Christopher Creek crossed its collective fingers for enough snow to make a white Christmas. The mid-December parties were all great fun. Out at Elk Haven, the Firebelles and Sheila Marcum hosted a delightful evening for firefighters, fire board members and their families. Down at the fire station, Santa had 22 youngsters for his visit, with only two refusals. The second event for the day sponsored by the Christopher Creek Homeowners Association had 19 spectacular entries for the light parade. The finale was the amazing potluck at the Landmark and 90 or more folks showed up for that.
That magical weekend would not have been possible were it not for all the tremendous volunteers from those two organizations. Thank you to Samone, Josh and all the Landmark crew for hosting the potluck. We also recognize the Christopher Creek Bible Church for setting up an outside stage to provide entertainment. Our little town has the best people!
The Christmas decorations in the Creek worthy of recognition were these top three. The Creekside RV Park did a commendable job with their decorating. Down on Columbine, high up the side of the ridge, is a large fir tree. It sits above the Dean and Genny Dodson place. Woodcutter Jay Fitzgibbons had the perilous job of hanging the lights that can be seen from much of the town. Perhaps the most spectacular display is that of my neighbors across the road, Blake and Dee Dee.
Recently, we made a road trip to Young with Susan Keown and Bill English. Bill was our chauffeur and made the sandwiches. The trip down the Chamberlain Trail was the second in a month. Susan had arranged for a tour of the Pleasant Valley Historical Society Museum. A chilling breeze made for a quick picnic lunch at Haigler Creek. We arrived early at the museum and went first to the cemetery to visit the grave of Dwight Joy. He and Betty ran the OW Ranch for 25 years until his death in 1993. Years ago, he told me of the route through the ranch, east to the reservation, and up the side of the Rim. It was the trail used for the cattle drives from Pleasant Valley to the Holbrook railroad head. An aging hitching post was alongside the grave sight — a tribute to his cowboy ways.
The chill made our cemetery visit brief. We next stopped to inspect the new restrooms out back of the old church. From there you can see the vintage equipment and vehicle collection. At the door Mary Freegard, Barb Richards, and Mike Hemovich from the Bar X met us. Mary has lived in Young since the 1970s and is president of the Historical Society. Mike is a past president. The museum building is the old Baptist church and Mary began our discussion with a history of how the church became their museum. The wood-frame church was built in 1925 and in 1992 was moved 100 yards and “set down in a hole.” The new church was built on the old site. In 2012, the property and the old, decaying building were deeded to the Pleasant Valley Historical Society and the work began. The building had no foundation and that was job one.
In the past seven years, restoration, including new interior drywall, new windows, entry stoop, a monument out front, the restrooms and septic system were all completed. It was a monumental effort, indeed. Given the small population of Pleasant Valley, the accomplishment was laudable on several levels. First was the fundraising — in just six years, donations of $38,000 have made the improvements possible. Volunteers performed much of the work.
The museum relies on an all-volunteer staff with a limited number of year-round residents to draw from. Mary and Barb told us of the requirement to become a member of Arizona Historical Society. That demanded that the museum be open a minimum of 208 hours a year. Not many tourists visit Young in the winter.
We toured the exhibits that included the Ola Young bedroom and kitchen in the vestibule, a section dedicated to the Graham-Tewksbury war, and artifacts from the Q Ranch.
New goals are display gondolas and a replica of the Graham cabin. We thank Mary and Barb for our private tour and Mr. Hemovich for joining us. From humble beginnings, the museum is a worthwhile visit.
Coming up in mid-January is the Payson premiere of “Eminence Hill.” This western movie features one of our locals, Charlie Motley and a number of Payson re-enactors.
My personal gratitude goes to the many friends who blessed me with gifts and greetings this Christmas season. To quote Angel Second Class Clarence, “No man is a failure who has friends” ... and that’s another week in the Creek.