There's an old saying- "Nothing good happens after midnight."
Probably a good rule to live by, but there was a time, many, many years ago, when I thought the only good things happened after the sun went down.
In recent years I've figured out, after too many nights of hitting the town, that the town sometimes hits back.
And even a small town packs a heck of a punch.
So now, I prefer to be safely in my own home, stretched out on the couch in front of the fireplace when the sun has called it a day.
But more often than I'd like, my job keeps me out past my bedtime.
That happened the other night and it got me thinking about the other folks out there who have to work when most people are safely tucked in and off to dreamland.
So off I went in search of some of our locals who work the night shift.
Armed with a thermos cup and a fistful of change, I met Daymon Odman, who was an hour or so into his shift at a convenience store on Highway 89.
The Silverton, Ore., native moved to Chino Valley after marrying a local girl last year, and has been working at the store for a little more than a month.
How's he like the late shift?
"It's a job," said Odman, who hopes to move back to Oregon soon. "A little slow, I don't get too many customers until about 5 a.m. or so."
Odman spent a few minutes cleaning out the condiment bar, dumping and refilling relish and mustard tubs for anyone who might get the late night munchies.
He stopped, raised his head to holler a "welcome" greeting to a teenager walking into the store. The customer looked as surprised as Odman that there were other people out and about in Chino Valley this late.
Odman said if he had his way, he would be eyeballs deep designing video games instead of elbow deep in condiments, but a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do to get by.
After downing half the cup within a few blocks, the deserted street lit up again, just in time to...shall we say, get rid of some of that coffee.
Another convenience market seemed to be the place to be at 2 a.m. in town.
It was packed.
Packed, that is, with three people, if you include night clerk Nina Favre.
Favre has been with the store for nearly 13 years, working all hours, but prefers the graveyard shift.
"I love it, especially the people," said Favre. "They are just sweethearts. Every once in a while you get a bad element, but for the most part they're dolls. They all know you, you get to know them. Most of the people that come in this late are tired, just getting off work and want to get home to their families. They're good people, especially in this town."
Favre said the night shift sees fewer customers, but that gives her a chance to stay busy, cleaning and re-stocking.
"I get to do the sweepin' and the moppin', the cleanin' and the loadin'," sang Favre.
When I got back to my office a little after the morning papers were delivered, I realized I learned a few things in my late night journey:
1 - Take a few minutes to say hi next time you're buying that cup of coffee.
2 - The freezing point of a runny nose is much lower than the freezing point of water.
3 - Gage, the K-9 wonder dog of the CVPD, does not like it when you put your face up to the patrol car window. Not at all.
4 - As pretty as the northern Arizona stars are, they are best viewed through a plate glass window while sprawled out on your couch in front of a fire.