Chamber entertains colorful variety of visitors

Some days you think it might be better to work in a closet somewhere, one that locks from the inside. And then there are days when I am so happy to be here, which luckily is most of the time.

One of my favorite things turns out to be visiting with the people who come into the chamber. Chris Brusca greets the bulk of the visitors up front and does a wonderful job with them and we like to compare notes sometimes. They come from all over the country, and all over the world.

And for the most part, they are a delight … .but sometimes the questions and comments people come up with leave me at a loss. So many people who have never been to the Southwest are amazed that we have vegetation other than the occasional cactus amid sand dunes and rocks.

When you’re from the flatlands of the Midwest, our hills might seem a little intimidating and our curvy roads white-knuckle worthy. I know better now, but I just remind myself of my first time through the Salt River Canyon, when it happened to be rainy and foggy (I remember thinking at the time the weather was hardly what I expected coming in May to Arizona).

While they are commenting how dry it looks, I’m thinking the winter rains had greened up the desert nicely … it’s all in how you look at it, I guess. I remember one lady several months ago who came in just irate because she had gone to the desert and didn’t find fields of poppies like she had seen in Arizona Highways.

She had just driven through the peak color of our own highway poppies; she just snorted when I asked if she had noticed them. She and her husband had driven from Phoenix and she told me they had no intention of stepping out of their vehicle or getting off a paved road, so even the Peridot Mesa was off the table.

I couldn’t do much more than apologize that both highways and poppies were in the wrong place for convenient viewing, all the while thinking she could always buy another coffee table book table for the best views. And then there are the people who want to know why we don’t have some of the same amenities they are used to having back home. Why isn’t the Internet faster? Why don’t we have a certain cell provider? Why don’t we have more of the fall colors? Why are the spring flowers different? All I can say is…to each his own. If every place had all the same things, I’d still be back in Illinois.

And then there are the people who apparently wish they were back where they came from. Try and smile and be nice when they’re asking, “Why would anyone live here?” or “How can you stand such an ugly place?” And then there was the lady who insisted we should have maps of all the states for her to pick up; she was on a road trip and wanted to do more planning … .and no, I did not suggest that planning before she left might have made the trip easier; I just handed her the Arizona state map and told her it was a good start to see as much of the state as she could.

But my all-time favorite (to date anyway) was the very irritated woman who didn’t like curvy roads and proceeded to ask why they put the mines here and not some place easier to get to. I am paid not to laugh in such cases. Those are the ones that make me shake my head; the least we can do is laugh about it. Most of our visitors are top notch. They are excited to see something new, happy to hear about the area and glad to share their experiences.

They love to hear about the places we can send them, the shopping and the attractions. In short, they are a joy to visit with and to help. It’s a good thing visitors keep us busy here at the Chamber.

We can’t spend all day laughing about why they put the mines here and not someplace else.


The Chamber’s annual dinner is coming up on June 22. We will have election of board members and officers for the coming year. And the Business of the Year winner will be announced, as will the Golden Service Award, recognizing a community member for continued community service in their retirement.

Dinner is at the Dream Manor Inn beginning at 5:30 p.m. with a no-host social, followed with dinner at 6:30 p.m.. Tickets are $30 a person and are available by calling the Chamber at 425-4495.