Gary Rinsem

Holbrook's Only Entertainment

A short term job on construction of a new generating unit at a power plant. A valuable line on my resume. It also got me out of a rented apartment with a woman I didn't like, but most important was the chance to connect with my Sister Sue. This memory is about none of that. I wrote it at the request of my two new loves. It's about my first night on the town in Holbrook Arizona. Combination of culture shock and familiar fanfare. Memorable not for the excitement of downtown, rather... for the woman who invited the date. This memory isn't about the events of that evening, it's about the vibe of the events. Uhm, yep, the vibe... that's what it's about..
My first day on the job and my brother in law asked that I drive us to work. In a giant flattened mud field (parking lot for construction workers) we passed three men known to Gary (my bro-in-law, I'll call him Benji to avoid confusion since we're both named Gary) He worked with those three on other jobs. I parked and we rushed over to his pals, who were talking in a group near three women, also talking in their own group. Benji went straight to the three men. I sidestepped that group and introduced myself to the ladies. We had but a moment, late for work already, on the first day. The ladies were friends, wives of the men, disappointing I admit. They were discussing carpool options. Each day, one of them would pick up the other husbands and drop at the power plant. I won't deny a bit of flirting on my part... a wedding ring is not a chastity belt, unless the woman desires it to be. Even then I've found room for negotiation.

Not in a trade union so my only option on a union site, was as a "White Hat." White hard hats indicate the person is management, of some sort, even low level paper shuffler. In one way I was delighted with the job. All of my associates were women. Many had been VERY friendly on this first day.

Quitting time came. Benji and I approached my truck, nearly stuck in the mud. From a distance I noticed a small note jammed in the weather strip of the window on the driver's door. No doubt what it was, I smiled as it silently slipped into my shirt pocket. Even the friendliest of new associates didn't know my vehicle. It had to be one of the three wives from first thing that morning.

In the driveway I told Benji I wanted to check out the town. He went into the house and I drove to a pay phone, nothing but a number on the note. A strange and cryptic conversation, I didn't know which of the three wives it was. Only one significant thing was said "Your new truck would fit right in at the Ford dealership."

A salesman rushed me before I'd parked. An awful man, horribly bigoted. Immediately he told it was nice to see a white customer (most are Navajo) and assured me I could get low interest financing. With a wink he said "They never do." I hadn't seen the 1980 Ford trucks. The basic body style used since 1967 was very different for 1980, I was interested enough to play the customer, expecting at least a half hour wait. Can't run out the door immediately after a strange phone call.

Looking at a new 1980 Ford truck, I pointed out several major flaws in it's construction. Body lines didn't align, the paint was terrible, the upholstery didn't match, door panels and dashboard and seat were different colors. My biggot salesman I'd already come to hate, solidified his position. He told me they get vehicles cheaper because they have defects which Ford didn't want to fix. He claimed, the assembly line can't be stopped for a headliner the right color, so the wrong color is installed. He assured me it was unusual for one vehicle to have so many problems, but it's OK because "THEY" are too stupid and too drunk to notice. "THEY" pay full price for the defect vehicles and it doesn't matter because "THEY" destroy them in less than a year anyway. "Too drunk to drive." I need this asshole to allow me to hang out here, for a while. Otherwise I would have... well let's not worry about what I would have done when faced with... This is only important here because it sets the mood for my first day in a horrible little decaying town. It was time for something to change.

Tall thin and fair haired, she stepped out of a car which just parked next to my truck. Happy I got her hint and with a smile to light up a stadium, she approached and hugged and kissed me, without a word spoken. The asshole assumed we were married, not complete strangers.

With no further need to tolerate the salesman's presence, we headed to Dairy Queen for a quick get-to-know... Her car parked on a residential street nearby, unnoticed. There are about thirty dirty little motels in town....

I was only in Holbrook for a few months, but I had five friends there and several rendezvous locations... What to do in a small decaying town with nothing to do? Do the one thing people have always done for fun... inflate the birth rate.

I'm having fun finding images of very old memories. The journal above is from the early 80s. A couple years late.

Google Earth of my memory for today

This 2018 Google Street view was the Ford dealer, closed now by order of a bankruptcy judge. I don't really remember the location, but I vividly recall the wait and the man and the defect cars and trucks...

Dairy Queen street view... I didn't remember it being next to the Ford dealer. The original Dairy Queen sign is mounted down low on the pole. Look close, there is a recent addition to the rear of the building. Makes me think they're doing OK if they can afford to enlarge the building. I did a bunch of edits to the picture while remembering several meals here, with a woman who's name I don't recall. I'd love a call if you find this.