HOW ABOUT JEROME, ARIZONA?
by Jeff Reynolds -- Guest blogger
|Jeff Reynolds |
“Have you ever been to Arizona?” I asked a fellow summer missionary.
“No. I don't like the desert.”
I resisted laughing out loud. Arizona is a stereotypical place for westerns; after all, it's the home of Tombstone, site of the gunfight at the OK Corral. Having lived in northern Arizona, particularly in Verde Valley of Yavapai county, I knew better.
Yes, Cottonwood (where I lived) is dry and gets temperatures of 100+ in the summer. But if I took the main road, Highway 89A, north 50 miles, I'd go through beautiful Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff, altitude over 7,000 feet, snowed in every winter. Or I could go south 40 miles on the same highway, over Mingus Mountain, and arriving in the county seat, Prescott, mile high (same as Denver).
If you're a writer, you can find a lot in Yavapai county. Now, I currently live in Indiana, where the average county has less than four hundred square miles. In comparison, Yavapai has over eight thousand. From the red rocks of West Sedona to Indian ruins like Tuzigoot and Montezuma's Castle to Prescott National Forest, there are several sites of interest, places that can inspire the writer.
But can any compare with Jerome, Arizona? Home of the traveling jaihouse? It's just off the main road, but the side it sat on depends on the year. It crossed the highway and is close to a cliff?
Matthew 5:14 states a city built on a hill cannot be hid. Could Jesus have been referring to Jerome? If you drive down Mingus Mountain toward Cottonwood, you'll see what appears to be nice one story houses on the left side of the road. After you take a hairpin turn, you 'll see the back side. How'd you like to live in a two story house built on the side of a mountain?
Why did Jerome get built up in the first place? Gold? No, copper. As our country celebrated its centennial, this community got its start. By the 20's, it was a booming mining town, but by the '50's it became a ghost town. Wouldn't it's transformation make an interesting novel?
Or how about it's rebirth in the late '60's, when hippies discovered this town? No, I'm not talking about Hell's Angels. I'm talking about the artistic type, who restored the town to a tourist trap. But the town had a reputation. Can you imagine where else a mayor would be busted for smoking pot and it's not considered a scandal?
What would I do as a writer? Currently, I'm writing mysteries – I have one I'm seeking publication for that takes place at an apologetics conference. The ones I'm working on are in Indianapolis, but maybe I should consider Jerome. What better place for a murder mystery?
But a quarter century ago I had an idea I never followed through on, when my interest was in adventures. That idea was to have a chase in Jerome, where the hero wore roller skates and the bad guys borrowed bikes and skateboards. How'd you like to roller-skate down a mountain with curves and cliffs?
Jerome. Plenty to write about, plenty to capture one's imagination.
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