Mistressed Out

Mine is no longer ours

NT: I read that Meyer thinks of the stable, the theater, the bed-and-breakfast -- all of it -- as "unsightly." She plans to "clean up the garbage, things not of historical value." What does that mean?

Kaczor: Those really are her words. There's this whole thing going on about her cleaning up the property, and it's just her perspective, the way she looks at things. Lots of people think that way. You know, people would come out [to the museum] and see my laundry hanging on the line and think it was part of the decor. I felt sorry for people who didn't know that you could actually dry your clothes by hanging them outside.

NT: Now that you're relocating to central Phoenix, you'll be using a clothes dryer. But who will help preserve our local history?

Mine all mine: Ron Kaczor bids farewell to his Mistress Mines this month.
Emily Piraino
Mine all mine: Ron Kaczor bids farewell to his Mistress Mines this month.

Kaczor: I don't know. But local history is on its way out. I've seen it go in my lifetime. The majority of society doesn't care; what they want is "shop 'til you drop." And more golf courses.

NT: But where will we go when we feel like visiting an 1880s gold mine-slash-dinner theater-slash healing center? Where will I go when I want to stay overnight in a carpeted tepee?

Kaczor: No place out that way, that's for sure. I don't know. It used to be Wickenburg, but now that's all changing. The land is too costly. I got together some old money friends of mine to grab the land [where Mistress Mines sits] if it fell out of escrow, to keep the healing and wellness center and museum going. I planned on dying there. Unfortunately, we live in a society where majority rules. And majority is pretty ignorant. Bush got elected, didn't he?

NT: What about the mine's famous mule?

Kaczor: Gabby? I found him a wonderful new home in New River. I had trained him to smile for pictures, to say "Hello." The unfortunate thing is that he wanted treats in exchange for that, and if you didn't give it to him, he'd take a bite out of you. And the tepee got sold to a former dentist in Scottsdale. His wife wanted a guest house, and now they have one -- a tepee-shaped one.

NT: So now what are we supposed to do when we're in Carefree?

Kaczor: There's not much to do. Rawhide's moving, I'm going, and people just don't care. On every level, there's little comprehension of trying to preserve the past or a way of life. There's no place to run to anymore.

NT: Okay, quit the Buddhist routine for a minute and admit it: This baking soda woman is a bitch.

Kaczor: I know you want me to say so, but no. I can't. I'm so glad my mind has been trained as a Buddhist to accept everything in life, including what passes for progress, the absurdity of monotheistic religions, all this craziness. Look at what Trump is doing downtown, [wanting to put] up that huge building. Does that make Donald Trump a bastard? These people are so trained to think that with money they can do anything they want. I can't call her a bitch; that's just who she is. And she treated me very well with the buyout.

NT: Well, I, for one, will never buy another ounce of Arm & Hammer baking soda.

Kaczor: You wouldn't believe how many people have said that to me. But think about it: How many boxes of baking soda do you buy each year? You're not going to hurt anyone by boycotting baking soda.

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