Written by Stanley Greenberg Friday, 13 April 2012 00:00
I always sneered at people who boarded planes with tennis rackets. Who comes into this crazy environment at the airport with a gawky thing like a tennis racket? People are disrobing, taking off their shoes and belts. This is no place for a fine tennis instrument: it surely doesn’t fit into your luggage.
However, last week I succumbed and joined the ranks of wannabe jocks flying with a racket. My daughter Cara had arranged a Greenberg family get-together at the Hilton Conquistador Resort in Tucson, Arizona.
Tennis is a great family game, so I brought my racket. It was not my new one, but one that had served me well for many years. The hotel was magnificent, but I discovered something grim in my life: My family members all played better tennis than I did. Even 14-year-old Eli, who returned everything hit to him, was superior to me. It was a sad plight for a 77-year-old.
I then decided that I should engage myself in the gorgeous countryside. The Oro Valley, with its craggy mountains, was a pleasure to view each morning. Actually, I have never seen so many cactuses on mountainsides before. No trees are present, but cactuses dominate the scenery.
A cactus does not spring an arm until it is 70 years old. The odd shapes that emerge are sometimes comical and sometimes downright sad. The flowers that emerge from the cactus plant have radiant colors. Oh yes, and each plant has numerous quills.
On the hotel grounds we spied some road runners darting about. The male (I think) had an extension on his head. They are odd and humorous to see, with their walking, then running gait.
The restaurants were eclectic. There were some western places, some beer palaces and some fine food and drink. The Congress Hotel featured stories of the Dillinger Mob, who had hid there from the law. It was a mob museum.
A trip to the Desert Museum is certainly a “must see and do” on a Tucson trip. Walking the nature trails and observing wildlife is fun but tiring. Trying to climb those rugged hills is better left for the young at heart.
Arizona, the last state to be admitted into the territorial U.S.A. in 1912, is harsh and rugged, but also fun and effortless if you adjust to Southwestern ideology.