Cabbages and Kings: Storm puts sleepy Wenden on the map

Wenden is a sleepy little settlement .

Unlike it's neighbor Salome - twin, if you will - Wenden is a place that never really made the news.

That is, until the recent spate of storms, when floodwaters savaged it, held it under water, and tossed it back up in a muddy, tragic heap.

(Salome? Another column will mention Dick Wick Hall and the Salome Frog.)

Wenden is the last outpost of La Paz County.

A few miles east on Highway 60 just past the Harquahala Mountains and you'll enter Maricopa County.

Not the Maricopa County of Phoenix but the way it used to look.

Before mobs of sun-seekers and smog-haters left their homes on the east and west coasts to create smog and traffic and concrete labyrinths in the Grand Canyon State.

Those millions of new Arizonans are a long way from Wenden, if not in miles, in mind-set.

Not many people call Wenden home.

There are several hundred Hispanic farm workers have tried to make a life out of toiling in the relentless sun.

A few padrones - landowners - who dine out in Phoenix and play a few rounds of golf in Litchfield Park before heading back to "their town."

There are a scattering of middle-class folks in Wenden.

I know one guy who owned part of a weekly newspaper and whose family owned a bait shop in Wenden.

I knew a biker who lived in a school bus with his wife and their son.

Their less than modest digs were his idea of the American Dream.

They found it in Wenden.

By the way, you'd laugh at the bait shop in the middle of a desert until you realized that you're only about 45 minutes away from Alamo Lake.

Great fishing there ...

I even managed to hook into a good-sized bass about seven years ago.

Wenden, Salome and neighboring Hope (you don't leave Hope, you abandon it) are little more than wide spots in the road in what La Paz County promoters like to call "Arizona's Outback."

They're not exaggerating.

There's a whole lotta open country in that county.

Especially between Parker and Wenden.

Anybody hear of Bouse, Swansea or Vicksburg (Ariz.)? Bouse and Vicksburg are actually inhabited.

Bouse, by "about 800 nice people and a few old grouches." (proclaims the sign outside town, or at least that's what I recall).

Never been to Vicksburg - only through it.

Swansea is only a few crumbling adobe walls - a ghost town.

Anyway, floodwaters have ripped through Wenden's McMullen Valley more than once and it's a good bet they will again.

But towns like Wenden will never drown completely.

And that's a good thing.

We need more of the peace and quiet of Wenden on this planet and less of the Grand Avenues and Stockton Hill roads.

* * *

A rotten, moldy cabbage to everyone who could vote but didn't in the recent election.

The presidential race was one thing - but the local contests and issues are another.

Shame on you if you didn't vote

With this in mind, I've often wondered how many of the people who write us letters decrying local politicians have actually voted in recent memory.

It'd be interesting to find out ...

While I'm at it, another heap of the horrible veggies to those politicians who only visit Kingman once every two years or four years - whenever there's an election at stake.

And ...

shiny, golden crowns for all the Kings and Queens who took the time to vote on Tuesday.

Greg Bucci is the Miner's news editor.