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Part of our goal with I Heart Mesa is to establish a better sense of community.  One of the best ways we have found to do this is to highlight you - our readers.  This year we wanted to be even better at it, bringing in more of your writing, photography, your art that captures the heart of Mesa.  Today, we are starting out with Clint Hardison - my brother-in-law.  He is tall, witty, and has a great self-esteem.  Plus, he married up- finding a wonderful catch in Angela our graphic designer and my husband's little sister.  I approached Clint last month about putting his English degree to work and writing a little piece for our blog.  He obliged and sent me an essay.  So, put your feet up, grab a horchata and enjoy.  (Oh, and if you want to be featured here on I Heart Mesa with your Mesa writing, photography or other art - please e-mail us at iheartmesa@gmail.com) 

Bloody Gulch
clint hardison

When I was in fourth grade, my teacher, a lovable woman whose skin was strongly reminiscent of alligator flesh, initiated a program to broaden her students’ limited horizons. It was her idea for our class to correspond with another fourth grade class—nine- and ten-year-olds just like us, except from a strange and exotic place. That’s what she told us. I imagined receiving envelopes with elaborate postage stamps on them, stamps featuring the tiny, unframed portraits of crowned monarchs the likes of which my scant decade of life experience as an Arizonan child would hardly allow me to conceive. I wondered how we were to communicate with our pen pals, considering that they probably wouldn’t speak very good English, and I didn’t know a lick of Swahili (or Burmese or Gaelic or whatever wacky native idiom our counterparts would employ). However, it was to my utmost chagrin when our teacher ultimately informed us that the exotic place to which she had alluded was to be Moundsville, Ohio.

My elation dashed, I found little to talk about in my first letter. I figured life in Moundsville was probably pretty similar to life in Mesa—modest homes arrayed in rows, gathered around churches, schools and parks, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So in my letter I asked about favorite television shows, recess, the Cleveland Cavaliers and what their grocery stores were called in Ohio. When I received my pen pal’s first response, I was a little surprised. The student, whom I will, for lack of actual recollection, refer to as Martin, didn’t answer a single one of my questions. (To this day, the void that is my ignorance regarding eastern Ohio supermarket chains still lingers.) Instead, his letter consisted of one wild, misguided inquisition after another:

“Are there ever gunfights?”
“Do you have a rattlesnake as a pet? Has it ever bit you?”
“Is your house a cactus?”

Oh, there is more, but you must click on over to Clint's blog here to read the rest.

Thanks Clint

- Kathryn

1 comment:

Kayla said...

Very well written. I'm always so excited when I see tumbleweeds and road runners around here.

Also, I wore my shirt today and felt very proud to be a Mesan.