I oversee all of life from my front porch.
I should clarify. I oversee all of life in my hometown from my front porch. It’s true. If it is happening in Circle City, Arizona then I have a front row seat to the good, bad, and ugly. Today I’ll write about the good.
Circle City is four miles south of Morristown. We work in Morristown where we serve at the church and I sub at the school. But we live in Circle City. Same zip code. Same school. Same volunteer firemen.
A few times a week, they visit our small station just a house away from my own. The firemen drive the trucks around the neighborhood revving up the idle engines. Of course, they test the sirens…several times. Somehow this simple parade of two trucks makes me feel safe.
We may not have the horse ranches of Morristown. Don’t pity us for we have plenty of critters. There are countless rambunctious prairie dogs scurrying through the park. All day long in every direction rabbits spring about followed closely by cats. Add in the quail, roadrunners, an occasional eagle and there is always something entertaining to watch. It is not unusual to have a free ranch cow or two harvesting the grass in our front yard.
I shivered as a four-foot snake slithered across the road the other day and hid in my neighbor’s sage bush. I would have taken a picture but since it sported a diamond pattern skin, I decided keeping an eye on it until help arrived was better than running for the camera.
At night, coyotes roam the streets looking for small animals not bedded down safe and secure. On my morning bike ride, these same coyotes are making their way back into the desert. I always wonder whose beloved pets they are carrying in their bellies. Yuck! I know. But it’s the way of the desert.
Circle City is the only little (and I mean little) subdivision for miles around. Approximately 100 families live in the three concentric circles. The huge 50 year old eucalyptus tree enticed us to buy our 700 square foot house centrally located and perfect for ministry.
Italian villages have piazzas. We have Duncan Park (named after a couple in our church.) The park boasts a community center, playground, basketball and volleyball courts, plus several picnic tables. Greenery is provided by a few Mesquite, Palo Verde, Mulberry, and Eucalyptus trees (of which we have the largest and greenest…just saying.). Other than that, it’s just dirt and rocks.
If you want to know everyone’s business, hang out at the mailboxes. What you don’t read on the posted flyers, you will certainly hear from the people stopping by to chat.
The greatest storytellers are the children. I often have to stifle a laugh as they enlighten me to the happenings of the neighborhood. They roam freely through the neighborhood hearing and seeing everything then telling all. Parents, beware!
We keep a collection of games handy to entertain as well as supplies of bottled water to quench their thirst. On cool evenings, we wheel out our popcorn popper and serve all who venture our way. Sometimes we offer a movie on our 20-foot vinyl screen stretched across the community center. It is amazing how the aroma of popcorn can draw a crowd of all ages.
The community center can be rented for private parties. Therefore, from my vantage point, I know when every one is celebrating their birthday. We often fall asleep to the sound of mariachi bands. I probably sound reword that. We often try to sleep…
We use the community center for our Kids Club ministry. It is not unusual to have 20 to 30 kids praising the Lord each week. There are also karate classes, ladies game night, and AA meetings held regularly. I keep thinking I need to start aerobics classes but I am just too busy, too lazy, or just too out of shape.
Morristown might be able to boast of movie stars and wealthy businessmen in its past. But Circle City also has a unique heritage. The neighborhood was formed by investors who wanted to create a Jewish retirement community much like Sun City 20 miles south. The homes were built to fit kosher standards. A synagogue provided a place for worship. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough Jewish people to buy into the idea. (Picture is the synagogue. Notice the menorah on the end camouflaged by the wire cactus.)
Once the Gentiles moved in things began to change. Architects provided different styles of homes and the synagogue became a private residence. The first to settle were retirees from across the Midwest. Some came to settle full time while most came to snowbird. All brought with them a love of their own heritage.
Garage sales grew to become a community wide event every October. At one time every home participated turning the small town into a tourist attraction. Now the crowds are smaller but the ‘yunk’ continues to makes its way around the neighborhood.
The HOA hosts an Easter Egg hunt for the kids plus Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day parades followed by community potlucks. Recent years has added a Cinco de Mayo celebration proving that most of our newer residents come from south of the border.
As with much of the country, this small town America has been hit hard with the economy as well as Prop 1070. Far too many houses are empty. The planned expansions are nothing more than roads to empty lots.
Those who enter Circle City on London Road off Highway 60 at mile marker 125 find a unique blend of people including those who want to share the love of their former life by building a replica in the front yard…
…to those who want to showcase their collectables on the outside of their home for everyone to enjoy.
Mostly, it is just quiet. It’s a place to sit on the porch and wave at your neighbors as they walk the circle each evening. It is safe for the kids to ride their bikes, play in the park, and visit with us old folks. City life is far, far away.
To prove my point, check out this picture of our main highway between Wickenburg and Phoenix. Yep, this picture was taken at rush hour.
Sometimes it’s the simple things of life that mean the most…
and are the most spectacular!
God’s way of saying good-night as I leave my porch and go to bed.