A New Friend


The pics here show the wonders of nature, but this is really a piece about friendship. Here I am, with my new friend, Leanna, in the Superstition Mountains in Apache Junction, AZ.

Leanna has been a Facebook friend since 2011. That’s about the time she came across some of my pieces on the web. I always like to think my writing helps others, but in the summer of 2016 it was me who needed the help. As you may know by now, I experienced a simultaneous financial collapse, heart surgery, and the loss of a friend.

So here I was, lying on a bed in someone else’s house, feeling seriously debilitated and depressed, when I sent what amounted to a message in a bottle on Facebook: Once I recovered and wrapped up business, I let people know, I would be taking to the open road. Would any of my FB friends like to put me up (or put up with me) for a few nights?

The responses I received were immensely encouraging, enough to lift my depression and give me something to look forward to.

One of those who responded was Leanna. We had never met. But from her response I knew our paths would be crossing. I had no idea what to expect, and I’m sure neither did she, but we hit it right off. From the get-go, we just started talking and couldn’t stop.

One of the interests we have in common is getting out in nature. So it was, that she took me on a trail in the nearby Superstition Mountains. Okay, here’s some of the nature porn …


And here I am, with my didgeridoo, among some ancient Native American petroglyphs …

And here’s a pertroglyph close-up …


And one more item of nature porn. Note the boulder way in the back, impossibly balanced on a rock pillar. Did aliens place the boulder there? Is the petroglyph above really a depiction of a UFO?


Actually, from what I learned from my recent stay in Joshua Tree National Park, what you see here amounts to a sort of sleight-of-hand from Mother Nature. These type of outcrops begin their life-cycle (so to speak) below the ground. The earth above eventually erodes, ultimately exposing oddly-stacked rocks.

This hardly precludes intergalactic visitors, of course. Just don’t give them too much credit. To bring this back to earth …


This is my “Elvis” pizza, inspired by the King, himself. You are looking at pulled pork and caramelized onions (topped by ranch dressing) on a pizza base. My “long” version involves slow-cooking a pork butt, making my own barbecue sauce, and a slow rise with the dough (no cardboard crust). Then baking on a hot pizza stone. This one involved simply ready-made pulled pork and a normal rise in the dough, then (with the onions) in a pizza pan on an oven rack.

Still a great result. I love cooking for friends, and what better way to celebrate a new and valued friendship.


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