Cultural Exchange With Globe

AROUND THE RIM COUNTRY

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Part I: Globe visits Payson

It's no secret that the northern end of Gila County doesn't have much use for the southern end. And it's equally obvious that the southern end doesn't have much use for the northern end.

Let's keep it simple and just say that Payson and Globe don't like each other all that much.

While it's difficult to relate to what they don't like about us, I'm guessing it's the fact that we are, on the average, more affluent than they are. And they probably also perceive us a bit whiny -- as in always complaining about being treated by Globe as second-class citizens.

What we don't like about them is easy. It's their thugishness in treating us like second-class citizens. That and the fact that they are the home of the evil empire -- the dastardly Gila County office of planning and zoning and the dreaded tax assessor (who, each year, brags about not raising the tax rate, but always manages to increase our property values to squeeze more money out of us.) Will any of us live long enough to hear county assessor Dale Hom say, "We're not increasing the tax rate and home values actually decreased so you'll be paying less this year than last."

But we digress from our main topic -- a great idea from Gila County Recorder Linda Haught-Ortega for bridging the gap between Payson and Globe.

"We're just a little (different from one another)," she said. "We need more cultural exchanges between the two towns.

"The new bypass from Roosevelt to the top of the hill is finished, so it's now only an hour-and-a-half away. Maybe we could have a bus bring some Payson people down here for a tour and vice versa."

A cultural exchange. What a great idea. And to get the ball rolling, here's how a bus tour of Payson by Globies (or do they call themselves Globules or Globbers or Globiddians or Globites?) might go:

BUS DRIVER/TOUR GUIDE: Welcome to Payson, ladies and gentlemen. The rapid thumping sound you're hearing as we enter town is nothing to be concerned about. We're just running over the garden hoses people use to engage in the time-honored local tradition of taking water from one another.

We are now approaching the intersection of highways 87 and 260 -- the very heart of Payson. The people you see out the window wearing the green, yellow and white Payson Concrete caps are called Paysonites, Paysonians or, sometimes, Rimaroos. They are a special breed of always ruthless, often toothless dudes known as northern rednecks.

Please keep your hands and heads inside the bus windows. Payson rednecks have been known to bite off a foe's ear or to knock old hippies silly. And don't stare at the Payson Concrete caps; the locals consider them quite stylish.

Coming up on your left is the Payson branch of Gila Community College, or what's left of it. The entire student body has gathered outside to welcome you, so please give them both a big wave.

Up ahead is the brand new town of Diamond Star, home of the notorious RH-2 well that tore an entire community apart. Notice the permanent contingent of National Guard troops stationed around the well to protect it from terrorist attacks.

Headed back into town, we come to Pete's Place, an old cowboy bar that has given new meaning to the word "polecat." We'll stop here for a quick picker upper and then tour the northern part of Payson.

[Censored Pete's Place break.]

Welcome aboard once again, ladies and gentlemen. Some of you asked about the community on the right with the walls and moat around it. It's called Chaparral Pines, and although the northern part of Gila County is part of the free nation known as the United States of America, we are not allowed to drive down the streets in Chaparral Pines. We have been assured, however, that the lakes are full and the golf course is green.

As we head north up the Beeline, you will see out the window on your left the cultural hub of Payson -- the Wal-Mart Supercenter. It is here that Rimaroos gather to watch the passing of the goldfish and to engage in spirited contests like shopping cart races and dodging falling prices.

Out the other window on your right is Payson Town Hall. The reason all the people gathered outside look alike is simple -- a lot of brothers and sisters and sons and daughters work for the town of Payson.

Our final stop today is the roundabout at the northern outskirts of town. One of the nice things about roundabouts is that you don't have to stop to turn around.

You just kind of swing around in a big circle and -- same to you, buddy. We'll just try this one more time.

Around we go and back down the Beeline -- whoops, that was close. Perhaps if we pull into the church here -- one of 77 in Payson -- we could pray together for safe passage through the roundabout and out of this godforsaken town.

(Next week Part II: a group of Rimaroos tours Globe.)

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