A Town Of Stairs

Here I am, a Midwesterner, in a Southeast Arizona town just a few miles from the Mexican border. This is the subtropics, a desert region of drought during most of the year. This time of the year is known locally as the Monsoon, when most of the scant rainfall comes. It’s been raining almost every day, quite a change from the earlier weather, with humidity down to eight or nine percent and relentless sunshine.

The house where I am living is up 133 steps from the main drag in this town, Tombstone Canyon Street. Many houses in this town are only accessible by climbing concrete steps, usually around fifty to sixty. If weren’t for the presence of copper, gold, and turquoise, this town wouldn’t be here.

This morning I took the opportunity between rain showers to walk for a while. I was ascending the steps to the house when I encountered two little girls — they may have been six and eight years old. I greeted the girls, but their attention was captured by a man out in the canyon; I surmised that he is their father. The man had a pair of wooden salad tongs in his hand.

I kept on my way up the steps and encountered a woman who was watching the man in the canyon closely. Okay, this was the mother of the two girls and the wife of the man.

I said to the woman, “What’s going on?”

“Oh, we found a big old centipede right by the front door and Ed is trying to dispose of it.”

Ed came up, after dropping the arthropod once and retrieving it with the tongs. His wife said, “Why don’t you just take it down to the storm sewer?”

Ed said, “Good idea!” and went on down the steps. The centipede was about ten inches long and had red legs, quite an impressive and threatening creature.

I introduced myself to the mother as her daughters came up the steps.

“I’m Larry; I’m living in the house up at the top of the steps.”

“Glad to meet you!”, she said.

I wish now I had taken possession of the large centipede and photographed it, but I’m sure I’ll encounter another. A quote from the woman:

“Now that the monsoon rains have started, you’ll be sure to see your fill of creepy-crawlies!”




Filed under Arizona

4 responses to “A Town Of Stairs

  1. bev

    Ha! Great story! But, oh, she is so right. Get out the salad tongs and prepare yourself, Larry! (-:

  2. Joan

    Above is a link to a web site which has a photo of a man with a centipede about the length you described. Scroll down to the second picture. Would have uploaded the picture only but don’t have the magic keys nor smarts to do that.
    Have never seen a centipede any larger than an inch and a half long, for which I am very grateful.
    Can’t make out what the fellow used for grabbers, but would approach that one with long handled barbecue tongs.

    Welcome back, Larry.

  3. Joan

    Here is an episode from “Running Raw.” (no..not that kind of raw) The Bisbee 1000 is a staircase endurance race . I get the impression that these guys are doing a pre-run the day prior to the big race but if affords a better view of both Bisbee and the daunting stairs. I am willing to place a bet after viewing this that there are no fat people in Bisbee. Larry..you need to pig up or you will soon be a wisp of your former already lean self . (grin)

  4. Leslie

    Ewwwww! I kept finding 2 inch centipedes in my house last summer, and still can see one wiggling all it’s legs in terror as I came at it with a rag. Yuck.

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