Miraculously, Tall Square escaped from his, ahem, “accident” at Mount San Jacinto with a few bumps, bruises, and scrapes. We returned to Barry’s home, where I put him to bed and then gave Arizona Mat a “tsk, tsk, tsk” before I left him at the dining room table and went to bed.
As I headed to the kitchen the next morning, I found Arizona Mat unconscious at the table, with his face in a big ol’ piece of pie. A goose egg had formed on his head where he had obviously been slugged. I heard soft chuckling coming from Tall Square’s bedroom and knew what had happened. (As if there was any doubt.)
Chalking it up to more of the same old, same old, I fixed a bowl of Cinnamon Spice oatmeal for myself and then left for church whistling a jaunty tune.
I attended services at Sacred Heart in Rancho Mirage and I was blown away by the chapel. This is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever been in. It was still decorated for Christmas and I could have sat inside and soaked up the atmosphere for hours.
The church was quite full which did my heart good, especially since it seemed people willingly sat up front first which is something I don’t see enough of in worship services nowadays.
It was a great service as well. The pastor was a warm, welcoming man who gave a terrific sermon on keeping focused on Jesus at all times.
After services, I was picked up by Arizona Mat and Tall Square, who seemed to have an unspoken truce going on between them. Arizona Mat drove us up to Idyllwild, CA which is on top of a mountain. It was an absolutely fantastic drive. The scenery was pristine and gorgeous as the road twisted and turned on our drive up to Idyllwild.
Once we had reached the town, Arizona Mat decided he wanted breakfast, so we stopped at the Mile High Café. Having eaten already, I wasn’t very hungry, but opted for something small as I knew I probably wouldn’t be eating again until supper. I had a ½ biscuit and gravy with a bit of bacon and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice while Arizona Mat enjoyed a chicken fried steak with eggs over hard, hash browns, and toast. Tall Square enjoyed the same sides as Arizona Mat, but had his eggs over easy and opted for some sausage as his main entrée. It was a tasty meal/snack with a beautiful view of the mountains and forest, though I thought the freshly squeezed orange juice was a bit overpriced at $4.50 a glass.
We then spent a while helping Tall Square explore the town for a shot glass which we finally succeeded in obtaining at the last shop we visited. Tall Square also picked up a pocketknife at one of the gift shops we visited.
From there, we drove down the mountain and headed to the Whitewater Preserve.
This is a massive area full of hiking trails and one could easily spend hours, even days, exploring the trails. Arizona Mat was in a rush to get back to Barry’s to watch the Denver Broncos play the San Diego Chargers, so he said we’d only do a brief walk around the preserve and stated we might return tomorrow as he had a trail he wanted us to wander through.
Tall Square was not too happy with this and promptly removed his pocketknife and poked a hole in the bottom of Arizona Mat’s water bottle, spilling its contents onto the sand. In an attempt to avoid a fight, I rushed to a nearby stream and filled my canteen. I then gave it to Arizona Mat who thanked me before taking a long, deep drink.
Immediately, he blanched, gagged, and his face turned a sickly shade of green.
“Where did you get this water?” Arizona Mat gasped.
“From that nice, clear stream over there,” I replied.
“That water has been traveling over the desert floor for 67 miles,” Arizona Mat managed to get out before rushing for cover and purging the contents of his stomach.
Tall Square rolled on the desert floor, laughing so hard that his face turned a bright blue. After he had caught his breath, he helped me carry Arizona Mat to his car.
We returned to Barry’s home where he and Arizona Mat watched the Broncos defeat the Chargers, putting Arizona Mat into a better frame of mind. Barry cooked some lip smacking ribs and baked potatoes for our supper which seemed to relax the tense atmosphere that had been building for the last couple of days.
After dinner, I suggested a game of poker was in order. Tall Square’s pockets were quickly emptied of his cash due to his numerous tells. Arizona Mat was a bit craftier, but I ended up taking his money with an all in on a straight. I thought he would pitch a fit, but he said, “At least it wasn’t Tall Square” before going to bed.
But I’m willing to share the truth with you, my loyal readers. I was cheating. I was going to get paid for this gig one way or another and Arizona Mat had it coming to him. So as I count my winnings, I wish you a fond good night and shall see you tomorrow for some more adventures.