I leave Colossal Cave and head towards downtown Tucson. I’m staying close to the University of Arizona and the infamous 4th Street district. I’m hopeful to find a nice hole in the wall Mexican restaurant where I can fill up on tacos and beer before calling it a night.
I’m in a nice, quiet neighborhood called the Pie Allen district, named after a beloved Mayor from years past. I’m staying in a place called Tin Town, which was easy enough to find due to the brightly painted pink corrugated tin with the contrasting Blue words TIN TOWN on the side of the wall.
It looks more like a commune than someone’s home. I ring the outside bell, and I hear a shuffling on the other side of the door. The weather beaten face of a woman that has seen too many winter’s slowly appears.
“Would you like a tour first?” It’s a strange question to ask when checking into an AirBnb, but upon entering, I can tell this isn’t your typical place to rest for the night. This place is a eclectic museum, full of trinkets and objects of the past.
It almost crosses the line into the category of “hoarder”, but not quite. She starts telling me her life’s tale as we slowly go from room to room inside the pink corrugated commune of TIN TOWN.
Foul mouthed the old lady is, cursing about the tragedy that fell upon the buffalo and the Native Americans. I smile each time she curses, enamored with all of the treasures before me. She tells me that this place was a passion of her late husband and hers until he passed away a few years ago. The sadness with which she tells me this fact is transparent. She holds onto these antiques of the past like her love for her partner.
My room is at the very back of the museum, complete with an old cowboy bar. I have the entire museum to myself for the night. I never leave to find myself something to eat, instead I fill up on history into the wee hours of the night, watching the stars overhead.
In the morning I find an old Bock Pabst blue ribbon beer sign, something that I’ve never seen before. I’ve no idea if it is valuable, but to me it is priceless. I ask the old woman if she would be willing to part with it, and she asks me to name my price.
I probably offered way too much money, as I’ve never been a good negotiator.