Note: This letter has been cut to meet the 400 word maximum Letter policy.
Thank you, Payson, for making my 2006 "Homeless By Choice Adventure" so full of fond memories and new friends. After visiting my 50th state, Alaska, it seemed a good time to fulfill a dream of now visiting my 12 favorite places I had lived in and/or loved. It became 13 states when my nephew, Larry and his wife Tudy asked me to come from Arkansas to spend the holidays with them. That was just the "jump start" I needed.
I arrived in Payson on Nov. 30 and registered at the B.W. Payson Inn. I spent 33 wonderful days and nights there. Payson should get the "Best Town Award."
Highlights were: seeing the parade of lights as 100 vehicles snaked up the mountain and being a part of your Senior Citizen group.
Years ago, I camped for almost four months, each of two summers, in the Christopher Creek area. Les Lessard was the ranger. His family became my extended family. Florence and the kids took me all over to see so many things. She later was librarian. I tried to find out what became of her. If you know, please tell me.
I am now almost 87 years old.
Larry came 27 days out of my 33 days in Payson and we revisited every mountain, river, road (service roads not even safe to walk on), rocks, gun club, casino (good food), lakes, the Rim, etc. Tudy took good care of the nights with Christmas parties with friends and "Real Estate agents."
I was there (Christopher Creek) when the big Labor Day flood devastated the area. We were stranded (with about 200 others) at Kohl's Ranch. Twenty-seven people lost their lives and many more lost all of their possessions. I watched the rescue efforts for days, as helpers rode horseback along Tonto Creek searching for victims. It seemed there was a car stuck in every big curve. We watched as they had to winch the cars out in pieces. I have many pictures of the destruction.
I know a fascinating story about Mrs. Winters (Winters' Ranch) near the old Zane Grey Cabin and Museum. Call me if you want to hear it, (317) 919-0076.
Eve Russell, Mission, Texas