MORE ON MICE AND MAYHEM


ADVENTURES IN LIVINGNESS

The throw of the dice this week lands on Part Two of Mice and Mayhem.

“John, I found a place! Let’s go tomorrow to check it out. This will be such an
adventure! It’s next to a riding stable, and creeks, and trees… and DH Lawrence lived up the hill.”

Part Two

Highway
64 toTaos…

My anticipation smoked from the back seat where I sat, listening to Rudy and John
in conversation, the kind that ripples like a stream, as Rudy evokes his fervor
for New Mexican history, the battles, and bravery, the legend of Billy the Kid,
and Geronimo. The summer scenery galloped past as we headed up the canyon
through Pilar, as bobbing rafters walloped the Rio Grande, as tourists snapped
photographs, as hitchhikers and wayward hobos staggered on the death trap
shoulder turn-outs… a sort of carnival that makes driving to Taos interrupt the
mundane repetition of asking myself questions I cannot answer: Why do I gamble?

“Turn left here, Rudy.”  We were on the last turn into the Writer’s
Retreat in San Cristobal.
It was virgin land, spindly wild flowers, unpaved roads, no-name streets, and
the three of us, searching for some sign of life.

“This is it,” Rudy climbed out of the car,
while John and I remained seated, unbelieving.

“Rudy, this isn’t it.” I shouted. He turned
around and on the edge of hysterics, and said, “Oh yes, it is.”

“LouLou, you threw the dice off the table
this time.” John’s laughter stunned the silence as we viewed the three attached
leaning log cabins, with barred windows, beat up furniture, and week old trash,
glaring back, as if to say, “Well, whatta you expect for $600.00 a week.”

John and Rudy went off in the direction of
the barn, and that was when I had the feeling we needed to get out fast before
the owners approached us with rifles or crack needles.

The
image of Rudy and John, poking in the field, exploring the barn, two men that
rescued and wrestled with pieces of my persona, were now joined. For most of
life, I went solo, everywhere. There
was in my mind the resolution I would remain unattached, out-of-love because
“love is more painful than lust,” a phrase I took out of this mornings NY book
review of “A Book of Secrets.”

I wandered into the multifarious pasture where
I was greeted with chickens, goats, and manure, and with a sudden rush of
urgency, I shouted: “Let’s get the hell out of here,” and dashed back to the
car. I could hear John and Rudy’s crackling laughter, and that solidified the
momentary disappointment that follows a lousy throw of the dice.

I followed my interior compass, that has been
known to deliver supreme surprises, and we ended up on Kit Carson Road, in a shower of sunshine,
and cotton balls drifting down like snowflakes.

“Turn there. Look Rudy, San Geronimo Lodge.
We made an offer on it, remember?’

“Wow,
I forgot about that one.”

“How
many places have you guys made offers on inTaos?” John asked.

In the course of remembering the different
times we lived in Taos, and the real estate agents, like Linda from Texas who
accused of us being charlatans, until our friend David kicked in and warned
her, “They’re morons, they’re not that smart,” we landed at the cross bridge to San Geronimo.

“Twelve. We forgot about the Martinezplace; the one I wanted to fix up
into polished efficiencies.” I said.

“What were you planning for the Lodge?”

“The Woodstock House, concerts in the field,
performances in the dining room, musician rooms. There was a grand piano in the
main Salon.”

The
Lodge was devotedly remodeled. The slimy green pool had turned Mediterranean blue, the grounds were riddled with pathways,
the mammoth lobby was now comfortably appointed with antiques, and the grand
piano, well, that was shut-down and used as a plant stand.

The owner, a rugged beauty with brimming
passion for her turf, showed us half a dozen rooms to choose from.

“You must have spent a fortune fixing it up.”
“You have no idea! What we were told
going in, wasn’t what we got.”

I left with resumed faith in my compass, and
knowing we made the right decision not buying San Geronimo.

Decisions about traveling, joining, meeting,
and moving, drop me in the path of mental collision. Instead of applying
academic analysis, calculations, or tried and true pragmatic reasoning, I try
to beat the odds, because I am a gambler.

John and I headed up to Taoswhile Rudy took refuge in a friend’s
casita. I suppose most vacation renal owners have alternate accommodations; but
this is a work-in-progress, like a play that doesn’t have an ending yet.

For the next six days, I wandered from the Geronimo
pool, to the terrace, to Taos on foot, and
during those hours, we rewrote the script in the privacy of our steadily silent
working room, or on the second story terrace, overlooking the fields and the Jemez Mountains.

When Rudy
called and said Mike, our renter, invited us to the reception party at the
house, I called Mike to decline. He turned me down.

“Loulou you have to come, everyone wants to
meet you.”  Everyone is a lot of people;
seventy-five guests inside the house when I am not the host stirred up my
imagination.

When we arrived, the reception party was
sprouting on the front porch, in the driveway around bistro tables, on the back
porch at a buffet table, and in the garden movie theater.

Suddenly, this face comes at me, up close: “Loulou,
I’m Mike. Come-in… What are you drinking? We love it! Come meet everyone.”  Mike has a light bulb personality, one
hundred and twenty volts of unplugged warmth and sincerity. I followed him into
the living room, and was immersed with questions and praise, at rapid
fire.  Within the hour I wilted and
tugged on John and Rudy to cross the street for dinner. “Why’d you leave?” Rudy
asked. He was eyeing a pretty blonde in the driveway.

“I don’t feel it’s right; presiding in our
house while it’s their house. I’m afraid I’ll start cleaning.”

I returned to the party when a vintage Galaxy
pulled into our driveway, and I was abandoned because John led Rudy over to see
the automobile.

By now, the party was surging and as I
recommenced my socializing the trepidation vanished. In every direction were
handshakes and hugs, conversations zigzagging from Mike’s family to Erin’s, the
bride and groom, and their friends, who came from Los Angeles.
But these were not just friends; they were neighbors.

“Neighbors inLos Angeles?” I jested.

“Oh yeah, we live in the Hollywood Hills. We
have parties every weekend. Are you THE Loulou?” I nodded. “I am THE Carlos,
and you must visit us inHollywood.”

“What
do you do Carlos?”

“Everything!
I sing, act, cook, and make trouble!” In every party there should be a Carlos.
The evening crescendo curled into a wave of anticipation when Carlos took
center stage and sang arias, from Turnadot and La Boehme. His bravura tenor
voice raised the guests from every cavity of the house. Strangers out strolling
stopped to listen and guests from La Posada spilled out in the streets.  The house was transformed, in some ways to
former visions of the artist salons I imagined and once held at Follies House.

There
were times over the last two years when Rudy and I discussed selling Gallery
LouLou, leasing it long term, and even renting rooms; options that occupied
sleepless nights, and never materialized. Now we know it is a vacation home, a
party house, a reception salon… all the things that I imagined came together
here, even Rudy and John.

Any dice to throw email: folliesls@aol.com

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