At 50 something I’m very lucky that both my parents are still kicking the light fantastic here on planet Earth. (3 out of 4 of my parents are – but that’s another story altogether).
Leaving the East Coast for Tucson was an easy decision in every way except the knowledge that I was leaving my people. My family is my joy and my north star. It’s taken me decades to realize that my greatest happiness comes from times I’m with my family.
When we arrived and began to settle into to Tucson I started dreaming about getting Mom and Dad out here to see this wonderful place. It took 2 years but the dream came true.
My Mom’s uncle Paul turned 90 at the end of August and his kids threw him a surprise party in San Diego, followed by a family reunion. Mr. Sunny and I drove out there to my happy place (FAMILY REUNION!) and then drove Mom and Dad back with us to Tucson for a few days.
That drive to and from San Diego is fantastic and if you haven’t done the drive – you really should. I wanted to get out take pictures all along the way but that wasn’t in the cards this trip – but you better believe I’ll do it next time.
My parents are in their 80s so they don’t move as quickly as they did when they were in their 30s (me neither), and although I wanted to take them everywhere I knew we needed to have a plan for each of their days here.
We arrived home in a Monsoon rain on a Sunday night and had a quiet dinner at home to settle in after the busy weekend.
On Monday (Labor Day) we drove out to St. Xavier del Bac. I knew Mom and Dad would love the architecture and the history of this mission. I also insisted that they try Indian Fry Bread. My Dad was skeptical until I brought him some to try. Then he was on board with the whole idea. I’m pretty sure he’ll never say no to an offer of fry bread again.
One of the things that was perfect about St. Xavier is that there are plenty of places to sit down. The pews are plentiful and space is available for a rest if needed. Inside the church it’s quiet and cooler, a perfect place for some quiet introspection. Unfortunately the museum is under construction and closed right now, but that didn’t deter us from a great time at the Mission.
Tuesday was spent at one of my favorite places — Tombstone. The history of the Old West is alive and well in this tourist town and I never miss a chance to take a guest out to see the story of the shootout at the OK Corral. The audience was particularly interactive this trip and it made the show even more fun that then first trip. Mom and Dad were tickled by the entire day and loved our lunch at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. The live music inside really perked up an overcast and rainy day.
Wednesday was a quick trip to Tucson proper. We had an early lunch at The Arizona Inn which never disappoints with food and service and then we visited Hotel Congress and learned about the history of the beautiful building. Everyone spent time reading all the details of the capture of John Dillinger and thoroughly enjoyed our chat with Tiger as well.
No visit to Tucson would be complete without a Cowboy Dinner! Thankfully Tanque Verde Ranch makes it easy! We arrive with plenty of time to walk around the ranch and get a feel for the western surroundings. A cocktail in the Saloon was the perfect pre-dinner treat. The staff is amazing here and they provided a golf cart ride down to the cottonwood grove which made the experience even nicer. The live music really kept our feet tapping and I truly think my parents would have stayed until we got kicked out if only they didn’t have to get up at 5 the next morning to catch a plane back east.
This was truly a dream come true for me and I can’t wait for Mom and Dad to come visit again.
This is also a reminder that no matter your age you can find plenty to do and see in and around the Old Pueblo!