Twenty Four Carrot Christmas

One of our best RV experiences was volunteering in a membership park in Lake Havasu Arizona. We got to run parties, help with entertainment, and do a lot of really fun stuff. Our involvement with this has resulted in many long lasting friendships. Thanks to our many CRA friends for helping us, and me, get through
the last couple of years.

One day we got a call from friends from before we retired. Sandy and Jem were neighbors in Ct. “ We are in Phoenix. How about we come to see you over Christmas? “ Well great!!!

A bit of background. Sandy and Jem were from the UK. As was Rita. Because of her eyesight problem, Rita had especially acute hearing. Which was fortunate because, for some reason, I couldn’t understand a word Sandy said. My ears just couldn’t process her voice. Whenever we ran into each other, I had to get Rita to interpret.

So they arrive in Havasu, check into their motel, and come to the park. Rita and I were obligated to work Christmas Day, but we devised a special treat for Christmas Eve. We took them to Oatman, Az. Oatman is a tourist trap. But the most humane tourist trap ever.

Years ago the miners, who worked in the area, brought in burros to carry the material out of the mines. Eventually, the mines played out and the miners moved on. The burros stayed. After a while, some merchants decided to create a town. They quickly realized what a draw the burros would be, so they started feeding them. Pretty soon, at ten am, two dozen or so burros came into town from their homes in the desert. They were greeted by a growing number of tourists willing to feed them carrots. And watch staged gunfights and buy souvenirs of the occasion. Each animal was named and provided veterinary service if needed. When one died, the merchants grieved. When one was born, a celebration.

Driving Jem and Sandy towards town, we noticed the trees and cacti were all decorated with tin cans and other detritus of the desert. We made sure we arrived well before the magical ten am hour so they could have the full experience. We parked just outside of town and told our guests we had a special present for them and handed them each a ten pound bag of carrots. Their look of bewilderment coincided with the arrival of the burros. I can still see the look on their faces as they re-gifted their Christmas present. One carrot at a time.

We all have that one special holiday memory. Jem and Sandy are back in the UK and we have unfortunately lost touch. I know this for sure, though. At some time before the end of the season, they will think about their twenty four carrot Christmas gift that they kept for just a few moments. A very happy few moments.

So, no matter what happened during the past year. No matter how many lumps of coal in your stocking. No matter how many times you had to get back up, reach back and find that special holiday memory, milk it for all it’s worth, and have the best time you possibly can. But, don’t shoot your eye out.

Fred Prout


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8 Responses to Twenty Four Carrot Christmas

  1. Eric says:

    Speaking as another one of your ‘adoptees’, this is a great story, and one I’m sure Jem & Sandy treasured…I can never thank you enough for taking me under your wing the winter following my late wife’s demise.

    On the topic of burros, a couple years before I met you & Rita we were up at Alamo Lake State Park….lots of coyotes around, (in fact we were told that one snatched a leashed poodle as its owner sat with a group of people around a campfire one night), and after dark they could be heard yipping and howling.

    Said yipping and howling was inevitably followed by ‘burro braying’ as the latter declared “We’re coming through, and you’d better not be in our way”.

    Merry Christmas Fred.

  2. Barbara Grundemann says:

    Thanks again for a wonderful story. I was hoping to see you at Janettes this Christmas. Perhaps sometime in the near future. I have a good Christmas story to share also. Thanks for reminding me about the lovely Christmas’s past. Stay well and come up to Yachats soon!
    Barbara G

  3. Val Carano says:

    Another wonderful story Fred! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Love, Val

  4. Reggie #115 says:

    Awesome Memory. Thank you, I enjoyed reading that Fred!

  5. Anita C says:

    Was there last year, the burros still run the town. Now they get fed cubs of alfalfa sold by the mrchants and yes they still have the gun fight at high noon. Have a Merry Christmas.

  6. Anita C. says:

    Was there last year and the burros still own the town. No more carrots, the merchants now sell bags of alfalfa, and yes they still have the gun fights. Not much has changed over the years, just more burros and more poop. Merry Christmas and Hugs

  7. Kate Bright says:

    What a 24 “carrot” gold story! You and Rita discovered the secret to living life to the fullest. Have a wonderful Christmas, Fred.

  8. Jackie Jones Lot 102 says:

    Merry Christmas our wonderful friend, we are also one of those precious Havasu friends. Thank goodness for Steve’s Touch or we would never have become such great friends. Give Miss Kelly a big hug from Uncle Steve and Aunt Jackie. Miss ya bunches.

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