Arizona Sonora Historical Ruins

We lived in Tucson Arizona USA in the early 1970s. I hunted quail about 40 miles (ca. 64 km) Southwest of the city, every time an opportunity came up. My favorite spot was an old abandoned place that was occupied about a hundred years ago near the Mexican border.

I liked to hunt pheasants and ducks. Quail hunting tests a shooter’s ability to hit a target that bursts into the air at his feet and is instantly traveling the speed of a bullet. Some compare it to dove hunting. I could never shoot a dove. When the three Olson boys were growing up, we raised pigeons and had individual names for most of them. The Lord never made a bird more caring and loving than a pigeon, there is no way on this earth I could ever shoot a dove or a pigeon.

The Gambel’s quail are plentiful and can be found in large coveys in the hot, parched, desert of the south western United States. When a covey explodes into the air, they all go in different directions. I suppose that is, so they don’t collide with each other, but it also confounds the Hunter as he tries to quickly pick a target. Usually by the time the one with gun makes his decision the quail are long gone. They only fly a short distance, as if beckoning to you, just dare try to make us fly again. You will see them scurrying along the dry creek bed seeking a new shaded hiding place.

A sad, but true testimony to my wing shooting ability, we didn’t have quail under glass, a brace of quail would be an appetizer. The table was not graced with quail very often. It was time for celebration if I got enough little birds ‘about 90 grams each’ about ‘3.97 ounces’ for my wife and 3 daughters to enjoy a taste.

Those ruins must have been witness to a colorful history in that wild western desert. I always took a ‘time machine’ rest break, sitting in a shady spot near one of the cooler, stonewalls. After checking for scorpions and black widow spiders, I would sit, close my eyes and conjure up memories of what must have taken place there.

In studying that low doorway, I concluded, if Matt Dillon ever followed a gunslinger down here from Dodge City Kansas, he had to bend down low to enter the house and bring the bad guy out. There was no doubt many shootouts there. The total amount of hot lead that got ricocheted off those rock walls through the years would have made an anchor for a large ship. I wish there was a list of Sheriffs, U.S. Marshals and Texas Rangers who rode in there. You can bet some never caught the gang off guard so didn’t ride out, not sitting upright, maybe tied in the saddle.

It didn’t take much  imagination to decide it must have been a hideout for numerous murderers, bank robbers, horse thieves, cattle rustlers and other unsavory lawbreakers. The location was perfect, if the word came down that a posse was approaching from the North all they had to do was hop on their horses, a short ride later they were safe in Mexico, until the Federales chased them back north.

It would have been a perfect hideout for desperados trying to escape the law and the hang man’s noose. It would have been a destination discussed in all the saloons and honkytonks in places like Dodge City Kansas or Fort Worth Texas or other areas where bad guys did dastardly deeds then headed South as fast as they could go, a perfect location to rest and recuperate from gunshot wounds.

Land seeking settlers probably built the house, and corrals. It took all the labor a whole family could muster to survive there. It was nearly impossible to grow enough to stay alive on.  The stone corrals keep a pig or two, possibly, captured Javalina, from roaming off into the dessert. Chickens could fend for themselves until a hawk came to visit. Water was a constant issue. Pigs fed on cactus and wild gourds. Goats would never stay behind a low rock wall, but they needed to roam free to find enough food to survive on. Goat was the main meat on the menu no doubt, unless you got lucky enough to shoot a rabbit, then you had meat for a couple of days.

The first early settlers had to have many hair-raising meetings with the Apache people over trespass rights. It is likely the desperadoes found many houses vacated.

Several arroyos or creeks converged on that property making it the most likely place to find underground water in the area. After closer examination I discovered the remnants of a shallow hand-dug well, it was one of the few places in that region where water was available during the hot dry months.  Walking along a Creek bed searching for quail early one morning I saw the largest rabbit my eyes have ever tried to focus on. I figured my mind was playing tricks on me. The broiling hot, rising sun, glaring on the dew in the creek bottom must be creating a mirage. That rabbit seemed to be several feet tall with ears as big as a donkey. He just stood there looking straight at me from about ten yards. I didn’t have my dog then, a good thing, she probably would have chased that critter all day long. That night just before going to sleep another vision of the bunny appeared. He was similar to Harvey the rabbit that was on the television program. I then decided about seriously considering the amount of alcohol I consume.

This is a rabbit.



Daily Prompt
Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt

This story is about hideouts and gangs, except for the first one. It is about a cold blooded murderer. Usually when a crime is committed the person or persons committing the crime head straight to a hideout. It is a place to kick back, relax and unwind, to lay low and take it easy until things cool off. There is a large variety of hideouts, as many as there are people to hide in them, special ones for every hideout seekers individual desires and needs.

Cain Slew Abel
When the first murder was committed in this world, there were no sirens or 911 calls made. It was a premeditated crime of passion. Cain wasn’t really thinking very far ahead, because he really had no hideout to run to. The all seeing God knew all and saw all. He watched Cain , talk to his brother Abel, “let us go out to the field,” where he murdered him.

God decided to punish Cain by sending him to the land of Nod, in the East of Eden, a sleepy place that didn’t hold a candle to Eden West. Cain complained to the Lord “that he would be killed.” The Lord told Cain, “Not to worry”, and the Lord set a mark upon Cain so that whoever found him would not slay him.” Therefore whoever kills Cain shall suffer sevenfold vengeance.

Cain went out from the Lord’s presence and dwelled in the land of Nod east of Eden. We might consider that was Cain’s hideout and punishment combination, he will be a wanderer on the earth. Pre-meditated crimes of passion are still shining a bright light on human anger, weakness and self control.

Capone Gang

Al Capone was one gang leader who had many hideouts, he learned at a young age, if you live a life of crime, chances are you’re going to find yourself on the run. When the heat really gets on you, get out of town and lay low in a hideout somewhere. He had hideouts all across the country. His main crime, income producing area was around Chicago. He pretty well controlled everything that was going on in that city from prostitution to drugs and illegal alcohol. His competition was from the Northside Irish gang. His gang wars kept Elliot Ness and the FBI on their toes and really made them earn their Federal Pay.

The different gangs in Chicago were constantly at war with one another. On St. Valentine’s Day February 14, 1929 Al Capone lured some of the North Side gang, or the Irish-Americans into a warehouse on Chicago’s Northside. He promised them a shipment of stolen Canadian whiskey. The Irish gang was waiting in the warehouse where seven of them were gunned down. Two of the shooters were dressed as uniformed policemen, while the others wore suits, ties, overcoats and hats. Al Capone’s men had Thompson submachine guns, shotguns, almost every type of firearm imaginable riddled the bodies with hundreds of bullets. One of the Irish gang had been shot 14 different times, he was the only one left with any life in him, when the police asked him, “Who shot you.” He said, “Nobody shot me.”


Harvester Hideout

The dill pickle gang was a group of seven cousins, all quite well mannered and easy-to-please, not in trouble, much.. They didn’t really have any competition from other gangs in the community, since they lived out on a farm. They worked together like a well oiled machine, or a fine-tuned instrument, maybe a Stradivarius. Each one had their own duty assignment which could be interchanged if someone was called away because of some chores or other unforeseen activities going on at the farm during the particular time of a planned mission.
One of the main object0ives was to have a look out watching the outside basement entrance to the house, extra lookouts, when available could be posted at will. Every house out in the country, even some in town, had an outside basement entrance that you could dive into in case of a tornado baring down on the place. The outside basement entrance was also used to bring in hundreds of pounds of potatoes, winter squash, pumpkins or any other garden produce that needed to be stored in a root cellar. Half of the cellar was colder, so it made an excellent root cellar. Carrots could be kept crunchy all winter in a box of damp cold sand.

Getting back to the watch detail, one person or two, would watch the outside entrance to the basement as I said, the other one would go downstairs and bring up a jar of those coveted, crispy, cold dill pickles from the back of the shelf. The missing jar clue always comes up in a court room case, never leave a gaping hole in the front of a full shelf. If it was a special occasion 2 quart jars of delightfully, dizzying, dill pickles could be retrieved.

Other gang members would be on duty in the kitchen, there was always a large wooden match box holder near the cook stove. Those wooden matches were not to be used, or even touched by children, that rule was set in stone back in the days of Moses. Evidently, with out a doubt, we heard, hundreds of homes, haystacks and barns, burned to the ground because of children playing with those self striking, Sulphur coated, exploding, older wooden matches. Well, maybe one or two barns burned, or a house and a haystack over a period of 100 years. I don’t really believe there’s ever been records kept of that type of rural fire information.

Back to my point, the matches were highly respected and used with diligent care. We all learned at a real young age, no one wanted to be ever questioned about missing wooden matches! When the match detail finished their high risk, acid reflux producing job, it would sort of mill around outside, looking nonchalant, if a seven or eight year old can even look nonchalant. There must have been a silent, invisible signal, just wait for the other members who were working on the inside yet. No Walkie-Talkie to be had, we tried two cans and a string, very limited distance, can’t hear me now, can you? No I can’t?

One of the most dangerous, riskiest jobs and the one with the most serious consequences, if caught, would be getting into the right dresser drawer where the Chesterfield cigarettes were kept. The bravest ones took that detail, they received special commendations for retrieving a pack of Chesterfield’s from the dresser drawer. Their helper was having distracting conversations in one of the other rooms, with said cigarette owner, no doubt the dining area. As soon as Arthur Godfrey’s Chesterfields were in pocket or undies they both would discreetly exit the house and start working their way toward the tree grove were the machinery was stored.

The Dill Pickle Gang hideout that everyone would gather and cool off at was the grain hopper, up on top of the old combine. Each one climbed the ladder and got into the empty grain hopper. Whatever business was on the daily agenda was discussed while we all ate those delicious kosher pickles and smoked Arthur Godfrey’s Chesterfield cigarettes. The easier, less stressful days of some fortunate Northern children. I just can not for the life of me see this happening in the south with canned persimmons or okra!