Think something is "fun?" No. None of that. Go sit in the car Tate, because WE ARE NOT HAVING FUN and THIS IS NOT AWESOME.
Our flight time is scheduled to be about 3 hours. There were dwindling pockets of empty seats, so I managed to grab a row of 3 to myself, and kept them to myself by virtue of rapid shoe removal. Seriously, it's like I'm fermenting roadkill in these things. I'm guessing there's a cure for the Hunta Virus growing in the petri dish of my insole, but, dang. So yeah, 3 seats to myself.
What's that? Oh, the actual plan? We want to build some vegetable gardens. Raised planters, in people's backyards or on some land of a local community center. Technically we won't be doing a ton of garden work on this trip - it's mainly a scouting trip to find other folks in the community who want to partner with us and help maintain the gardens between visits. The plan is evolving, the situation is fluid, etc. etc. The idea would be to come back later this summer and build out a good number of these gardens, with an eye towards sustainability in the desert conditions of the area.
There's a lot of issues within the Navajo nation that make it a tough place to grow up, both for plants and humans. The hope with these gardens is to build something that can provide some nourishment, encouragement, motivation, a bit of beauty, and ideally be an ongoing benefit to the locals. We're hoping something takes root. (You knew that pun was coming, right?)
And for all the ladies out there -- actually just for one -- Don't worry Mom, just because I'm planting vegetables doesn't mean I'll accidentally eat one. Also, pray for my wife, as her sobbing was so great at the thought of my absence it almost sounded like muffled laughter.
[hours pass as our heros try to sleep through the plane ride...]
Fast forward to our arrival in Arizona. We landed safely, though not at the airport Jon was expecting. There are two airports in the area, and about 40 miles between them. Our hotel was next to the airport we didn't land at, making for a long ride with Paul, a cabbie originally from Homewood, Illinois. We learned a great deal about Paul, thanks in no small part to Tate, who's a total Chatty Cathy.
After dropping things off at the hotel, we used our keen powers of "smartphone manipulation" to locate a place open after 11pm on a monday night. Jobot Coffee
looked promising and specialized in crepes... holy crepe! I love crepes. It was only a half mile away and open until midnight. The food hit the spot, and the hipster vibe reminded me I'm not at all hip and likely never will be. I saw a guy walking around with a plate looking for a seat, and taking a cue from Tate, said "Hey, you can sit here - it's open", while motioning to the empty seat at our table.
"I don't know you people." He replied, walking away.
I should have tossed my stinky shoe at him.
PS: What do you call the scary cook at the Jobot Cafe? I don't know, but he gives me the crepes.