More Than 200 Gather To Say Goodbye

Christopher Creek

Christopher Creek


Christopher Creekers joined up with about half the town of Yuma and a sprinkling of folks from Queen Creek, Pine, Tonto Village and Payson to celebrate the life of Debbie Hamner. A crowd north of 200 was on hand, enjoying the great music, appetizers and conversations. There was a beautiful backdrop featuring a pictorial history of Debbie. Debbie’s mother and sister, Carol, were seated front and center.

A Saturday morning shower made for a gorgeous afternoon and a late sprinkle did little to dampen the event. Sons, Brad and Billy, were there, as well, and Brad did an emotional introduction of a song he dedicated to his mother. Bill’s sister Karen, her husband, Randy, and their son, Michael, were also in attendance. Bill and Debbie’s grandson, Trevor, showed up ... all of him! It was, indeed, a wonderful day.

We had a dandy rain Tuesday evening, measuring nearly two inches and a ton of lightning dancing all around us. It reminded some of the old days.

Among last week’s visitors to the Creek was Mary Wenning’s sister, Helen McKensie, who came up from Scottsdale. The gals were seen dining at the Landmark Thursday evening, accompanied by Leo, of course. By the way, Leo reported that our monsoon rain total thus far was nearly eight inches!

Nanci Olsen’s mother was also in town for a visit. She is 93-year-old Mary Anne Finke from Florida and what a spry young lady she is!

A fella named Bodhe Farkas dropped by Saturday morning. He’s a big and happy 5-month-old son of Aaron and Arie and great-grandson of old See Canyon residents, Hugh and Doll Simpson. Oh, his folks stopped by as well. It was very nice to meet young Bodhe.

A number of folks have inquired about the Sept. 8 Payson Demolition Derby out at the rodeo grounds. There you have it. The Christopher Creek Crash Dummies have their work “cut out” for them as they cut out larger wheel wells, build a roll cage, paint and prepare their entry, “Crash in the Creek.” Mark that Sunday on your calendar so you don’t miss this important event!

We, also, continue to remind folks of the upcoming 1970 Labor Day Flood Reunion. When asked why have a reunion on the 43rd anniversary of the flood, the answer is simple ... there are still witnesses! One such is Dave Elston, who, as a young lad, was walking down Tonto Creek with his dad the week following the flood. They lifted their eyes to discover a battered and twisted Volkswagen microbus, hanging precariously, some 25 feet up in a tree. Dave says he has often wondered about the fate of the occupants. Story or not, Don Farmer would love to hear from you at (480) 200-8687.

Back in the day ... four young fellas rode the school bus back and forth to school, some 30 miles, twice each day, from Snowflake to Overgaard. Sometimes, it was a long trip ... “uphill, both ways in the snow.” Well, one day, they just up and decided they would form a band. The only problem was none of them knew how to play an instrument! So happens, there was a high school elective class called Basic Guitar. Three of the fellas took that class. Three of those same fellas failed that class. Instead of practicing the “scales” and other course requirements, they were practicing rips from “Johnny Be Good.”

They went on to form their band and became successful, playing not just in Arizona, but around the country and in Europe. They recently returned from Regensberg, Germany. They were one of seven bands called on to pay tribute to the Yarnell firefighters, playing Whiskey Row in Prescott and in Prescott Valley, too. They “brought the house down” with “Fire on the Mogollon,” their own song written about the Rodeo-Chediski Fire. Over the years, they’ve played dates such as Jackson Hole, Arizona State Fair, Country Thunder, Country City, Yuma Fairgrounds, the Winchester Saloon in Payson ... and the tennis courts in Overgaard. Two of their biggest fans were Bill and Debbie. Bill and Duane became good friends, in time. Duane Moore, George Brunson and Dave Miller, three of the original band members along with a fourth fella from the band “Curious George” played the Landmark at Christopher Creek last Saturday afternoon ... for Debbie.

From time to time over the last 34 years, Duane and George said that they see their old high school guitar teacher at some of their performances. He’s standing in the front row, shaking his head, side to side, in disbelief ... the fellas that failed his guitar class went on to become the biggest and best band to hit the Rim Country ... ever. Mogollon!

And that’s another week in the Creek.

“At least you’ll have something to write about this week.” — Ethel Cain, Tonto Village


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