Christmas in Arizona


I need a family to drive me crazy, Call me out when I’m low and lazy
It won’t be perfect, but we’ll be fine, ‘Cause I’ve got your back, and you’ve got mine
You got mine

from Boxes, Goo Goo Dolls




Bisbee Lunch
Dinner at Bisbee Table


Alexander, Phillip, Lizette, Cecile – Love ’em



I keep thinking that one of these Christmas trips to Arizona will the one.  Like a Friends episode, it will be the one titled “The One Where We All Didn’t Go.” In my blessed life, this wasn’t that episode. Instead, it was “The One Where Sam Came With Us.”

The pleasant surprises didn’t stop there. Of the stops on our standard visit itinerary… Sierra Vista, Miami, and Phoenix… Miami has always had more attraction for me than anyone else… at least that’s how I thought about it. It’s the place that has a lifetime of memories for me, so if the younger crowd found it less interesting, who could blame them?  As we decided where we’d go after Sierra Vista, Miami was at the top of that list.


Melissa “leaning” against a very tall cactus


The trip out…

The flight out was mostly boring. It was a bit bumpy (an “after the fact” description…because I never enjoy bumpy flights). The landing was a bit rough and fast. The contrast in the weather compared to what we left in Detroit was immediately evident and much appreciated.

Sam and Phil had left on Friday, December 22. Their arrival was planned for, and happened on, Sunday, December 24.  I miss the drive myself…especially when the plane is bouncing around…but I love getting there in 4 hours.

The 5 of us followed the usual process of deplaning…baggage claim, ride to the car rental place, and then the exercise of waiting in line so that the agent could convince me that we needed something more expensive than what I’d already paid for.

He succeeded.

Dinner at Red Robin (Tempe Marketplace) was delicious after a long plane ride.  The wings were so damn good that I considered declaring them “the best that we’ll have while we’re out here.”  I would have been wrong.

Christmas Eve

Presents… fireplace… family… GREAT food!  Perfect.

Christmas Day

The family that plays together…

The blue thing at the top of every picture is the sky…a brilliant blue.  The white thing is a cloud…it went away after it was shamed out of being there.


I’ve been to Tombstone twice in the 41 years since we moved to Sierra Vista. I remember that after the first time I went, I was unimpressed.  Interested and intrigued but not so much so that I intended to go back anytime soon.  Tombstone has changed since then. The courthouse was very interesting.  Downtown was a small scale reproduction of Old Town Scottsdale (or is that the other way around?).  I’m still not impressed but now I can say that I’ve been there…again.


I’ve been to Bisbee a few times. I don’t remember stopping there or doing more than staring out the window to wonder why Bisbee is better known that Sierra Vista.  After walking around a bit, noticing the “hipster” culture, eating at a quirky restaurant that played “Head and the Heart” music, and sharing it with my parents and kids… I’d like to go back to Bisbee the next time we’re all there.

Our Lady of the Sierras

I’d like to be closer to God and His works. This place made me feel that. The view across the valley reminded me how much I miss the mountains.  We’ve been here several times. After the Monument Fire in 2011, the shrine was damaged but has since been rebuilt. We were there in the early afternoon. Serene is the best word that I can use.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve

My parents love going here with us. We love the hike and the view from everywhere along the trail. We enjoyed another beautiful sunny day although we actually had sweaters and hoodies on for a short while.


No, not that Miami…

My parents grew up in this small mining town about 80 miles east of Phoenix. Our first trip as a family to Miami was back in 1992 when Lizette was born. A whole host of Baeza’s and Tavares’ were around back then.  Most of my grandparents’ generation has passed on with a few notable (and lovable) exceptions.  The town itself has grown smaller and… different… over the years. I can still see the town it used to be underneath the town it is.

Our family still wanted to go there so we did.  It may not be the center of our larger family’s universe anymore (and it was for a long time!) but it is still important.  Most important are the people… it’s always the people.


For whatever reason, when we got to Phoenix, the camera didn’t fit in as well. We went to Fashion Square Mall (a big wonderful mall with a whole lot of people in it), the Rules (a big wonderful family who always takes great care of us), Manuel’s Mexican restaurant (with my Tio Ramon and some excellent food), and ate some fabulous wings from ATL’s in Mesa.  We stayed in Scottsdale right next to Old Town Scottsdale and just relaxed.

The Wings:


The grandkids and their grandparents:


A Look Back…

Back in 2007, Melissa took a picture of 4 young brilliant people. She’s wanted to recreate that picture ever since. They’re still brilliant and still young.

This wasn’t that trip where we were missing someone.  I know that trip will come and that’s ok.  This was that trip where we had a great time, had Sam come along with us, experienced some absolutely beautiful weather, ate a ton of wonderful food (Thanks, Mom!), and I got to share my old home state with the people who mean the most to me.


The Song

Here’s the video for the song that I pulled the lyrics from at the beginning of the post:

One thought on “Christmas in Arizona

  1. How absolutely beautiful! It was a great time with everybody here. Your Dad and I always love your visits. It was so nice to have Sam come with you all. She had never been to Arizona. We love following you guys around to the different places you want to see. I thank God for the closeness that has remained in our family after the older family members are no longer with us. Everyone is always so happy to see you guys. Your trips to Arizona have made it possible for us to watch your beautiful family grow into the wonderful, caring young people they have become. You and Missy have done well. I love their crazy, funny, goofy….need I say more? I wonder where that came from?

    Liked by 1 person

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