One Night in St. George Utah

We left the Rancho in mid-morning and set our sights on St. George Utah. It’s a place we love and a place we lived from 2004 to 2010.

City of St George

St. George, Utah

St. George is red rock mountains and Mormons, weak beer and Paiute petroglyphs. It’s a town full of friendly folk and vistas that can sooth or exhaust your eyes depending on where you look. It’s an unforgiving climate and splendid scenery.

Max with hat close up

Famous Utah cow dog.

It was night, ten o’clock, and Max was intent on his evening constitutional. The furbeast was right on schedule, you could set your watch on it.

We strolled outside the La Quinta hotel and went in search of the perfect place where a small white dog might relieve himself and perhaps gather some intriguing desert scents.

Notwithstanding the hour, the sweltering heat that defines summertime St. George still had lots of swelter. It’s that apocryphal “dry heat” to which people always refer when justifying life in a blast furnace.

We patrolled the hotel’s meager pet area searching for a spot for Max to squat. The short and scruffy grass was beneath the pup’s high expectations and probably not a worthy recipient for a Maltese nugget or two, or so he thought.

Max moved tentatively as if afraid he might scare up a scorpion, spider or other malevolent critter of the type never seen in the benign compound of his Rancho backyard.

Max with St George Bison.jpg

Max is actually perched on a statue of a bison painted with various city symbols and attractions. St.George Town Park.

As my eyes adjusted to the dark, I noticed a figure at the other end of the property. The person – I couldn’t yet testify as to gender – was milling about on the fringe between the hotel’s landscaping and a renegade patch of jumping cholla.

Max’s body language stiffened when he noticed that the individual was accompanied by a small white dog.

Gradually, they came closer and details became clearer. The walker was a tallish, bearded man, a bit rounded at the shoulders. In the surreal light emitted by the neon hotel sign, I could see he had a swarthy complexion but couldn’t make out eye color.


Carousel in St. George Town Park

He wore a cowboy hat but not the authentic kind; rather, his was a cowboy-ish hat of the kind bought at the tractor supply store not the tack shop.

His tee shirt had a pocket that did not lisp “Lands End.” It grumbled Hanes Beefy-T. His feet were clad in slip-on shoes without socks.

Did I mention wrinkled cargo shorts, because that’s what he sported. Khaki colored ones with one of those belts without holes. I would have bet my ass they came from the $16.99 table at Costco.

He strolled towards me in a leisurely fashion. Over the muted background sounds of 18-wheelers fueling at the distant Pilot 24-hour truck stop I could hear Max chuffing and kicking his rear legs and the faint tinkle of his dog tags.


The AJF can find a ladies room almost anywhere.

The stranger got fairly close and raked his gaze over me from top to bottom. Max and I stared back and closely examined him and his pup, a white terrier, maybe a Jack Russell.

It was like looking at my twin, my doppelganger, my brother from another mother. His expression made it clear he also saw the resemblance. Old guys wearing the same fashion-free outfits walking tiny dogs late in the hot Utah evening. Parallel universes collide.

Then, it happened. As if on cue, we raised our hands and simultaneously made finger pistols at each other while giving “the nod”, that gesture all guys know how to do when greeting a familiar. The practiced raise of the chin, the slight lift of eyebrow.

Red Rock

The Malt wisely decided to stay in his stroller on the beaten path and not go off-trail with the AJF.

It was the epitome of senior greetings and the single most “Dad” thing I have ever experienced. The moment reeked of bad jokes, riding lawn mowers and bbq aprons with silly phrases. Can you imagine…finger pistols from the old fartsters in cargo shorts. Only those who carry some years will appreciate all that. For the younger set, think of it as a Dad meme brought to life.

We quickly holstered out hands, no doubt sharing a similar degree of embarrassment and I mumbled low, “Travel safe, friend.”

“Vaya con dios,” he replied.

23 replies

    • I don’t have much trouble with heat. After living so many years on Pacific Islands and then in the desert southwest, both dry and humid heats are tolerable but I prefer the dry heat because then I don’t have to hear the AJF declare “You sweat like a hog” quite as often. (Disclosure: I do.)


  1. And did Max draw on the Jack Russell?
    I did enjoy that picture you conjured up….those moments of recognition are rare…
    If the AJF could develop an app for finding a ladies’ loo it would keep Max in luxury for years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You gotta love the greeting. And the pups greeted each other…..? Yeah, dry heat. I have heard about that. Down here in sunny FL, that is something we do not have. We are more of wet heat country. Like sweat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That moisture is what keeps your complexion glowing, Lois! Desert heat drys one out and turns a person into a husk with leathery skin and wrinkles deep as the Grand Canyon. On the other hand, the desert folk tend to smell better so there’s that. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Any day spent vertical is a win in my book Mark. I like to think of myself as a “collector’s item” rather than “antique.” I haven’t found many collectors though. Or at least none with standards that are low enough.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe there’s something to that whole 6 degrees of separation thing. Enjoy the ‘dry’ heat. While I’m not into that whole pizza oven/blast furnace heat phenom, it sure beats hovering close to 100 with a nearly like numbered amount of humidity. Stay safe amigo and give the little pupster an extra ear sractch

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll bet you’re familiar with jumping cholla. Most folk have no idea about that plant which is one of the most evil species to ever be created. I know that Kismet from Arizona knows cholla…it’s their state flower down there, I think. But yeah, you got a point that I tend to mix wildly disparate imagery in my posts which, of course, is the creative way of explaining my schizophrenia and poor writing skills. But, hey, it’s a silly dog blog so I don’t mind and neither do I. 🙂


        • All La Quinta hotels are dog friendly and do not charge a “pet fee.” The company has aggressively been remodeling its properties and it is now a very nice mid-range hotel (position between “value” like Motel 6 and “premium” like a Hilton). We are gold level members which means almost nothing at all except they usually remember our name at check-in but the hotels are all over the place ( I think there’s like 800 of them) and they are our go-to choice when road trippin’, Price varies but usually $90-$125/night with free breakfast.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I see La Quintas everywhere and used to work right next to one in ’92 when I worked the graveyard shift at Coco’s, dishing out teriyaki chicken and banana berry fudge drizzle down pie. And I stayed in one years ago but can’t recall. Free breakfast is always good!


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