Upon landing in Phoenix with Aunt Jane, Jack, Daniel, and Katherine, I thought I’d made the biggest mistake of the summer. It was ugly. “There’s no way I can stay here for two months,” I thought. My mind was wavering between Dad’s promise that if I needed him, he’d come and get me and the need to be independent. I came to the conclusion that I’d try to make it nice. Calling Dad would be a last resort. But it was so ugly. So much smoke from the wildfires. The only green was the huge cacti. It was so different from being at home. But wasn’t that why I was there? For sure. Then we got off the plane and I almost gagged from the heat. They say that because the heat in Arizona is dry that it’s more bearable. Not in Phoenix it’s not! We finally made it to the cooler air of the airport, but I was dreading going back outside again. Not only that, but Aunt Jane’s ranch manager Wayne was supposed to be picking us up. I’m afraid of meeting people and a little intimidated from the stories I’d heard, mostly from Jack and Daniel, so I wasn’t exactly looking forward to that meeting.
While Aunt Jane went to get Raven (who flew with us), and Jack and Daniel went to get luggage, I waited. And thought more about the fact that what I was seeing was not what I’d been expecting. Jack came back furious because the airline had lost his checked bag and Aunt Jane came back with Raven. While Aunt Jane and Jack went to figure out the luggage situation, Daniel, Katherine, and I waited with Raven. Finally, it was figured out that Jack’s luggage would have to be delivered later on as it was on another airplane.
Wayne showed up, we piled everything into the Suburban, and took off. As we drove, we saw remains of fires that had been burning in previous weeks. The interstate that we drove on had been closed until a couple of days before we arrived. None of this information did anything to assuage my concerns.
We stopped for lunch at a little cafe that Jack and Daniel associated with good pies. Lunch was good and I learned a little about the West (Rocky Mountain oysters, for example). Then we piled back into the Suburban for the remainder of the four hour drive to the ranch.
As we got nearer, the landscape started showing more signs of green. Trees started popping up; grass was visible, if not abundant. Finally we got to the ranch and I finally felt some relief. There were trees, some grass (though very little and fairly tough…wouldn’t want to barefoot in it), and less heat. It cooled off some twenty degrees between Phoenix and the ranch.
I was relieved to learn that, as it was a Sunday, the maids were in town for church and wouldn’t be back until the next day. I didn’t want to meet anymore new people that day. I got setttled into my room (the nanny’s quarters) and slept until the next day, when I would start working.