First, I would like to wish most everyone on Cactus Thorns a happy new year. I’m back from New York with a fresh perspective on this blog and the need for citizen-driven reporting. I have to say that, especially in the desert, where politics play a large role in what news gets covered, and how, and how one gets treated by those in power, an independent outlet such as this one, offers those who would otherwise have little say in the community, an opportunity to be heard, and I am appreciative that it is here. I don’t agree with everything on it, but then, for this week anyway, it’s a free country (or at least it’s reasonably priced).
While we were in New York, I had a few experiences that were memorable. First was getting to spend time with our daughter and family, which always works magic that, no matter how much marketing gurus try, can’t be replaced by buying something.
Second to that were the hours we spent in Fraunces Tavern in Manhattan – an important site in the American Revolution, and the place where George Washington bid his officers a tearful farewell at the war’s conclusion. It was exciting to hoist a pint near the fireplace where Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and many others had once warmed themselves from the bitter cold of a New York winter, and to re-read the Declaration of Independence in that hall. Though it was just a couple blocks from where Washington’s inauguration was held in this new nation, the Declaration of Independence seemed so distant from the America we live in today – almost lost. I couldn’t help but wonder what Washington would think about how the nation he helped create squanders the freedom the Revolutionary Army fought for back then.
Then finally, on a walk through Manhattan, we came across the Museum of Sex. And there in the windows of the museum were the artworks of Randy Polumbo, the artist/designer/contractor from New York – and Joshua Tree. It was interesting to see the urban crowd having their pictures taken in front of artwork that once elicited a threat of firebombing my magazine’s offices in Twentynine Palms, and got me called a “pornographer” by a few folks in the hi-desert who really should have known better. I enjoyed the connection with the desert and New York, but it also highlighted the fact that while Polumbo’s work receives national and international attention, back here it is often attacked by folks who like to say they defend freedom of speech and expression – as long as it fits within their definition of what is acceptable, which is hardly what art’s role is supposed to be, in my opinion.
But back in the desert, we went for a long hike in Joshua Tree National Park to clear out the crowds of Fifth Avenue from our heads, and we made it a point to call our cousin in New York from the trail to let him know we were enjoying one of the most beautiful places in our country in short sleeves on a day in early January. It was great to be home.
I have an event coming up that I would like to invite folks to attend. That is The Sun Runner’s 15th birthday party, coming up on Saturday, January 16. We’ll be celebrating with a delightful dinner party at the historic and beautiful Roughley Manor, in Twentynine Palms, where The Sun Runner began back in January, 1995.
We’ll be dining on the Manor’s delectable fare, with live acoustic music, and a few surprises thrown in. There is a charge for the dinner ($75 per person or $120 per couple), as this dinner party is a benefit for the fine folks at the Armed Services YMCA Twentynine Palms. The ASYMCA works out on the Twentynine Palms Marine base with mostly enlisted singles and couples, supporting families of deployed Marines, and I have personally been so impressed with what they accomplish on a very modest budget, that I want to support them as much as possible.
I hope some of you can join us for a special winter’s evening that I promise will be memorable and a grand way to begin this new year. You can reserve your seats online at www.thesunrunner.com using credit cards, or you can call me at (760)366-2700 for more information. Seating is limited, and the deadline for reservations is fast approaching. If you can’t make it, but would like to contribute, you can reserve dinners for Marines instead – just include that note in your reservation, and if you have any problems using the online system, just give me a call or e-mail and we’ll make it right.
I greatly appreciate your support for The Sun Runner, myself personally, our Marines, and our community. I, and all the folks who help out here at the magazine, wish you the best in this new year.
PS: Roughley Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn is located at 7477 Joe Davis Drive, Twentynine Palms. Their phone number is (760)367-3238. If you are coming from a distance, you can make reservations for the night. You can check out the beautiful stone manor house at www.roughleymanor.com, or check for Twentynine Palms lodging at www.thesunrunner.com.