Phoenix ‘09

Kirk & Sheryl Pinney

Kirk & Sheryl Pinney

Thursday evening’s registration turned out to be more of a pre-party and a great way to start the weekend.  “Sing Lo and Hop Sing” (aka Kirk and Sheryl Pinney) greeted us as we paid our final fees and got our "Welcome To Phoenix" bags. Everyone enjoyed seeing one another and catching up on what we'd been up to for the last 12 months since the Chicago Reunion.

The Millenium Resort and Spa was a lovely beginning to the weekend. Some of us went swimming, others just got drinks, and we sat outside in the nice weather chatting. After the pre-party was done, some of us had dinner on the patio outside in the warm evening air. 

Friday morning we toured downtown Phoenix and visited the museum at the State Capitol where many of us learned for the first time about the the French 'Merci' train which was a railcar filled with goodies that was presented to each state in appreciation of the US World War II efforts. This was very interesting! 

Next, we stopped to see the Heard Museum which contains one of the largest collection of American Indian artifacts in the world. We could have spent days there looking at all the jewelry, kachinas, blankets and the other exhibits. This museum was founded in 1929 as part of the Dwight & Maie Heard’s home in downtown Phoenix.

Maie Heard acted as museum director, curator, custodian, lecturer and guide for more than 20 years. The Heard Museum underwent significant growth upon Maie Heard's death in 1951. In 1956, the Heard Museum Auxiliary was established to assist with educational programs. Today, the Heard Museum Guild numbers nearly 700. We enjoyed a GREAT lunch at the Heard Museum. Not your normal museum fare.! We ate out on their patio in the dappled shade and enjoyed a restful laid back time. That evening we had a delicious Mexican Buffet out on the Millenium's patio with more catching up and reminiscing. 

This was also the beginning of the Mah Jongg Marathon that went on each evening in the Hospitality Lounge. I don’t know who the eventual champion was or even if one was crowned .... it may be held over for a decision in Baltimore.!!

Saturday’s tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio, Taliesin Westoffered more insight into the architect’s design philosophy. It is still in use today as a school furthering Mr. Wright's ideas. 

Students pay $30,000 per year to further their studies. They live in a tent for the first year just as Frank Lloyd and his 3rd wife did when they first got there. Wright founded the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in 1932 to teach his theories and practices to young men and women. He decided that he needed this camp to escape the harsh Wisconsin winters. He started building the home/school in the Scottsdale area in 1937 when he was 70. .

Saturday evening was the BBQ at the Old Western Town. We entered town where there were cowboys, saloon girls, and horses. We moseyed into the area where we were going to have dinner - but first ...... bellied up to the bar as all good expats are experts at doing.! We rode a bull, shot the bull, ate steaks (not the bull) and chicken. It was a pleasant evening all around. Sheriff Kirk and Miss Sheryl belted out “HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU .... UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN ... (in their minds) and wished us a happy and speedy trip home.