Editor’s note: “Faces of Cochise County” is a series of street portraits and first-person accounts and conversations with the photo subjects. This is the second in the series.
“Why else do folks move from South Dakota?” asked Scott Hulet rhetorically. “To escape the cold and snow,” he furthered with a grin.
Hulet’s been living in Tombstone on and off for the last 12 years. I noticed him shuffle past with his dog, Twix, a few minutes before asking for a portrait.
His back is arched, and his royal blue denim outfit is evenly split with a brown leather belt clasped with an oversized cowboy buckle. His welcoming smile warms his Southwest demeanor.
In retirement he spends his time knapping flint, shaping and selling arrowheads locally. He also has a penchant for historical reenactments.
Hulet explained that he’s looking to host one in Tombstone, but has run into a snag created by the city’s requirement for liability insurance. The million dollar price tag seems steep to me as well, I said, but they typically only pay me to string a few sentences together and click a shutter. I’m not the person to call when a town wants to educate the general public about what it was like to be alive in the 1880s. Conversely, it seems like I now am familiar with someone who does.
Hulet struck up conversations with folks dotted along Allen Street as he glided through town with his trusty pup in tow.
Tombstone City Park blared the weekend away. The annual Tombstone Wine Celebration was drifting to its end with Freddie Martinez’s four-piece band “Nightlife” leading the charge. “Copperhead Road” was the tune I hummed along to while pacing the boardwalk to people-watch.
Bedazzled jean pockets, barbed wire embroidered baseball caps and Bisbee bar t-shirts aplenty. Motorcycle clubs are as ubiquitous as mesquite trees, vests decked with various colors from local and nationally recognized groups. I noticed less than a half-dozen faces covered with cloth masks designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That’s six more than I anticipated, I told the overcast desert air that was laden with cigarette smoke.
But my day was only two-thirds complete. Next stop: Bisbee. I packed up my culturally askew crossover SUV and cut through my favorite stretch of Cochise County desert, racing against the ebbing sun.
David J. Del Grande is an internationally recognized writer and photographer based in Tucson, Arizona. His first photography book, “Luces del barrio” is now available at www.davidjdelgrande.com.