Sense of Place : The Day the Burro Sang
It was a nice spring day, although I am not sure of the year, I do remember that it was clear and warm that day. My parents and I had taken a weekend trip to Laughlin, Nevada for Mom and I to sit and watch the wheels turn in the slot machines, while Dad would take in the sites that were offered by the city of Laughlin for those who did not enjoy dumping their money gambling and spending endless hours enthralled by the lights flashing and hoping for that lucky spin. By Saturday afternoon, my Dad informed us that he was tired of watching Mom and I play the slot machines so, despite a little protest from us, we decided to do some sight seeing.
We piled into the van and Dad told us that we were going to go to Oatman. I had never been there before and had no idea of what we were in store for, but I knew it had to be some place
I came in with cheese. Then I had to eat the cheese. I left without cheese.
different, as my father is not one for choosing boring or normal sights to visit. The van headed in
to the desert and turned down a two lane road following the sign that led us to Oatman. It was dusty and looked like the road was traveled a great deal, so I was a little apprehensive at first. However, to my amazement, I was pleasantly surprised when we pulled into town.
As we first arrived, you could see a lot of people, but you also saw several burros walking down the roads. The sides of the roads were quite dusty, so when the burros walked down the streets, it looked as though a major wind storm was heading through town. There were several old buildings that lined the street and gave the town a look of the old west. The buildings were in need of paint, but this made it look like an old ghost town and added to the feeling of being in the old west. Of course there were a number of memorabilia shops. This was a bit of a ‘tourist trap’, as we had come to call little towns like this one, and we walked through a couple shops we were brought right out of the west by seeing all of the little tacky trinkets made of plastic that were there for people to take home some memories. The shops were nice, but I was still fascinated by the burros that were walking freely up and down the road, trying to make friends with anyone that would feed them.
After we had gone through a few shops, we decided that it was time for lunch and found a place to eat that had all the looks of an old western saloon. The place was one large room with long tables made of split logs and log seats. There were horse shoes and saddles up on the walls along with rod iron sculptures that gave me the feeling I was really in the old west. In the front of the room was a stage where an entertainer could play for their guitar and even a piano leaving enough room on the floor for people to dance to the music.
When we first arrived no one was on stage, but by the time we got our huge burgers, the owner announced that Tom, a cowboy dressed in the leather vest and chaps, was going to perform and turned the stage over to him. Tom had just started his second song, “Walking the Streets of Bakersfield,” when all of a sudden we heard a braying noise coming from the front door. It was one of the burros that we had seen walking down the street. She had stuck her head into the saloon and was singing along with Tom. The owner told the burro that it was Tom’s turn now and Jennie, the burro, had to wait until tonight. Jennie did not seem to want to wait and sang the rest of the time that we were there. I will never forget that day and I would have to admit, it was more fun than playing the slots in the noisy casino, and made me feel like I was in the old west.
Bioghaphy of Nancy Windon
Nancy Windon Although I was born in a suburb of Los Angeles, CA, I moved to Oregon when I was two. I spent the rest of my childhood living in Oregon, most of the time in the Willamette Valley, but I also spent a year on the coast when I was in the fifth grade. After high school, I moved to Washington State and lived there a short time where I married my first husband. He was in the service, so I moved to several places, Mt. View, CA for a month and then off to El Paso, TX for a year. That is where my son was born. From Texas, I moved back to Washington for a few months. My marriage did not work out, so I moved back to Oregon, where I spent the next ten plus years. When my second marriage fell apart, I moved, once again, to Washington in 1987 and lived there until 1997, at which time I moved to Yuma, AZ and have been here ever since. So, since I have never lived any further east then El Paso, I consider myself to be a westerner throughout all of my life