September is a bitter-sweet month each year as we know our summer days at
Munds Park are limited and we must say good-bye to dear friends until next spring.
Munds Park is what we call the world’s best kept secret, a wonderful little
community of 3000 people, 17 miles south of Flagstaff, Arizona. Although it is only a
2 hour and 10 minute ride door to door, at 7000 feet elevation, it is always 30
degrees cooler than the scorching high temperatures of Phoenix. No air-
conditioning required here and we can sleep with the windows open enjoying
The weather is only one attraction. The best thing about Munds Park, also called
Pinewood, are the wonderful people and variety of activities we get to enjoy with
them. Golf, (for all levels of play), tennis, pickle ball (our new latest passion) bridge
(I’m not smart enough for that one), Mahjongg, Hand and Foot, Water Aerobics,
Bingo, Community Theatre, Cabaret Theatre (both starring all local talent with a
playbill that reads like Broadway). Oh, and not to forget Childrens’ Drama Camp for
all ages with charming performances after their weeks of rehearsals. Our grandson
Kevin, now 13, has been a “star” for five years and it’s a joy to see him and the other
young actors develop their confidence on-stage. There are book discussion groups
and even a writer’s group which helped me immensely as I was trying to complete
my novel, “I’ll Always Be With You”. Knowing I had to have material for them to
critique each week kept me on track.
We bought a town home here in 1996 when we were both working so only came up
for weekends, trying to find the time when 1-17 was safest to travel. Friday nights
going north and Sunday nights headed south could make the 2 hour drive into 4
hours as there are few alternative routes. About 5 years ago, we retired and were
able to spend most of the summer here. Our townhome has four units connected
and because we spend most of the time outdoors on our patios, our neighbors have
become like second families to us through the years, as we enjoy each other’s
families when they visit. Watching all the kids play in the grassy cul de sac on a
summer night is a joy. Not to mention we have a few adult beverages at nightly
happy hours. It’s not uncommon to share what we are cooking or to borrow what is
missing from our own cupboards, as the nearest grocery store is 17 miles. Unless
you want to pay convenience store prices, such as $2.79 for a can of tomato sauce.
Much of the social life revolves around the country clubhouse with live music on
weekends, Kareoke nights, casino night, 50’s sock hop—any reason to have fun. But
probably the best event of all is the small town 4th of July parade with homemade
floats, decorated golf carts and bicycles. You have to set your lawn chair out the
night before if you want a seat along the half- mile route. A beautiful display of
patriotism that makes your heart sing.
And speaking of singing, I remember a song when I was growing up in the 40’s and
50’s..something like, “I love those kind hearts and gentle people who
live in my home town.” Yes, that describes them perfectly.
Pinewood has always had a special place in my heart but especially this year
because these kind and gentle people have embraced my debut novel beyond my
wildest expectations, buying multiple copies for family and friends.
Thank you dear friends.