As previously referenced, I grew up on the border of Mexico. Although many have no idea where my hometown is, those who do are sometimes too quick to judge. I got so tired of defending my poor little town and I hated that it usually instantly changed people’s perception of me. So here I was, four years at Arizona State University, with a standard line for when people asked where I was from – a vague “southern Arizona…” and then a quick “…but my parents are from Boulder” to distract from any further questions, like a complete and total coward.
I guess it was payback or something that I ended up in another town that people usually dismissed as “uncool” or “not desirable to live in.” With graduation approaching and all hopes of finding a job ANYWHERE quashed, I interviewed for an internship with Wick Communications – A newspaper publisher with 32 newspapers and 23 specialty publications in 13 states. Most Wick newspapers are published in small towns, and The Sierra Vista Herald was generous enough to take an interest in me. “UGH, SIERRA VISTA?!” I said, my mouth hanging open far longer than necessary. Well, it was that or I could continue working as a hostess at a Tempe restaurant for the rest of my life, and by the rest of my life I mean August 1, when my lease was up. So here I am, three months later, a Sierra Vistan, until October 1, when my lease and internship are up and my life is chaos again (yipee).
I think you can tell how “cool” your city is by how many people want to visit it. My parents moved me into my apartment in Sierra Vista and have visited once. I’ve had one friend, Danny, visit me during my time here and I honestly had no idea what to do with him. “Let’s get drunk?” he said. “Let’s get drunk” I replied. Danny and I are cut from the same cloth in that we would both prefer to tempt fate (aka: our intestinal tract) and pull over on the side of the road for tacos made with questionable meat, as opposed to the USDA-approved crispy chicken tacos served at Chili’s. A quick Google search revealed a few bars in Sierra Vista, including: Famous Sam’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Paul’s Pub. Who is this Paul character? Why does he own a pub? Inquiring minds had to know, quivering livers needed to be drowned.
Paul’s Pub was a roaring time, about the diviest of dive-bars. A blow-up Spider-Man hangs from the ceiling and I do not know why, I do not care. The crowd consisted of a few singles chatting up the friendly bartender, judgment from others nowhere to be found. The small number of drinkers there allowed for personalized service and very few earlobes damaged during my rendition of “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green – a ballad I decided upon after five beers and a $1 jukebox fee to completely tarnish my image. God bless you, Paul, I never did find out who the hell you were.
It would be a disservice to Sierra Vista to only talk about the prime drinking opportunities the town offers. Writing for the Herald forced me to go out and explore the town in a couple of different ways.
Favor hiking to drinking (Porque no los dos? I say)? Sierra Vista is northeast of the Huachuca Mountains, a secret drinking spot of many a high school student, according to my former roommate who grew up here. No, I have not gotten on so low of a level that I find myself hanging with the Buena High School Colts (yet). I’ve hiked Echo Canyon and Ramsey Canyon. Echo Canyon’s path was a little unclear to find but pulling off the side of the road to explore unmarked trails proved fruitful enough. The beauty of Ramsey Canyon is protected by the Nature Conservancy and boy do they take it seriously (for obvious reasons, no animosity here). Dogs are not allowed on the path, so don’t bring ’em. The first Saturday of the month, entrance fees are waived. Sierra Vista’s San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area makes for perfect bird watching, the town is known as the Hummingbird Capital of the UnitedStates. I hung out at Gray Hawk Nature Center for this story and learned that more than half of all North American bird species can be found at the Lower San Pedro River at some point throughout the year – note: Do not honk at bird watchers, they will not appreciate your sense of humor.
After writing this story for The Sierra Vista Herald, a coworker of mine came in insisting we all go to a new barbecue restaurant that opened nearby. I brushed off his recommendations, I didn’t really like barbecue… my past tense, “really didn’t,” is important – stay tuned. After a few wrong turns, I stumbled upon the restaurant my coworker recommended, BCB Barbecue, and decided to give it a try. Sweet baby Jesus I was so disappointed…In myself because I had ignored it for so long. I actually yelled, yelled, at my co-worker for not INSISTING I go to BCB the minute he tried it, it was a little dramatic. If I could eat there every day for the rest of my life, I would be ecstatic; fat, deliriously fat, but so, so happy. I stick with the pulled pork and pulled chicken tacos, sometimes with an order of seriously, the best sweet-potato fries I’ve ever eaten (sweet potato, to be healthy). Two generously filled tacos, and an order of fries are enough to make me hate myself by the end of the meal. Two tacos alone would fill a rather large American, but God, I am too satisfied by BCB to even care about my gluttony. The tacos come with some sort of cheese sauce on the bottom that I just want to go swimming in, and the smoked meat is topped with lettuce and a drizzle of flavorful, not-spicy salsa. It’s pathetic, but I honestly think BCB Barbecue is going to be the thing I miss most about Sierra Vista when I leave. Hey, have I mentioned that I love BCB Barbecue yet?
I’ve got two weeks left in Sierra Vista before I go… I have no idea. I feel like the past 22 years, I’ve really taken advantage of some of Arizona’s most interesting towns and honestly, I’m eager to move to another state or country. I’ve started to sell absolutely everything and, except for my golden retriever, I have little holding me back. Well, other than the fact that I don’t have a job. It would be great if Samantha Brown read my blog and decided to go into retirement and hire a sarcastic writer from “southern Arizona”; knowing my luck, however, it won’t be me. *sigh* c’est la vie, que sera, sera (SEE, I SPEAK SO MANY LANGUAGES, HIRE ME).Follow @ivymorris