Monday’s for Me ~ Beware, I Warned You!

sagu06Back in 1960, we had some relatives come to visit us in Tucson, AZ. To be totally honest, I don’t remember who they were or whose side of the family they belonged to. I have only met them this one time, and what I do know is there was a husband, a wife, a son about my age, and a daughter who was in her early teens. So, you may ask why would you write about people you don’t remember. Well, I may not know their names but I sure remember the visit.

I know they had made their first trip “out west” from the mid-west. It20190530_114710_Film3~2 was wintertime in the desert, and they were amazed at how warm the weather was. For us, it was a little chilly at about 63 degrees. The incident I remember most was us packing up stuff to go and have a BBQ out at one of the campgrounds in the Saguaro National Forest. The campground had been made by the young men who participated in the Civilian Conservation Corps back in the early 1930s. Our plan was to cook hamburgers and hot dogs over the open fireplace and eat chips and potato salad, then spend the rest of the day hiking in the desert.

SaguaroI remember how excited these people were to see such tall mountains and the large variety of cacti that dotted the sides. They were in awe at the Saguaros that stood over 40 feet tall and had multiple arms that didn’t even begin to grow until the cactus was 75 years old! After we gave them specific instructions such as “don’t run in the desert”, “kick over any rock and look for scorpions before you pick it up” and “be sure to bring your canteen of water with you”, we headed out. All we heard was horrifying screams because his bare legs were covered with the cactus.

The only way to remove the pods is to use two sticks and grab them Cholla cactusand pull hard away from the person and yourself. If you’re not careful, they will “jump” onto you. After you remove the pods, then you have to use tweezers to pluck the needles out. It is both painful and time-consuming. Thankfully, my mother always carried tweezers in our first-aid kit.

This incident has stuck in my mind all these years and I can only assume this has also stuck in his mind also.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

9 thoughts on “Monday’s for Me ~ Beware, I Warned You!

  1. While working at Saguaro Lake near Mesa, I accidentally put my hand on a chunk of cholla lying on the ground as I was climbing a steep portion of hill. Those spines went to the bone in four fingers and required pliers to pull out. Tears ran down my face the entire time. The curled tips of the spines remained in my fingers at least a year. No. He never forgot, I assure you.

    1. I have done that many times. A few months ago we were at Goldfield Ghost. Town near the Superstition Mountains and I just walked past a cholla and it jumped on my shoe and the needle went in my foot. Thankfully the shoe helped keep it from going in further!

  2. I love your old photos of Tucson. We’ve only lived here for ten years, but have had a few experiences with cholla. Nothing like your relative, though!

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