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Tucson Thanks!
Tucson Thanks!
by Mexico Doug
February 26, 2007
Published here with author's permission

Finally I'm home! It's been a long "Tucson" for me, all very enjoyable. Please take a moment to hear me rant -or more appropriately: rave- about the meteorite folks who colored my world in Arizona and beyond.

First, in order of meeting, is Jim Kriegh with whom I feel privileged to have shared an unexpected couple hours of fine conversation with and appreciated his suggestions and observations. I am looking forward to the day I can tag along in the field with you, Jim. Shortly later, I met 'Twink' and kind meteorite spouse Larry whose reservoirs of kindness never ran dry in the most challenging situations. I thank my lucky star to have you as friends and frankly couldn't have done anything besides a basic Tucson without your help. I am sure that I am talking for many a meteorhound when I also say the meteorite cake colors golden our Tucson experience like the children looking forward to the Rosca de Reyes (Pan de Reyes: The round glazed candy-fruited sweetbread) in Mexico on Epiphany:

To The Classic Chladnis, Andi, Stefan, and Martin were the kindest folks, and once wound up and rolling, proved to be a barrel full of meteorites, moons and loons, not to mention knowledge, conversation, food and mead... What a fun gang, and place to escape the high pressure sales joints, thanks friends - I hope you are able to attend next year! Martin, have you yet recovered from the alleged S. American plague? Take two Hasparos and call me in the morning under Appley Bridge and I promise you'll be cured.

Next, I met up with "Rusty" Bill Mason in the rear of Heorot's Hall of Paleoenterologists. Bill has a delightful sense of humor and is always ready to help you recover your irons wherever you might have put them, gratis and with a big smile. What more could one ask of such a experimented practitioner of non-petreous proto-planet preservation? I hope he never closes the gates to huddled meteoritical masses, whether they be immersed in the mainstream or relegated as poor plum puddinged deserted individuals.

OK, next in line was the room with the nicest duo that has put up with meteorites all these years. That would be Blaine and his every sympathetic brother Blake Reed, plus the caravan of mirth that you can count on finding there this time including the likes of Blake's attractive and pleasant girlfriend, plus the likes of AL and Mike Mtz who I saw this time there. Thanks for my wonderful wine glass which I am pleased to have cared for all the way home, over a few mountains, valleys, wet lakes, urban forests and numerous army check points. Whenever I am in the presence of the Reed's, truly, I am filled with admiration. Blaine has put up with the ups and downs of the "Business" like no other, never sacrificing his smile, genuine generosity and helpfulness, and sage advice, such as "Always leave something attractive on the table for buyers." Ah ... a phrase so easily said by many but so hard to find when you need it...but friends of Blaine will know exactly what I mean.

Rumor was that the IMCA was to have a dinner, so upon the encouragement of several members, I decided to crash the party which was at La Fuente restaurante. Here I was fortunate to meet up with the kind and openly jovial Jensens, cladistic Chladnis', oh lala Anne B., the enchanting Maria Haas and the nice guy (name?) sitting to her right, and Mark Bostick, Greg Hupe and many others further from my seat. That evening for me, though, my heart was won by Maria Haas, as it was the first time I met her in person and realized just how honest and caring of a person she is - always helping others, and as we saw leading an effort to help Walter Branch and family from the meteorite community. Just listening to Maria's caring comments had me realize how lucky I am to be in the same virtual community as she. Good luck Maria in Holbrook I wished ... knowing I would not be able to arrive there and share the hunt until she was about to leave.

Speaking of Maria I also met the always pleasant Latin superstore jefe Eduardo a few times who was clearly having a great time. Such a contagious smile! He mentioned he wanted to go to Holbrook so I invited him to come along with me a few days later. He politely declined in favor of holding out until Maria invited him again. It went down something like this: Why would I want to go with you, when I could go with (harps play theme from West Side Story) MARIA. Actually there was a lot of sense to Eduardo's words. I wouldn't want to go with me either - if I could go with Maria. So next time I'll check into the possibility of ditching myself and going with Maria instead. Say it loud Eduardo and there's Music Playing! Hope you enjoyed your royal suites hotel with Jacuzzi and all, btw. Sure beat the crap out of my accommodations but I'm not complaining. Also, thanks for the lessons southern-South American style on the regional pronunciation of Allende...all the beautiful sounds of the world in a single word ... Allende ... no matter how you say it ... suddenly this name will never be the same to me ...

On to the daily rounds towards Edwin Thompson's room where his son was a welcomed addition to the ET team. What a nice library! There were no doughnuts but the chocolates were exquisite and ET kindly made -by his own hand- the Margaritas one gray day to spice up the festive meteorological ambiance. Not to mention that he gave me a steal on a book that little he knew I had only dreamed about having before! Three cheers for that! Thanks, Ed! I now forgive you for beating me to that deal that left me pouting two years ago. I think I'll sleep with my new book as soon as I unpack it:-)

By ET's room there was this concentrating fellow who I recognized from my prior internet sleuthing. "Hello Martian!" I shouted to him, and he returned this blank stare of "Who the h---"... Now this was Marcin C., never sitting for a moment and having a fine time selling at his tables. I was mad he didn't bring his saw along, but other than that Marcin is a very nice guy to chat with once he knows who you are. And it is a good thing he was so vigilant given all the sad rip-off stories from tables especially as his were set up...

Onward in the rounds there was this unlikely room, entitled "MINRESCO". A nice man, though somewhat curt was in it. I somehow recalled him from somewhere. So I wished him a friendly hello and he responded the same to me. "Got meteorites?", I said with a milk stained upper lip from prior rooms... He was a bit stern though kindly courteous. "No, I don't bring them anymore, not enough buyers and they don't move enough." "Thanks, anyway", I said, as I left thinking, "Bummer!".

So, next in line during my Tucson pilgrimage, as if to prove the prior statement folly, I headed upstairs to find a room buzzing with activity and dealers, executives and TV personalities, swarming together alike with meteoritical grins stretching back everyone's lips. I got to meet the Queen Bee of meteorites herself, none other than "Anne of a Thousand Meteornights!" This was a grand meeting for me as I greatly respect the fine niche Anne has carved out in the meteorite world and fine selection of meteorites she offers, putting a fairer, pretty face on shiny and rusty space rocks alike. Anne, Mr. Iron is some great piece you have and the accompanying story was very entertaining! Thanks.

The next worker in that beehive had this Tennessee Floppy hat on in full regalia and started to pull coins out of my ears. That was so MT! Thanks for the chuckle:) As I was recovering a kind aerolitic Geoff came over to me to say hello bearing a video of the Becky episode, which I simply had to have! There was the Becky iron, no less! Geoff seemed to have aged a bit since I last saw him, but then he confessed he had a new doo which involved the tone gray. Though it probably had something to do with his talented wild rock n roll group, I preferred to think he got into a fight with a bolide - and WON! The guided tour of your meteorites was very enjoyable, it's too bad for me Steve #1 wasn't there at the time.

After encountering all of that meteorite drama in one place, I staggered back and made it to Chladni's Lair and plunked down into a seat without permission in this very wonderful room of space and Lunar jewels. Nothing like "5 Coronas" Darren! But just then this beautiful bubbling blonde rolled into the door with Don Edwards in tow, by the name of Leigh Anne. She had some very nice meteorite jewelry creations which she shamelessly flaunted, and we liked them too. Leigh Anne even got to model holding the Green Moon! A very sweet young woman, too bad there weren't more like her to keep some of us who are high on the rocks sane. Hope you worked something out to fix your automobile, Leigh Anne and it was a real pleasure to meet you.

Next arriving in style was Ed Grondine with a copy of his thick book, "MAN AND IMPACT IN THE AMERICAS". Ed was a delightful person and also very young at heart, with whom it was my pleasure to discuss subjects of our general interest and watch Ed building his voucher collection of meteorites and impactites for lectures. Ed has mentioned his stroke on this list before; all I can say is Ed is a storehouse of information now, I shudder to think how brilliant he was before...Thanks Ed for all your kind words to me. And though I get wound up in my own set of priorities when arriving late to the party, your honorable reaction as an early arrival at the Meteorite Mayhem Bash Party didn't escape my notice with the ninny drill sergeants holding the trenches at the door (more later on this). Forgot to say that your Indian jacket was very "cool".

I took a walk and saw a familiar face in one of the rooms, none other than Louis Carion holding the fort for Alain who was not to be found then. Louis is always so friendly and open to discuss his expeditions for Tatahouine, Fulgurites, LDG, you name it. What a fun stop to chat and practice a little bit of my own abominably abysmal French, as here everything is understood with good vibes and a smile...

...Now emboldened by my success in French, I ventured into Luc L.'s room where I found his très gentille Mom with a small but select set of specimens to rival any museum anywhere for those pieces. Communication was a very enjoyable challenge and in the end we actually succeeded! Then Luc returned and was all smiles as a great host for discussion on the specimens that left a pit in my stomach when I finally left that room. Luc's room has great presentation...

Which brought me to a peregrination to Mike Farmer's room as next on the agenda. That room never fails to have museum quality presentation. Mike and Jim Strope were there ready to sell meteorites or trade insults depending on the mood of the visitor. After a little exercise in needling, the vault of this treasure chest was open to me. Mike, for all the rare stuff you guys have managed to assemble, and the space beauty in that room of every imaginable classification. I left with dreams of the natural Glorieta piece this year. It was the most natural, manageably curvaceous, voluptuous, undulating piece of perfection I saw that day as I left with molten crystals of pallasites on the surface of my brain.

Also set up in "Mike's" room were Eric Olson and a surprise new display entrant from Europe Achim. If Eric's specimens were top quality and complementing and enhancing Mike's offering, what can I say about Achim? English is a little lame on the superlatives to describe Achim's wares. If I said Museum quality I would be using the wrong standard. They were truly Achim quality and there is no more to be said in historical witnessed falls anywhere, period end of thought. The words are BEST COLLECTION and other superlatives need not apply. Thanks Achim for your conversation, insight and friendly thoughts. I hope to see more of your trove in the future. whew. walking out of that room I had to get something to drink. I passed a bank on the way and whether I could get half of the stuff I had just seen by hitting only one bank. Now back to reality and a Coke:-(

To warm down a bit I stopped by to see Kitty Killgore who I didn't expect this year. Apparently the show promoter had kicked Marvin's SWMC out of the show some time as a not for profit, because as everybody knows, this is Tucson and everything has to have a price tag. SWMC fund raising and acquisition strategy apparently just didn't fit the bill... So there was our unchanged Kitty in her usual good humor, and a selection of some of the finely prepared meteorites we have come to expect from Southwest Meteorite Labs. Thanks for the smile every time I visit! Always a room filled with eye-candy...

At one point, I caught up to a group of Moni, Rob Matson and other friendly folks. It was the first time I had met them in person. Moni is a greatly spirited conversationalist and also, it becomes apparent in talking, a dedicated and hardy hunter when the opportunity is there. Some day I hope to hunt on some dry lake beds with Moni and her friends!

Rob, actually was a sort of icon of mine, turned out to be the antithesis of what one expects when speaking of History's great comet and asteroid hunters. Patient to discuss and open about his work, completely too humble about his accomplishments, and the kind of person who we all wish we could have as a friend. Good luck with that black crusted fresh desert find you picked up from the Chladni gang Rob; I appreciate your advise and follow-up and hope someday I can discover a celestial object like you have done - which I dream of associating with my own Father's name. Congratulations with my highest regards to you for your hunting successes!

Also I met Jason Utas and his dad Peter. We didn't get to speak much, but they are a great team and look great together. It's hard to believe young Jason has already accomplished himself so well, but he has earned my respect by reading his posted thoughts (not always in agreement - but fresh and creative thought processes to back himself up). It was nice to say hi.

A new face for me was Don and his wife Linda Hurkot who came from way up North. Thanks to Don in many ways, I was able to get my own superior slice of Seymchan, instead of one filled with epoxy as almost happened. At Al Lang's sale we both bid against each other for ownership of a certain CM2 that I have always hoped for. While I simply couldn't compete on the final bid, I am very pleased that the specimen went to the finest home I can imagine where it will be loved. Anyhow, that's my consolation and what I keep telling myself:-). As Don considered me a friend, he offered me the piece I lost at his cost when he saw I felt a little bad. Of course I was flattered for his thoughtfulness! Thanks for everything Don and I am glad to hear Linda had a lot of fun besides meteorites too. Hope we meet again.

At the meteorite party, the person I remember most was María Haas already mentioned, as kind as ever and a lovely change from the outside. Re: Outside: the so called security guard and his boss who kept others and me at bay in the entrance way to the Steve and Geoff bash. Let's not give those pinheads more bandwidth than they deserve. But if you saw someone pantomiming on the window with their hands begging to get in that was me. Word has it that Keith Vasquez (of "Will Work for Meteorites" fame, and another great acquaintance from the show, took a picture of this debacle from the inside - I want a copy!). Bob Verish and his lady were stuck out there and it provided us a fine opportunity to get acquainted, and I want to thanks you guys as well. Regarding the party, I also met Dima here. Dima is Serge A.'s Cometshop partner. What a nice person. I highly recommend him for anyone who would like some honest dealings. I was able to pick up his last piece of the Shirokovsky fake they had, which he celebrated finally getting rid of, after they had originally been duped into believing it was a real pallasite.

I've already mentioned Geoff, but not really Secret Agent #1, who I felt fortunate to carry on with at the party. Steve Arnold has the heart of a meteorite hunter and this blood really overflows when you speak with him and his escapades. It is very refreshing to discuss the life of a full-time meteorite salvager and one can see the difficulties facing this rare breed of person. Steve made a lot of sense to me in any case, though I won't comment how sober either of us was as it was his birthday party! Anyway, the meteorite-hunting icon he is, I had a few US hunts planned post-Tucson, and decided to stop shaving and them get a copy beard like he has. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. BTW, when I got home my girl told me I looked more exciting with the new gruff beard. Shucks now the joke is on me and I have to keep it a while. Arrrgh. Trust me meteorite hunters really have a tough life! Needling aside, I hope a full length account can be written some day about Steve and the team's (Geoff, Phil) Brenham project. The hunter he is, Steve didn't have a single piece of Brenham on him when we met earlier! Thanks for the insight...

Then there was THE AUCTION. That would be synonymous with Michael Blood. Despite all the whining, crude jokes and other crap, Michael, participating in your auction is great fun - and Tucson just wouldn't be Tucson without Michael Blood & Co. I found the auction a fair, professionally run affair that is a magnet for the meteorite community. Regardless of personal opinions, I think it will be very hard for an argument to be made that doesn't compliment you for your efforts with the formerly known as "People's Auction". An opportunity to socialize, and 150 meteorites up for grabs. Some at good prices and some not so good. There's enough going on and enough variety that everyone can take home something (and you might even get a Gold Basin in Twink's cake here -thanks for that touch!) Thank's Michael for an evening of fun which is much more difficult than it seems...

Finally, after all the comments on the list I've been a bit afraid to mention Al and Iris Lang's sale. Having seen both sides, all I can say is I am the happy owner of Jelica, a witnessed fall anniversary date on the birthday of a dear family member. Though I paid dearly for it was a "must have". I wouldn't call this an auction - just a sale. Absent are the fees normally associated with an auction: WYSIWYG, and there is no arbitrating third party. Lisa, a chic friend of Geoff's was there in an attire that must have been something of an evening gown, and was quite kind to serve a suggestion of champaña in fluent Spanish. Juxtaposed with usually grumpy faced Al, it made for a nice combination. Though Al didn't look very grumpy this time! Bob C. was there and took home the main mass of a meteorite I craved and was a reason to go to Tucson, but the bidding got out of hand and I certainly don't have the purchasing power to compete for meteorites backed by two tons of Campo del Cielos so I made my best offer and Bob went on to nearly double it as the frenzy continued and money painted the town green with envy. *Sigh* it was a Mexican meteorite. Wah hahaha. No thank you's here - but congratulations are certainly in order to Bob.

Dave Carothers was a great person to meet -in person- for the first time. We exchanged a few mutually enthusiastic words about meteorites, Tucson and the list and it made all the difference to me, especially in light of our past interchanges on the met-list...thanks for the friendly words, Dave it was a pleasure to meet you in 'real life'!

I ran across Jim Tobin who kindly filled me in on a certain misconception I had regarding a meteorite he once wanted. Jim was great as usual - always happy to answer technical questions I've had, for which I'm thankful, but I was sorry to have missed Paul this time around (who was at his daughter's graduation). Regards to you both!

Somewhere here I met a bunch of other very nice people. Fred O. immediately comes to mind as a very straightforward Coloradoan who just loves meteorites. Jan from Holland was there with his lovely wife, still looking like newlyweds and he's even better to meet in person than on the list! A big pleasure Jan and Yvonne! Bruno was on the prowl there and I gave him a big hello but he couldn't remember who I was, but that was ok since his wife was looking fine with some of the nice meteorite jewels sparkling around their room. Somewhere in the mess I remember seeing an always friendly Jason and appreciate the chance to say hello,as was the case with my hello to a friendly Tim Heitz. Erich was looking quite well this year with his companion as I watched him get a quite massive iron he still had time to give a friendly hello. Hans was there and his illness didn't put any dampers on his penchant to was sold out protégée Jose complaining as usual how he wants to go into the construction industry (chuckle, chuckle) - but congratulations José on finally owning Rockgems in full. Outside Hans' room was a Saharan Blue Person named Mohammed. He turned out to be a very nice guy with a pile of unclassified CR's as well as some specimens of the latest Moroccan fall last December. Mohammed had been robbed earlier and it was rather a sad affair. I wish Mohammed the best of luck and he has a great sense of humor and seems like a good source of material around the porous NWA borders. Several other friendly smiling Northern African guys were all quick to give smiles like Pani, Raouf and Larby, all in my limited experience. Bud Eisler was there and kindly took time to describe the adventure he was now participating in and his extreme courteousness and attention was noted upon visiting his room. Good luck with that Galleon!

Bob Haag and his Heidi were in the Westward Look Resort with a very small but effective meteorite display compared to prior years. Bob, as usual, shared his talent for exciting people about meteorites. Eduardo wiped him out of small affordable Esquels in front of my eyes and left not a one, so I am resigned to the fact that I won't ever get this signature Haag meteorite. Bob himself was the typically Bobby Haag who hasn't changed in 20 years in many aspects. He kindly allowed me to 'fondle' and then 'handle' his massive specimen of Allende with my bare hands - and it was a religious experience I must say. Thank you Bob for the priceless opportunity. As you say, Mexico has been kind to you and I hope for you that this continues. Please don't take the Lang sale event too seriously. Things have changed less than you think ... you'll see, you can continue to sell to the little guys and make our day. My best to you and family...

So here I sit, back home, and after two more weeks of meteorite adventures, in my boring little computer corner, with a very few new meteorites to savor and a copy of Meteorite Magazine I received from the editor himself. Larry L. and his wife, the husband-wife team were there and very kind and brought an interesting component to the meteorite melting pot and I had wished to continue some discussions with them, but I only saw them twice. But enough to be happy to have met a nice enthusiastic couple.

Speaking of people that have become scarce, I noticed Dorothy Norton and her husband Richard I believe too. I turned my head and a moment later they were gone. The Norton's always have so much to add to Tucson for those who have an opportunity to talk with them. I was sorry I mostly missed out this time, but appreciate the brief encounter none the less.

Plus the fun in meeting for the first time and discussing meteorites with great pleasure with Dave Gheesling Richard Young! Thanks for a great time to each of you.

Well, no doubt that I have forgotten some of the most important people. Cheers to everyone and thanks for making a fine, fun Tucson possible!

One person I haven't forgotten is Walter Branch who I pray will attend next year. Last year we lamented together about missing Tucson and I also told him I looked forward to the day we could meet. His response (14Feb06):

>would have loved to have shared a good time with and feel bad about missing[Tucson]. Next year my friend... next year!

Next year it shall be!

Best health to all,

Mexico Doug

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