I met my friend Rahmsahro about 25 years ago. We both lived in Columbia, Missouri at the time and were collaborators on a photo project I was doing for the University. We hit it off on the phone before we even met and in person we just clicked. She was impressed that I spelled her name correctly the first time. Izarian Rahmsahro. Still love that name.
We got to know each other a little more before we both moved away; her to Arizona and us to Washington D.C. We kept in touch, however and through the years she sent me some excerpts of her very eloquent science fiction writings. She is not only a very talented and descriptive writer, she has many other skills. Massage therapy, painting, tile work, gardening… the list goes on and on. Needless to say, as a writer, she was an excellent correspondent and even though we never visited in person, I considered her a true friend all those years.
When she moved to Tucson, she took on the very large task of completely remodeling her adobe house, gardens and courtyards. I followed her progress through the photos she sent. She re-tiled the entire house, after tearing up the carpet, installed decorative tiled fountains, fireplaces, redid bathrooms, installed skylights; you name it. Most of this keeping up with her progress was before email. Ancient, I know.
Then the bombshell dropped. Iz was an independent and ardent anti-marriage type of gal for all the years we kept in touch. Then in 2006, she found a guy and in 2010 she married him! I knew Mike Lassiter had to be pretty special, and he is indeed. A gentle giant, he is soft spoken, observant, thoughtful, curious and kind. And he loves to ride his bicycles! What’s not to like?
When we headed west from Texas, we planned a stop in Tucson to catch up. I had never met Mike, and hadn’t seen Iz in years. Jim had never met either of them. We knew Tucson had many miles of bike trails and we spent a day or so riding after settling in. Their house was only about four miles away from where we parked the bus, so we biked on over and spent an afternoon touring the house and gardens and getting (re)aquainted. We met the puppies, Maya, a German Shepherd and Paco, a dachshund and had a relaxing and extremely pleasant afternoon catching up and getting to know Mike.
Some samplings from the house; so many little areas and alcoves. SO much tile! So many hummingbirds! And the whole courtyard concept is genius! Once you are inside the walls, you have your own little paradise. No wonder they like to stay home.
While we were talking she asked if we wanted to have a car to use while we were there. We had our bikes and Tucson is very bike friendly so we didn’t think we needed one. But it turned out that her brother had a car he needed to get licensed and asked them if they could drive the requisite 100 miles necessary for the inspection. They really didn’t want to take the time to just drive with so many projects at home so they asked if we would. How serendipitous! Why not?
The next day they came over to see the bus and brought the car. They had lots of questions about the bus and great appreciation for all the various systems involved. I love curious people!
Iz and me at the bus. We are so glad we took their advice and her brother’s car, which had all the right bumper stickers on it, including this one.
We went to the International Wildlife Museum, the Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park. The desert was in full bloom; it was a good chance to identify some of the plants we had been seeing in landscapes and along the bike trail and roadsides.
We also went to Trader Joe’s (twice) to restock the freezer with swordfish, ahi tuna, salmon and albacore tuna. And some of their sides. I also got my glasses fixed. And we toured the St. Xavier Mission. Built in 1793, the second bell tower was never completed.
A few nights later we all got together at Casa Rahmsahro y Lassiter for a Mexican feast of arrachera, guacamole, pico, salsa verde, charro beans and, of course, margaritas! They cooked the arrachera in the adobe oven and everything was first rate. Especially the company.
We had a most excellent visit and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly! So thankful for those folks with whom we have a lasting, always-alive-under-the-surface connection that can be revived and deepened at anytime. These are my people.
We hated to say goodbye, but the next day we drove the car back with more than the required 100 miles on it. We lingered with them outside the bus and promised we would be back sooner than another 25 years. Thanks to Izzy and Mike for being so warm and welcoming and even up for a visit. You never know… We could have discovered that we didn’t have anything in common or that we didn’t even like each other. I suspected the opposite would be true and I was right. For once!
So with the heat rising, we took off for Phoenix, where it was even hotter!
Many, many more pics on Flickr.