Windy, with Mulberries
by Beth Kozan
These three words describe KABAM, the Kingman Area Books Are Magic festival, the book event where Laura Orsini, David Medansky, and yours truly spent most of April 23.
I did not grow up with mulberry trees; I only met them when I moved to Tucson in 1969. I learned I am highly allergic to mulberry pollen, which comes from the male mulberry tree; I get asthmatic around them.
Female mulberry trees are not as good for shade as the male mulberries; their purple fruit ripens and birds eat them, so not many female mulberries grace the yards in Tucson or Phoenix.
Female mulberry trees are, however, the trees of choice for the park where the KABAM event was scheduled. Juicy purple splotches graced all the sidewalks and the pulp hid in the grassy knobs that made for bumpy ground where we set up our tents. Open-toed sandals invited purple specks to adorn toes. Anything that was set on the ground got purple stains – the rolling packaging for tent awnings, storage boxes, and my purse!
For most Phoenicians, Kingman is “on the road to Vegas,” but it is a loooong way from Phoenix (Google says 197 miles). Road conditions have improved over the 46 years I’ve lived in Arizona, but I still remember the “ribbon of death” when the road from Wickenburg to Kingman was a hilly two-lane, straight shot, dangerous to drive. White glow-in-the-dark crosses marked each place a life had been lost on that road! In contrast, today’s improved road is much safer.
Not too far outside of Wickenburg, your car radio drops away, about the same time that your cell phone loses connection. If you don’t have satellite radio, you’d best carry along several CDs or an audio book for entertainment.
The mountains to the west of Kingman cause a tunnel effect. I’ve never been to Kingman on a day that it wasn’t windy.
I stopped at the coffee brewery where an audience sat outside at sundown on the Friday before the main event. In the hour-and-a-half that I sat and listened to the Poetry Slam, the wind blew down the lecterns and the microphones twice! This was foretelling for Saturday.
Beth Kozan is the author of the book Adoption: More Than by Chance and the forthcoming Helping the Birth Mother You Know. Beth worked in adoption for 35 years and retired to write. She has many more books than these titles to write and will emphasize and explore the concept of community in her additional books. “Growing up in a close agriculture-based, rural community in Texas, I felt the comfort and bonds of caring for others which is often missing in our busy lives today. Exploring and building communities for today is my writer’s goal.” Follow Beth on Facebook or visit her website, where she reviews books and films featuring adoption.