A Crazy Christmas Celebration

Cottonwood, Arizona is a tiny town. You would think, from driving through it, that it was totally empty of anything interesting. And you’d be right. Almost.

Now, maybe if you were there at Christmas time you would look for something to do. Just in case there was anything. And then, you would find the Celebration of Christmas by efProductions. It’s kind of… Wowing.

The whole thing started off with a vigorous round of the “12 Days of Christmas,” and then fell into a Dickens-ish sort of musical. After a few minutes an angel was introduced.  She had come to earth to spark happiness into the lives of the people.

The show continued along quite normally (except for the horse-drawn sleigh riding through the isles), until there was a dream sequence. And you probably know what happens when there’s a dream sequence. Things get interesting. A giant light up train was pulled through the gaps between seating rows, and then there was a disco ball being hit with laser lights up at the ceiling. Confetti shot into the faces of the people in the middle rows, and toy army men slid down a rope descending from the ceiling. There were ballerinas and dancing and music and I can’t even remember everything that happened. But then they brought in the animals. Alpacas, a horse, a zebra, a donkey,  lambs, until I wouldn’t be surprised if a kangaroo got loose in the orchestra. Seriously, I knew I wouldn’t be surprised because it actually happened and I wasn’t a bit astonished.
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Finally the sleeping person woke up, and it was intermission. I just sat there trying to digest it all. After the break they played out the baby Jesus story. It was actually kind of what you’d expect, until the wise men came. RIDING CAMELS!! Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement. Only two were riding camels, but they were huge. They were each followed by their own processions, including people who held flaming sticks and twirled them, and people who held up canopies to protect people’s heads from the burning sun (kind of unnecessary, seeing as it was the dead of night in a building in December). Another procession came following their king, who was riding on a peacock feather covered chariot.

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There were more songs, and acrobats, and dancing, and things coming out of the ceiling. We went over everything that came out of the ceiling afterwords, and determined that at least nine different things came out. That’s nine different things, not nine individual
things. There were usually at least three of each thing. If you’re ever in Cottonwood at Christmas time in need of a crazy Christmas celebration, I advise you to go. It’ll give you something to talk about for days afterwards.

Death Cactus In Arizona!

If you visit Usury Mountain State Park, Arizona, you’ll find lots of nature, but not the kind of nature that just wants to sit in a tree and sing, or use photosynthesis all day. No, this kind of nature is out to kill you.

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All of the green parts are evil spike balls.

I’m talking about cholla, a plant so vicious and evil that it makes any stereotypical comic book villain look like Mr. Rodgers and makes a saguaro cactus look huggable. This plant looks like the child of a tree and a sea urchin. It does a great job of getting stuck in your appendages, but that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that cholla can fly. When the wind blows, the urchin-like spike balls break off the tree and soar through the air toward the nearest victim. When stuck inside human flesh, it is extremely hard to pull out, and leaves glochids (tiny pieces of cactus spike) in your skin. Obviously cholla isn’t a fun guy.

There are also saguaros, not out to kill you, but also not like teddy bears. These things are about 15 to 20 feet tall and are a hundred years old when they grow their first arm. They’re a lot like that old dude who sits on the bench outside the mom n’ pop hardware store and whittles in those 50’s movies.IMG_5537

While those are the two most prominent plants of the desert, there are also various types of murderous bushes that scratch your legs and get stuck in your socks. These plants can be mostly ignored and passed aside as “puckerbrush,” just more annoying little plants and bushes. They do have names though, like: cat-claw acacia, honey mesquite, and, palo verde. These plants all have one thing in common; they’re really annoying!IMG_5534

The point however, that I’m trying to make, is that the desert is out to kill you, so make sure to wear closed-toed shoes and probably some full-body judo sparring armor.