Six years ago the first time we met him, he was wearing a yellow sweater. No idea why I remember that. Six days ago he greeted us with a huge smile, a handshake for Rob and a hug for me, but wasn’t wearing a yellow sweater and rightly so. It was hot that day and the forecast for the next few days was for even higher temperatures. Welcome to Arizona, where “dry heat” is supposed to make temperatures of 90+ degrees more tolerable. It doesn’t. Trust me.

Once inside his beautiful home we immediately felt at home. It was as if we were visiting a family member whom we had not seen in a long time, when in fact, we had only met him briefly when our son married his niece. Warm, gracious, great sense of humor…many adjectives could be used to describe him but that will be saved for later. 🙂

South meets Southwest. He recommended some wonderful restaurants, none of which disappointed us. On the way to his home, his recommendations of what to see and what to do were spot on. His knowledge of the area, the history of the area and its inhabitants was amazing. No matter the questions, he was able to answer them with details that were at times, mind-boggling. It was evident that he loved living in the Southwest. He was in his element here. His curiosity, his desire to know as much as he could about his surroundings and his willingness to share his knowledge with such enthusiasm, well, our visit could not have been any better.

Waking up to the wonderful smell of coffee has always been a favorite of mine. He didn’t disappoint. After drinking his coffee though, all other coffees are just coffee. I believe his mom introduced him to the way that he makes coffee now.

Wanting to be the perfect host, he made several phone calls inquiring about how we make sweet tea, real Southern sweet tea. Bless him for that. He surprised us, however, with a different kind of sweet tea that, as his sister-in-law would say, is “to die for”. Slightly sweetened black tea with ginger ale, with a ratio of about half and half. Oh my goodness! So refreshing! I will be making this for sure! Wish I had some now…dashboard pizza…yummy. Rented Mustang convertibles, yeah, you no longer fool us.

With Rob in the front seat and me in the back seat (my choice), he took us to places that could only be reached by going off road. Not mud bogging like many people in the south seem to enjoy, but OFF ROAD, literally. The phrase that “you can’t get there from here” would have been accurate without him and his jeep. Don’t think that we caught air but I wouldn’t have been surprised. “Not suitable for pregnant women or people with back or neck problems” could have been a disclaimer. 🙂
Was it fun? Oh. My. Gosh! Yes! Robert, I’m sorry honey, but as much fun as I had with you when you took me off-road, well this was a different level altogether.

Walking in a river bed to see magnificent rock formations was an experience. Too bad there was no water in the river bed, only deep sand similar to the beach. Still a trip to remember though, water or not.

Experiencing the beauty of Arizona, especially Northern Arizona, was spiritual for us. The song “Majesty and Glory” must have been written for times like this. I found myself singing it to myself many times during our visit. The beauty, the grandeur, the sacred places of the Navajo that we were able to experience, the multitude of stars in the night sky. What a trip.

I could go on and on about our trip but I hope that whoever reads this understands that there are times when words are not adequate. Experiencing times like we did are the only way to fully appreciate what is out there for everyone to see, and to gain a better understanding of how this part of the world was millions of years ago.

Breathtaking, awesome, stunning, amazing, beautiful, spiritual…there are simply not enough adjectives to describe the magnitude and grandeur of what we saw.

Warm, gracious, loves to laugh, enjoys people no matter their background, interesting, talented, great sense of humor, intuitive, sensitive to others, yes, he is truly part of our family now…these words describe the man in the yellow sweater. These words describe Stewart.

Thank you, Stewart. We will return to the South with a little bit of the Southwest in our soul now.

Until next time…