Let’s Go Way Out West (Part 2)

[Photo by Cayetano Gil on Unsplash]

“He travels fastest,” Rudyard Kipling wrote in The Seven Seas, “who travels alone.”

I’m not so sure about that.

My last “solo adventure” to England in 1989 was all about lingering and melding with the natives. I was in no rush to get through anything—that would’ve completely soured the experience.

The autumn trip of 1993—from Houston to Los Angeles, with stops in New Mexico and Arizona—was fairly lighthearted and quick. My traveling companion Diana Seyb, new screenwriting agent and friend from the early ’90s, had to be in Brentwood, California, to meet the moving van delivering her furniture. I was along to experience the West Coast, attend her new agency’s open house, and help with driving duties. Ours was an entirely platonic relationship, so we enjoyed music and conversation as we sped west.

Of course, I was looking forward to reconnecting with Therese, my old girlfriend (then married) in Santa Fe, after an absence of nearly a decade.

This is the story of those exciting days in New Mexico.


Day Four

Sunday, October 10, 1993 7 AM

[Commentary: Prior to arriving in Santa Fe, Diana and I rented separate rooms at a bed and breakfast in Las Vegas, NM. I stayed in “Larry’s Room,” which had a guestbook. The following is about the previous day, Saturday, which we spent in Santa Fe with Therese and her husband Scott. The following is what I wrote in the guestbook.]

LARRY’S ROOM INDEED HAS A MAGIC—TRUST ME. IN MY SITUATION THE PAST NEEDN’T BE BROUGHT FORWARD 100 YEARS—ONLY TEN TO SUFFICE…YESTERDAY I RECONNECTED WITH A DEAR FRIEND OF MINE IN SANTA FE AFTER A DECADE APART. I’VE GOT NEWS FOR YOU WHO NEEDED TO KNOW IT: YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN. AND FROM THERE, IF YOU’RE OPEN, AND READY, YOU CAN GO FORWARD TO NEW FRIENDS & ADVENTURES. ENJOY LAS VEGAS! MIKE MAUPIN, ST. PAUL, MN, P.S. HAVE SUPPER AT PULCINI’S!

I got down to breakfast early (7:30-8:00) at least an hour before Diana (something that sort of piqued me—she always seemed to miss what was going on to the ritual of makeup and her own myopia). Nice chat with the B&B owner Anne, another guest Sylvia, from NYC, and a mother and her daughter (attending NM Highlands) both were from So. America and spoke more Spanish than English. Anne told me the story behind “Larry’s Room,” my room #1, Larry being a friend of theirs who’s dying of cancer in San Diego.

After breakfast & Diana had come down, I called Therese at 9 AM and we made plans to stop off at their place at noon. Diana & I walked around Las Vegas as the morning’s Homecoming parade wound down. We went down to the Old West quarter of town, by the Plaza Hotel, and bought postcards and looked into a gallery near there.

At [Therese’s place]. We arrived late, going too far down 25 & missing the correct exit. The Martin’s house is a lovely adobe-style stucco one-floor in a development about 12 miles outside of Santa Fe. Lovely square-foot garden in the back. Diana & I went to the door. Therese opened it and we hugged, then Scott and I shook hands (I’d noticed he’d had his right thumb cut off in an accident). We’d all planned to go right to town, but ended up talking in the living room after touring the house.

Shopping with Therese and Diana. Scott agreed to meet us at the restaurant at 7 PM where they had made reservations. First stopped at “Jackalope” Mexican Pottery & rugs & artifacts. Then Therese parked off Canyon Rd., and we walked to downtown Santa Fe.

Supper at El Farol—Spanish cuisine—delicious! I’ll go into detail later today. We’re stopping at the Martin’s for breakfast today (Sunday).

At [Therese’s place]. Scott’s a short guy about my height, with dark hair receding back; he wore black jeans and pullover shirt. He was quiet when we first arrived, I think he was nervous. Therese, as I said, was lovely. She had on jeans and low-neck top and jacket, and wore Nike hiking shoes. At one point after we were all talking together, Diana started talking to Scott about his writing (he had written a play called “Balloons” and started working on a screenplay last year, about a psycho-killer—something that I hoped to myself he didn’t feel the need to Act Out), and Therese came over and sat beside me and showed me the Tarot chart she’d worked out on my question about my screenplay. I can’t remember the gist of it, she’ll send a copy later. I loved listening to her talk again, right beside me. It was a real spark to my attitude. We talked a little of “the old days” and she conceded when I mentioned [old girlfriend Sally’s] judgment of my “angry attitudes”—yeah, she thought that too, sometimes, with me. We were all so “into” talking that we didn’t leave for the downtown shopping trip until after 4 o’clock!

Therese drove Diana and I in their car. I sat up front beside her, Diana sat in the back. Therese pulled a “fuzzbuster” out of a white satin pouch and set it up as we drove out. At the Jackalope Pottery place I bough a floor rug for my apartment and a front & inside doormat, and a horse ornament for [my nephew] Colin. Therese helped me look for a rug. She was so graceful and elegant in her sleek black pants and boots and black lace top & jacket. To have her beside me was wonderful! A time or two she laughed & stroked my arm and said “I can’t believe I’m doing this with you! It’s great!” The store was large and sort of open air: there was a section that had live songbirds in an aviary!

Then when we walked through the shops of downtown Santa Fe I was happy to see her and Diana like two happy kids in a candy store, looking at jewelry, going along together like old chums. I think they fed off each other’s ebullience. It warmed my heart to see that Therese hasn’t changed. She’s still the playful, generous soul I loved ten years ago. And that I still love as my friend [Therese and me at right on Sunday, October 10, 1993; photo by Diana Seyb].

As we walked the streets of Santa Fe, Therese described & named all the plants we came across. The streets are winding & surprising in their beauty.

Supper at El Farol: Scott had arranged to meet us at the restaurant at 7 PM, so after shopping and walking back up Canyon Rd., we were about 5-10 minutes late. Therese seemed anxious to see Scott (I saw that she adores him, in that confident, attentive way some wives love their husbands), and she led us in. We met him at the front bar, he with a Diet Coke in hand, and the proprietor/maitre d’ led us to a room where the food was displayed and from where it was served as Hot & Cold Tapas, the eating of which he explain to us like a driving instructor coaching a roomful of high school freshmen. He took us to our table and we sat:

[Our seating arrangement, from the journal.]

We shared hot and cold tapas. Scott had Cokes, Therese hot herbal tea (I forgot she never drank coffee) and water, and Diana & I had Spanish white wine. The tapas were excellent: olives w/goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, chicken and beef and marinated mushroom caps in sherry, cilantro, a curry salad, scallops and shrimp…we went All Out. For dessert I had the Key Lime Pie, Therese had a raspberry crumb cake and Diana had, I think, a raspberry torte or something. I had a Kaluha and coffee too. When the bill came (almost $100) I paid for it, as my belated wedding present to Therese and Scott.

We finished dinner after 9 PM, I guess, and stepped outside and it started to sprinkle. Since there were two vehicles, I offered to ride with Scott in his truck, Diana rode back to [their place] with Therese. Scott and I talked about working in the theater and writing and CTC [Children’s Theater Company, in Minneapolis]. Diana and I drove back to Las Vegas when we all met up at the Martin’s. I was in bed by 10:30, but didn’t sleep very well. We had all arranged to have breakfast Sunday at their place before Diana and I left New Mexico for Flagstaff.

[End of Part 2]

~ by completelyinthedark on June 12, 2021.

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