People often complain that Kingman doesn’t have seasons. This isn’t really true either, we just have all four in a two day period. Lets see, Thursday the temperatures were quite pleasant with an afternoon high near eighty degrees. Yesterday windy and low 70s. Today, winds blowing better than 20 miles per hour, sleet, rain, and snow, temperatures in the mid 40s. Forecast for Monday, 85 degrees.
At that time Kingman was still very much a western town complete with real cowboys, rough and tumble miners, cat skinners, and assorted dry roasted nuts that lived in the deserts shunning people, the modern world, and more often than not, rational thought. Of course there was also an endless stream of tourists, truckers, and travelers flowing through town on Route 66 to add a touch of color.
Granted, my first impressions of Kingman, and the deserts that embraced it, weren’t very favorable. It wasn’t exactly the small town life that bothered me.
After all, barefoot friends and I had enjoyed dust covered ice cream cones on the front porch of the general store in Dunton, Alabama, sorghum on a stick at the mill in Pisgah, Alabama, and ice cold soda pop from the corner gas station in Napoleon, Michigan. Small town life wasn’t really new, but the desert with its raw vast Technicolor landscapes, open spaces, and sun baked rocks that looked like the bones of the earth itself were.
Now, I find it hard to imagine life lived anywhere but in the desert southwest. We love to travel and to see new places. I would love to see Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and a long list of other places but my heart belongs to the wilderness of Arizona and New Mexico.
Still, what I miss most isn’t the Kingman of old; the Desert Drug with a heavy smell of tobacco, Jan’s Soda Fountain, buying Matchbox cars at the Western Auto Store with its creaky wooden floors. What I really miss is the western drawl, the weathered faces of the folks taking time to visit with neighbors at the auto parts store, the dusty old pick up trucks with rifle racks in the back windows, and the almost tangible atmosphere of can-do spirit that was a manifestation of treasured independence and the camaraderie of the deer hunting season.
I suppose that this is what is really meant when people say you can’t go home again. Times change. Only memories remain, and they aren’t always honest.