Every so often I go with Mary Jo to visit he mother and all of her
family in Tucson, Arizona. Since it was my mother in law's 90th
birthday around thanksgiving this year we decided to go to Tucson
this year to celebrate both events.
When we got to Arizona my brother in law convinced me and my son in
law A. J. to play basketball with him and his teenage grandchildren.
West Virginia against Arizona. We played for two hours for two days.
It was hot but we were playing half court in a mildly contested half
I had no illusions about even trying to defy gravity. That ability
was long gone. I was completely disoriented about where I was on the
court and on a couple of occasions I actually tried to make a basket
from under the basket, a physical impossibility unless I had been an
octopus. At one point the second day I was invigorated and started
running around wildly like an old man. But my dreams were for naught
as the young whippersnappers ran by me as if I weren’t there.
One of my other brother in laws is a supporter of the University of
Arizona football team, known to the Tucson people as U of A. Friday
of that week the U of A was playing their bitter rivals Arizona
State, known as ASU. He invited us to the game.
Like very other college football game, the stadium was filled with
colored shirts of the home team (U of A red) and a smattering of
colors of the visiting team (ASU yellow). After years of defying the
convention of wearing one color or the other at a game, I broke down
and wore red. I did this in part to honor my brother in laws’
loyalty to the University of Arizona. But also there were many more
in red and I liked our odds if a fight broke out.
My brother in law had seats very high up. It was a good view. My
other brother, the basketball player, had primo seats. His wife is
an x ray technician who sits with the team docs and is on call
whenever they need to X-ray an injured player.
It is hard to follow a game when you don't have a dog in the hunt
and all of the teams look very much alike with the spread offense.
Arizona surged ahead at the end of the third quarter by two
touchdowns. A. J. and I left because we were un enthused and we had
to catch a plane out early the next day. State in a sudden bizarre
fashion ended up winning the game by one touchdown
I neglected to mention that the University of Arizona head coach is
Rich Rodriguez who is from Grant Town in Marion County West
Virginia. He played football at WVU, coached at WVU and later
coached at Michigan before landing in Arizona. He left the coaching
position at WVU under strained circumstances and some of the more
insane West Virginia fans have never forgiven him for that. He is
generally liked in Tucson.
Mary Jo flew back a couple of day after we did. She wanted to spend
time with her mother. On the trip back from Tucson to Atlanta, she
sat beside Rich Rod. She was convinced that it was him. She said he
didn't say much, was polite and was on his computer most of the
time. She is not a big sports fan so she didn't say anything either.
When she texted me that she had sat beside him I told her to wash
In my previous visits to Tucson, I had been to Mexico. I wanted
something different this year. I wanted to find a true southwest
guru. I identified a guru in Chandler a suburb to the east of
Phoenix. So I borrowed a car and headed west on US 10 that runs from
Tucson to Phoenix.
The trip is through miles of arid flat desert land with an
occasional mound sprouting up out of the ground. There was probably
more grass or turf on the U of A field than I saw in my entire trip.
There were bales and bales of cotton all along the road and the
towns at the exits looked like something out of the Coen Brothers
movie "No Country for Old Men”. Very appropriate title.
I drove up to the guru’s house and out he came to meet me. It was
Barry Worrell, The Aldersonian guru. He looked exactly like I
remembered him except he was taller and younger looking than I had
imaged him. Barry says he did not remember me growing up in the 50s
but since he was older I remembered him. We had not set eyes on each
other in 55 years.
We had a wonderful time talking over shared memories of Alderson for
more than 4 hours. Barry's wife, Linda, who was originally from
Rupert added to the memories. We did share one common non- Alderson
experience. We had both seen a great blue grass group named the
Seldom Scene at the Red Fox Inn in Bethesda Maryland. We both also
remembered seeing an aspiring female country singer who later made
it big. But we couldn't remember her name. I now remember that the
one I saw was Emmy Lou Harris.
I actually saw the computer where the Aldersonian is composed and
stored. It was a wonderful day and they were wonderful hosts. I
learned that gurus are people too.