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MY TRIP TO TOMBSTONE ARIZONA
by Flat Jonathon

Dear Jonathon:
I miss you already but I am having such a wonderful time here in Tombstone. I arrived in the big envelope you put me in with that letter so Ms. Hendricks knew right away who I was. My goodness she was so surprised to see how well drawn I was and she right away noticed my shiny yellow belt buckle. I was so glad that you added that on me because I am so proud of it. Ms. Hendricks immediately told me to call her Janice and she introduced me to her partner Keith. He's the one that takes all the pictures of me.



Janice's daughter, Kellee and her friend Jason came to see her at the same time I arrived. So we had a great time being tourists in this old fashioned town. I am so excited because now I will be able to finally see all the cowboys I have heard about. Hurry up, let's go I was thinking. This is going to be so much fun!!

Oh, I am so excited. I can see the horses pulling a stagecoach and I can hear the sound of the hooves as they hit the ground. I am really in Tombstone now!! There are so many people here, wow and look at all the old buildings! Oh I sure wish you were here, but I will try to remember it all for you now. We walked on a sidewalk made of boards. They call it a boardwalk and when your heels hit the ground it makes a great sound. And the spurs on my cowboy boots can chinck chinck along the sidewalk made of wood just like in the old west. The Tombstone firemen are out today and I got to meet the big firemen and they posed for a picture with me in front of their big red fire truck. They were sure nice, but where are the cowboys?

    

Oh look, there is a lady riding her horse and standing up on top of it. She tells me that her name is Texas Kate and I proudly tell her that I am from Texas too, Houston Texas I say. She invites me to her special Wild West Show and Miss Janice tells me that we will definitely go but there are so many other things to find still. I hope we can see the Texas Kate Show soon.


We are all going to this place where everyone says has the biggest rose tree. Sounds interesting, but anything to me is big so I wonder just how big this tree is. Wow, Jonathon you would never believe this tree. It is huge and so beautiful. It is blooming this year for the 120th time here in Tombstone and it came all the way over from Scotland. That's across the ocean. It is more than 10 feet tall too!! And the flowers are so pretty. I bet your teacher; Mrs. Beal would love to see this place!

Our next stop is the old Tombstone Courthouse. No one today goes there for court or jail anymore. They have not since 1929. But today we get to go see it because it is a museum where there are lots and lots of old things to learn about.



There are rangers there because it is an Arizona State Park and guess what? I got to be sworn in as an official Junior Ranger. I will bring home the badge and the certificate with me so you can show the whole class. When you come here Jonathon you too can be sworn in as an Arizona State Parks Junior Ranger. The Ranger Miss Dona was so nice to do that and Miss Patricia took care of the certificate. We took lots of pictures there and I even got one with me sitting on the first school bell in Tombstone.



I keep wondering where all the cowboys are here and Miss Janice tells me that we will meet many of them soon but right now we are going to an outlaw's house. Oh, the outlaw does not live there anymore, that was a long time ago, but this is the house that Pete Spence lived in. He was a cowboy! I wish I could meet him, but the two ladies that take care of his house today have a homelike gift shop and were sure nice to me. Miss Joyce even gave me a special present to take home with me. I want to surprise you with it, but I can't wait to tell you. It is a cowboy to hang on our wall. It says, Howdy! Act surprised though when you see it, I can never keep a secret long.



Well we are still looking for the cowboys and the cowboy shows. So many things to do here and now we get to go to something brand new in Tombstone. The sign reads, Tombstone Ghosts and Legends. I wonder what that is all about. Well the whiskery man, named Whiskers told me not to be scared and that I would have a good time. We went behind the curtain and there was a big stagecoach there with skeletons and snakes all around. And you know what? A ghost of Doc Holliday came and gave us a history lesson. There is so much to learn about the things that happened a long time ago in this wild west town and this place tells the story and entertains you while it does. Interesting place to visit and I did learn a lot about Tombstone. I am bringing home a poster from this place and we can hang it on our wall. And Mr. Keith took lots of pictures there too.





This was fun here and I know Doc Holliday was from the old days in Tombstone, but he didn't look a lot like a cowboy when he was sitting at the card table playing poker, so where are these cowboys in Tombstone I was still wondering. We did make it to the Texas Kate Show and she made me laugh. Jonathon, she even remembered my name and called out to me in the audience. I was so excited and I even blushed a little I think. Oh and by the way her horses were so beautiful and the little dogs made me smile. This other guy named Pigeon Jack was kinda goofy and he had Jason throwing toilet seats for horseshoes and that made everyone laugh.


Well, Mrs. Beal would be happy to know that we spent some time in the Tombstone Old West Books. Everyone there is so nice and there are so many books to look at. Tombstone is full of history and this is the place to read about it. I wanted to bring home all the books so we can all learn about the history of this town, but instead I am bringing home a fun book. Miss Linda wanted me to have a special Jake the Cowboy sticker book and I can't wait to share it with you. I hope this isn't the only cowboy I find here.

I met so many colorful characters here in Tombstone. Miss Janice took me in so many wonderful shops and great museums here too. Mr. Keith took my picture with just about everyone we talked with and even with a young boy just about your age.

His name was Chris Pike and he was nine years old. Chris and his brother Gerry and his big sister Ashley wanted to scare me with their rattlesnake eggs. We were all visiting Tombstone at the same time and we had so much fun laughing when the rattlesnake eggs made that funny noise and then we all jumped! What fun!!

I got my picture taken in two of the town's old time photo places. Miss Liz posed with me on a big saddle (but no cowboy on it) at Tombstone Photo and I got to sit at the campfire at Jo's Memories Studio. I can't wait to see how those pictures turned out, Jonathon, everyone needs an old time picture done on vacation in Tombstone.

When we got hungry we went into this place that smelled so great. It was called Shooters BBQ and guess what? They are from Texas and Hank and Judy make sure that we can still taste the great taste of beef that has been true Texas style pit bar-b-qued. I told them I wanted to have a picture with them so I can show everyone in Houston that they can get Texas BBQ in Tombstone too!!

Up the street a ways are a bunch of rowdy type folks there having a good time. Seems like everyone is getting hanged and I may be next. I am not sure how to get out of this but Mr. Keith tells me to smile anyway when he takes the photo of me with a rope around my neck. Whew, good thing it was only pretend. And I even got a certificate that says that me, "Flat Jonathon was officially hanged by the Tombstone Vigilantes in Tombstone Arizona on the 13th day of March, 2005 and is as official as it gets." Oh and I can share my badge with you that the nice lady gave me too. Lots of cowboys here but I am sure there must be more around in Tombstone.

There were a whole bunch of pretty ladies to meet in Tombstone too. And some of the Tombstone Vigilettes were happy to pose with me after their fashion show. Did I blush again, I wonder?

Well a few days after this big adventurous day Miss Janice and Mr. Keith took me out to visit more of Tombstone. We visited the Tombstone Western Heritage Museum and I stood on the original roulette wheel table from the Crystal Palace and saw lots of old Wyatt Earp memorabilia. We also got to see the opening of a mineshaft that was getting ready to be opened for an underground mine tour and I got to help hold the air jack that was drilling the holes into the rocks. The town of Tombstone came to be because there were silver mines all around and the people came and built this city that a man named Ed Schieffelin first founded and called Tombstone a long time ago in 1879. So mining was important in Tombstone but I'm sure cowboys were too.

The Helldorado Town Mavericks are a silly group of folks and they always made everyone laugh that walked passed them on the street. This one silly lady even posed for a picture with me and put her two fingers up over my head. What a goofy thing to do!! But I bet you will laugh too when you see the snapshot of me with them.

I was really a lucky little fellow when I went to City Hall. The Mayor of Tombstone, Andre DeJournett was so happy to see me that he gave me a special pin that I am wearing now and it says City of Tombstone Arizona - The Town Too Tough To Die. I feel so special wearing this pin now when everyone looks at me. But more importantly, Jonathon, the mayor made me an official honorary citizen of Tombstone Arizona.

I even got to sign the certificate that says that "who signs below that he or she shall continue to honor the Traditions of the Old West and accept our invitation to be a visitor to this City when visiting the State of Arizona." You might want to frame this certificate but don't forget to bring it with you when you too visit this wonderful town. I will have Miss Janice put her name in the new address book the mayor gave me too so that you can write her back and tell her how I arrived home.

Our next stop was the Tombstone Marshal's office. I am excited to meet a real Marshal in Tombstone. I do so hope that I can become a deputy while I am here. I wonder if the Marshal will swear me in? Miss Janice and Mr. Keith finally introduce me to Marshal Kenn Barrett. I think he really likes me Jonathon and he even notices my swell boots that you drew on me. He knew that you had a good eye to draw them that way. He tells me that I look like a real cowboy and he would be happy to raise his right hand and swear me in. Hee Haw, I'm with the Marshal in Tombstone and I can always remember this moment. I will bring home the sticker badge he gave me for this and you can put it someplace special.

There is a special place here in Tombstone that has lots and lots of the rocks that came up from under the ground around these parts. It is called the Wizard's Workshop. They were so nice to me and gave me two pieces of stone that Mr. Wizard; Don Paonessa mined many years ago. One is a piece of Azurite with Malachite and Chrysocolla that was mined from Copper Mountain in 1985. And he even gave me a piece of real gold ore that came from the Campbell Shaft in Bisbee Arizona. A real piece of gold and I can't wait to show you and the whole family this treasure. Wizard's Workshop is the oldest and finest jewelry store in Tombstone and Don and Kathy wanted me to give you these treasures.

One of the highlights of my trip here to Tombstone was meeting Flat Grandpa. Shannon Leideritz is in Mrs. Nogales's 2nd grade class at Chancellor Charter School in Sierra Vista Arizona. Shannon was taking her Flat Grandpa on her trip to Tombstone because her grandfather who lives in Colorado has taken her Flat Shannon (Stanley) on his vacation. What a great way to share this fun!! I hope you like the pictures I bring back of this meeting. And Shannon's grandpa will see what we looked like together too. Oh the fun in pictures in Tombstone Arizona!!

Well my trip to Tombstone is almost over and I am still waiting to find the real Tombstone cowboys. I hear that they meet every first and third Sundays at the O.K. Corral and I do so hope that I can play cowboy with them. I did get to sit up with Dennis, the driver of the stagecoach and looking out the window of the coach was quite a thrill. I know though that my trip will not be complete until I find the cowboys that play Wyatt, Morgan and Virgil Earp. Doc Holliday, Billy Clanton, and Frank and Tom McLaury and all the others that made Tombstone so famous I also want to meet.

    

At last!! I am at the O.K. Corral and here are the real cowboys I have been waiting to meet. I am so excited to tell you Jonathon all about this part of my adventure! The Wild Bunch of Tombstone was gathering and they invited me in to play cowboy with them. Hee Haw I must say again. This was going to be so much fun. The punches were swinging and the cowboys were falling to the ground. Sometimes they shot off their guns and that was really loud!! Mr. Keith got lots of good pictures of them rehearsing and I even got to have my picture taken with the whole bunch of cowboys.

I now can say that I am ready to come back to Houston and tell you more about this wild west adventure -where the cowboys really do exist!!








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