Like many of the characters I write about, I experience the joys and quirks of small town life. My family and I make our home in rural northern Arizona, where we have an abundance of dirt roads, rolling hills, and wide open spaces. From our back porch, I can watch spectacular sunsets and catch glimpses of antelope and deer. . .and the occasional javelina.
Living in a somewhat isolated area means we miss out on a few things most people take for granted. The nearest supermarket is seventeen miles away, for instance, and it’s a fifty-mile drive to the nearest Wal-Mart, movie theater, or mall.
But these minor inconveniences are far outweighed by the advantages of life “off the beaten path.” Our wide blue skies bear no trace of smog, a traffic jam consists of drivers stopping on the street to visit with friends traveling in the opposite direction, and mugging is something our kids do in front of a camera.
As a native of Arizona, I have a longtime interest in the Southwest and its history. My family shares my love of the Old West, as evidenced by this photo taken back in the halcyon days before my son turned to a life of crime and started robbing trains for a living…
In addition to pastoring two churches, my husband of thirty-plus years owns and operates the Davis Leather Company, where he produces saddles, gun rigs, and a variety of leather items.
We’ve enjoyed having booths recently at some of the Cowboy Action Shooting events. What a great opportunity to dress up like a character right out of one of my historicals!
So what’s all this about train robbers? Our son spent part of his college career as a member of the Cataract Creek Gang, a group of notorious outlaws who robbed the Grand Canyon Railway on a daily basis. My son, the train robber. Oh well, you know what they say about preachers’ kids.
After all this time, you’d think the engineer would have learned not to slow down and let them board the train every afternoon. . .
If you’re so inclined, you can learn more about the Grand Canyon Railway and Williams, Arizona, home of the nefarious Cataract Creek Gang, by clicking on the links below.