Day 155: Hose Nose

Laetitia took her group for a hike in Salt River Canyon. She had hoped that when she finished with California she would leave behind all of those aspiring writers looking for advice, but she was wrong. After a few days’ respite, there was another writer in her group. At least he wasn’t another of those aspiring novelists of the hard-boiled detective school. His novel, in manuscript form, was a western, and since they had just been in the Sonoran Desert, that seemed more appropriate. He began reading:

“Lyin’ Arizona Slim was a thin man—so skinny, folks said, that if he danced around in a rain storm, the drops would miss him—and so tall in the saddle that when he rode ramrod stiff, as he always did, you could see his Stetson over the top of a saguaro cactus. But there was another thing about him that was long and slim and poker-straight—something that women whispered about, especially after the preacher gave his monthly sermon on sin. And that was his nose, which looked like Pinoccio’s and earned him his nickname.”

Laetitia said to the author, “You’re pretty good with bait and switch; you should write limericks.” Just then the van driver drove up to whisk them off to Show Low, where they were spending the night. On the way to their motel, they passed a fast-food stand that seemed to offer more than just fried chicken. It was the source of the limerick of the day.

A young entrepreneur from Show Low
Advertised sex with food on the go
His ad said breasts and thighs
Along with French fries
Could be had at his drive-up window.

Day 154: Tempe Blimpie

Laetitia met her group in Phoenix. One of the prominent features of the Sonoran Desert, where Phoenix is located, is the saguaro cactus (pronounced sa-war-oh). Because of the harsh desert conditions in which these plants live, they grow very slowly, taking about 70 years to grow the first arm. These days, they are protected by Arizona law. A 1982 winner of a Darwin Award was David Grundman, who was repeatedly shooting a 26-foot-tall saguaro cactus with his shotgun at close range when a four-foot limb fell off and killed him. The Darwin Awards are given to people who kill themselves as a result of doing stupid things and take themselves out of the gene pool. A band called the Austin Lounge Lizards wrote a song called Saguaro about the incident.

Laetitia had decided that on this day they would go to museums in the Phoenix area. They viewed artifacts and documents at Arizona State Capitol Museum and kachina dolls, pottery, and basketry at the Heard Museum. They were staying outside of Phoenix in nearby Tempe. In her group were mostly young adults, and she thought they might enjoy staying in a University town. It was exceedingly hot that day, and everyone was wearing as little clothing as possible. As they drove along a street that could have been named “fast-food row,” they saw a scantily clad, overweight adolescent standing in line at a fast-food counter. This gave Laetitia the day’s limerick.

A pudgy teenager from Tempe
Wore her clothing decidedly skimpy
From which flesh did bulge
For she loved to indulge
In fast food and was known as the “Blimpie.”

Day 153: Mahler Scholar

Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is named for a four-story structure built more than 600 years ago. It is one of about 60 prehistoric sites on the monument grounds. Laetitia and her group took a guided tour through the ruins area. They then moved on to Chandler, Arizona where they planned to spend the night. As they were doing a walkabout in the town, they heard music and saw a young woman playing French horn in her back yard. The woman, whose name was Rose, said that she played for the Phoenix Symphony and thought she could scrounge up some tickets if Laetitia wished to take her group there. All was arranged, and Laetitia and her group went to the concert.

The program was mostly Mahler and included a symphony and one of his Austrian folk dances (a ländler). Most classical composers used Italian notation, such as andante or allegro, to designate the tempo of each musical movement. Mahler used Italian notation but often substituted German notation instead, using terms like lustig(merry) or schleppend (dragging). After the concert, the group met Rose for a drink in a nearby cocktail lounge, but Rose stayed only briefly, whispering to Laetitia why she was in a hurry to get back to Chandler. Before returning to their motel in Chandler, Laetitia presented the limerick of the day.

After playing Gustav Mahler’s ländler
A randy musician from Chandler
Said to her boyfriend,
Lustig, not schleppend,”
Whenever he started to handl’er.

Day 152: Why Fly?

This tour day began in Arizona at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Located in the Sonoran Desert, the park is home to a variety of plant and animal species that have adapted to the conditions of an extreme temperature range, intense sunlight, and scarce rainfall. Laetitia and her group did some hikes and scenic drives in the park. When Laetitia told her group they would be spending the night in Why, Arizona, they asked the obvious question, “Why Why?” Laetitia answered, “Why not?”

There wasn’t a lot to do in Why, so Laetitia went to the motel’s cocktail lounge early. She needed to come up with the day’s limerick, and bartenders often had stories that were useful. Their stories were, of course, unreliable, but then, so were most things one hears today, including the mainstream news. The bartender was full of stories. Most were outlandish, and none were verifiable. One of the more bizarre stories prompted the limerick of the day.

When a lady asked Herkimer why
A large sausage stuck out from his fly
He said with a smirk
That a blind grocery clerk
Missed the bag at the market in Why.