Get Ready For A Memory-Filled Reunion Monday

Christopher Creek

Christopher Creek

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Christopher Creek will play host to the 1970 Labor Day Flood Reunion at 10:30 a.m., Monday, Sept. 2 at the Landmark. Marshall Trimble will be here to emcee and there will be a number of witnesses to relate their stories. Captain Escobedo of DPS and Ronnie McDaniel, who headed up the search team, are just two of the speakers. Chuck Schmidt is providing the “big top” and Bud Light John is setting up the P.A. system. There may be a bit of a media spotlight on the Creek that day, as well. A Valley newspaper touted this event in its Sunday travel section. The one-time event should be well attended and one you really don’t want to miss.

One reason is Cookie Sawyer will be here! Karen “Cookie” Sawyer, sister, Deanna and brother, Larry White, were visiting the Creek last Sunday. These are Blanche and Heber’s kids who grew up here back in the ’60s and ’70s. Well, they’re not so much kids anymore, but it was great to see them here together. Larry looks more and more like his dad. Cookie brought her 1970 Flood album to share and while we were discussing that, she told me her own “clinging for dear life” episode. It was then she decided that she would return from Tucson this week to be a part of the reunion.

Rosemary Elston wanted to fly back from South Carolina just to be here. At age 16 she required rescue from the floodwaters and wants to share her story. We hope she can make it. It points to the fact that the event in 1970 had a significant impact on the lives of the people who were here to live through that experience.

Last weekend, we had an opportunity to visit the Lew Kohl home, built for his wife on his retirement back in the late ’40s. The vertical log structure is a one of a kind and was rebuilt from the schoolhouse on Haught place at Little Green Valley. Next visit we’ll try to get some pictures from the interior. While talking with those fine folks, Betty Kohl Adams shared the story of a neighbor, Isabel Swanson, and her gruesome and heartbreaking discovery on Tonto Creek shortly after the floodwaters receded.

Now, remember tomorrow is the Firebelles’ Pancake Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 31. And if you know where the Garage Mahal is, you might want to check in there Saturday afternoon.

One recent visitor in the Creek was Sydney Dean, 12-year-old granddaughter of Linda Helser down on Norman Lane. While she was here, she was seen at the Tuesday ASU football practice down at Camp Tontozona. She also toured the Tonto Natural Bridge. Now, back in 1957, Sydney’s great-grandparents were looking to purchase the Natural Bridge property, but her great-grandmother nixed the deal because of the treacherous road leading down to the place. While investigating, they learned of the blind fish that resided in the dark reaches of the body of water beneath the arch. Thanks, Sydney, that’s the first time we ever heard of that story.

Young Emma Frost toddled across from the Grey Hackle Lodge to visit our campfire last weekend. The 1-year-old was fashionably dressed in full cammies with one exception. Her little pink ball cap gave her away. Her parents, Adam and Kathryn, were enjoying their weekend stay in the Creek and a break from the Valley heat.

Last Saturday, Sammone Werlinger and her Landmark crew assisted Karen Ficula and her team in hosting a “Big 5-O” celebration for Christopher Creek new guy, Bo Ficula. Decorations and posters adorned the wall above the buffet tables, wishing Bo the best on his birthday. One highlight of the day was getting all 50 of his friends and neighbors squeezed together for the obligatory photo op.

Back in the day

Back in the day ... ah, it wasn’t that long ago, she’d lay out on the stone floor of the carport, summer or winter. Her enjoyment was derived from greeting people as they came by. She’d jump up if there were a white golf cart pulling in. Bobby Collins and the Minters served dog biscuits curbside. Practically everybody in town knew her.

She was a talker ... not just words but paragraphs! She’d join right in on conversations. Once in a while she would slip off ... slink away would be a more accurate take. She knew there were laws. She was off for a walk because she didn’t know how to drive her pickup truck ... the one that used to be mine. She went to visit John and Kathy. She loved one of John’s cats ... the other not so much ... and she loved the campfires they hosted. If it was a Saturday, she’d stop at Pam and Dave’s to bum breakfast and they always accommodated. Down the road she would check in on Gary at the restaurant. He’d be out back straightening up the patio, or such, and would stop to get her a couple rib bones ... one time there were way too many. Occasionally, she would stop at the Tall Pines Market, but she wasn’t real crazy about their dog biscuits. Then it was off through the big park, just checkin’ to see who was here. She’d look in on Chuck and Karen and their dog, Missey. She’d cross the creek on the footbridge so as not to get her dainty feet wet. Karen Thornton would be lounging on her new back patio when Shadoo would pop in for a visit. Karen would feed her carrots. Oh, yes, and she liked acorns, too. Back up Columbine she would head, checkin’ on Dean and Genny. Whether she felt it a social obligation or that she needed to see that everybody was OK ... don’t know. She’d get home and lay out on that carport as if nothing happened. People still ask about her ... the last ones just a couple weeks ago. You see, it was on Labor Day, just a year ago, we buried her on a grassy hillside, in the shade, overlooking Canyon Creek on the OWs ... and that’s another week in the Creek.

We’re a little long this time ... she was worth it.

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