When growing up in Tucson, Arizona I remember I always looked forward to October. I am sure most people will think it is because I was excited to go Trick or Treating at the end of the month, or because our 80 degree fall temperatures were finally arriving. Although I did look forward to these, I was most excited about the early Saturday mornings. With the “cooler” temperatures it was finally safe to venture out into the surrounding desert.
Twice in October my Dad would pack up supplies in the car, and we would leave our house about half an hour before sunrise, and head out of town. We didn’t have to drive too far because we lived just outside the city limits. He would find a secluded spot and park. This time in the morning the desert air was always cool and very clean. As he and my mother would unload the trunk, my sister would find a place to sit and I would scour the area for wood for a fire. Usually by the time I would return with the wood in hand, my Dad was digging a shallow hole. He would then fill the hole with the wood and light it, and we would sit around it enjoying the warmth of it.
After about 20 or so minutes, he would begin to pull out the ingredients he brought to make breakfast. We always had the same thing, bacon, eggs, fried potatoes and toast. There was something about cooking it on an open fire in a cast iron skillet that made it the best breakfast in the world! After we ate, my sister and I would explore the area.
One of my favorite things to do was find an Arroyo and run up and down the slopes. They are usually dry at this time of year so the bottom is always packed with sand. During the monsoon season the excess rain water would rush through them, bringing debris and treasures. I would spend what seemed like hours digging in the sand and finding small toys, colorful rocks and on occasion I even found jewelry. At sometime during this “dig” I would conduct a safety drill. I would be digging and suddenly look up and yell “water!” and I would run as quickly as possible out of the Arroyo. This may sound strange but in the desert when water starts running through a wash it travels at a high rate of speed. Every year we heard about someone either barely escaping the flood of water, or someone being killed by it.
We would end our time there by gathering around the campfire and roasting marshmallows. I always liked mine a golden brown. We would then pack everything up and head home. I don’t have very many “good” memories of my childhood so this one is extra special to me.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: 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.