In the winter of 1985 I was driving through the Mojave Desert with a friend, talking about our apparent need for new river gear. As we passed the Twenty Nine Palms Marine Base, a man unexpectedly appeared on the side of the road selling used ammo cans. My friend and I laughed wildly and quickly came to realize that the moment was "All In A Days' Karma". This blog contains the occasional ramblings of a died-in-the-wool westerner who loves seeing, understanding, and being alive upon these landscapes. I cherish the moments of bliss and irony that come to all of us as we explore the planet and its residents (and perhaps visitors) in the short time we are here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What Were Doin' For Thanxgivin'

Dear friend John  asks:"What's your holiday going to be? (see his blog posting here)" Fair enough question and what better place to tell you than ye old blog. John asks the following and I can assure you that while Wayne and Helen's answers are not all that traditional at first glance, they seem tremendously tradition filled to us! Here you go:

What are you doing for the Thanksgiving Holiday?
We are going to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Turns out that I have been cultivating my relationship to "all things Phantom" ever since I worked there as a Park ranger in the mid-70's. As an avid hiker, I can still manage the trails to the bottom of "ye old ditch'" Something about muscle memory. If I ride a bicycle, I'll gimp  and seize up after two miles. But I can stay away from a Grand Canyon trail for six months or longer  (it hasn't happened yet) and when I get back to it, it just flows (downhill of course).

Are you hosting the Big Feed at your place? Are you going to a friend's home?
No, we are crashing a dinner where we will only have acquaintances around us. We think the "Ranchers" may have a big feed out front in the cantina but it might just be something out back in the employee dining room. We don't know and we don't care. We just know that we were warmly invited to attend by Phantom manager Joni Badley. And having to walk seven miles to "come and get it" is a big plus for us, not a hindrance.

Visiting Family nearby? Visiting Family far away?
You could answer "Yes!" to both. The "Phantom family" has been serving up hospitality since the 1920's to anyone who stops by. Anyone. That sounds like family to me. And to Helen and I, Phantom is thankfully both very far away and yet very near to our hearts. We are visiting family nearby and at the same time very far away. We'll stay in the heart of Arizona's most iconic landmark.

How are you traveling? Driving? Walking? Flying? Or...?
We are driving 80 miles to the South Rim. For that reason, we will show up on some evening news cast as part of the 45% of the population (or whatever number it is) who will drive more than 50 miles over the holiday. We'll park our car at the trailhead and walk seven miles to dinner. The walk will be familiar, grand, and for us way too short. We can't get enough Grand Canyon. When we arrive at the Kaibab black bridge that crosses the Colorado River, we'll be flying high, amazed at the beauty of it all and happy to have Thanksgiving in such a unique and wonderful place. We are driving, walking and flying to our Thanksgiving. (I wonder if the newscaster will give figures for how many people in our country will walk seven miles to Thanksgiving dinner?).

Do you plan to be involved in the typical large, traditional meal? Or do you have a counter-culture repast planned?
We have no idea. We hope a mule has delivered a turkey to the Ranch but even if they have, there is bound to be some off-the-wall menu items that only those who live and cook in the bottom of the Grand Canyon could concoct. (I've had dinner with the employees in the back of the house many times and it's awesome!). We will be grateful for whatever we get but I know it will be delicious, exotic, and prepared with love! That is the Phantom way.

How many different types of potatoes do you plan to eat? Will the obligatory green bean casserole make an appearance on your table? Do you use real cranberries of the ones that comes in a can? What's your pie de jour?
Stay tuned for the postscript blog next Monday. I'll take photo's of it all!

When you you plan to begin the annual ritual of excessive consumption?
I think we'll starve ourselves on the way down the trail. Dinner fore us at the Ranch is at 2 PM so it will be traditionally early. Note that the employees still have to work and will be serving the normal two "dude" dinners at 5:00 and 6:30 (Phantom is open 365 days a year, except leap years when they are open 366 days). I'll eat as much as I can.

And, finally, you think dining tables will actually really be "groaning" under the weight of all that food, or did Grand Ma just make up that story? I've never heard a table groan, have you?
If any tables will groan, it will be these. Thanks John for such great questions and Happy Thanksgiving to all!

1 comment:

  1. You two are SOOOO awesome. Now this is a blog post for the ages and the aged, too. You two set the pace and you also set the bar high. WAY TO GO, Helen & Wayne!!!!! We are so proud of you. THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking time to write this blog post. It is a timeless classic. You may be the only humans who are walking seven miles to dinner--we will be thinking about you every step of the way and every bite from the groaning table. MANY CHEERS & HAPPY TRAILS! Johnny Montezuma