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Arizona in the fifties

Posted 12-01-2010 at 09:31 by Bill Powell

Arizona was a great place to grow up in the fifties. You had the freedom to be as stupid or as smart as you wanted to be as long as it wasn't illegal or if you didn't step on someone's toes. There weren't nearly as many things illegal then. One of my favorite shooting ranges was out my bedroom window.

Phoenix was about ninety miles away and often we would drive there for a coke. The round trip didn't take many hours out of your day cause you never encountered a stop light til you got into Mesa and Tempe, and then there weren't many.

Within a sixty or seventy mile radius of Miami you could hunt white tail, black tail, mule deer, elk, bear, puma, antelope, wild pig, game birds, and other of God's creatures you might be in a mood to slay. If a cop made what you thought was a dumb-assed call you could argure your case on the spot. Somtimes you didn't win, but sometimes you did.

Im Miami you had a civilized way of celebrating New Year's Day. You sit in the front yard enjoying you favorite libation and enjoying the sun. If you got tired of being warm you got in the car, drove about nine miles, and played around in three or four feet of snow. When you got tire of being cold you drove back down the hill. Not every year, but often.

We even had a cool way to celebrate celebrations. We had a thing called Hell-da-rado week. You dressed however you thought someone in the wild west would dress, and the men grew a beard. With the women the beard was optional. You went everywhere armed and had gunfights at the drop of a hat. You were on the honor system to use blanks. The Greyhound station was in a service station/tire shop on the east end of town. One of the guys went to a town called Safford which was east of Globe/Miami. He was wearing a harness under his shirt. When the bus got to Miami there was a crowd milling around the station with a hanging on their minds. Someone spots the guy on the bus and they stormed on board, drug the guy out and hung him right beside the bus.

A side note.......There was a lady on the bus who had just come west from New Hampshire, one of those disgustingly peaceful eastern states.

The bus driver was in on the stunt, and it took him, her husband, the guy who just got hung, and half a dozen other people about forty five minutes to talk her off that bus.

As far as I know no tourist ever had a heart attack from having a gun fight occur right beside theri car. Oh, and as for the beards. If caught with a fresh shave, you were jailed til til you paid your fine, which was a donation to a good charity.

The two favorite guns were a Colt single action, or in my case a Ruger Blackhawk, and a twelve ga double.

Fond memories..............
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