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It has been six years since my doctor told me that I’d feel better if I moved to Wickenburg. I fought it for give months, then moved to Wickenburg. I feel better. Thanks, Lord.

No disrespect to Phoenix, or any of my several other hometowns. At this stage of my life, I need Wickenburg.

This Journal was triggered by Pete Peterson, who runs radio station KBSZ, 1250 AM. Pete plays songs from his personal collection of 500,000 old records, some of which came over on the Mayflower. He plays songs that were my favorites 50 and 60 years ago, and songs I never heard before.

Pete does a world of good for Wickenburg with news, public service announcements, and close attention to things that matter, like high school sports.

Pete interviewed me on the air yesterday about the Arizona Culturekeepers award that was recently presented to my brother Dean and me.

Two other Wickenburgers, Dana Burden and Jeri Robson, have received this award, for helping to preserve the state’s heritage. Only my becoming modesty has kept me from telling you about it sooner. But from time to time, Pete winds up my ego and turns it loose on the air.

He asked if I had a Thanksgiving lie. I had to admit that I didn’t. But I told him, truthfully, that Miss Ellie and I have been talking about the reasons we feel safe here.

She used to spend a lot of time in New Orleans, soaking up the music. We were both stunned by the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. There has not been a hurricane in Wickenburg since 1512, when this area was much closer to the Gulf of California.

We are not prone to earthquakes like those that devastated Pakistan, or the tornadoes that rip through the Midwest.

Ellie says she doesn’t miss the mudslides in her native California.

I hear vulcanologists warning that volcanoes could wipe out the entire Pacific Northwest. There hasn’t been an active volcano in Arizona since 1066. I believe that Vulture Peak is of volcanic origin, but it just sits there, being scenic. No smoke, no rumbles.

From time to time, the habitually dry Hassayampa River floods, and one flood took away a man’s house earlier this year. The river ran for something like six months.However, the river would have to flow forty feet deep to touch The Wickenburg Institute for Factual Diversity.

Arizona has ten or eleven times the population it had when I was born. The inevitable growth is marching northward from Surprise, threatening our lifestyle, and causing a local uproar. We’ll find ways to deal with it, I guess.

Ellie and I concluded that the greatest threat here might be a blizzard of cholla cactus. Until that happens, we have much to celebrate.

  • Any number of doctors will attest to our good health, at the moment.
  • We are rich in friends. Between us, we have almost as many relatives as we do friends, and not a lemon in the bunch.
  • I’m thankful for music, and the indulgent friends who let me sing with them.
  • I’m thankful for my good looks. Some say that Miss Ellie is even prettier.
  • I’m grateful that I’m not in Iraq, and pray for the people who are.
  • I’m grateful that I’m not anywhere near the White House, and that I don’t live in Florida.
  • I’m thankful that I reached 70 years of age. Others did not, and there’s a melancholy realization that they are now only memories. I’m thankful for the memories.
  • I’m grateful that I see no conflict between the Book of Genesis and Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species. Allegorically speaking, I dig talking garden snakes.
  • I’m glad that I’m not political.
  • I’m thankful that I don’t have any of the obscure disorders for which pharmaceutical companies now advertise drugs on TV. Keeps me from having serious side effects.
  • I’m grateful that we finally have a handsome new roof on the Institute. It took almost a year to find a roofer, and we were exhausted from chasing forty-year-old wood shakes down the street.
  • I’m grateful for Fibber, who is everything a lap dog should be.
  • I guess I’m most grateful for Miss Ellie’s love and tolerance. We have a great relationship, built on love of food, music, travel, and arguing.

There are so many facets to Ellie’s personality that I sometimes feel as though I’m still dating. One day I accused her of having Multiple Personality Disorder. One of her replied, “It’s not a disorder.”

All of us wish you a bountiful Thanksgiving.

Last 5 posts by Jim Cook

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