It is Someone’s birthday today.

Someone important. A good day for strolling among the cacti.

And the art.

The community of Carefree is a good place to be carefree on a birthday. The botanical garden is small and sweet.

Unusual plantings. The miracle of water in the desert.

Back east we have tree protection, and I’ve done a lot of it. Here there is cactus protection, on a small scale.

And a larger scale.

Maybe they use ladders or a long handled tool, says my mother. And an even larger scale.

Seems like the folks here do a lot for their green things.

Sometimes they need some help I guess, says my mother. She’s helped me a lot from time to time.

The birds handle their own protection, thank you very much.

A barrel cactus flower before spring is a gift. A birthday gift.

It’s a little aloe blooming, says my mother, looking beyond our shadows.

She has always known all about green things, all her life.

Don’t get me started on the famous Carefree sundial. Why does the shadow fall at 1:30 when it’s actually 2? Is this a metaphor for life, aging, whatever?

It’s got to be right, it’s been here for a long time, says my mother, and if you look at the fine print you see that “local solar time is 27.7 minutes behind mountain standard time.” Correct again. Got to read that fine print.

We stroll by the shops. The nonagenarian by my side can tell Springsteen from the Allman Brothers in the vinyl bin, and knows that we’ve recently lost Jeff Beck.

We eschew the unhealthy treats.

Treasures of a somewhat cheesy kind in Ortega’s.

Everything’s 40 percent off, Sue, behind the counter, calls out. You’re going to have some fun. Or you can get into mischief anyway.


Maybe I need one of those. My mother doesn’t, though. She doesn’t need anything.

Some objects are rather nice here though. Owl pottery crafted by a Mexican artisan, Mata Ortiz.

91 years young. Outside, pavement footprint imprints. My mother observes, They do that in Mexico.

About owls. My mother likes them a lot. A pair sometimes roost outside her balcony. We heard they were hiding elsewhere today and adventured out to find them, unsuccessfully. Oh well. We did find an owl at a somewhat cheesy art gallery, Wild Holly.

We come upon the gallery mascot.

He’s so still he looks like a sculpture, says my mother.

Mysterious western boot display in the window of an ordinary shoe repair shop.

Free birthday advice on a sandwich sign outside a store.

Along with a friendly admonition in front of another shop.

Some of this stuff needs dusting, mom says, looking in the window.

Correct, as always.

Zimbabwean sculpture. Title: “Proud Women.”

Indeed. They got us right.

An artist is painting in the window of his gallery.

Using a cell phone. You’d think he’d use a bigger picture to work from.

Then, tea for two at a cheesy faux-Brit place near the cactus garden.

 You know someone’s hands after 65 years. Their jewelry.

That ring was my father’s. He wore it on his pinky finger. It was his mother’s, and her mother’s before that. Her name was Brown, Brown Coats. An eight-prong setting that was not raised, the original Tiffany setting. That’s what I was told. So it’s really old.

We go to dinner near The Boulders, early, to get home early. Uncle Louie’s.

Pizza and pasta. Finally, some real cheese. Tira misu with a candle. After Motown and current R& B hits, an old-time blues singer starts belting it out.

We’re leaving just as the good music comes on, says my mother. Spring chicken.


Filed under Jean Zimmerman

2 responses to “It is Someone’s birthday today.

  1. anngine

    And I know whose birthday it is!  Your distinguished mother is extraordinarily well-versed

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