Follow up to my article on The Haunted Mission

In autumn of 2017 my mother visited my home in Tucson.  One of the things we did together was visit the San Xavier mission, which is the oldest in the US and is called “The White Dove of the Desert.”  During that time I had some pretty strange things happen to me, as detailed in this article from July of last year.

The Haunted Mission

I hadn’t thought much about it till everything changed during this Covid-19 pandemic, when I started catching up on things that I hadn’t had a chance to see or do in normal life.  Among those backlogged items was finally watching a couple of episodes of The Dead Files that a friend of mine appeared in.  He’s a local historian and they used him as part of some of their investigations.  One in particular had bearing on my story, it’s an episode that first aired only five months ago.

The Dead Files Season 11 Episode 5: Desert Curse Sahuarita, Arizona

Several things come up in that episode but in case you don’t want to watch the whole thing, a dangerous entity is discovered that is a dead man, claiming to be a priest, who has the goal of tormenting the living and also dragging spirits to his church where he torments them and keeps them trapped there.  They go into some detail on this during the episode.

Sahuarita, Arizona happens to be very close to the San Xavier mission.  I couldn’t possibly have seen this episode before my visit or even before I made the last blog entry, yet there are aspects of my experience that really line up with what is said about this demonic priest-spirit.

Food for thought.

So if anyone is interested in investigating paranormal phenomena, this is a good spot – I’d love to see the results from more sensitive instrumentation than I have.   There might be an interesting magnetic anomaly in the area, or something else.  Who knows?  Unfortunately I don’t really have the tools to make any kind of conclusive determination.

San Xavier

The Lizard Lord

Lizard Lord 1400

Behold!  I am the Lizard Lord!  Watch as I do pushups to impress all the ladies!  I am Lord of all I survey, which is pretty much… this wall, um, and some trees, and oh, some brick planters… and doves!  I totally survey the doves too!

Did I mention I’m related to giant dinosaurs?  And so what if I’m only a foot long?

Laugh not at my blue belly, for I rule this backyard!

…Signed, the Spiny Desert Lizard.

Frying in Tucson

The dry season is upon us.

In Arizona, it lasts from late fall through midsummer pretty much.  Summer contains the wonderful, fickle, thunder-filled Monsoon.  But the rest of the year is pretty dry.  Now, in mid to late April, we’re warming up nicely.  Soon it will be time for me to be careful when touching the steering wheel of my car.  I’ve gotten blisters before.  Right now my swamp cooler, an evaporative device, is working very well.  It’s a cheap form of air conditioning – a fan blows air through something like a damp sponge to cool the air down.  So it won’t work in high humidity.  Right now if we run the thing full blast we can get the house down to sixty degrees or so.


In Tucson, keeping cool is an art form.  Sure, you could sit in a modern home and turn on the air conditioning.  Yet, it’s much more fun to find a shady spot, perhaps in a wonderful old adobe building, with open archways to let in the breezes, and sip some cold agua fresca or maybe some real Mexican Coke in the glass bottle.  Yes, it is better.  Maybe a bowl of ceviche when you get hungry.  Now, that’s staying cool in style.  My own place is flat roofed, with heat-shedding cinderblock walls and cool tile floors.  You can open the front and back doors, shut the screens, and let the breezes flow through.  Keep the blinds drawn in the daytime, open them at night, and you’ve got a house that stays at a livable temperature on all but the hottest days.


Sometimes, though, I don’t hide from the heat.  I get a cool beverage and sit out and bake. Even for just a few minutes, on a work break.  Heat like this is a touchable thing, it’s like being hugged by the day.  It eases my A/C chilled bones and reminds me I’m alive.


via Daily Prompt: Fry

…then you might live in Tucson.

If you…

..turned your furnace on for the first time on November 17th,

…commonly see folks walking across a busy street with a stoplight just yards away,

…have doors held for you on a daily basis,

…know that chimichangas originated in Pima County,

…just saw 10% on the hygrometer and smile,

…think it’s not the holidays without tasty tamales,

…think bacon is a perfectly normal thing to wrap around a hot dog,

…know what a bolillo is,

…stop to wonder why bolillo isn’t in the spell check dictionary,

…check and fix the spelling to make sure,

…still wonder why it isn’t in the dictionary,

…regularly barbecue the Thanksgiving turkey,

…don’t act shocked when you see a T-rex by a McDonalds,

…know that mesquite beans are edible,

…have ever taken a swim the day after Christmas,

…wear a jacket when it’s below 70 degrees…


…then, you might live in Tucson.

The Giant Prickly Pear Cactus Tree

Cacti grow large here in Arizona.  However, usually they don’t grow beyond a certain level – the size seen up in the featured image, in fact.  I normally don’t see them grow more than four or feet tall at most, usually less.

That was, until I saw this old girl.


There she is, roughly eight to ten feet tall, and so big and old that she’s actually developed bark on her trunk.  Now THAT’S a cactus.  Here’s another view from the same walk.


It’s a little hard to tell scale because of the angle, but she’s big.  Dare I say…


…a Giant?


via Daily Prompt: Giant


Daily Prompt: Tree

via Daily Prompt: Tree

Tucson trees are fascinating to me.




Some have spines and fruit. Even the mesquite have that.




This one has looks like it’s related to a bean plant.



We have pines here, too, that sometimes grow into improbable formations.



Or they grow into twin trunks, like this.



I love it when trees grow old – then they develop character.


It’s truly a feast for the eye when you look at the fine detail.

All this wealth – in one neighborhood!




My ride in a firetruck – and soggy experience


When it rains in Tucson, it rains HARD.

I had gone out to get groceries, hoping to beat the thunderstorm we saw coming.  I figured if I timed it right, I could make it home just before the better part of the rain.  If worst came to worst, I would have to drive through heavy rain but it wouldn’t be that big a deal.  That was a serious mistake!

It was pouring down before I got to the grocery store – I dawdled a bit, grabbing cherries and bottled water and V-8 and Pacifico.  Outside there was heavy lightning and the streets were already awash.  So I took care when I started to go home, it seemed the rain was letting up a bit.  I went back along roads that didn’t usually flood too badly, but car accidents forced me to detour.

As I turned onto Grant, a large thoroughfare, I noticed the water was pretty high.  Cars were driving slowly and carefully.  I had to detour around some other cars, forcing me to go into deeper water and then, just past the intersection, I had to stop, and then my car stalled out.  Water had drenched the engine.

I sat there, water still rising, brown floodwaters passing around the car   Water and mud started coming in through the doors, filling the footwells.  I could feel the current shaking the car and I wondered if I’d get washed away.  I set the parking brake and rolled the windows down despite the rain, in case the electrical system shorted out, so I could escape if need be.  I stayed as calm as I could as I saw huge rubber garbage cans floating down the street turned river.  One fetched up against my car and left a big dent and a scrape.

I wondered what I should do.  Did this spell the end of everything?  My ability to get around and to work?  Might I be injured or killed?  I remembered the test pilots and their ability to just keep “working the problem” until they got results.  One thing at a time.

I decided to stay with the vehicle.  For one thing, the current was too swift to walk in.  I’ve heard of more than one person dying by being swept away and I didn’t want that to happen to me.  I waited, watching people on the sides of the road, seeing people drive by in the centerlane where it was shallower, wondering what I’d do next.  I let my partner know I was okay.  My cell phone was charged so that was no problem.

Finally, I saw a fire truck pull up, close by the car, and a fireman reached down.  He told me to take off my shoes so the water wouldn’t catch them and suck me into the current.  I grabbed my keys and was helped up into the truck, where they took me to higher ground by a bank, not far away.  I thanked them sincerely, still wondering what was going to happen next.

I stepped inside the bank and asked to use their restroom – the nice teller had been watching the whole thing.  I was still wondering if my car would ever start again.  I went back outside, checked in with my partner again.  Soon a policeman was waving me over.  “You with the silver car!  I need you over here now!”  I came.  They told me they were going to push the car to higher ground.  One Tucson police officer helped me walk across part of the street, then handed me off to his partner who took me the rest of the way so I could guard my vehicle.  I thanked them, too.

I called my partner again, and she helped me get ahold of my neighbor, who came in his truck to try to help me get started.  He used to be a tow truck driver.  Jumping didn’t help so we went and bought a new battery.  $144 later, the starter was making a louder noise but still no start.  His friend came and through one thing and another we eventually towed the car home once the water had gone down.

Now I’m trying to figure out if my car will ever run again.  I’m a bit numb at the moment, thinking of what I could have done differently, trying to reflect also on what I did right.  I’m researching what to do if your car has been in water.  One thing that was suggested is to remove the spark plugs and manually turn the engine to force water out of the cylinders.  I think I’ll be trying that next.  But with the money for the battery gone, it gets a little tougher, even if a small thing like spark plugs needs to be replaced.

So later I’ll try to get the water out of the engine.  Then if that doesn’t work I’ll ride with my neighbor’s wife since we work in the same place on a similar schedule.  I’ll be grateful for the fact that nobody is hurt and I’m back home, relatively dry, not fighting knee high floodwaters.  And I’ll keep working the problem.


By the way, if anyone wants to contribute to the “dry out Rohvannyn’s car fund” they can donate via paypal to