Yesterday our homeowners’ association sponsored a trip to the Mesa Market. I had no idea what the Mesa Market even was when I signed up to go a few weeks ago. Good thing I looked it up on the internet before getting on the bus for the 2-hour ride.

Those of you back home may be familiar with Shipshewanna’s giant flea market in Amish country. Well, this Arizona version, which in no way has an affiliation with the Amish, is bigger, but in a suburban location instead of gentle green countryside. Mesa’s version hosts 1600 vendors under a canopied semi-indoor concrete-floored market. And the vendors were gratuitously friendly when they wanted you to open your wallet; indifferent to you otherwise. Mesa was experiencing a chilly 58 degrees and I almost, almost bought me a “bargain” fleece jacket with wolves on the front just to keep warm. But I resisted and just hugged myself and walked faster to keep warm. A bowl of rather decent chicken soup sold at one of the pop stands helped keep the chill at bay for a little while. Imagine tromping around the length of four football fields (1 1/2 miles) for four hours.

I had been given some bum information about how to navigate the rows, only to discover that the best stuff (American-made, with care) was near the end where our bus was waiting to whisk us back to Cottonwood. I was looking for a few potential presents, and some decorative items for the garden. My “garden” is graced with bonafide artistic sculpture, hand-made by real artists. There were plenty of Kokopellis, Lizards, Suns, whirly things, shiny things, tinkly things, until I came upon a booth that offered some Chihuly-like blown-glass yard ornaments. I wanted one of each, but purchased none. They were the nicest things I saw the whole time I was window-shopping. But I did purchase some German-made solar-powered bugs and blooms to plant in my front yard. They light up and change colors at night. A neighbor has a row of dragonflies similar to what I brought home, and when I walk at dusk, I am enchanted by those dragonflies.

On our way home we stopped at the Rock Springs Cafe. Those of you who followed by Arizona travel articles in the Beacher might remember my writing about this famous pie place. That was at least ten years ago. Today the cafe is known for its cream pies, not all its pies. That did not stop me from bringing back an apple crumb pastry.

There is snow on the mountain, rain down here in the valley, and lots of television news about Flagstaff’s six inches. Big deal. But it’s looking and feeling more like Christmas and thank goodness I’m home and away from the Mesa Market madness.