Mixed Feelings

It’s about two miles from where we live so I won’t have far to go. On the other hand, they charge a bunch just to come through the door, and then it’s all dealers with over-priced guns, ammo and accessories that will be selling. No walk-around sellers allowed.

But that’s not what’s bugging me.

It’s the fact that the gun show is more or less in my backyard. (Well, two plus miles from my backyard, to be precise.)

The shopping center with the gun show, indeed all four corners of that intersection, have been on a long, slow decline as lower cost neighborhoods have pushed north into the area. The big drug store was the first to go followed by the grocery and then the smaller shops that’d been there for a couple of decades. The McDonalds across the street (“For Lease” sign visible behind the white pickup) opened a new store two miles east that’s coupled with a filling station and the old property was briefly an up-scale steak house that opened and closed within a few short months.

The decline now affects all four corners of the intersection. The old drug store is now occupied by a Goodwill second hand goods outlet and, not long after they moved in, the old grocery became a free-lance banquet hall – that’s where the gun show will be this weekend.

In Phoenix, when someone suggests Mexican food for lunch, the standard challenge is, “Sure, but should we have Sonoran, Baja, Mexico City, Tex Mex or Oaxacan?” Understandable, the Taco Bell on this corner folded without ever appearing very busy, but then it went through a series of hispanic and, lately, asian cuisines.

The vet is now an Indian restaurant - that’s “Indian” as in Asia, not America.

There’s an Emergency-only clinic, open from 9-5, where a sit-down sandwich shop used to be. And the ex-Burger King is a ‘Bertos which is a string of local restaurants: Aribertos, Rolbertos, Fribertos, etc., as infamous for their terrible and greasy cuisine as for having to close down for several days every couple of months when one of the local LEO agencies makes a sweep for illegals and, suddenly, there’s no one left to run the store.

Our neighborhood, a couple of miles away and insulated from this decline by Moon Mountain, concrete block walls and a private golf course that’ve made the area popular since the 1960s with Director and junior VP types for their families, has weathered the real estate fluctuations of the past couple of years fairly well. While everything took a fairly significant hit in valuations, most residents stayed put to wait it out. Houses were painted, lawns watered and cut, and life went on.

There’s always been a background noise of house-flipping in the area but most sales are long-retired folks that are moving in with a younger generation and selling off the home in which they started, or it’s being sold by the inheritors of those homes when the last surviving parent is moved to a rest home. If you aren’t afraid of tackling that ’60s decor with three color drapes and shag carpet, you can occasionally get a good bargain. (That’s how we got here in the early 70s.)

Today, and now that we’re in the midst of the long summer, we’re doing our annual, “Where can we move to get away from this heat?” drill. And, as always happens, we look at what’s within reasonable driving distance of the kids and grandkids – you have to get up to an altitude of 6000 ft or more to get any real reduction in heat – but those areas are already well infested with tiny second homes, Dr Scholls shoes with white socks, and little or no evening life – ‘cause the residents can’t afford it or are in bed by 8:30PM.

So, as happens just about every year, we look but come to the same conclusion; we like where we are.

So, we stay inside in the air conditioning through the middle of the day and venture out only after 6:00PM or before 9:00AM. And even at those times, it’s just plain hot.

That blowing dust and rain we get during the Arizona “monsoon”? We love it because temperatures drop 30 degrees, the lawn greens up with the extra moisture and, every now and then, you get lucky with some new lawn furniture blown in from the neighbors, thank you very much.

So this weekend, I’ll probably take an over-priced walk through the gun show while my wife takes a turn through The Goodwill next door.

Last year, I bought a down-the-pants holster for my 1911 at this gun show that is very comfortable because the muzzle is half-way down the leg, but unfortunately it holds the gun such that the muzzle pokes forward a bit and makes it look like, uhm, well, – how can I say this? – like something is poking forward inside my pants. It’s comfortable to wear but very distracting when you notice everyone’s eyes darting down to the waggling bulge in the front of your pants.

I’ll see if the same vendor is there again. Maybe we can do a swap.

Need anything?


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