Posts Tagged ‘Prescott AZ’

In the Middle of a Perfect Day

After having a great lunch in lovely, historic downtown Clarkdale, AZ,  four of us left the restaurant and headed for the car to make the winding trip home to Prescott through Jerome.

Our spirits were high — and got higher when we saw our energetic waitress follow us through the front door seemingly to come after us.  (Most men on seeing this immediately believe that the waitress has suddenly realized the caliber of person she has just served and has decided to speed after him to learn his many hard-earned secrets!)

Things Turn Toward the South

Our spirits were mildly dashed when she raised up an object and innocently asked,

“Did one of you drop this?”

“Did one of you drop this?”

A Swift Resolution

Our obvious answer was delivered in unison:



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No trip to Prescott, AZ, in my opinion is complete without a visit to Bill’s Pizza. I personally love Steph’s Favorite Combo.

Halloween Night was no exception.  I found myself with friends at Bill’s.

We had our slices and then walked over to Senator Hwy to view a local Halloween tradition – almost four blocks of the street, which contain Craftsman and Victorian homes throw open their porches, garages and lawns to anyone who is on the street.

Luckily I had the camera phone.  The scene below is typical:

After doing the circuit, I was fiddling with the camera trying to capture Darth.  It was pretty dark, so I didn’t notice that Miss Kitty and The Bride of Prescott were walking into the frame until I looked at the screen.

Suddenly, with my head down still looking at the screen, I sensed that someone was standing in front of me.  It was The Bride.  She was saying something.  I wasn’t paying attention.  I am sure that is because that I believe that no Prescott high school student (especially one that is dressed as a bride) would be interested in talking to an old goat.

I stopped fiddling with the camera and looked up casually as she repeated:

“You took a picture of me — and I wasn’t smiling!  I want you to take one when I am smiling.”

“Oh, OK,” I acquiesced. (I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was trying to make a picture of Darth).


The Bride of Prescott

She kept smiling and bounced away happily without saying another word.

I think she may be going places someday.

I’m went home to walk the dog.

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“Now if 6 turned out to be 9 — I don’t mind, I don’t mind!”
Jimi Hendrix

Longing for a good scraping

My sister and I share something in common. We both enjoy going to the dental hygienist. There is something about that scraping feeling gives us a reason to return. Well, I like to go to my dentist in LA, which is a challenge living in Prescott, AZ.   But I try at least every four months to make the trek.

It’s been several months since my last visit, so I thought that I would look  for a local dentist to clean my teeth before I could return to California again.  One day, while leaving Starbucks, I saw the sign:

$59 cleaning and x-ray special

Of course, free would have been better, but at 59 bucks, what could possibly go wrong?   I went in and made an appointment for a week later.   After filling out my forms online, and upon my return I was greeted by a business-attractive receptionist who called me ‘sir.’ I guess we all get older.  She asked me to sign an electronic affirmation of my medical history, and again  for something I wasn’t quite sure about and yet again for the HIPAA (privacy) rules.

Instinctively, I brought a copy of Colleen McCullough’s The October Horse – an 1,100-page tome about Caesar just in case I had to wait longer than usual for my first appointment at an unknown dentist’s office.  But it wasn’t but a moment when the dentist came out– a spry looking man who looked like he should be at the at the local tavern playing darts with a Red Bull in his hand or perhaps conducting a sales meeting at the local General Motors dealer rather than exploring my mouth parts.

“So why are you here?” the dentist asked.

“I want to get my teeth cleaned,” I replied.  “My dentist is in Los Angeles, but I haven’t been there in several months so I would like to get my teeth cleaned today.”

“Your dentist is in Los Angeles? How does that work out for you?”

“I prefer a light touch,” I replied with feigned jocularity.

He chuckled politely.  “Do you have any questions for me?”

“No, I don’t. ”

“Well, you make my job easy; I’ll catch up with you in a little while.  Just wait and  the X-ray technician to be with you soon.”

I cracked open The October Horse and began to read.  In a little while the x-ray technician appeared and led me to a very modern looking x-ray room.  She x-rayed my full face (panorama), made individual tooth x-rays and then took beautiful colors portraits of each tooth individually.

“Oh, my goodness you have good-looking teeth! May I ask how old you are? Oh, that old? — that’s just amazing!”

“You Must Be Diseased!”

Now, over to the dental hygienist’s room for a “diagnosis.”  I should have seen what was coming when I saw the flat-screen monitor integrated into the chair with my x-rays already on the screen. Everything was so modern it was hard to believe.  Before I could say hello, the hygienist entered and began her small talk:

“When was the last time you were at the dentist?”

“About four months ago,” I dutifully responded.

She said, “oh, you must go to the dentist that often because you have periodontal disease.”

I said, “no, not to my knowledge. I just like to go to the dentist.”  I continued to educate, “If it were up to me, I would be in here every week getting my teeth scraped!”

She was not amused.

She examined my teeth calling out the gum depth numbers as they appeared on the screen in front of me (presumably for the doctor to use later).

As I had expected, the dentist entered as if on cue.  Now there were three people in the room behind me.  After a bit of a pitch, he seemed to want the hygienist to brandish a laser beam on my back teeth and then replace my fillings with CAD-CAM-generated plugs that he would design on-the-spot.  (The fillings that he wanted to replace were 4 years old).

We turned as a nice looking man appeared — The dentist continued, “This is your ‘benefits manager.’  He will discuss payment and financing.  And I’ll see you later. But first, we are going to retake some x-rays!”

“Turn it up to 125(%) and Make Him Glow!”

The x-ray tech was unable to get the full molar in frame and asked for help from younger x-ray tech who came bouncing into the room with a rather low cut V-neck smock. She bent over, barely hitting my face with her decolletage. She too was unable to get the right angle.

Then, when I overheard her tell the first tech to turn the power up to 125% (instead of the usual 80%), I had had enough:

“Ladies, STOP!  We are done with the x-rays!”

My Failed Exit Strategy

I should have left the office then, but the ‘benefits manager’ was too quick for me.  He brought me back into the hygienist’s room with 4 spreadsheets.

Sensing what was coming, I immediately asked, “Would you like to give me a shot before you show me the prices?”

“Hey, that’s a good idea!” He continued, “I understand you are self-insured. Well, today I can offer you dental insurance $200 which means that the normal $1000 cleaning will only be $650!” (I’m used to paying about $125 for deep cleaning in LA). “Now as for the other doctor’s recommendations –  replacing your existing fillings, we have this figure:  $3400. Just sign right here and we’ll get started!”

“I think I’ll pass.”

“I’m sorry if the price is more than you can afford”

“It’s not the money!”

“What is it then? Have you seen too many faces today on your first visit to our office?”

Again, trying to be clever, I answered, “It feels like I’ve seen half of Prescott!  And the experience reminds me of the old joke about going to the movie theater: ‘Today it costs nothing to get in, but $20 to get out!’ I am sure that you have my best interests at heart, and that your system works fine for most of your patients, but the momentum for me is just a little more than I was expecting.”

“What do you want?”

“I just wanted my teeth cleaned!”

“Oh, you mean the $59 special for just a regular prophylaxes, the normal cleaning?”


“Oh, I guess that I could still get someone in here to do that for you; just sign right here!  How does that sound?”

“At this point I could take it or leave it.  I’ve been x-rayed twice and preemptively diagnosed by your hygienist.   — I think I’ll just pass so that you can give me the ‘bum’s rush,‘ thanks.”

“Well,” he said recovering swiftly, “I still have to check you out, just sign right here and you’ll be free to go!”

Finding My Way Back Home

I had been in the office for two hours!  I could see on the spreadsheet that had I not been under the protection of the $59 Special, that I might have been on the hook for $600 before anyone had lifted a periodontal scaler to fulfill my initial desire and request:  to clean my teeth!

After the visit, I called my sister to relate my experience.  She quickly answered with a slight sense of helplessness in her voice, “the same thing happened to me!” she said.  “I am still paying for the filling plugs they put in that fell out two years later!”

After commiserating, I got in the car, put on Jimi Hendrix and went home.

“If all the hippies cut off all their hair –

I don’t care.  I don’t care!

Dig: Cuz I’ve got my own world to live through

and I ain’t gonna copy you!”

— Jimi Hendrix, “If 6 was 9

Hendrix’ Axis Bold as Love


I still receive unsolicited emails from this “Modern” Dentistry company reminding me of bogus appointments. 😉


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“Let’s try Lynx Lake Cafe for breakfast,” Mike said.

I displayed my lack of Prescott, AZ lore without keen self-awareness by answering, “Where’s that?”

A turn at Costco and suddenly you are in the Prescott “Recreation Area” surrounded by pinyon pines and juniper. A couple of miles up the road and we turn off to see a cottage-like building beyond a parking lot. Nothing special yet. Then we step out of the car and walk toward the entrance. The smell of burning juniper wisps through the chilly morning air in February. And then I see it: Lynx Lake, and all reservations are forgotten.

Lynx Lake, Prescott, AZ

We open the screen door and pass an inviting fireplace and on to the picture windows over-looking the lake.

The Fireplace at the Lynx Lake Cafe

I must be getting old and sentimental because a year later, I invite Damon and Regina to breakfast to relive the romance of the venue. I look up and see them with the lake beyond and notice they are both otherwise occupied.

Let there be texting!

There is a ‘teachable moment’ here. I just haven’t learned it yet.


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Prescott, AZ knows how to party!

The Taj Mahal in Prescott, AZ

Living in this town for the last several years reminds me of the late Rod Serling’s 1960s television series, The Twilight Zone…specifically, Season 1, Episode 30 – A Stop at Willoughby, where a businessman stressed from a miserable city life starts to imagine visiting an idyllic small town named Willoughby. Prescott is better than Willoughby; there is scarcely a weekend when something isn’t happening downtown.

Next Stop ... Willoughby (The late actor James Daly in 1960)

Tonight it was Acker Night. Surprisingly, Acker night (named for its benefactor and for the benefit of local musical programs) does not seem to be as widely known outside of Prescott as I imagine that it could be. During one night every year in December, all of the town’s businesses stay open until 8:30 serving holiday treats, and hosting musicians of all genres.

Dinner (Indian)
Mike, Susan and I met at about 6:15pm and began our exploration. We were not methodical. We just started walking east on Gurley St., letting the crowds funnel us toward music that we liked. I like opera, so I was anxious to visit the Music Café.  At one moment, we shared Gurley St. with the Lynx Creek Cloggers:

But Susan won — she was hungry and wanted to try the Indian Buffet at the Taj Mahal Restaurant. When we walked in we were greeted like family. On the way to the buffet, I looked to the right and saw the scene at the top of this blog entry as well as the scene below. The food was great too!

Just Your Typical Night at the Taj Mahal Restaurant

Walking it off
After dinner we were on the move again.  The crowds were thicker than usual this year; I lost my companions in the crowd, which gave me a chance to check out the Music Café again. I was rewarded. Kathleen Cuvelier was performing (I had been waiting a year for this!)

…and rewarded again –because next, Efren Puig performed. I don’t know why I like this guy so much. Something about his eyes when he sings makes me believe in whatever he is selling. It’s a good thing he didn’t ask me for my checkbook. Today I would be calling my son for a loan.

Mike and Susan found me shortly after I arrived at the Music Café and so we headed east again on Gurley to the Hassayampa Inn to see the Song of the Pines Chorus. Last year, Prescott resident Toni Tennille walked in causing a bit of a stir here at about this time. I love this group and this setting could not be more perfect for them.

In my younger years, I would have seen a beautiful image ready to be captured and would be too embarrassed to do anything about it. This, for example happened in Krakow, Poland over a decade ago and I promised myself it would never happen again. So, I stepped in front of the crowd and approached the director to get a shot (a necessity, as I was sporting a 17-40L wide-angle lens). For a moment, there was trepidation in the looks of some of the chorus (maybe it was the Russian hunter’s hat). Then I raised my camera, about three feet from Suzy Lobaugh, the director and all previous sins seemed forgiven. I was able to get this great portrait as she warmed immediately to the camera.

Suzy Lobaugh, Director, Song of the Pines

Now, Mike had wanted to see the show at the newly remodeled Prescott Elks Theater, since we missed it last year. As we approached the theater, we could see that we had just missed the 8pm show, featuring PK Jugg’s Uptown Shenagan Band, so we decided to walk around the square for 30 minutes or so and come back to see if we could catch the last show for this year at 8:30.

Killing Time on the Square
On our walk down Cortez Street, we passed many shops, each with a different musical group or entertainer. There was an empty space left vacant by a former business — but we heard the sounds of silver flutes. And there they were, the “Junior Fluties” performing a canon:

The "Junior Fluties"

We made our way across the courthouse square; Susan wanted to see if a friend from work was still performing.  The Yavapai County Courthouse sits in the middle of the town square.  The informed reader will recognize this building from many movies, including Easy Rider and Billy Jack.

The Yavapai County Courthouse

We found Joe Bethancourt at the Kikkapoo Express on Whiskey Row.

We continued looking for Joseph Leal. I have met Susan’s friend and Native American Flute Player, Joseph Leal before. The talented man with several very credible Native American flute music albums was just packing up after three hours on the job. I made this image as we were running out the door to get back across the square to the Elks Theater.

Joseph Leal, "Flute Dancer"

Joseph was playing at The Artful Eye Jewelry Design Center. It was good to see him again.

“Bill! Take our picture on the square!” Susan burst. Since we were in a hurry with about 5 minutes to showtime, I turned the camera dial to the green “P” (P for Professional). Mike was rightly dissatisfied with the shot, which left all of the Christmas lights behind him in a black abyss. Ok, so I turned the camera dial to “M” (M for Macho), dialed in 1/25 sec at F4.5, ISO 800, pointed the flash at the stars and let it rip (so to speak). The loving couple was slightly more pleased:

Mike and Susan

Then I saw Mike’s eyes dart in a different direction and I couldn’t help following him. “Heyyyyyyy, can you take our picture?” one of the girls asked. There they were, three Acker Night fans who had come down from Flagstaff for the festivities. I told one of the girls, “Sure, but just before I take the picture, reach over and grab your friend to make [what photographers call] “happy hands.” She new what that meant. After attempting “happy hands,” every image will turn out great — guaranteed:

Heyyyyyyy! "We're from Flagstaff!"

Leaving all hands happy, we walked right up the street and into the line filing into the theater. We overheard one of the ushers mention that the seats were particularly good upstairs. At the top of the stairs, Mike peeked behind a curtain and motioned for me to follow. Box seats!

“Pump-Pump-Pump-Pump It Up!”
The show as fun, with a host of song parodies. The Band ‘rapped’ up the set with an audience participation number. Take a look for yourself to see how Acker Night was wrapped until next year.  See you then!

Want to know more?
The Twilight Zone, Season 1, Episode 30, “A Stop at Willoughby”

The late actor, James Daly


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