What is it about mountains that are so appealing and draw you in? Defines your borders and perimeters your outlook? What is it about miles of open, undulating grasslands, framed up rugged mountains that grabs at your heart, quietens your pace, calls to your sense of freedom, speaks to the small voice within you that wants to yell out loud for joy and beckons you to go running about with your arms flung wide and all-embracing? Prescott and Prescott Valley, AZ, is that place. Every which way painted pink mountains layered blue one after the other with dollops of pinyon pines, salmon screes, azure skies. Prescott Valley, a mile high at 5,400 feet; cooler, temperate; Phoenix at 1,124 feet, hotter, immoderate. The difference so extreme that the short 96 miles, 1 hour 15 minute, 4,276 feet, ear popping descent results in half empty, plastic water bottles sucking and crushing inwards like an airplane cabin depressurized.
These are the highlands where I have been spending time teaming up with Mexican brother artisans crafting exquisite, but affordable custom cabinetry. One makes, the other stains. My designs, their labor. Serendipitously matched at an annual Yavapai Home Show as oddly, but conducively as jalapenos and semolina . “You know, if you get busy up here you should really consider moving here“, remarked Auntie Eileen, my constant host and permanent supporter. Knowing my need to be flexible, I still inwardly groan. What about my wonderful Phoenix and my tiny piece of paradise? My oasis, my palms, my new friends and my flower boxes?
Attending the new Prescott Design Center open house with an idea at securing a tiny vignette for cabinetry, we soon realized the obvious conflict with Shiller Kitchens, both vendor and investor. “Surely you two are not going to hang out in my booth wearing your logo shirts?” A polite, but poignant David Shiller. Eyes glancing over the breakfast delights I responded teasingly, “But, the coffee and cinnamon buns are here?” An afternoon return visit with my aunt revealed private conversations and enquiries in our absence and enlisted a question, “Are the boys working today?” but meaning, “Are the boys in business today“, and “I really have tough competition I had not foreseen“.
Leaning lazily and patiently against a Shiller island observing Auntie Eileen chatting intently, but easily to Bernice Shiller as comfortable with pope as with pauper, I was assertively interrupted with, “So, are you here just for the free wine and cheese?” Eyeing an “Interior Designer” vendor over my Shiller Chardonnay, I observed a woman apparently fond of food, hair so large that only Mona Lisa Vito would approve and maquillage that only Tammy Faye Baker would consider subtle. “Did she really just say something so rude and unprofessional, this designer of over priced blinds and a dead Heifer thrown over a curtain rod passing for flair?” I considered. But, I supressed an instinct to speak plainly and responded, “No, actually I was specifically invited by Grant at the Home Show and I am doing business in Prescott Valley“.
It’s said that here is no better compliment than being copied and then perhaps there is no better encouragement than seeing the fear in the ‘whites’ of your competition’s eyes. A seemingly wasted visit ended up indicative of more future than futility.
Gas $3.44 p/gallon.