SIGNS OF THE TIMES

I am truly a fortunate man. My list of reasons for making that statement is a lengthy one but it includes living in Kingman in Arizona and along old Route 66.
All three have played a key role in the ability to add photographer to my resume. In turn this has provided new opportunities for sharing some of the things that make my corner of the world a special place.
This might seem like shameless self promotion but instead I hope it will serve as encouragement. The photo of the old Ford truck under neon on Route 66 has been accepted by a major magazine for publication.
The forlorn Model A Ford will be featured on the cover of my newest book, Route 66 Backroads. The other photo will also be included in that book.
The moral of the story is dare to dream, seek out the wonders of where you live, find beauty in them and then find a way to brighten someones day by sharing it.
Now, on to new business.
Last evening I attended the first formal meeting in an effort to revive the Kingman Route 66 Association. The excitement as we discussed the things that make Kingman a one of a kind place was palpable and gave me real hope for the future.
Sometimes we take for granted the things we see everyday and need the excitement of those seeing it for the first time to reawaken the senses. It was really good to hear so many new voices talk animatedly about the wonders that make Kingman unique. I really needed this spark as the multitude of changes in recent years has left me discouraged.
Few who whip through Kingman on I40 or even those who poke along on Route 66 realize what a fascinating international community this is. My small circle of friends and close acquaintances includes a family from Turkey that has a intriguing store, Import Corner, filled with all manner of imported items, a born and bred, rough edged Texan married to a cultured lady he met in Japan, and a couple from Germany that are quite excited about becoming US citizens.
Today I met a delightful fellow from the Philippines who worked in Saudi Arabia for a number of years. Last week I was introduced to a former citizen of Lebanon, who married a Japanese lady he met while working near Tokyo. They recently moved here from Australia!
Even our restaurant scene is reflecting this change. In recent months we have added an authentic Pakistani and Japanese restaurant.
Many bemoan these changes and though I miss old Kingman there is an excitement that can not be denied. Ironically many of these changes reflect the west as it was a century ago, something I learned in gathering material for Ghost Towns of the Southwest.
Here is some quick trivia. The oldest continuously operated restaurant in Arizona is in Jerome and specialized in Chinese food, the owner from Hong Kong opened the establishment in 1899. One of the most successfull stage lines in southern New Mexico was co owned by a women from London. A German immigrant made one of the largest gold discoveries in the Arizona Territory. A Bedouin played a key role in laying the route for US 66. An Irishman in the employ of the Spanish established the presidio at Tucson.
As one author so aptly penned – it was the best of times and it was the worst of times. It was true and is certainly true today. What an amazing adventure is this thing we call life on planet earth!

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