Friday, January 14, 2011
A Real Sense of Community
Two weeks incommunicado, suffice it to say: Eddie B having computer problems. I’ll save the computer problems for another day…. For today, I’ve much tell. January is here….”the big month”, the ”you’ll be so busy, you will want it to stop” month. The, “you’ll be amazed by the amount of people” month….. Well, let’s just say that I’m still waiting to be amazed. At this point, I’m thanking the Good Lord for the locals who have discovered my trailer. It is the locals who sustain me. At this point 90-95% of the customers say they were told by someone they know to try my food. I am once again humbled and awestruck at the pace of the way word travels in this desert arena. As the snowbirds continue to descend upon this remote desert warm spot, and all the vendors that intended to get here are here, things are heating up. I was beginning to believe, that I had come to Quartzsite way too early, but now I see the blessing of arriving way in advance. As this sub-culture continues to develop each week, I gain a whole new perspective of this place. Snowbirds continue to arrive en-mass in big massive million dollar motor-Coaches. I guess, once you reach that super elite level, you now travel in a ”Motor Coach”. Yet they stay out in the desert on some BLM land for $180.00 per season….what’s up with that? While on the subject of snowbirds, I am going to go out on a limb and voice two issues I have concerning my future senior years.
First: Is it me, or do some senior citizens walk around grumpy? I mean seriously, There must be a ring of truth to it, after all, there was a hit movie titled “Grumpy Old Men”. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the older generation, so much wisdom and kindness. I just have noticed a few walking around with sour faces. The reality is, here in Quartzsite, the average age is 70 plus, and as the population of Quartzsite continues to expand with the arrival of the snowbirds, I have noticed that some seem to have a permanent scowl painted on they’re faces. I thought getting older was about relishing the fact that, “I’ve been there, done that, lived to tell about it and now, let’s party.” Think about it, once you reach the, “ Golden Years” shouldn’t you look back on your life and say, “I’ve been a baby, been a teen, been a young (usually stupid) adult, been a mature adult, experienced a mid life crisis ( uhhh, I may still be in that faze), and now I can reflect on all I’ve accomplished and all I’ve been through, and say ahhh… now it’s time to relax.” ….isn’t that the final payoff? I mean, I recognize that as we age, aches and pains are a problem: arthritis ( I’ve got that), back pain (I’ve got that), tooth aches ( I’ve got that), gall stones ( I’ve got those), hemorrhoids (never had those). Hell, I tell everyone I’m a forty nine year old with a 75 year old body, yet I am happy, and drive fast. Which leads to my second issue; why do seniors drive so slowly????!!! Well, not having firsthand experience at old age I can only speculate. Lord knows I’ve met some spry, full of life seniors too who could out party me on any day of the week. I can only pray that I will get a charter membership to that crowd cause Eddie B wantin’ to go out with a smile on his face and joy in his heart, I’ll just leave it at that. Now that I’ve vented a few of my concerns on aging, I now see a truer perspective of “the rainbows” (those who live a transient hippie style life) who are also descending en-mass upon this little desert oasis. All I have to say about that is, wow, uhhhh, I’ll just reserve comment for another issue. There is a very real sense of community developing between the food vendors. Recently, one vendor received a counterfeit twenty dollar bill, and as a courtesy, she brought it around to other vendors to make them aware of it. It feels great, this coming together, and it gives me a sense that others are pulling for my success, which makes me want to reciprocate in kind. Isn’t that what community is all about.
Things are getting a little more consistent as far as business goes, which presents a new challenge…..keeping my dog Gwen fit. Being a Boston terrier she has those cute bulging eyes, (like her owner)….so people feel inclined to throw her a morsel or two or three. The other day a guy asked if he could give her a piece of sweet potato fry, so I said yes; well the guy gave her a long full fry and another and then another. Gwen is an opportunist. When she sees that I am preoccupied running the trailer, she starts working the customers for a tasty morsel of their teriyaki chicken and yakisoba noodles. (How can anyone resist her) I have this fear that she will become one of those
’s that look like a fat little tube. I think I need to buy one of those doggy treadmills that you see on the Dog Whisperer. I am trying to incorporate Gwen (my dog) into the Eddie entertainment factor of my trailer business. (Ok, so Gwen learned her opportunisms from me) I’ve noticed that Gwen likes to bask herself in the late morning sun. Frequently, she will lie on her back, with all four legs stretched up in air, spread out in all her glory, right in front of the service window. Some of the older folks will drive up and ask me, “Hey Eddie, your dog….is she…dead?” At which point I respond, “No she’s just sunning herself…want some sweet potato fries?”. (Man, am I a salesman or what? I think I could sell the Boston twice in the same day, providing Gwen was my muse). It’s funny how my customers react to Gwen’s uninhibited sunbathing. One lady slipped her foot out of her shoe and began to rub Gwen’s belly, all the while I was cookin’ up some tasty noodles while the flames rose up high on the hot wok….it’s all part of the Eddie B Cookin’ Show ! (I wonder if my dog can claim her portion of the royalties …) Brooklyn Bridge
As I mentioned earlier, getting to Quartzsite much earlier than necessary has been more of a blessing than a frustration. It’s true, I have experienced periods of great frustration anticipating an increase in people, thinking it might happen after Thanksgiving, then thinking maybe after December 1st….. perhaps after December 15…. or after Christmas, and none of that materialized. I recently watched one of my neighbors pack up and leave because it’s been so slow. I have listened to countless people express fear of not being able to make it any longer, and how this is the worst season ever here. To be honest, my Wife and I came to an agreement that our original agreed upon budget was it… final. So, not long ago, when I was holding my last one hundred dollars, I experienced great anxiety. Since that time the locals have discovered Eddie B Cookin’ some damn good food, and they have been supporting me with their patronage. That’s not to say that I’m out of the woods…in fact I am far from that. The point being, as I’ve mentioned numerous times in previous segments, this mission is one of faith, endurance, and hope. Hope is restored by the fact that so many people are referring others to my food stand. Endurance, I am discovering, is a result of being patient, and patience is a result of faith. There you have it Eddie’s antidote for surviving a very dismal business season in
. But…..for today, I feel the people here have embraced what I do, just as the people of my home town of Pagosa Springs did, which is why this fringe life is my passion. Seriously, where else could I be entertained by right wing extremist, paranoid “Brave New World” types, senior citizens, rainbows, has beens, know it all’s, and a couple of ordinary people; all the while serving up some of the best food in the region. So I continue to stand, now living in a tent 70+ days, and still going strong. Until next time….Eddie Quartzsite, Arizona