Let me take a break from the Walk Blog and tell a story from my nine-month sojourn in Snowflake Arizona.
The "most exciting" week of my time there came when my landlords, the Gibsons, asked me to feed their dogs and cat while they did a horse training in Phoenix. They loaned me one of their cars while they were away, but I hiked back and forth six miles (10 times) in the roundtrip during their absence. I figured the exercise would help me get ready for my summer trek to the North land.
Practically every day, something out of the ordinary occurred during my hike to check on the animals. I, however, will just tell one story from those treks which occurred one evening.
While heading out about a half-mile from my destination, I got a beep on my cellphone. Since I "talk to wrong numbers," I stopped to check on the missed call from Ginger Arnold back on the East Coast. I decided I would return her call after I finished my chore.
On the return trip, I moved a few yards away from the shoulder of Old Woodruff Road and placed myself on top of big sandstone rock. I was at the top of the hill and as high as I could get in the area. I thought, "If there was a signal, I am sure to get it."
I punched through the numbers to make the call. And, I got through. Ginger said she was wondering about me. "Are you all right?"
I thought I was and said so. We talked just a few minutes and I returned to the road heading back to Snowflake.
I was just a few blocks down the hill reading a book as I walked, when TWO police cars with flashing lights came speeding in my direction. I was a bit surprised when they pulled off right in front of me. An officer jumped out of his car and asked, "Are you Phillips?"
"Well, you answer to the description of Phillips. Do you have a gun?"
"No. I haven't touched one in 40 years."
"Have you seen a man with a gun on the road?"
I was asked for my ID and I obediently handed it over. I didn't say much. I have learned to follow police orders and requests without question or wonderment.
After a couple minutes, the young officer returned my driver's license and the two headed off up the hill in their two police cars. I continued down the road on my wondering way, "What was that all about?" I thought.
By the time I turned the corner onto Concho Highway, the policemen were returning from their chase. They stopped just a block or so behind me.
Two or three evenings later, I traveled the same route without encountering police. (My first night out I had been offered and accepted a ride from Sank Flake, a former Snowflake Police Chief.) I was picking up trash as I wandered the road at that time.
I had a plastic bagful when I saw a man emptying his own garbage into a big dumpster at the corner where I last saw the police. I went over, said Hello, and asked if I could dump my gleanings along with his.
He was accommodating and we started a conversation about a number of things. Before long, I had to ask, "Were you here the other night when the police stopped?"
I told him what had happened to me. The gentleman said, "Oh, I know what that was all about. Phillips used to live in the apartment next door. He was a little wacky, but now lives in Taylor. We haven't seen him for some time. I can almost guess who it was who called 911. Whoever it was was driving up Woodruff Road and saw a man standing on top of a rock next with what she imagined was a gun pointed to his head. Thus, the phone call to the police."
The moral of the story must be something like: "Do be careful where and when you make telephone calls and where you point your cellphone. I could be dangerous from one angle or another."
Image thanks to http://www.toonpool.com/cartoons/suicide_40002
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