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Marilyn & Me: A Timeless Love Story (The Word document)

Marilyn & Me: A Timeless Love Story (The Word document)

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Published by Jack Underhill
They'd made a deal before they were born to find one another in this life.
When he went to rent a room from a lady in San Diego she was headed out the door to work.
They'd have only moments to connect out of a lifetime apart.
They'd made a deal before they were born to find one another in this life.
When he went to rent a room from a lady in San Diego she was headed out the door to work.
They'd have only moments to connect out of a lifetime apart.

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Published by: Jack Underhill on Sep 16, 2010
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Marilyn & Me

A Timeless Love Story

Jack Underhill


Revised edition of Marilyn & Me: The Woodcutter and The Nun Copyri ht ! "#1# by Jack Underhill $ditor: Marly Cornell %ll ri hts reserved& 'assa es of a pa e or t(o )ay be used (ithout per)ission fro) the publisher& 'er)ission fro) the publisher is available for lon er *uotes& $)ail: au (ind+aol&co) ,-.N: #/001022343" %u usta Wind 'ress 41#1 Rivervie( Terrace Minneapolis5 MN 6671" Distributor: www.itascabooks.com


Dedicated to Marilyn 89ou:re the stran est person , ever )et5; she said5 and , said5 89ou5 too&; %nd (e decided (e:d kno( each other a lon ti)e&

Cover photo by Cristina Underhill, taken in !tapa, "e!ico, #$%$. .


CONTENTS ,ntroduction Cast '%RT <N$ Chapter 1 Chapter " Chapter 1 Chapter 7 Chapter 6 Chapter 0 Chapter 2 Chapter 4 Chapter / Chapter 1# Chapter 11 Chapter 1"

, first )et Marilyn in a drea)& The Connector <n the .a=a Coast "##6 >od Will 'rotect Me 'erfect 'eace Wood3choppin in Jesus Rios and Truchas Wo)en ?unerals and Canasta No .rainers @ublin5 -an Carlos5 and @alhart The Aast .est 'lace to Bide -he is Why

Chapter 11 Chapter 17 Chapter 16 Chapter 10 Chapter 12 Chapter 14 Chapter 1/ Chapter "#

?red Nunnery and Nursery Ainseedin the Aintels Myers .ri s ,ce Tropics Marilyn:s Bopscotch Me)ory ,t:s Not Just Ber MoCart and Cuban Tree ?ro s .ein a @ad %ctin 5 <h -ure >ivin and >ettin .ut 9ou:re My .rother Thanks to >oo le Diva ?ranco >racias5 Ra)on 'ebbles ?orever <tter 'o(er @on:t .e -cared

Chapter "1 Chapter "" Chapter "1 Chapter "7 Chapter "6

Chapter "0 Chapter "2 Chapter "4 Chapter "/ Chapter 1#


Chapter 11 Chapter 1" Chapter 11 Chapter 17 Chapter 16 Chapter 10

Miracle .en Cristina %pples % ?ree Band Rescues Thunder Road and the Three Nuns Marion:s Aoves -oldiers and Nuns Charles and %nne Morro( Aindber h 9oun and <ld -oul Talk % 'erfect ?it

Chapter 12 Chapter 14 Chapter 1/ Chapter 7# Chapter 71 Chapter 7"

Chapter 71 Chapter 77 Chapter 76

.etty @ies for Real John @ayEJack Fni ht Celebration at Aa ?onda

%fter(ord %bout the %uthor


CAST Marilyn5 )y (ife& -he is the )other of Mike5 Jonnie5 and Julianne Gby her first husbandH& Me5 John5 also called Jack5 second husband of Marilyn& , a) the father of .en5 Cristina5 and Iach& Marion Aove5 )y )other5 as passionate a seductress as %va >ardner& .etty .auer5 Marion:s partner in (ork and life for thirty years5 co3founder and publisher G(ith MarionH of The Santa &ean )a aCine& %leJandra5 our randdau hter5 Mike:s dau hter& ?red5 )y youn er brother5 a )a na cu) laude in everythin 5 intense and arrulous as -artreKs parrot& 'ebbles5 an %ustralian shepherd that chose Marilyn and )e at a do pound& 'ebbles (as al(ays roundin us up5 and after herdin us for nineteen years5 she decided she:d done her =ob5 and slipped a(ay&





ca)e to& .esides5 (ho:d shave it in eJcept a )onkL .:d even die and then be free fro) havin to look any deeper into )e than the fifty3so)ethin reflection in the )irror& -leep is hard to find (hen fastin & The body shifts into survival )ode (here ideas and )e)ories not linked to survival are prohibited and habeas corpus suspended until further notice& %fter t(o (eeks of takin in only sprin (ater . (as about& . offered to rent the cabin until it sold& Be liked the idea5 said to co)e over and (e:d kick it around& -o .t:s also a laCy )an:s (ay to step around the need to deal (ith a personal shortco)in that5 if he:d take the ti)e to deal (ith5 could open up ne( (ays to behave& . didn:t (ant to kno(& This (as the second fa)ily . (ent and (e did& Be said (hat he (anted for it and that (as reasonable5 so (e set a ti)e after (ork to drive up and see the place& Be had to close up the shop because his (ife (ould be leavin to pick up their child at daycare& Be (as around thirty3five and had a tonsure at the cro(n of his head perfect as a silver3dollar5 shiny scalp surrounded by a )op of thick auburn hair5 natural5 not shaven in& . drove ri ht over the) and cursed )yself for bein a ho)icidal )aniac& <n the bulletin board of the store (as an indeJ card advertisin a cabin for sale in the )ountains south of to(n& . found a )otel roo)5 then )et hi) at the shop& We drove the t(enty )iles up into deep (oods5 findin his cabin in a clearin (ith a fe( others nearby& ?ully furnished5 the place had belon ed to his )o) and dadMthey (ere dead and it (as his& Be and his (ife (orked too hard at the salon to et up here any)ore so he (anted to sell it& . started and lost& -o the idea of a ood5 lon fast (as appealin & Maybe .ndian artifacts scattered around& What brou ht the pioneers up here had brou ht the . said . )et Marilyn& . )eant it and said to at least keep )y shorts on because there (as a (o)an livin in the cabin over there (ho looked out her (indo( a lot& -he didn:t have anythin else to do since her husband died& There (ere stacks of fire(ood5 a shed (ith tools and (orkbench5 a sprin nearby and5 if . bailed out& .CHAPTER 1 I FIRST MET MARILYN IN A DREAM .t is 1//#& The o(ner (as a hairdresser a fe( blocks a(ay& We talked by phone and .ndians before the): the a)e5 and (ater5 and cool breeCes (hen it (as hot in the valley& %fter a fe( (eeks . (as no( a free3ran e chicken so anyplace (as as ood as another& . kept freeCe3fra)in the possibility of chan e by doin a mea culpa at every hard spot . stopped eatin 5 the idea bein that it:d brin clarity to )ind over (hat had one so (ron 5 and (hat it (as in )e that:d caused it& Takin bla)e for (hat oes (ron is not necessarily noble& . stopped in %lturas5 California5 to buy so)e roceries& This (as siJ )onths before .:d driven in alon a stretch that see)ed a favorite place for ruttin s*uirrels and prairie do s to play in traffic5 the road upholstered (ith their hide and uts& .nstead of slo(in do(n )y car and ivin the critters on the hi h(ay a fi htin chance to see )e co)in and stop hu)pin lon enou h to et out of the (ay5 . needed *uiet5 privacy5 full3ti)e (ilderness5 and sunli ht5 lots of it& Be took that further than .nstead of findin (hat it (as in )e that:d played a hand in breakin up )y beautiful fa)ily over the past year5 . (as still forcin )yself out on (alks / . needed a place for three )onths and told hi) enou h about )y fa)ily situation for hi) to understand (hat . couldn:t deal (ith the hysteria of the kids: )other& Where had that hysteria co)e fro)L . (as into it5 there (ere .

could still (alk a )ile or t(o5 but slo(ly& . . When . (as catchin snippets of conversation fro) the su))er people& . said& Be see)ed pretty unconcerned& 8. sa( a ha(k dive and catch the ferret in its talons and lift the) both a(ay5 at first alon the road in the direction .ut . he said& 8There:s a (reckin yard outside . )m even sweeter and not as so*t. (as a ne( custo)er to dance her eyes upon& +ou remind me o* someone who came in here once.:d hoped for didn:t co)e& The books . hadn:t solved any of )y troubles5 hadn:t identified the broken parts5 and hadn:t drea)ed any tutela e& . sat on the sofa and =oined in on the talk . (as oin and5 (hen it could et the altitude5 liftin a(ay over the trees& .:d talked (ith a )onth earlier didn:t reco niCe )e& .uick Re al sat on its hubs& . said5 8. try me.uick and started do(n the )ountain& . didn:t either until . (alked out of )y roo) five )inutes a o&. kne( . (as happy& %nd skinnier& . (as hun ry a ain in an hour and pretty )uch ate all day5 slept5 and (oke up fa)ished& %fter five days the )elons (ere one and5 (ith no one to talk to5 .because once . sat in a cafN in %lturas on )y (ay out of to(n and the (aitress .ottles of li*uor (ere fra)ed and )ounted like trophy heads on the (alls and the kitchen (as a bar (ith counter5 cash re ister5 brass foot railin 5 and stools& . s(un round a bend and there (as a (easel or ferret in the )iddle of the road that had =ust =u)ped on a field )ouse and5 at that )o)ent5 . (as hearin & <ne day . sat on a stu)p in the open lade (ith )y )elons piled around )e and (e had a ood talk as . drove back into to(n to a Chinese restaurant for so)e stea)ed ve etables and rice& . =ust heaved out these bi sobs5 han in over the little fish so)eone had left there& This (as a )essa e5 not the food itself because it (as too holy for thatMbut it (as a )essa e to et food soon& %fter a sleepless ni ht . planned to read still lay there& . carved5 scooped5 and ate& They (ere all ea er to be )y neJt )eal: 'ey. Be said they (eren:t liable5 8the si n says so&. Be pointed at it& . you think she was (ood. ot in the .:d shrunk to a 173inch (aist& . stopped oin out5 . looked around to see if it:d happened to anyone else5 then (ent over to the office& The desk clerk said he didn:t kno( anythin about it& . bou ht ei hty pounds of field3ripened )elons fro) a produce road stand and returned to the cabin& . ca)e back to )y cabin fro) a (alk and there (as a fresh rainbo( trout lyin in a puddle of (ater on the kitchen counter neJt to the sink& My breath cau ht and . he said& 8<h5. asked if he:d call the police for )e& Be said he 8could but5 they never ca)e for thin s like this&.akersfield the .:d been lookin for a little )ore concern like 8%(5 ee5 no kiddin L Took all your (heels and ho( could that happenL .t:s not )y proble)5. found arro(heads on )y (alks5 and an obsidian hatchet and potsherds& . (asn:t any s)arter or )ore intuitive& .:d et co)fortable and ease into death& .sn:t that the pitsL. .akersfield a fe( )iles 1# . . 8What do they co)e forL. . took the key Tony (as holdin for one of the o(ners in the area and (ent in to look around& .eatin s5 killin 5 stuff like that5. ca)e out of the )otel near . asked& 8. felt okay but the drea)s and insi ht . i)a ined .:d one t(enty days (ith only (ater& . didn:t particularly (ant to live5 not if it )eant co)in face to face (ith (hat it (as in )e that kept creatin these tra edies of abandon)ent& To(ard the end of the third (eek .

ahOa: they:d put in a )ile3lon landin strip and planned lots of hi hrise hotels and a connectin toll road across the peninsula to a port on the 'acific side so people could ferry their boats back and forth fro) the -ea of CorteC (ithout havin to o around the tip of . (as drivin a fe( )onths a o in %lturas and had that )ark on it (hen .t took half an hour to (alk the to(n in all four directions5 another hour to (alk the )arinas and trailer parks5 and it (as ettin dark by the ti)e .ahOa three ti)es a (eek& We talked in her lan ua e and it felt better& . kne( as .ahOa fro) Bi h(ay 1& -he (as oin to clean so)e houses in the villa e5 she said& -he lived over there beyond that rid e& -he hitched into . asked for a ride back to the )otel after payin and he said he:d have the boy drive )e& 'uttin the (heels on the car5 they looked fa)iliar& The last one had a kind of s(astika desi n on the tire (all (here it:d rubbed a ainst a curb& No5 that (asn:t it& .:d heard .t:d one flat as .a=a& -afer to stay here& .ut .ut (hen (e ca)e do(n the hill overlookin the bay it (as really no )ore than a spra(lin )arina (ith trailer parks and a fe( lo( buildin s as cornerstones of hope for the tourist center bein desi ned in MeJico City& . (orked that this (as a pretty potent si n not to o to . didn:t (ant safer& With )y stolen (heels back on5 . (as eJpectin %capulco& . like -panish and -paniards and MeJicans5 anythin Aatino& The li ht (as startlin as (e drove east in the late afternoon& We ca)e over a rise and there (as this cluster of islands far off5 catchin the li ht in a (ay that )ade the) eJtra three3 di)ensional and radiant as if they (ere alive& The (o)an said the overn)ent had bi hopes for .ahOa5 )ariachi )usic played (ith country and (estern throu h the ni ht5 brayin lau hter and booCy sin in 5 sla))in of trailer doors5 boat )otors startin up5 so)eti)es a crystalline phrase of -panish blessin the desecration of a place i)a ined by the ods in 11 . returned fro) the air strip5 (hich turned out to be eJactly that and no )ore5 a (ide asphalt strip already cru)blin & There (ere no foundations for a ter)inal5 not even those pro)issory si ns: -oon <penin 5 Ter)inals %3?5 Restaurants5 Condos5 Ni htclubs5 Rental Cars and %viation To(er5 or Rent to <(n& %cross the -ea of CorteC fro) here (as the villa e of -an Carlos that the MeJican overn)ent had been developin over forty years5 and the land itself had refused& The (aters refused& The spirit of the place and the people refused& % Club Med ca)e and (ent& % hurricane ca)e and ble( do(n everythin the overn)ent had put up5 and took a(ay the ancient terraced ca)per park overlookin the port& When the )ovie Catch ## (as )ade in -an Carlos5 thin s tilted a(ay fro) the land:s po(er to keep thin s as they (ere& Thin s had been i)proved for the )ovie co)pany& There (as a t(o3)ile3lon four3lane oin into -an Carlos alon a tropical3treed boulevard neJt to a deep bay ed ed by crescent beaches& %head (ere =a ed castle rocks& <ne (as called the Carac-l (ith a s)all villa e on top5 the other a si nature land)ark called the Tetas de Cabra5 lookin either like the teats of a oat on her back or the fin ers of a dro(nin )an reachin to heaven as he sinks a(ay5 dependin on your )ood& . stopped to chan e the tire& . hitched a ride over and described the )odel and year& The )an said he:d look around& Ten )inutes later he returned in his olf cart (ith four (heels in the back& 89ou:re in luck5.a=a& . he said5 bi s)ile& . . dropped her off and found a plain roo) (ith bed5 rickety chair and table5 and a pitcher of (ater and (ash pan& .over there& Maybe you can find so)e replace)ents&.ahOa de Aos %n eles in . picked up a MeJican (o)an at the turnoff to . headed south& .ahOa (as this *uiet little paradise of fisher)en and lo(3key lifeMno( .n .

a=a plates5 but (hen .uick line3danced (ith )olecules of the ?rei htliner& The <lds pulled around )e a ain and slo(ed to thirty5 so .f you ever ot a flat5 there (as no (ay you could et off the road& Where there (ere no boulders there (as a sheer drop to the desert floor& .:d co)e in on and alon stretches (ere bi boulders in place of shoulders& . passed hi) he passed )e back ri ht a(ay& Be had a bi er en ine& Be settled in ahead of )e and slo(ed do(n to (here (e (ere doin t(enty& . (as in the (ood business in those days and had a s)all sa()ill and fire(ood and fencin business out on %irport Road in -anta ?e& <ur )ain thin (as hand3adCin trees into round roof bea)s (e call vi(as in Ne( MeJico5 or finishin sa(3)illed bea)s that (e used a broad aJe to shave the )ill )arks fro)& . could:ve =oined the) easily at another ti)e but . follo(ed hi) obediently until he turned off at a 9& Be touched the bri) of his hat in salute and there (as the s)ile a ain5 still no face& . )et Marilyn in a drea) on the 'acific Crest Trail5 but only realiCed fifteen years into our )arria e that . needed a lon run to pass hi) but there (as no (ay to pull over5 and (hen .t (as li ht but the sun hadn:t co)e over the -an re de 1" . could see bi teeth in a bi s)ile& % bi truck (as co)in to(ard us fast on the strai hta(ay& The s)ile stayed there& No( (e (ere doin ten )iles an hour side by side and he had )e covered& <n both sides of the road (ere boulders& .:d decked earlier in the (eek& . passed another old %)erican car5 an <lds 445 =ust as bi and heavy as )ine5 (ith .:d seen her even before then& . couldn:t see his face& Be had on a dark hat5 but .ack then the MeJican hi h(ay depart)ents didn:t plan roads (ith drivers in )ind5 only vehicles& What happened to you (as your businessMtheir:s (as roads& . hun back until he (as far ahead enou h for )e to )ake a run& %s . fell back& Be fell back& . of it bein handcrafted by usin those sa)e ancient tools& The best trees for this (ere $n el)ann spruce fro) (ay hi h in the )ountains& When they die the bark beetles and other critters don:t attack the) because the ca)biu) layer doesn:t taste ood and the scaly bark clin s too ti htly to the (ood& -o the tree slo( dries over the years (ith )ini)al crackin & %n adCed $n el)ann vi a is a pleasure to look at5 ei ht or ten of the) holdin up your bedroo) ceilin 5 herrin boned in bet(een (ith peeled aspen saplin s& 9ou don:t have to read to fall asleep5 you =ust )arvel at this pri)itive roof above you in your half3 )illion3dollar casa on the banks of the %ce*uia Madre (here the poor -anta ?e far)ers used to live& They built houses for less than (hat a pair of decent shoes cost these days5 and had )oney left over for ettin a ne( blade for ed for the hand plo(& RealiCin this can )ake a fella sleep deep and peacefully& .)ello(er ti)es& . stopped in )y lane he did5 too5 =ust ahead& Be ot oin first and . ca)e up on hi) at ninety he floored it and (e (ere abreast5 but there (asn:t the po(er to pull ahead and he (ouldn:t let )e fall behind& . (as drivin the lo in truck up the -anta Clara 'eak one )ornin in ?ebruary oin for a load . sa( a turnoff north that cut thirty )iles off )y ettin back to Bi h(ay 1 and took it& The road (as narro(er than the one . like s*ualor and chaos so .n the olden days a round tree (as )ade s*uare entirely by hand3 adCin & No( (e create the 8illusion. (anted to do that alone& -o)eti)e& Not no(& . (as in freefall5 an e)pty )an (ith no desire to kill fish or drink )yself into a stupor (ith ood3 ti)in uys and als& . took off early the neJt )ornin & %lon the road back . pushed the accelerator to the floor and so did he& Just (hen a head3on (as inevitable he let )e s*ueeCe around hi)5 (e clicked bu)pers and )olecules of paint fro) the .

ndians still drive up there for holy cere)onies in their pickups and hike back to shrines only they kno( of that their people have )aintained for a thousand years& The ti)e .ob >ibbons in %pache Canyon5 the operator he sent (as >uiller)o5 and he hauled the doCer in to clear the trenched lo in road back to the decks& Be told )e he used to cut (ood up here back (hen he (as a (ino and s)oker of (eed5 so)ethin he ave up (hen he )et the (o)an (ho beca)e his (ife5 and she told hi)5 8That stuff5 or )e5. (as drivin an old . thou ht to be dependable5 no3nonsense Nordic types (ho (ent for solid and honest crafts)anship in their cars5 tools5 and (ives& . ca)e up (ith because this )ain road ended at a deep canyon fifteen )iles on near 'edarnales Mesa throu h deep sno(fields& There (as a one3track5 very rou h road carved out of the lava5 put in a century a o for horses haulin trees& The road (ended do(n to a villa e that even a =eep couldn:t )ake it over at this point& %ny other lo in roads branched fro) the trunk road . hauled it on a flatbed trailer behind the U3 Baul5 and (e eJplored the valleys and )ountains aplenty in that fine car& . and )eant it& <ne day >uiller)o sa( a fe( pickups park and so)e .:d never had one before5 and never particularly liked their looks& .:d found those three decks of abandoned spruce (ay up there .uick Re al& When (e )oved fro) the trailer court at Aake Morena to Re ner Road in -an @ie o5 she sho(ed )e a classified ad for a used Dolvo station (a on at a ood price& -he su ested .uick and buy the Dolvo5 as there:d be )ore roo) in the station (a on for the kids& . (as on& % fe( )iles alon 5 . sell the .t (as silver (ith black leather seats5 a terrible radio by tradition5 and a reputation for runnin "##5### to 1##5### )iles& The car ot ood )ilea e5 had abundant po(er5 and )ade )e s)ile =ust to sit there at the (heel5 sniffin its ood leathery s)ell and feelin safe and coCy& The ti)e (e )oved to Montana (ith the kids . ran an ad and a >er)an student ca)e by and paid )e in cash that .:d not yet )et5 still busy in <(atonna raisin her first fa)ily5 and fro) )y youn est children (ho (ere yet to be born5 in a car that hadn:t yet been desi ned and built5 driven by a )e that .Cristo across the Rio >rande valley& % dustin of sno( had fallen and )ine (ere the only tracks on the dirt road& % car ca)e around a bend headed to(ard )e =ust as the sun rose behind )e5 a yello( Dolvo station (a on (ith a )an and (o)an up front and t(o children in back& They (aved as they passed5 all s)iles5 beautiful people5 radiant in the ne( sunli ht& They Coo)ed past and . ca)e to (here their tracks ended5 or be anMdependin on ho( . borro(ed a bulldoCer fro) .ut this Dolvo (as different5 lon and sleek5 (ith a turnin radius (here you could do a U3 turn on a t(o3lane and still clear the far curb by a ood )ar in& . used to buy the Dolvo& . loved that Dolvo and )uch later rebuilt it to ive to Marilyn:s son5 Jonnie5 repairin all the thin s . looked at the)& There (ere no (ide )elty spots you usually see (here a car has been parked in the sno( for a(hile5 or footprints& The tracks =ust appeared as if the car had touched do(n fro) flyin alon & Bere:s the spooky part& When .:d beco)e used to in the 1##5### )iles (e put on it& Maybe (hat . didn:t think of )yself as a Dolvo person5 (hich .:d seen that fara(ay )ornin on -anta Clara 'eak in )y lo in truck (as a reetin fro) the future fro) a (o)an .ndian )en (alk up a slope to(ard 11 . )et Marilyn in 1//15 . follo(ed their tracks ahead of )e5 (onderin (hat they:d been up here for& They (ere dressed for su))er in bri ht colors5 yet it (as belo( freeCin & Bad the car broken do(nL That (as the only eJplanation . (as yet to beco)e& -anta Clara 'eak is sacred land& The Clara pueblo .

t (as . stopped to ask a )an about this& Be said this (as a runnin club he usually co)peted in but:d torn a tendon and (as helpin the runners by passin out drinks and slices of oran e& Be (as over ei hty& .n )y youth5 for a person to run five 17 . 89ep&. 8<h5 Ted5 yeh5 he runs (ith us& Be:s siJty3five5 .34 and drive back to to(n after coverin fifty )ilesL.obcat loader (hen he (ent into the adobe3buildin business on the eve of the )ass )i rations of the elite fro) both coasts to -anta ?e& When he started his (ood business he:d otten the contract for clearin the ties of an old5 narro(3 au e track line near %pache Canyon (here he lived& Be pulled up and loaded the nine thousand or so ties hi)self& Be said that one ti)e cuttin trees he (as driven into the round like a spike by a ha))er (hen a tree fell on hi) and has never been the sa)e since5 the )ain reason he:d )oved on& Be said he (as lucky it fell on his head& Be and his )other and brother started the ho)e construction co)pany and (ere the only ones buildin true5 adobe pueblo3style ho)es on four3acre lots east of -anta ?e& This part .the tree line& They (ere there a fe( hours before returnin and drivin a(ay& Be kne( about their shrines and that they (ere kept ener iCed (ith very old artifacts that he could sell to unethical collectors for a lot of )oney5 so he (ent to rob the shrine& While cli)bin the slope5 li htnin struck out of clear sky5 close enou h to (here he could s)ell it and feel the heat& Be (aited5 started a ain and this ti)e the li htnin struck neJt to hi)& When he ca)e to5 he tu)bled do(n the slope runnin back to his truck& Be told )e this story in eJchan e for the one .ahia in 1//#5 .ob >ibbons about it5 he said he and his cre( (ere spendin the ni ht in a ran er cabin on the )ountain (hen a stor) hit (ith such po(er that (hen they (ent out in the )ornin the old road to the cabin (as covered (ith blo(3do(n debris5 and a ne( one opened (here the tornado lifted out a s(atch of trees& . returned to -an @ie o broke and still broken& When everythin oes to hell .:d told hi) about the ti)e up there (ith Neil Aane (hen the t(o stor) fronts collided (ith one another above us and dropped a tornado on our heads& When >uiller)o and .ob (ho sold )e his )illin e*uip)ent and a . . said5 89ou )ean you uys run these races every (eekendL. This unhin ed )e& My (hole (orldvie( shifted& . 89ep5. think& Be (on a fe( (eeks a o5 not )uch of a runnin style but he can )ove (hen he (ants to&. kno( to be true5 but his bein driven into the round by a fallin tree or the tornado cuttin in a ne( road and coverin over the old (ith the scythin 5 only he kno(s& %fter .s he a re ularL. said5 89ou )ean these runners (ill run back to .ack on the 'acific Crest Trail5 . . hiked for days (ith an ei hty3pound pack fro) the MeJican border forty )iles into the )ountains on )y (ay to Canada& % youn (o)an ca)e lopin alon and passed )e5 huffin ently& Then ca)e a )an5 then (hat looked like a street person all ra edy5 (earin beat3up leather shoes& Then ca)e a fe( runner3type uys of the sort dropped fro) the (o)b in a startin position5 then a lon line of the)& <ne said they (ere doin a fifty3)iler& Be (asn:t even breathin hard& %t the (ater and =uice table at the -ierra Club Aod e five )iles alon 5 . and he said lots of ti)es they ran in the city (here there are plenty of trails and bike paths5 8but it (as ood to et out into the country too&. et a backpack and find a trail5 doesn:t )atter (here it co)es fro) or (here it:s oin & . said5 8There (as a )an (ho looked like a ho)eless person5 lon 5 tan led hair and beard5 ca)e by )e& . told .

:d done ten )ore )iles on the 'acific Crest Trail and (as seriously staved in& . -he brin s people to ether on earth (ho other(ise (ouldn:t )eet on their o(n& Thou h she (orks in this di)ension she is not of it& There is no ti)e here& -he see)s fa)iliar& The eyes& .ailey Mott:s (hen (e (ere three years old in <s(e o5 Ne( 9ork& . )eet a (o)an in a (hite pleated o(n& -he is tall5 broad3shouldered5 her hair a brassy blonde& We aren:t co))unicatin (ith (ords but . a) here and still there for a (hile until . don:t (ant to stay here& -he s)iles& -he can:t& -he introduces )e to a (easely little )an (ith thin )ustache and slicked3back black hair in a black three3piece suit& Be (orks for her5 connectin people throu h accident& Be has started oin too far5 puttin in )ore sufferin than is needed to brin the people to ether& Be has been doin this increasin ly& -he tells hi) to stop it& Be says he (ill and then he:s one& -he looks into )e and .:) not t& . )et the Connector& -o)ethin happened last ni ht but . didn:t re)e)ber (hat it (as for )onths& . (ant to fall to )y knees and ask her to take )e back to (herever she co)es fro)& . (as t& No( there:s a street person in his siJties runnin a -unday fifty3)iler on the 'CT for fun& .t started to rain the other side of Warner -prin s and it rained for a (eek5 endin a siJ3year drou ht& Bi her up in the )ountains above 'al) -prin s this (as sno( that closed the 'CT until sprin & -o .ikila5 or Ro er .ndian or the Fenyan %bebe .:ve for otten it& .)iles (as5 (hatL Well5 if you (ere a hard3core transcontinental . don:t have that kind of )e)ory connected to )e ri ht no(& We are connected throu h the hearts and it:s enou h& .:ll never for et it& . thou ht . s(ear . et rid of half the (ei ht of )y pack5 storin it in a hole .:ve lost forty pounds over the last fe( )onths5 lost a (ife5 kids5 business5 and )oney5 alon (ith betrayin everyone close to )e and everythin . sat cross3le ed by the ca)pfire cookin so)e *uinoa5 no sound eJcept the poppin of (ood& There (asn:t )uch left of )e& . stood for& . a) unlovely )eat and bones and don:t have the ener y to live& <r didn:t until .:ve al(ays been dra(n to in (o)en5 startin (ith . (on:t co)e back for it but so)e hiker )i ht see the duck and investi ate& There:s rice and *uinoa and hu))us flakes& There:s so)e dehydrated ca)pfire dinners& .y afternoon . doin (hile this (as oin on all these yearsL @id a fe( athletes break throu h so)e sort of i)possibility standard that (e took as ulti)ate truth (hen youn er5 and open the doors to lon er5 faster5 heavier5 and hi herL . leave so)e pots and pans and clothes to et the pack do(n to absolute survival (ei ht& . )et ?rank in the Ne( 9ork City in the early siJties (hen (e (ere 16 . don:t understand (hat she:s sayin 5 it:s not that kind of talk5 but kno( so)ethin is co)in into )e about her and our destinies& . )ark (ith a stone duck& . eat so)e cold *uinoa5 pack and start alon the trail to(ard Canada& That (as no drea)& %nd (ho (as thatL . a(aken lyin flat on )y back5 naked (ith the tent door flaps pulled back and the sun directly in the )iddle of the entry(ay& . cut and (orked trees all day lon 5 )usclin 1##3pound lo s onto the flatbed and chainin fifty of the) do(n at a ti)e& . et )y bearin s& . can:t re)e)ber (hat& .:) tryin to place this (o)an but there is no(here to take it5 . ate and cra(led into the tent5 Cipped the flap shut5 and ot into the ba 5 (earin )y clothes& .t:s a face . called ?rank and .n )y sleep .arbara Coates fro) a payphone back in Warner -prin s and asked the) to co)e pick )e up& .t (as ?ebruary in the desert )ountains& . et up5 not re)e)berin ettin undressed or tyin the flaps back& .annister5 sure5 so)e sort of esoterica for the iftedP but (here did this sudden athletic ability a)on street people and octo enarians co)e fro)L What (as .n the (ood business .:) ettin that she is the 8Connector&. felt .

t felt ood in the house& The rental roo) (as about siJ by ten (ith a narro( bed5 s)all desk5 and (indo( facin (est& There (ere t(o bathroo)s for five people and . said . (as lookin for& -he re)e)bered To) and the divorcee& -he spoke instead of a (o)an in her )id3fifties in <cean .each (ho boo ie3boarded5 tau ht colle e5 and (as a ho)e healthcare nurse& . told her . feel about thatL %t their house . left ?rank:s nu)ber and (ent back to Mornin -tar& .:d think about the roo) and call her& -he later said she had to bite her ton ue to tell )e not to bother& .actors& We )issed connections so . said pri)ly that .nstead she said she usually took only (o)en renters but5 since Joanne had )ade an error in sendin )e5 she:d let )e rent the roo) for a )onth (hile .:d been iven (as hard to connect (ith& . for t(o or three (eeks& @o(n and out at the -an @ie o 9acht Club& <ne day they said they )i ht like to take their boat out no( and then5 ho( (ould . did5 too& 10 . hitchhiked to their place in -an @ie o and lived on their boat 8Mornin -tar. (ent to Ae)on >rove first and arrived in the )idst of an ar u)ent on the front porch bet(een a )an (ith t(o suitcases and a (o)an (ith none& -he (as yellin at hi) and pointin to(ard the street& Be (as doin shoulder shru s (ith the suitcases and yellin back& -he rabbed one of the suitcases fro) his hand and heaved it onto the la(n& Be said so)ethin and she took a s(in at hi)& Be (ent to pick up the suitcase and she noticed )e half(ay out of )y car and (aved for )e to co)e on over& . spoke (ith her son5 Jonnie5 (ho said she (as hard to reach because she had three =obs& There (ent )y tailored (ardrobe& .:d be sharin hers& We looked at a *uilt on the (all created by an artist in Mor an Bill5 sho(in a circle of seven )en and (o)en as if they:d =u)ped fro) a plane to skydive5 but (ithout parachutes& They (ere se(n three3di)ensionally in different fabrics and one (as se(n to ether fro) all the others: personal fabrics& This (as the Cristus& Be (as the only co)plete one5 the others (ere )issin li)bs5 and one of the) his head& The artist (as . (as thinkin )ore )id3thirties over Aa Jolla (ay (ith a beach house& -he said this al looked )id3thirties and did have a house on the cliffs =ust south of Aa Jolla& Ten )iles south as it turned out& -he (as divorced5 vivacious5 and a (hole lot of fun& -he (rote do(n the na)e and address alon (ith that of another (o)an renter in Ae)on >rove& . )et To) fro) TeJas and he told ho( (hen he ca)e to to(n he (as penniless and he (ent to a roo))ates finder a ency and they hooked hi) up (ith a divorcee in Aa Jolla on the beach& Be beca)e her boy toy& -he ave hi) a ne( car5 had his clothes tailored5 they )oved a)on the rich and fa)ous5 boated on her yacht and5 (hen she re( tired of hi)5 sent hi) off (ith a stipend and the car& .:d be by at noon the neJt day& -he (as co)in out the door to o to (ork and only had a )inute to sho( )e the roo) because . left a )essa e (ith Jonnie a fe( days later that .au) arten& Ber conception (as titled 8World5. (ent to the a ency and told Joanne that (as (hat . (as late& . the story of hu)anity in one cover& Marilyn said a ain she had to o on house calls and . looked for so)ethin )ore per)anent& -he said pri)ly that her (o)en boarders all locked their doors at ni ht5 and . ot back in and drove a(ay& The other (o)an (hose na)e .arbara .

took lots of close3ups and lay there on )y sto)ach ad)irin 5 still toyin (ith takin one ho)e5 but reluctant because they (ere a fa)ily& . (anted to pull one up to take it ho)e and )atch it up (ith (hatever .ack and "arilyn Underhill o* &ridley.nternet but Marilyn (asn:t keen on that& . could find on the .CHAPTER 2 THE CONNECTOR Marilyn and . had to& <nce on a )ushroo)3collectin field trip in >rand Marais (e found )ushroo)s a)aCin in their variety in the (oods behind the hi h school& -o)e of the) (ere like dan ly (hite lace and delicious to eat5 so)e blue3tin ed (ith reddish veils around their (hite stalks5 others like yello(ish rapevines (ith tiny u)brellas instead of rapes5 radiant oran e a)anitas (ith sno(flake sprinkles5 spider (ebby ones (ith dark thin s lookin like e sacs5 and a beautiful cotton (hite creature that is irdlin birches in the north and killin the tree (ith viruses that nor)ally can:t et in& Marilyn found one so rare and co)pleJ our teacher couldn:t identify it5 and he:d been )ushroo)in since he ot back fro) Dietna)& These four )ushroo)s looked dan erous& 9ou kno( ho( certain thin s in nature carry )arkin s of lethalityL .:) leavin &. knelt to et a closer look and they (ere really forei n3lookin & Marilyn (arned )e not to touch the)5 but . The feelin of the )ushroo) skin (as like so)e (e:d touched in that )ushroo) class at the North Bouse ?olk -chool& The blush of reen fascinated )e because it (as une*ually distributed5 like )icroscopic lichens clin in to one side& -o)e didn:t have it5 thou h& The stalks (ere of une*ual len th but short5 the caps close to the rass and ro(in bet(een t(o partly surfaced tree roots& Marilyn knelt to =oin )e and (e (ere fascinated to ether& . -o (e looked as lon as (e could5 all bent over (ith our rears in the air to passin traffic& There (as a father and his little dau hters out in their yard5 and Marilyn didn:t (ant to upset the) by holdin this pose too lon ri ht across fro) their houseP so (e left& NeJt day5 alone (ith a ca)era5 . think the instructor said& That:s chlorophyll5 and )ushroo)s are not about photosynthesis& ?ascinatin Q What (ould he say about theseL . "innesota.esides5 )aybe they (ere poisonous5 they could be toadstools and . (as eJcited& There (as nothin like the) on the fun us (ebsites5 thousands of shapes 12 . ou ht to identify that first before doin anythin drastic& They see)ed to have ro(n so)e since (e ca)e by5 and one of the) that hadn:t had the reen on its odd shaped cap no( did& >reen is not a color (e associate (ith )ushroo)s5 . touched5 for these )i ht be the only ones of their kind carried across the cos)os to fall here alon the Mississippi the ni ht before to bloo) (hile (e slept& Maybe they:d spread like a virus and take over the (orld& We:d be the first to die5 sure5 but as their discoverers: The world was overrun by an unknown *un(us recently discovered by . (onder (hat he:d think of these clustered to ether and the odd )arkin s on one5 al)ost like stitches& 9ou bet . . who became the *irst casualties o* what was bein( called "ortem Underhilliansus Terribilis until everyone died and there was not much need to talk about it. first spotted the )ushroo)s on a (alk alon the river in "##2& We had been )arried fifteen years& These (ere alien3lookin 5 ray but (ith a reenish hue alon the north side of so)e of the caps& . said5 8Bold on5 hold on5 (e (on:t touch5 but let:s look so)e )ore&. said to touch one and feel ho( creepy it (as and she said5 8No (ay5 not )e5 nope5 .

t:s troublin (hen so)eone kno(s )ore about )e than . he says5 8been here a lon ti)e in the dirt5. and sunli(ht/ and/chlorophyll/dependent plants. *un(us. "innesota. (on:t find that under the Christ)as tree or in )y birthday boJ& . (as really intri ued and drea)in of fun al fa)e: A couple *rom &ridley. do& . sho(ed the photos to friends and none had ever seen anythin re)otely like the) in this area5 thou h so)e had friends (ho had friends (ho kne( a thin or t(o about such thin s& We visited our find each )ornin and sa( the reen haCe had spread to all four )ushroo) caps& .t is a s)all teddy bear so)eone had lost under the leaves that:d sunk a(ay into the round over the seasons& Those thin s .:d been on a (eb search and seen thousands of pictures of )ushroo)s5 but nothin like these& Bas he ever seen the) beforeL Be says 8yep5.and descriptions5 but that particular confi uration (asn:t a)on the)& No( . )ay have killed it& % )an co)es alon 5 a nei hbor (ho ran for City Council a fe( )onths before5 and stops to (atch us and (onder aloud (hat (e:re doin & . touched the bi est one and (i led it a little to Marilyn:s horror5 because the other three )ove as if =oined by one core root& -he says . (ant a Barley but . )ay find instead a curry3colored hand to(el (rapped around an old book of poe)s she found for a nickel at a la(n sale5 (ritten by so)eone . really (ant but )ay not kno( . (ant& .n nursin faculty )eetin s at 'oint Ao)a there (as a lot of randstandin and s*uabbles and an er5 then as they (rapped it up Marilyn su))ariCed the best of (hat the teachers and ad)inistrators said (ith a coherence they )issed& Those (ho:d been dra(n and *uartered realiCed that (hat they:d been ettin at played a )eanin ful part in the enesis of (hat (as eventually acco)plished at the )eetin & %nd those (ho do)inated felt they (ere receivin full credit for its success& Marilyn is a ift herself5 and a connector of others to the ifts they seek& -he connects )e to (hat . tell hi) these four )ushroo)s are a never3 before3discovered type and (e:re follo(in the life cycle& . )ay think . pull on the tallest )ushroo) and it co)es up and is attached to a body5 the sa)e body the other three are5 a teddy bear body& . (ent to so)e nursin classes of Marilyn:s at 'oint Ao)a NaCarene Colle e in the first fe( )onths after (e )et& -he spoke of technical thin s in an easy (ay that reached both sides of )y brain& The feelin side )ade her infor)ation )ore available to the other nuts and bolts side& <rdinarily )y )ind freeCes up in a classroo) settin & .t is a teddy bear5. thou ht looked like stitches (ere stitches& The )ushroo) caps (ere the teddy bear:s feet and the reen blush (as al ae ro(in in the (orn da)p fur& No fa)e& Maybe the City Council3hopeful (ould keep this to hi)self& -o)e teachers inspire )e to learn (hatever they:re talkin about& %nyone can present the infor)ation& With so)e it:s like they:re readin fro) an invisible book5 others punch it up (ith their enthusias)5 and others (ith si)ply (ho they are& . he has5 these very sa)e ones5 and he:s (alked by the) and never thou ht t(ice about it& 8. . and he (alks a(ay& We look at one another& .:ve never heard of but that ends 14 . has discovered a new variety o* mushrooms that appears to be the missin( link between molds. kno( (hat it is: people aren:t uarded (ith her& -tran ers aren:t stran ers after a fe( )o)ents (ith her so5 (hen (e run into so)eone later5 they:ll re)e)ber her na)e and (here they )et& -he )i ht not5 but Marilyn doesn:t need that for)ality& Who cares if so)eone ets your na)e (ron (hen they et your soul ri htL .

ath & . say5 8Bold on5 that:s MaryL .:d iven up5 all ifts (ithout ribbons and cards& When she celebrates a special day or person it is for an octave5 payin special attention for ei ht days& When Marilyn (as in a nunnery the ifts (ere si)ple: sunrise5 a s)ile5 a pat5 sin in 5 prayin and lau hter& -he is e)barrassed by bou ht ifts& When she ives a (rapped ift it is special to her5 so)ethin that connected in her& The ifts she ives are seeds nourished by this& Ber son Mike (as over for -unday brunch recently on his t(enty3so)ethin birthday& When he opened the ift ba there (as a lar e blue t(enty3percent3off card for . point out a sno( scene . .t looks like a liCard&. lookin as if this eJplains it& 8%nd this s(ab here5. could put it on and kiss her& -he ives )e a bi boJ of reetin cards& . can ive it to her5 she needs so)ethin for her lips& <r . look for so)e redee)in thin s in the cards like ho( they:re all ori inals for sure5 and isn:t that Joseph or is it a three3le ed stool in the stableL .:d abandoned5 to a (ife .up influencin )y personal style of (ritin or thinkin 5 so .:ve (anted cards like these for the lon est ti)e5 ho( did she kno(5 and (hich side is upL -he eJplains they are special cards )ade by eJtraordinary people and (e:re oin to send the) as Christ)as cards& 8. end up )akin a bunch of )oney and buy the dan Barley )yself& -he:s )a ical that (ay& <nce she ave )e a paperback copy of %lice Miller:s (ork on ho( physical cruelty and hatred in fathers helped shape the cruelty in sons that (ent on to beco)e )ass )urderers like Bitler5 -talin5 and Mao& This inspired )y books Spiritual 0ones &or "ad Do(s5 and another about a )an (akin up in the body of a (o)an and not re)e)berin (ho he (as5 thou h pretty sure it (asn:t her& -he connected )e to the kids . personally don:t see )uch of any Christ)as the)e in the cards& Where:s the star of . like and she tells )e it:s a ra( unpainted card& -he says5 8This is Mary5 and the star:s here& -eeL. don:t like it .eyond5 a lar e fra)ed color photo she took of a hu e landscape =ob Mike (as in char e of over at Aake Barriet5 and a pound of fresh3 round @unn .:d abandoned all over the place& -he hooked )e back up to (ritin 5 (hich .:d abandoned5 to )others . actually do5 but stay *uiet& .rothers coffee& Ber sister Fathy cooked the )eal that )ornin & ?or otten (as the birthday ha) Marilyn:d otten Mike and re)e)bered only after he left& We sent so)e ho)e (ith his brother Jonnie5 ave so)e to Fathy5 to so)e Jehovah:s Witnesses at the door in lieu of our ettin a talkin to5 and )ade sand(iches (ith it for days& When Mike called to thank her for the brunch later5 she confessed the oversi ht5 but said ho( )uch (e:d all en=oyed his ha) and had a bunch ift3 (rapped in the freeCer to take ho)e (hen he ca)e over neJt ti)e& -o)eti)es the ift is a last )inute thou ht& -he co)es in fro) shoppin and hands )e a tiny =ar of )aple syrup3s(eetened pu)pkin spread5 says it:s =ust for )e5 al)ost leaped off the shelf into her basket& . she says5 8could be her aura& This is her o(n5 see ho( it s(eeps like a o(n in a breeCeL %nd this is her nose& %nd this is the baby Jesus&. 1/ . tell her . think they:re beautiful5. .n Me)oria)& Marilyn ets oin about Christ)as bein about people and not about -anta Claus and presents& . she says& 89ou (ant )e to take the) backL.t:s about the birth of the Boly -pirit in us& -o .:d abandoned in -anta ?e5 and a life .ethlehe) or Three Fin s and their iftsL These cards could be for -t& 'atrick:s @ay or -ecretaries Week5 or .:ve never hankered for pu)pkin paste )iJed (ith )aple syrup& <r this Chap-tick she hands )e& -he sees )y look and says if .n )y (ildest cravin s . -he tells )e5 8Mary (as -ephardic5.ed .

carried around a fe( $Jcepts and .:d asked for help& The vision had stayed in )y )e)ory as a )ystical thin & . ave her a barberin set for Christ)as and she (ent ri id (ith e)barrass)ent& .n the ne( arran e)ent she (on:t reco niCe the off3the3shelf set but5 even if she does5 this ne( thin in )e that ur es )e to o those fe( eJtra steps for her (ill touch her& That thin is her reatest ift to )e& The decisions Marilyn and . (as perpetuatin an identical dra)a (ith )y o(n children by abandonin the) and reenactin the sa)e thin s )y parents did& Fids are cha)eleons5 everythin oes into the) and serves as blueprints for (hen they can finally think for the)selves5 and it turns out that even their thou hts (ere do(nloaded into the) (hole& We are tattooed and pierced in utero and beyond& -o this is (hat .efore . )eant it to co))e)orate her father5 but . needed re)indin 5 she:d say so)ethin that )ade )e *eel fatherhood5 at least as a responsibility if not a heart3centered feelin & -he could have otten )y attention by raisin hell but that:s not her preferred (ay5 instead she )aneuvered )y infant sense around to educate )e& . (as alone but5 once (e had kids5 they ot tossed out the back door (ith the dish(ater& Not the kids5 the $Jcepts and . kept the kids: (ell3bein as the uidin li ht& .:d already ad=usted to bein out of the picture& Marilyn un3ad=usted )e to that& -he said kids needed fathers as )uch as )others& 9ou:d think . )et Marilyn .uts and $Jcepts and that (as okay (hen .:d run out on )y firstborn son5 .uts& . (as oin to find The Connector (ho had co)e to )e in a vision as . totally )issed the part about )y askin her to co)e be stra( boss on an i)possible pro=ect of rescuin the children& %nd )e& "# .t (as a lon haul and so painful there (ere ti)es (e both (ould ladly have died instead of oin on throu h fa)ily court horror to )ake a ho)e (ith us for the little kids& . <nce . slept and accepted )y prayer for help& That (as (hat (e (ere talkin about in that drea) )eetin 5 althou h . )ade in our ne( life to ether (ere based on (hat (e felt (as best for the children& .en5 and his )other Judy years before5 (hen he (as still a toddler5 and then Cristina and Iach t(enty years after that5 so it (as clear to Marilyn that this thin called fatherhood and sacrifice (as no )ore than a learned line for )e& When .t (as a bubble3(rapped set of scissors5 clippers5 and co)bs5 the sort of plastic you need )etal shears to re)ove& .t:s not that they didn:t have a ho)e (ith their )other5 but she didn:t (ant to share the) unless she needed to et a(ay5 and this (as al(ays at the drop of a hat& When .:d lived by . -he says5 8Maybe the artists sa( other thin s in the birth of Christ besides (hat you are used to&..uts& -he )ade sure . for ot . could have taken the pieces out and rearran ed the) in so)ethin )ore personal like an old leather case (ith brass snaps5 added a fe( folded face to(els and barbers bib5 found an old photo of hi) in his shop and fra)ed it5 )aybe otten a lock of her hair as a child fro) her )other %bie& Marilyn (ould:ve done that if she:d been )e& Maybe . )ay as (ell have iven her a )a neto fro) his old @e -oto& -he:s still not said anythin about it5 and it:s been t(elve years& . (ould:ve fi ured this out (ith the three of us boys raised by our )other in -anta ?e& Bere . (as choosin (hen . didn:t fully kno( it then& . hitchhiked into -an @ie o fro) the 'acific Crest Trail& .:ll do that5 there:s still ti)e& . say5 8That is no baby Jesus& Marilyn5 there is no picture& This isn:t even i)pressionis)5 these are kids havin fun (ith paints and folded cards&. see that unopened barberin set fro) ti)e to ti)e (hen (e )ove thin s fro) one ho)e to another& Nine so far& . really ot it5 .

f the le al papers de)anded )y soul .arbara (hen their )other ca)e (ith the) fro) ?i=i5 (here they (ere livin & -he (anted t(o thirds of )y inco)e and full custody& -he needed it to establish residency5 she said& . found )y car sittin on its (heel hubs outside the )otel roo) in . si ned the papers in a la(yer:s office& . )et Marilyn5 and three )onths before . couldn:t undo that5 but to ether (e could redirect so)e of the lines of do)inoes so they (ouldn:t all be tipped over& That )eant ettin shared custody5 so)ethin . had& .akersfield& "1 .:d hit botto)5 or thou ht .:d:ve turned over all fra )ents ladly& That happened siJ )onths before .:d si ned a(ay in -anta .The decisions (e )ade5 especially those first seven years in the furnace of fa)ily la(5 (ere directed by the intent5 )ainly on her part5 of savin Iach and Cristina fro) a catastrophic do)inoin that )y choice to (alk a(ay fro) the) had set in )otion& .

don:t kno( ho( to drive and orders )e out of the seat and takes over& Bis idea is that (e need )ore acceleration and says5 once (e redline the rp):s5 the spinnin (heels (ill eventually dry out the )ud and the traction (ill be in& . have )y doubts& The RD (ei hs "15### pounds loaded5 they (ei h 1## pounds loaded5 and the round (e:ll be pushin fro) is slick& We don:t (ant to appear un rateful so5 (ith Marilyn at the (heel5 (e push and et a lot of road on our clothes& We di so)e dry dirt fro) the shoulder of the road and cut so)e brush for traction and use this to inch for(ard5 push5 fall5 push5 fall5 Marilyn there at the (heel shoutin out orders and )e shoutin back orders5 the Winneba o (hinin & The MeJican uys decide they don:t (ant a (o)an at the (heel5 it:s not their (ay5 this is a =ob for drunk )en5 so . ive the) a ten and they et a lot happier and turn the truck to lead us to the coast& No (ay (e can keep up (ith the) and there:s still no place to turn around& We pass so)e sort of point of no return and plun e do(n a rade that slin s us up an even steeper one alon a "" .a=a coast5 headin back to the United -tates after one of our re ular vacations south of the border& Ni ht cau ht us before (e found a place to park& %t a ?ederale roadblock )anned by teena ed )estiCo soldiers (ith uns5 . a) sober5 a rin o and not to be trusted& Marilyn cli)bs into the ri and takes over5 says5 8%ll of you et out5 put the fire(ood . ask if the road is okay the rest of the (ay in and the loud one nods& Be:s still s)artin fro) Marilyn orderin hi) out of the RD& . co1o234 and lo(ers at )e& . They say this is their only rope but they:ll push us out& .CHAPTER 3 ON THE A!A COAST 2""# .n "##65 Marilyn and .:) ordered in to drive and Marilyn:s ordered out to stand beside the road and look helpless and hopeful and not speak& They have no idea (ho they:re talkin to& %fter a bit5 the loud one decides .ndian youth (ho:s co)e into the RD has be un his search for hidden dru s in our frid e& Be takes out a beer and asks if (e have enou h of these so he )i ht *uench his thirst& Be says there is a dirt road so)e kilo)eters ahead on the left that oes to CataviRa& %fter the roadblock and t(enty kilo)eters of drivin 5 (e co)e to the only turnoff either side of the hi h(ay since Rosalia& There is no si n& The road is pri)itive& We turn and stop alon the side to reconnoiter& Turns out it has rained and no( (e:re stuck in slick of )ud& % pickup headed out to the hi h(ay stops5 and the driver says they have a ood to( rope they:ll tie to the ri and pull us up to the )iddle of the road (here it:s drier& The rope the t(o )en take fro) the truck bed is one of those plastic yello( ones fisher)en use in their nets5 about three ei hths inch dia)eter and ten feet lon & Be ets do(n on the road and ties it to our fra)e5 his friend ties the other end to their bu)per5 they et in5 un it5 pop the clutch and the rope snaps like a shoelace& They et out and look at the broken ends5 8B)))5 (hat the hell5 held the fish that ti)e5 *uN noL. tell hi) to turn the )otor off& Be says5 8"ande. We et out and shovel )ore dry sand in front of the back (heels and lay the fire(ood do(n for a track5 then the three of us push (hile she drives and this ti)e the ri skids side(ays5 finds so)e dry roadbed to catch on and scoots out& Marilyn disappears over the hill to put so)e distance bet(een us& . and our do 'ebbles (ere north of -anta Rosalia on the . ask if there is a road (e can pull off on for the ni ht& The . laid out there under the back tires and shovel in so)e )ore sand&.

:ve never seen anythin like it5 co)e on5 you have to see this& @o you have the ca)eraL. .:ve ridden beside her in -an @ie o traffic on ho)e healthcare calls in nei hborhoods (here cops don:t drive and seen her pull it off every ti)e& We fishtail to the top of a hill overlookin the 'acific <cean5 kno(in it:s there because of the distant li hts reflectin on patches of surf& We see the tail li hts of the MeJicans: truck flare (here it stops (ay do(n there at a to(er& The track here is (ide enou h for others to pass so (e park and lock the door5 pull the shades5 pick up stuff shot out of cabinets on the ride and o to bed& We hear pickups pass and5 hours later5 our boys co)e by yellin & 8What:d they sayL. . Marilyn says& 8The others are eJpectant and nursin )others& S9ou see ho( that one is )ovin 5 the baby is in the birth canal& .t is like a round (indo( in a cathedral do)e (here once you et into position you are able to look do(n on the con re ation and drop tickets to Beaven& Marilyn cra(ls to (here she laid before& This thin started as a blo(hole and (idened inside to beco)e a circular roo) (ith a crescent of sand for a deck& -eals lie side by side5 one dia onal to the others& -he looks up at us& 8-he:s the )id(ife5. she says5 8you )ust co)e see this seal nurseryQ . Marilyn takes )e to the coast (here an open do)e is surrounded by a (eathered picket fence5 )uch of it drapin into the hole (ith si ns in -panish (arnin not to o beyond the fence5 (hich is ood because there is nothin beyond the fence eJcept updraft& . can& % seal be ins to breech and slides into the (ater to co)plete delivery& "1 . haven:t& 8Can you see the ne(borns ridin on the backs of the )others in the (aterL. et up the neJt )ornin Marilyn and the do are one& . she says and oes back to sleep& What they really said (ere so)e vocational thin s about our )others& When . like it5 it )akes )e feel safer& No( the ri is driftin into tracks (here others ot stuck and (ere pulled out5 (e:re canted side(ays on a slope unable to o for(ard or back do(n& . .churned up s(itchback )eant for a four3(heel drive& The MeJican:s backli hts are no(here in si ht& We:re in a black black (here li ht ets heavy after leavin the headli ht bulbs and drops to the road& Marilyn really uns it half(ay do(n the neJt slope and (e slou h up out of the botto) (ash to try for the neJt hilltop5 )ake it over and do(n another that curves sharply in the )iddle (here (e lose traction and slip to(ard the ed e& There is no (ay (e (on:t o over the side at this speed and plun e to our deaths& Marilyn )akes it& My voice sounds like it:s tryin to reach the hi h notes of the national anthe)& Marilyn shouts5 8-hut upQ. tell her they said thanks for the ten3dollar bill& 8<h5 they:re so s(eet5. see a cra y basalt black coast (ith surf eyserin up blo(holes scattered around5 no beach5 and out on a point is (hat looks like a li hthouse (here our friends parked& They didn:t see) li hthouse types so it )ust be a bar& .ut that:s only physics and Marilyn in a crunch doesn:t operate by physics& Bey5 this is the (orst yet5 but . can:t describe it5 . Marilyn )u)bles& .:ve never seen seals like the) before5 have youL. lock the RD and start do(n and see her co)in alon (ith 'ebbles& 8<h5 John5. look throu h the ca)era vie(finder to focus and press the Coo)& No( . say . bet Marilyn (alked do(n there to eJplore& .

"7 .t:s so fa)iliar&. . head to the to(er& There is a )an lookin out the top (indo(& .n and up the circular steps into a cafN and bar (here this bri ht mesti5o )an (ith lea)in teeth reets )e5 introducin hi)self as BernTn CorteC& 8The BernTn CorteCL. . ask in -panish and he ad)its he is a direct descendant of the -panish con*ueror of MeJico& .-o)e of the )others in the (ater are teachin the ne( pups to s(i)& 'ebbles is bellyin out to us5 sensin (e are interested in so)ethin )ore i)portant than her and (ants to kno( =ust (hat that could be& Mothers nuCCle their babies out of the (ater onto the beach& The nursin )others are in slu)ber& % seal in the (ater picks her pup up in her teeth and co)es ashore5 (ho)pin alon to a patch of (ar) sand& The calls the seals )ake is a)plified by the shape of the cavern and lifted by the air flutin in fro) the sea& -o)e banter is oin on bet(een a )other and a baby paddlin too near the rocks (here the (aves are crashin & Marilyn is happy in her ele)ent as a pediatric nurse practitioner& 8There:s a birthin )ood or spirit here5.:) pointin & Bis teeth are very (hite in the )aho any skin and he sho(s all of the)5 a happy BernTn& Marilyn co)es up tellin 'ebbles5 8No5 stayQ. ask for coffee and he ets so)e Nescafe and fiJes a pot5 sets do(n t(o cups5 t(o spoons and a bo(l of bro(n su ar& Be:s seen Marilyn& We talk about all the drinkers here last ni ht and the t(o va*ueros (ho helped us et here5 and about spendin the ni ht ri ht up there5 he ducks to see throu h the (raparound (indo( (here .t:s =ust like (ith hu)an )others& . inch back(ard on )y sto)ach and 'ebbles takes )y spot neJt to Marilyn& . notice (hen (e talk too loud5 the )id(ife seal looks up and there is no doubt about (hat she is sayin 5 it:s in her eyes5 in the arch of her eyebro(s5 or (hat passes for the)& . she says5 8you feel itL .ut BernTn says to brin her in5 8@o s belon 5 do s are (elco)eU. need coffee& . .

said5 and (e folded our hands and (aited and5 after a(hile5 To) asked if she (as there yet& Bis eyes (ere closed and . %nd . but that (e:re not the sa)e person& 8Mine happened to )e5.s that itL. %nd that (as it& -he ha))ered the nuts and pried at the shells and )unched& "6 . . said5 SNo5 not yet&: Jackie asked5 SWhenL: . kno(5. %nd . (as tellin Marilyn about a )ystical eJperience& -he (as standin in the kitchen5 crackin filberts and . That (as her )ystical eJperienceL -he thou ht so)e )ore and cracked shells (ith the pliers& 8There (as a ti)e in <re on (ith so)eone5 . -he said5 8Well5 there:s yours&. When she ot ho)e all bloody and cryin 5 she told her )other she (as hurt )ore by >od not protectin her than fro) the cut on her head& %s Jackie re( older5 she protected Marilyn fro) boys like hi)& <nce in hi h school Marilyn and other cheerleaders (ere at the side of the field5 cheerin for a touchdo(n (hen a boy nearby told the) to shut the hell up& Jackie hit hi) and broke his nose& <ne ni ht .s what itL. heard her sayin in )y )ind5 S.CHAPTER $ %OD &ILL PROTECT ME <n Russell %venue (hen Marilyn (as little5 there (as a boy (ho lived near her in a house surrounded by a chainlink fence& <ne day Marilyn and her youn er sister Jackie (ere (alkin ho)e fro) school and this boy (as standin in front of his house holdin a shovel& Be said5 8. said5 8.:) okay5 Ayn5 don:t rieve )e any)ore& . (as the bi sister so they did (hat . Jackie ran and Marilyn told the boy5 8>o ahead5 >od (ill protect )e&. said her 8)ystical eJperience&. thou ht (e (ere oin to see the . told the) . =ust (ondered about you bein a nun and a nurse and all the people you tended to and sa( bein born and dyin &.lessed Dir in5 so (e kneeled& . (as throu h5 . . asked if she sa( Mary5 and she said5 8No&.s that itL. and she said5 8No5 it (as )y sister Jackie&.t co)forted the fa)ilies5.raCil nuts (ith a ha))er and pliers& When . love you&:. -he said she couldn:t think of any others& 8. (as the someone&. -he says5 8<h& Well5 she (as standin there as the horses )oved by her and . say . . . )eant it (as )e she (as (ith5 8. asked her to tell )e one of hers& -he said (hen they (ere little5 she and her little brother and sister5 To) and Jackie5 (ere out in a national ce)etery or a park5 she (asn:t sure& They (ere pickin )ayflo(ers for a bou*uet she (as takin to the altar she:d set up in their roo) for the Dir in Mary& 8. 8. can:t re)e)ber (ho5 and it (as ni ht and cold and the fo drifted in and looked like a herd of horses allopin 5 and there (as Jackie&. asked5 8. said& 8. looked and told hi)5 SNo5: she (asn:t there yet& %fter a (hile he asked5 SNo(L My knees hurt&: .:) oin to hit you over the head (ith this shovel&. . . said . she said5 8)e bein there so)eti)es helped the) in their rief&. told her5 8That (as )e5. didn:t kno(5 it (as up to the Dir in& 'retty soon the rays (ere one and the sun set so (e ot up and (ent ho)e&. asked& Marilyn (anted to kno(5 8.t (as late in the day and these rays of li ht see)ed to be co)in out of this bi tree& .

4 he no( said5 8A/yuh.ein a far)er (as his lon ti)e drea)& They rented a far)& There (as a hand pu)p5 (ell5 and (oodstove& %bie (as a sea)stress in Minneapolis and (as no( the far) (ife5 scrubbin floors5 haulin (ood5 and (ashin the kids and laundry in a tin tub& .ob lasted a year as far)er5 and then %bie called it *uits& They )oved back to Minneapolis and ot a place on Russell %venue (ith a )ana eable arden in back and a barbershop a fe( blocks a(ay& ?or a (hile5 .n plantin and harvest ti)es she and the children hired out5 pickin potatoes& The far) never really cau ht on because there (as only %bie to do that (ork and5 ideally5 the kids after school to hitch up the )ules to hand3plo(5 plant5 fertiliCe5 and irri ate in case they ever ot any of that stuff& .reeCy 'oint5 or up the >unflint Trail to a cluster of lakes to the (estMTo)5 Jackie5 "0 . .ob talked crops5 (eather5 and livestock: 8Bad a little far) out (est of here5 over to(ard ?ar o5 planned to plant soy5 corn5 )illet5 run a fe( head of %n us& -haveL.ar in to(n& Marilyn and .4 8-o5 %lonCo5 you (ent fro) crop picker to a bar o(ner here in NeilsvilleL. 8%3yuh5 ami(o&. (ent there a fe( years a o& %lonCo sho(ed us (here the barber chair had been& Be had )i rated to Neilsville as a harvester fifty years before& Where do(n in Chihuahua5 he:d say5 8S6.ob )oved his (ife %bie and the kids to Neilsville5 north(est of the Cities5 close to North @akota& Be drove their crank3start :"/ @e -oto (ith strap3on trunk in back& .ob subsidiCed the far) by barberin at %lonCo:s .ob )e)oriCed )uch of >erard Manly Bopkins: poe)s and all the 'sal)s& .ob Toner5 (as a barber back (hen a haircut (as fifty cents and a shave t(o bits& @urin World War T(o he (orked at <nan >enerators in Minneapolis for the (ar effort5 and because the pay (as better& Be (as a philosopher and theolo ian& Be loved ar uin (ith priests and bishops over doctrine and possibilities of co)in into sync (ith the pli ht of the poor& Be tau ht his dau hter Marilyn that the people are the Church5 and the Church hierarchy are the people:s servants& Be tau ht her to fi ht for the ri hts of people (ho cannot defend the)selves5 and to care for their (ounds inside and out& Be insisted she ar ue (ith hi) over thin s that she took issue (ith& Be (anted passion in the eJchan e of ideas because he believed it is ho( people learn (hat they believe or (ant to believe& Be (as okay bein (ron in an ar u)ent if the resolution ca)e fro) another:s stron spirit and ood reasonin & . Se1or.Marilyn:s father5 .ut .ob:s .ob:s eyes that blinked out *uick as a (ink& . kne( this )an& We:d been to ether in other a es& When . T(o years before he:d been in the hospital and5 (hen he ot out5 the state had revoked his li*uor license5 so no( he served soda pop5 chips5 and sand(iches at this rand ancient bar5 (hile across the street (as a MeJican restaurant run by his kids (ho no( had his li*uor license& .ob (as dyin at the nursin ho)e5 Marilyn fle( fro) -an @ie o and ot to hi) (hen there (as still (ar)th in his hands& -he kissed the hands that )ade that chair5 shaved ten thousand faces5 and cut a to(n3load of hair5 hands that:d held her as a baby and a irl and a nun and a (ife and )other& The last ti)e he sa( her at the nursin ho)e he:d held her head a ainst his chest and caressed her hair& <ne ti)e .ob used to take the fa)ily up to the North -hore& The drive took all ni ht& %bove @uluth it (as hard oin alon a disinte ratin asphalt road (indin alon the shoreline& They ca)ped at . )et hi) at a nursin ho)e in Coon Rapids (hen Marilyn brou ht us to Minnesota our first year to ether& The nursin ho)e (as like steppin into fluorescent slo( )otion (here a cast of old character actors are (orkin on their lines or bidin ti)e (aitin for the ca)era )an to shoot their close3ups& When Marilyn introduced us there (as a )o)ent of reco nition in .

and Marilyn leapin into (ater still cold fro) the laciers& ?or years Marilyn took )e to these fa)ily han outs until (e (orked our (ay to >rand Marais near the Canadian border& The shoreline there is a dark )aroon rock5 half as old as the earth& <ne ti)e (e ot in the canoe and scared ourselves silly5 leavin the port po(ered by a tiny trollin )otor hooked up to a t(elve3volt )arine battery5 and headin for the lanes of ore ships like the $d)und ?itC erald& %t Fnife River5 south of there5 (e paddled out to the far side of an island near the river:s )outh5 and looked do(n at a sunken steel3hulled ship fifty feet belo(& When a ust of (ind ca)e up and started rockin the boat5 (e headed for shore& "2 .

. No( she takes )y hand and leads )e hell3bent out to the sofa a ain and tells )e to eat so)e of the chips in the bo(l Mike has =ust refilled& When so)e pieces drop onto )y le s5 %leJ plucks the) off and tells )e5 89ou dropped so)e&. hu Mike5 and Marilyn tells %leJ to hu )eMbut there is no (ay she is oin to do that& .n a fe( )inutes she ets up and sits on the ar) of the sofa5 then stands on a cushion5 then takes a tiny step )y (ay5 then another5 leanin a ainst the backrest (hen . lance over5 her attention s(itchin to the pro ra)& Mike asks fro) the kitchen if . ive hi) a hu and %leJ approves& -he shoves another critter in )y hand and . (ant another beer& -uddenly %leJ is there5 fallin a ainst )y shoulder and thro(in her ar)s around )e and leanin her head a ainst )y neck& % )o)ent of bliss s(allo(s )e up but5 before . listen and thank her& -he looks at )e for a )o)ent5 siCin )e up& . the knife droppin to the floor& 8Uh oh&. can respond5 she is out of there and cli)bin onto her ani)al chair for dinner& With her apple slice peanut butter sa))itches in %unt Fathy:s kitchen5 she keeps a runnin co))entary oin as she (orks5 87hooops5. she cried fro) the top of the steps to Mike:s apart)ent5 us at the botto)& -he co)es do(n the hu e steps clutchin her daddy:s hand5 the other a ainst the lo(erin clapboard (all5 thro(in herself fro) the last step into Marilyn:s ar)s babblin 8Bu))ahu))ahu))a5.CHAPTER # PERFECT PEACE Marilyn:s randdau hter5 %leJandra5 stands on a chair at the dinin roo) table5 slatherin soupy peanut butter onto thin slices of apples& %unt Fathy is in the kitchen5 turnin a fe( ba s of round3fall apples into piles of slices for freeCer ba s5 and an apple pie she has in )ind for later on& %leJ has a butter knife )akin tiny open face sand(iches she can hardly finish before eatin the)& Want so)eL -he asks& -he is three and lan ua e has co)e to her since . ro( )oss5 follo(in alon & We sat on the sofa in the tiny apart)ent cross3talkin 5 %leJ adorin Marilyn and brin in over special thin s to sho( her& Mike fetches beer and chips fro) the kitchen5 sho(s us so)e paintin s by his friend John -ch(ery5 tells us about his ne( boss and landscapin (ork& %leJ (ants us to see the bed her daddy built her5 so (e o to her roo) (here she stands proudly by as Mike lifts the )attress to sho( the carpentry& %leJ picks up her fluffy bear backpack and introduces us& . last sa( her& Ber s)ile is beautiful& -he finally hu ed )e the ni ht before5 after (e ot to her daddy Mike:s fro) the Minneapolis airport5 but lon after ivin a full3on hu to Marilyn& 8Bu))aQ. %leJ a rees and takes Marilyn:s hand to lead her up the stairs as . happily et it and use a napkin to (ipe the stuff up& -he still hasn:t otten )y sa))itch to ether because it:s all so ood that each one she finishes )akin 5 she )ust eat& . No( Marilyn and Mike are oin full bore in the kitchen as he )akes )acaroni for %leJ:s supper5 and %leJ is at the far end of the sofa5 (atchin Scooby Doo on the TD5 utterly absorbed& -cooby does so)ethin %leJ feels she needs to eJplain to )e5 and .t is enou h to (atch her little hands5 her bi concentration5 the (ay she puts all these )ove)ents to ether at three5 dippin knife into =ar5 ettin a )eltin (ad on the tip5 liftin it "4 . and cooin these little sounds that )ake the heart open like a flo(er& . tell Marilyn5 8%leJ (ill find her (ay to it later if she (ants to&. say5 8Bello&.

love this table and )y eyes for seein this5 )y heart for feelin it& . Sat.t (as rainin cats and do s and . sa( they are only tiny businesses5 so)e (ith hand3lettered si ns like 0utons Sowed/8n. ran a counter bell and a sli) (ell3dressed )an ca)e fro) (ay deep in the back5 past ar)ents on both sides of a path hun so deeply they force hi) to (alk side(ays& Be had ray eyes (ith a hint of violet in the)& Be told )e they send out shirts and they only have a dry3 cleanin )achine in the shop& They:ll send out )y shirt Monday and it (ill be back Thursday& . (as still not to Crooked Aake& . and she said5 8% couple of )iles5 five5 ei ht5 hard to say& TenL. % half hour of drivin and . love Fathy out there in the kitchen5 slicin apples5 the (ind plucked fro) the old trees of a friend& . saidMho( about he dry3cleans it and . stopped at Cub >rocery at Northto(n Mall to ask a cashier (ho checks the back of a receipt still in the cash re ister for an ad she re)e)bered for a cleaners& .t even had a li ht on so)e(here& The entrance door (as stoppered open5 and the inside )all (alk(ay disappeared into infinity like lookin do(n railroad tracks on a strai hta(ay& Bundreds of shops and only three (ith li hts on: Cracked <lates :epaired. Ta!es &i((ered. like so)e ypsies ca)e in (a ons and horses and )oved their specialties into the vacant shops of the deserted )all& No Mr& T:s5 thou h& %cross Coon Rapids (as the north side of the )all5 =ust as bi 5 but oddly arran ed5 the eo)etry chaotic5 a -ocial -ecurity outpost in an abandoned )ovie theater (as over there standin alone5 cluster of old cars in front5 then over thereMwhat was that3 -o)e yello( in the rainL . love old 'ookie5 snortin and (heeCin as he pads clickity clickity around the kitchen5 (antin to be let out& . found a cleaners (ith on3pre)ises )achines to either (ash or dry clean )y (hite shirt for Marilyn:s fiftieth hi h school class reunion at the Marriott Courtyard in do(nto(n Minneapolis& Tryin to follo( Fathy:s directions to et to a cleaners5 . The %= Cent store. asked her5 8Bo( farL. pick it up to)orro(L Be shook his head& Closed do(n for the (eekend& What he )eant (as he:s not oin to "/ . dishes. %nd there5 =ust inside the entrance5 Mr& T:s& . Cobbler/Ladies dancin( shoes. =ust sit there across fro) her and a) consu)ed by it5 eaten by each bite and (ord and )ove)ent she )akes& There is no )ore to )y life than this& . headed to(ard it5 this hu e si n ro(in 5 the only real si n of vital life in all this hostly )all (ith its do eared buildin s5 announcin Mr& T:s& . sa( a si n about Crooked Aake Road co)in up and there (as the intersection (ith a tire store on one corner and a 2311 across the street fro) it: (hich (ay to turnL >uess a left and into this hu e ray )all5 roo) to park t(o thousand cars5 )a=or lea ue depart)ent stores5 theater5 an infinity of shops5 and it (as deserted5 finished5 (orn out5 abandoned& Way off do(n at the end of the )all are so)e bits of color and a fe( cars and5 after a drive across the pitted lot5 . a) co)plete& % short ti)e before that perfect peace5 drivin around not but an hour or so a o5 lookin for a cleaners for )y shirts5 that life (as not co)plete& .t (ould not be co)plete until . and Candy Shop Sale.oulevard at Crooked Aake& . (anted to be back to ?ridley and Fathy:s house (ith its crackly fire there in the stove in the corner& . a) ho)e& . 9ac :epair . love her& . ot the address and find it is a drop3off storefront& The lady there said the closest on3pre)ise place is Mr& T:s on Coon Rapids .carefully out to drip onto an apple slice then s)ear around5 holdin knife in one hand as she fits another slice into peanut butter benediction position5 and then eatin the one =ust finished5 lookin up at )e (ith bi (ide eyes5 s)ilin at )y attention and the taste and the crunch and bein able to do all this by herself and talk at the sa)e ti)eQ >odQ .

:) back in a (orld (here there are fresh (indfall apples cut for you by an aunt (ho can really )ake those slices thin5 and a bi =ar of real peanut butter5 all soupy and fra rant5 and a dull knife to (ork (ith a)aCin deJterity as %leJ co))ents on (hat she is doin and ho( 8the neJt one for sure is yours5. said5 8%ny place you kno( ofL. ca)e fro) and told )e5 8'laCa Cleaners on University in ?ridley has a shirt (asher in the store&. .dry clean one shirt& . can see the fire throu h& % (hite shirt that needs no pressin is (ashin *uietly in back5 tended to by so)eone (ho loves )e& 1# . (anted the floor to open and s(allo( the)5 or )e& . Marilyn co)es in5 8<h5 didn:t you kno( thatL .ack at Fathy:s5 it turned out )y shirt is a . -o here .rothers cotton No . sit (atchin %leJ5 (onderin if the neJt apple slice (ill be )ine& %leJ takes )e into her (orld (here there are no shirts or cleaners or )alls fro) hell or fifty3year reunions (here really old people act like they:re seventeen a ain5 all stuffed in a tiny . asked hi) (hy this bi )all is so deserted& Be s)iled and heads to the back5 (alkin side(ays5 this ti)e the hun clothes partin to let hi) throu h& . Be pointed back the (ay . Ma ood chair to stand on (hile doin all this5 and over there a (ood stove (ith )ica (indo( .rooks .rish bar back roo) (ith appetiCers like canned salsa and (hite toast trian les and radishes5 and the class president still callin for revolution and civil ri hts and an end to the Forean War5 and the (o)en doin their cheerleadin routinesUand .ron5 doesn:t need a cleaners5 Fathy tells )e& 8We can (ash it here&. thou ht you (anted your =acket cleaned5 ive it here5 (e:ll (ash it no( and have it ready in a =iffy&.

(as a kid and didn:t s)oke5 but . had a bi pile of split piRon and sold so)e of it to buy food and as& . recreated the Rios (ood yard and %naya ho)e half a lifeti)e later (hen .:d (ake up5 o to the cook stove and scatter so)e fresh piRon chips do(n over the e)bers in the burn boJ5 et a little fire oin 5 roll the first ci arette of the day and li ht up& My head s(irled in pure li ht Dir inia s)oke5 a )iJ of burnin phosphorus 11 .n (inter5 t(o burros: (orth lasted us a )onth& My brothers and .n ti)e .CHAPTER ' &OOD(CHOPPIN% IN !ES)S RIOS AND TR)CHAS Truchas is a )ountain villa e in Ne( MeJico bet(een -anta ?e and Taos& . liked to bike do(n the hill and (atch the Rios kids choppin (ood the older boys brou ht do(n fro) the -an res& %cross the field fro) our rented house (as the %naya fa)ily in a house they:d built of clay )iJed (ith sand and stra( and (ater5 and poured into (ood )olds to fir) up5 the )old lifted off the bricks and left a (eek or t(o to cure in the sun and dry )ountain air& The %naya irls5 ?lorinda and Aucy5 (ere our babysitters5 the youn er boys our play)ates& We liked bein at their house because the food (as tastier than (hat (e (ere used to5 and "am> and <ap> (ere relaJed (ith us kids& We kne( their si)ple rules of obey the )other5 ans(er to the father5 eat everythin on the plate and =oin in on chores& Then freedo)& The %naya house had t(o roo)s for the ei ht of the)5 a sunken dirt floor that had been the )iJin trou h for the adobe )ud used to plaster the brick (alls5 a (ood cook stove (ith (ar)in ovens5 a door on tree stu)ps for a table and so)e benches& <ur house had siJ roo)s5 re ular furniture5 plu)bin 5 as5 and an iceboJ& .t:s not =ust s(in in an aJe do(n hard5 there:s stuff oin on physically that can:t be tau ht (ith (ords& Maybe the (ood5 too5 teaches a chopper ho( to do it ri ht5 by its resistance (hen the (hack is off5 or the clean shre*t2 (hen it:s ri ht& .i 'iney (ho could do it all (ith one hand (hile he rode5 na)e of Jess5 around seventy or ei hty5 on the Mickelson Ranch in Wyo)in & . could o all day& . used to love s)okin ci arettes (hen livin in the )ountains& .:) not a born s)oker5 not (ired for nicotine and didn:t particularly like the feel of the hit& .ut . )oved to the Upper Alano above Truchas& %nd that first puff in the )ornin & .u ler5 pinchin out so)e tobacco and fittin it into the paper leaf5 lickin the u))ed ed e of the yello( (rap and li htin up& . (as alone& .t (as ood5 but not as5 because . lived in a friend:s cabin on the Upper Alano in Truchas& . once rode (ith a co(boy in . liked choppin (ood5 it (as (ork the (o)en in the villa e did5 buildin bi piles fro) the rounds the )en brou ht in& >ood ai)5 clean po(erful (hack5 the t(o halves droppin beside the choppin blocks or if the rain (as t(isty so)ersaultin a(ay5 or han in onto the blade for another (hack& . (atched hi) that su))er and it sat there in )y unfulfilled desires dra(er for t(o decades before openin into )y life (hen . loved openin the *uart can of . learned to chop fro) (atchin the)& . had an irri ation ditch for (ater5 fuel for cookin 5 and candles and oil la)ps for li ht& When our fa)ily first ca)e to -anta ?e in 1/7" (e lived on Ca)ino del Monte -ol on the )ountain end of to(n& %t the botto) of the road on the corner of Canyon Road5 Jesus Rios had his ho)e and (ood yard& <ur )other bou ht (ood fro) hi)5 Jesus personally deliverin it by truck or5 if he sent his youn kids5 by burros& . lived there a fe( years5 chopped piRon (ood for the fireplace and Ma=estic cook stove& . had the body for (ood3choppin : lon torso and rounded shoulders& . loved the cere)ony5 especially rollin )y o(n& .

die& . had one of those little ci arette rollers that ca)e (ith bi cans of . ca)e back to Gof the store3bou htsH5 )y )ain )issie after sleepin around (ith the other brands& <nce .:d buy a pack at Tafoya:s >rocery& -o)eti)es Aucky -trikes5 Chesterfield5 Ca)el5 or 'all Mall& 'all Malls (ere the ones . (anted it directly out of the still pipe on its (ay fro) the distillery coils into the vat and5 if it (as (ine5 so)eone had to have sto)ped on the rapes after (alkin throu h the far)yard and bottled it robust (ith the life of the vine still buCCin & . find intensity no( in fra)es of nuance& . built& -o)eti)es .:d sass back& 8>ood dan fires5.:d iven up s)okin three days before and took this as >od:s order to start s)okin 5 pronto& . needed ori inal sin as it happened5 and not a passed3alon rendition& When .u ler5 but the thin )ade the) too perfect5 other than the shreds han in out both ends& . (ill never for et it5 even (hen . drank . finally find a li ht5 and (ith it5 eternal rest& . (as rich5 . liked the trade)ark not3*uite3 there look of )y hand3rolled& The others . . could buy in a pack& When . felt about the)& They:d sass )e and . (anted it hot5 bloody5 spicy5 and che(y5 and (hen . took a fistful of coffee fro) the can and dropped it in5 and brushed the rains off )y hand into the froth& . ca)e a(ake (ith stron coffee for an hour or so& Not as )uch any)ore& . once needed thin s intense because .:d say5 and they:d either lo( a little )ore bri htly or tell )e to et a life5 dependin on the )ood& .:d li ht so)e split piRon lo s in the corner fireplace and sit there aCin at the fla)es5 )arinatin in the heat and fra rance of the (ood and tobacco& These (ere )y friends5 these fires in the Ma=estic stove5 in this alcove fireplace and at the tip of the ci arette . finished that first ci arette . (ill return to this life over and over to find )yself in that sa)e particular dile))a until . (as (alkin to $spaRola alon the hi h road to Taos5 (here it (inds do(n into the Rio >rande valley5 and found a half3s)oked 'all Mall ci arette on the side of the road& .:d tell the) ho( .utt tucked into the side of )y )outh5 pour so)e creek (ater into the pot and pull it over to the open rin of fire (here it:d be t(itchy3stea)y in a fe( )inutes5 and in a rollin boil in one )ore& Then . had this 'all Mall5 )aybe one .and sulfur vulcaniCed into the pun ent leaf5 (ell5 the ods turn into )ortals to et a taste of this& . (as near a dirt road to the villa e landfill and cut in to see if . (as half asleep )uch of the ti)e and5 to catch )y attention5 (hatever it (as5 had to boo)5 s*ueal5 or flash& .ut there (as no fire there5 and none alon the road after(ard& .efore .eauty in (o)en these days is so co))on that it:s not the obvious that catches )y eye but the eyes of a (o)an5 her (alk5 and the (ay she fits into her skin and the space she )oves throu h& % solo (o)an (ith di nity and a special a(areness of (ho she is5 a (o)an (ho carries a presence of savvy innocence and playfulness5 is si)ply livin art& There is the irl of her runnin alon side the ro(n3up (o)an of her& -he isn:t afraidP she kno(s (ho she is& -he is protected fro) dan er by 1" .u ler and (atchin the sun by the Truchas 'eaks s)ilin over at )e& .:d tossed out of the truck one day lon a o5 and no (ay to li ht up& The last of the nicotine (ithin )e needed help and there (as no i nition any(here5 no houses on this steep (indin part of the do(nhill5 no sli) ray of intense sunshine to poke the ash end into to et it oin & That (as a lon 5 lon (alk& . ate5 .n (inter .:d be sittin on the front porch5 sippin co(boy coffee5 s)okin the tarry end of the . could find so)eone du)pin trash to ask for a li ht5 or a fire a)on the trash heaps5 or a book of )atches a)on the =unk on the round5 a flint and steel even& . (anted it to burn on its (ay do(n& No a ed scotch or bourbon for )e5 .

(as born for %r)a eddon& . happened upon the creation of the first (o)an& Not lon a o . used to& . sa( this in -an ?rancisco at least forty3five years a o (hen a (o)an strode )y (ay in a dress suit5 carryin a briefcase early one )ornin 5 the streets deserted& -he o(ned the side(alk so . et up& <ne day5 thou h5 all these %r)a eddons (ill sluice into one perfect stor)5 and . (ant to be here for it& The after)ath of that baby (ill enrich the fields of a ne( hu)anity ettin a second chance& 11 .her o(n sanctity& Aike Marilyn& .ut . (ished . )oved closer to the buildin s to ive her plenty of roo) to pass because she (as special and kne( it5 her step5 the lilt of fresh (o)anhood5 the =oy flashin fro) her s)ile and eyes and bearin(2 .t (as all her ift to the (orld5 but .:ve discovered %r)a eddon in the ordinary5 the pretty ood5 the not3bad& %r)a eddon is oin on everyday and starts ane( (hen . don:t live as )uch for that particular take on it like . (ant to be around (hen it does because .cecaps )eltin and coastlines chan in as (e (atch5 fish and fro s rainin fro) the sky still uplift )e because5 (hen there is this )uch chan e oin on all at once5 so)ethin bi is in the (in s5 (aitin to co)e on sta e5 and . snuck so)e =ust for )e as she passed& The scent and resolve and fir)a)ent of her )a nificence captured )e that early )ornin in 1/0#:s -an ?rancisco and has stayed in )y soul ever since& -he (as the holy te)ple5 the perfection of (o)anhood here on earth5 the first $ve& . spoke tornado and danced earth*uakes& When %l Buff told )e about (hen he (as post)aster in >lencoe5 Minnesota5 a tornado lifted a )ail carrier:s panel truck and carried it a half )ile5 suckin all the )ail out and deliverin it to the (inds5 .:d been hi)& The )ail)an had thro(n hi)self on the floor atop his (ife and held onto the seat anchors (ith his hands5 and the brake and clutch (ith his feet& That is )y kind of trip& .

ndian dances alon the Rio >rande (here (e (ent on the cere)onial days for plantin or huntin 5 rain or harvest& We (ent to -an .auerH in -cottsdale& My )other5 Marion5 saved us kids fro) secure )ediocrity (hen she decided to head (est fro) Ne( 9ork on a troop train to A% in 1/7"& We (ere in -ilver City first then )oved to -anta ?e (here she rented an adobe hacienda fro) Joseph . think (hat happened (as that because Marilyn hadn:t seen .ldefonso5 IOa5 -anta Clara5 and Taos5 the oldest of the) all5 and further (est at the Bopi Mesas5 Botevilla5 <raibi5 -han nopovi5 and Misho novi& $ven to us kids5 it (as clear the dancers (ere in another space than the one (e (atched fro)& . (as havin a senior )o)ent& .ndian reli ion is (here they link up (ith nature and their prayers are ranted reality as the dancers beco)e in spirit (hat they are askin for& 17 . =ust re)e)berin they had a date for breakfast to o to 'erkins& We reeted her5 a fast hu fro) Marilyn5 (ho hi htailed it to the bedroo) (hile .akos at 620 Ca)ino del Monte -ol& Be (as one of a pack of artists called Los Cinco <intores5 The ?ive 'ainters5 the nucleus of a .etty <rton and .etty3ness (asn:t as fresh in her )ind as )other: s . told her .akos lived above the ara e in his studio& Will -huster (as a fe( doors do(n5 and Wyatt and Marian @avis a fe( up& They (ere all in a)aCe)ent at the olden ti)e si)plicities of -anta ?e5 (here desert )eets )ountains and the air is desperately alive5 the sunli ht desperately pri)ordial5 and =ust about anyone desperately beautiful by ei ht o:clock5 and desperately yours by t(o& 9ou drank5 danced5 lau hed5 and )ade love all ni ht5 and painted5 sculpted5 or (rote all day& Throu h the artists (e discovered the pueblo .etty (as tellin )e about her do and his arthritis& Not ettin it5 Marilyn interrupted to eJplain that .CHAPTER * &OMEN % (o)an (as (alkin to our front door a fe( years a o and stopped to ive 'ebbles so)e treat she pulled fro) a pocket& Marilyn (as holdin a cup of coffee and readin aloud fro) the paper about the t(enty3t(o3year3old )ayor of %noka5 no( in his fourth ter)& Be had filed for the )ayoral race dressed in shorts5 T3shirt5 and sandals5 and the clerk said he had to be kiddin & Be (on over the five3ter) incu)bent )ayor on a platfor) of lovin the to(n and seein its people needed so)eone (ho cared& Marilyn took a sip and looked up5 sa( the (o)an pass the front (indo(5 and leapt up5 sayin 5 8<h)i od5 it:s . Gshe )eant Mother:s .etty G.etty ri ht here (as tellin )e&.t:s dicey for Marilyn to set thin s ri ht (ith her friends (hen she thinks . stood around talkin about her do :s arthritis5 and her su estin that 'ebbles )i ht benefit fro) this Ri)adahl stuff she (as ivin Jake5 her lab& .:ve toppled off the deep end of )y )ind& Thou h she (as a little e)barrassed5 she (as also relieved that she (ouldn:t have to cover up for )e5 or tie )e up to a leash (hen she (ent& .ohe)ian art scene she ot cau ht up (ith ri ht a(ay5 )ost of the) (ithin lau hter distance on the Ca)ino& . said5 8No5 Marilyn5 this .ettyQ. said (e:d try it out and if it (orked for us (e:d share it (ith 'ebs& Marilyn s(ept in (earin autu)n3color slacks and blouse ri ht at the tail3end of our do talk and5 to brin her up to speed5 .ettyH out (est (ho had a black poodle5 thinkin .etty <rton in ei ht or ten years her particular . .etty .etty (as )y 8aunt.

ndian as their plo( and seed& Without our )other:s decision to o (est5 (e )i ht:ve ro(n up on the east coast as hand puppets& . s)elled s(eat and sa e&. a) dead& Be:s in=ected so )uch adrenaline into )e over the last fe( hours to help )e breathe that )y heart has stopped& . like it here in the el) tree but )y )other:s rief is too )uch for )e to stay there5 so . a) a eless& .ndians are talkin (ith in their cere)onies5 the funda)ental far)ers that use the .ack then C'R hadn:t been invented5 but he:s been punchin )y chest (ith the heel of his hand& My )other co)es apart and .:) not =ust a sack of 16 . a) dead5 and out here . take a breath and open )y eyes& 8Be:s alive5 oh Berb5 Johnnie:s aliveQ 9ou did itQ. We sa( dark people s)eared (ith pollen5 (hite and black paint5 yello(s and reds5 the bare3chested )en and boys (earin black fabric loincloths and decorative head pieces5 the irls and (o)en in black s)ocks5 holdin ourds and feathers and pine branches5 carved Ci Ca li htnin sticks5 a lan ua e of thin s nature spirits understand the dancers to be sayin and askin and offerin & We sa( adobe houses plastered (ith )ud5 )iJed (ith stra(5 rubbed on by the (o)en:s hands5 tur*uoise sky5 the dru))ers standin to ether5 so)eho( kno(in (hen to interrupt the beat all at the sa)e ti)e5 then pick it up all at once& The dust )otes (ere sta)ped up fro) the round by dance5 the dru) beat5 the bells and chanted prayer all o out to the fields of spirit far)ers that the pueblo .f (e ot (hipped5 (e planned to run a(ay and )ake all the necessary plans until so)eone re)inded us that -anta ?e (as (here runa(ays head& . 8>ourd rattles5 bells on leather straps around ankles and upper ar)s5 so)eti)es the )ission bells tollin a(ay beyond the dance plaCa5 the thu)p of the bass dru)s and the tin of the s)aller ones5 the chants of )en and (o)en in one voice5 locked in like their steps5 a fe( hundred in union5 the spontaneous yo(ls and yips fro) the fe( painted )en ran in free around the dancers like herdin do s (ith a flock&. a) sittin in an el) tree out front of our house in -anta ?e5 lookin throu h the (all of )y bedroo) (here @r& $llis has =ust told )y )other . said5 8'ine bou hs5 piRon fire(ood burnin 5 dust raised by )occasins shufflin alon 5 .n spirit (e kno( everythin 5 in flesh (e have to learn it& -he (as pressin )e to let )y senses re)e)ber so she could be there )ore closely than )y (ords (ere takin her& 8What did you s)ellL.. a) back in )y body& . a) seven or ei ht5 out here .:d not felt this =oy in a lon ti)e& -he kno(s no( she loves )e and . a) safe at last and takin off is all up to )e no(& . re)e)bered& -he )entioned %ristotle (ritin that all kno(led e co)es throu h the senses& .f it ot a lau h5 (e (ere safe& <ther(ise (e had to hope she:d one out for the evenin or be prepared for her an er and a (hippin & .:ve =ust returned to real life& The suffocation drea) is over& . . feel a hu e (ave of tra ic love roll out across the yard and up into the tree& . 8What did you hearL.ut that burst of love fro) her5 .n the bedroo) .nstead (e (ere let loose in -anta ?e to run (ild a)on three cultures in traditional conflict5 (here there (ere fe( fences or si ns of (hat not to do& There (ere no 8Thou Musts.n there . . a) free to o& . co)e back to her life& . (as tellin Marilyn about this as (e drove throu h Ne( MeJico on our (ay to <ld MeJico5 and she asked about the sensory thin s . eJcept to be ho)e for supper )ost of the ti)e5 or co)e in (ith a (ell3prepared preposterous eJcuse& . didn:t eJpect that& Bere .

poked the last bite of burrito into her )outh5 and (ent on openin envelopes and scannin for deals& .y the 1/4#s they (ere a)on the )ost po(erful (o)en in -anta ?e& The )a aCine they launched as a t(elve3pa e pa)phlet (as no( a five3color lossy )e a3)a aCine sold around the (orld5 keepin those (ho loved -anta ?e in touch (ith (hat (as oin on there5 and introducin the to(n and its peculiar forei n culture to those (ho thou ht -anta ?e (as still part of MeJico& Marion kne( the )ain )overs in to(n fro) the early 1/7#s on5 fro) (hen it had a 10 .t seduces )e back fro) paradise for another round& . 8. Marilyn said absently5 dealin )ail like cards on the counter& 8This one here needs to be dealt (ith& 9ou (ere sayin so)ethin about the dead5 or is that in this -t& Jude )ailL. 8Nothin &.etty had been on the -anta ?e scene as lon as Mother5 they kne( all the sa)e people and (ent to the sa)e parties5 but it (as forty years partyin before they ca)e to ether& Marion had )arried for the third ti)e several years earlier5 and then lost 'eter to cancer and a tryst (ith another )an& <ur little brother5 Ralph5 had been )urdered in Ro)eP ?red lived in $n landP and . took Marilyn to )eet )y )other and . returned to her& The doctor didn:t do it5 she did&.:ve told Marilyn about the el) tree over the years5 callin it the first ti)e . (anted to share it (ith her because it (as bi 5 at least for )e& . died5 (hich she doesn:t like& .efore they =oined lives5 . felt her love it raised )e fro) the dead and .ook and -tationery& . )i ht:ve chosen a better ti)e& We (ere in the kitchen (here she (as )unchin a cheese burrito5 sippin coffee5 and lookin throu h so)e -econd Class )ail& <ne (as a note of thanks for her ten dollars to the -t& Jude:s -ociety5 includin a su estion that she donate )ore the neJt ti)e& They (eren:t co)plainin but if she had a car or so)ethin she could do (ithout5 there (ere a )ess of starvin and dyin folks around dependin on her& -o (hen .etty had run the %vis % ency across fro) Aa ?onda hotel5 (orked at the local ne(spaper5 and bou ht rundo(n houses she fiJed up to sell& Marion (as (orkin in shops: The Country -tore5 and -anta ?e . . sure loved her& Maybe . =ust had to lau h5 =ust a little bu)p of the belly5 but .etty in -anta ?e .*ri?oles tied to the le of her love life& . didn:t kno( (hy that particular ti)e kept co)in back until yesterday (hen the rest of the el) tree story ca)e to )e& .:d discovered5 Marilyn said 8<h5. (as all over eJcept in -anta ?e& -he:d finished up her late3in3life archeolo y career (hen her )entor5 @r& ?lo $llis5 died& -he (as ready for co)panionship (ith so)eone (ho (as lo ical and co))andin 5 so)eone (ho could take char e of her& -he no lon er looked like %va in 8ne Touch o* 9enus5 desired by )en5 (o)en5 bears5 coyotes5 elk5 and roosters& -he (as )ore like %va in @i(ht o* The (uana& -he and . rephrased )y punch line to 89ou see5 . ca)e out of the el) tree for her& When .y this ti)e she (as old and biased5 po)pous5 illo ical5 and bullyin & ?or her first fifty years she:d been s)art5 open5 and full of lau hter and intense feelin s5 includin poisonous =ealousy& . (as ready to o but (hen .etty sa( one another at a party5 as they had a thousand ti)es over the years5 but this ti)e (as differentP they fell in love across the cro(ded roo)& They )er ed into a relationship that not only )ade the) )illionaires by the end of the ei hties5 but also chan ed the face of -anta ?e (ithin a decade& Their creationMThe Santa &ean )a aCineMpulled the to(n out of the closet and shoved it naked and beautiful into the (orld& .:d for otten about Marion:s =ealousy& No5 it (as )ore than =ealousyP it (as hatred& -he hated )y ladies& . finished tellin her about the el) tree and (hat . see5.

rish5.:d suddenly turned bad5 ho( . said she )ay as (ell have dra(n the s(ord and run her throu h& -he lau hed aily and toyed (ith the flo(er on the handle shank of the cane that unlatched the blade5 peerin up at )e fro) under an arched eyebro(& When (e returned fro) the porch5 Marion (as tellin .:ve been insulted5.ank& Ber stories (ere about people breakin free of lives staked out for the) by others5 and ho(5 in this land before ti)e5 they found their true identity& . she said& .t (as Marion:s and .t had an 14##:s -evilla for ed s(ord concealed inside a hickory (ood cane (ith a carved antler handle& We (alked into )other and .ane3 (ith a fourth Jack @aniels in one hand and a s(ord cane in the other& The s(ord cane (as a ift .:d heard of it&H Marilyn eJcused herself and (ent out on the porch5 (here .etty @avis in 7hatever 'appened To 0aby .:d follo( the t(o of the) around the 12 .etty:s adobe at five and5 by five3thirty5 Marion (as tellin Marilyn ho( she looked to be 8-hanty . and ho( all the servants at her fa)ily ho)e in <s(e o (ere of this sa)e breed: the cooks5 the butler5 the roundskeepers5 and cha)ber)aids& Mother prattled on about ho( Marilyn:s forebears had no doubt boated over in steera e fro) . had so)e (ords (ith Marion5 and she pretended to be be(ildered5 sayin all she (as doin (as tryin to )ake )y friend feel (elco)e and at ho)e& . (as before ?red (as born5 and ho( .reland and ho( had she:d only kno(n she )i ht have had the coach)an )eet the) at the docks and offer the) =obs& G?irst .population of 1"5### to (hen it had five ti)es that5 (hen she and .etty:s o(n story& The irony is that the advent of their )a aCine started <ld -anta ?e bein replaced by a ne(er )ore refined version that had the looks but not the spirit of the to(n& Their celebratin -anta ?e on a (orld sta e led to the end of the le end they (ere part of5 and the be innin of its taJider)y& 'eople poured in& %n acre of raCin land north(est of to(n by the Rio >rande sellin for V7## an acre in 1/2# no( fetched V7#5### per lot& No )atter (here you lived in the (orld The -anta ?e look (as in (hat you (ore5 ate5 drove5 and drank& The Californians )oved in5 the Ne( 9orkers5 the Ne( % ers& There (as )ore <ld 'a(n =e(elry around their necks5 (aists5 and (rists than on .etty (hat an an el . found her cryin & 8.efore oin after Marilyn . think .n her tellin over ti)e it beca)e three inches shorter5 then five5 and (hichever len th she decided on (hen talkin about it (as the (ay she (alked& With it five inches shorter5 she looked like one of those piano ti)er )etrono)es& %s her beauty faded5 she )oved into the rotes*ue to try it on for siCe& Ber life (as structured around bein desired& Well into her fifties5 she (as still strikin and (itty5 and )ade people feel ood bein around her& .ndians5 later coloniCed by the -panish Throne5 then by the ar)ies of the United -tates5 then by artists fro) all over (ho sa( it as our country:s Aeft .ndians& When Marion:s hip ave (ay and she had a replace)ent5 she ca)e out (ith that le an inch shorter than the other& .etty )oved in to ether& -he (rote about (hat brou ht people to these su))er lands of the ancient . held her5 both of us in )isery& .ut rockin side to side on a cane (ith one le bet(een one and five inches shorter than the other ta)ed so)e of that& Ber lau hter (as still stron but the raceful curves strai htened and her fire (as no( e)bers& The bed had beco)e a place to read and sleep& -he (as pushin ei hty& -o here:s Marilyn the sin in nun5 and nurse5 and lover of children5 )eetin .:d otten her fro) the :astro5 a flea )arket in Madrid5 as a (all orna)ent& .

t (as the only (ay to control )e& -he (inked at Marilyn as if passin alon a )an3)ana e)ent secret& <nly a year later5 Marilyn and . -he said it in a voice breakin (ith feelin a lifeti)e of bein a(ay fro) )other love& When Mother hu ed the t(o of the) oodbye5 .:d never seen =oy and horror as one eJpression until then& -he looked at )e5 then at hi)5 then back to )e (ithout reco nition& -he reached out to Iach& 8Johnnie5 Johnnie5 it:s )e5 it:s your )o))y&.t:s )y son&. . brou ht Iach to -anta ?e to visit Mother and . felt her pain and =oy in )y heart and5 had she not been so frail5 . (ish you:d been )y )other&. looked throu h the keyhole at the t(o of the) and felt ra e& . The t(o days (e (ere there5 she kept (atchin Marilyn and Iach and ho( close they (ere5 ho( he reached for her and she to hi)& When (e left5 Marion said to Marilyn5 8. started attackin people (ho ca)e to our house5 or even out (alkin 5 so she finally had to put )e in a harness and on a leash& . )ade it difficult to nurse hi)& .house5 dra in )y little toy )achete5 (aitin for )y chance to et rid of ?red& Mother had been all )ine and no( this baby had chan ed everythin & . (ould:ve clasped her to )y chest (ith all )y )i ht& 14 .etty+ Iach (as three and this (as the first ti)e he had )et his rand)other& When she sa( hi) in the front hall(ay she asped& 8My >odQ . spent a lot of ti)e in the locked pantry& Marion said .t:s JohnnieQ . re)e)ber her lockin )e into the kitchen pantry (hen it (as ti)e to nurse ?red& -ee)s .

a) bi & . co)e to )y senses& What an ani)al this old al is5 and she is chucklin and (heeCin happily as . could still hear . can& %nd .that irlL.arb5 and that she )ade bars of soap5 but that (asn:t really (hat she (as askin & .arb shoutin behind )e to ive her all .arb calls the 'i)p)obile& .arb Justbarb&.t (as s)all inside& .arb Justbarb5.. pulled into the drive(ay5 Fathy (as still fittin block and . a) over the speed li)it at siJty and shiftin into fifth at ei hty before .arb (anted )e to drive the MR3" before she traded it in on the 9aris5 the Toyota people ivin her a V"6# trade3in& . %nd she (ill say5 89ou can call )e =ust .arb Mac>re or& No( it (ill be . he told her& -he said it (ould5 she kne( her car& Be said he didn:t5 and that (as that& The city had dealt (ith the heap of her Toyota :44 MR3" parked in Fathy:s drive(ay by citin the car for parkin on the dirt off3drive(ay& No( Fathy (as on her knees5 eJtendin the pave)ent by layin interlockin patio block for .ase)ent . say5 a little daCed& -he cracks up& -he tells us she is le ally chan in her last na)e the neJt day to Justbarb& . put on brou ht )e fully alive5 turned over and opened up& . say . We:d tell her it (as .n their base)ent is a bedroo) and bath they rented to their friend5 .t used to be Mac>re or or so)ethin M. slo( and turn off $ast River to find )y (ay back& When .arbara& %bie used to ask us5 8Who .arb stood there (atchin and entertainin Fathy as (e drove up in Marilyn:s leased olden Chrysler 1## Be)i that . she (ill say& 8.arb:s )y first na)e5 and Justbarb:s )y second na)e& Call )e 1/ .t took so)e y)nastics to settle into the seat5 but once there5 the s(eet old car took )y hand and uided )e to her controls& %ll of a sudden this rusted suit . The person (ill think a )o)ent& 8-o .arb to park on& .arb (as buyin a Toyota 9aris to replace her Toyota MR3"5 a t(o3seater (ith the driver:s bucket about seven inches off the road and tor*ue like a (easel out of a boJ& The fra)e and body is a lattice(ork of deterioration5 the )etallic blue paint holdin it to ether& When she took it to a ara e a fe( (eeks back to et it on the lift to see (here a 8span in . do5 up %lden Way to $ast River Road5 shi))yin into a hard left and ettin her into third5 then fourth and the po(er and passion of the heap are terrific& . .arb Justbarb& When .arb asks5 eyes (ild and ea er& 8<h5 yeah5. (as co)in fro)5 the )echanic refused out of respect for his life& 8The fra)e (on:t hold5. 8Ri ht5. .ase)ent .arb and Marilyn (ere in stitches5 (atchin )e tryin to et out of the cockpit5 pullin up one le (ith both hands and liftin it outside5 the other5 head and shoulders do(n and for(ard to clear the door fra)e5 no( holdin onto the roof to help pull )yself out& 89ou like herL.CHAPTER .:) . F)NERALS AND CANASTA Marilyn:s sister Fathy and Fathy:s partner Fay have a house up on %lden Way not far fro) us& Their )odern house (as built onto the old5 old5 old Toner fa)ily house (here %bie (as livin & They (atched after her5 ivin her an ed e on stayin independent in her o(n ho)e those last years& . and she (ill hear5 8Well it:s ood to )eetcha .arb )eets so)eone she (ill say5 8Bi5 .arb but not JustbarbL. shifted into lo( and took off (ith a bello(5 the )ufflers rusted throu h5 thou h .arbP you don:t need the Justbarb&.

sa( the) across the river on the rocky part of the shore5 all of the)5 doin the sa)e thin & . say . 8There:s seventeen (ild turkeys on the la(n5. did this5. et back fro) s(i))in laps at the 95 Marilyn is in the yard on her back on an %)erican fla blanket laid over a bi pile of leaves .t:s Monday5 clear5 cold& 8.een a lon ti)e since . could do that (hen so)eone needed an ans(er ri ht a(ay& They:d kno( . (ould5 too& Co)e =oin )e&. si)ply said )y brain (asn:t (orkin and could (e try a ain another dayL Marilyn (as touched by )y honesty and didn:t pursue it& 7# .ach:s . or 8Aet )e think about it5 (ill you pleaseL. o lie do(n on the fla on the pile and i)a ine her (ar)th is still there& 8>en @uffy:s do =ust died5. .:ll sin it like $lvis5 (rench tears fro) the con re ation& <r take )y uitar and sin . say 9es to everythin & . When . ot around to the front5 they (ere one& Then .:) ettin so )ello( these days . (ill and ask if (e:ll sin a hy)n& -he says to choose one and sin it& . Marilyn says& -he is standin in the door(ay to her office5 a roo) of her o(n5 (ith a tan Ultrasuede sofa and foldout bed& There:s an oriental roll3top desk (ith carved scenes in the dra(er fronts5 a Mac on a co)puter table5 piles of paper livin in loose har)ony (ith t(o bookshelves storin cards5 bills5 correspondence datin back to before airplanes5 crayon dra(in s by %leJ5 research books5 and folders that (on:t fit into the (ood file her TD sits upon& 8-eventeen turkeys5 five )ales all decked out5 all blue in the face and chins tucked in lookin =ud )ental5 and that carbuncle thin on their heads5 struttin around snappin their tail fans for the irls& Bo( eJcitin & Bo( co)e you don:t snap your tail for )eL.:) sayin so)ethin about consciousness5 ethos5 or -a)adhi5 or )e (hen she:s sharin a reva)p idea for our bedroo)5 co)pletely filled by the bed and dresser& Marilyn says 'ebbles can co)e and there (ill be the four of us for the service and inter)ent& . -he:s co)e in fro) her sister Fathy:s& Ber partner Fay is >en:s dau hter& 8The funeral:s today at one& Fathy (ill di the hole in >en:s backyard& . )ay have for otten& 'ebbles slept all ni ht& . sa( 'ebs and decided . hardly reco niCe )e& . snuck outside by the backdoor but5 by the ti)e . Ber eyes are bri ht& . raked before leavin & 'ebbles is curled up neJt to Marilyn5 snooCin on a s)aller ne( pile of leaves& -unli ht )ottles the t(o of the) throu h the last leaves clutchin the tree& 8. couldn:t find your ca)era so . scan )y archivesM8<ld -hep. Aast ni ht (hen (e discussed chan in so)e travel plans5 instead of )e fallin to pieces5 . (as (orkin on it& 'ebbles is deaf but can read lips& Not =ust selectively deaf like Marilyn (hen . (ish . had& Aater in the day (hile she is readin on the porch5 . (ish .. s)iled at )yself in the )irror this )ornin and )y reflection s)iled back& . . she )ur)urs& 8. used )y thro(a(ay and took one throu h the bi (indo(& . Minor Mass5 hu) the (ords .t is noon (hen (e et back fro) our (alk and she is =ust ettin up& . (as =ust in here5 (ritin a poe) to the)&. Marilyn tells )e& 8Ber little terrier5 WT&.:d =ust otten up and run into her in the hall& . thou ht you:d )aybe do a couple of shovels full&. like sayin 89es5.arb5 but not Justbarb5 althou h that:s )y na)e&. ask her if she (ants to do the oratorio (ith )e at the funeral and she (a s her tail& .L .:) the soloist& . a) on a No fast5 so . (as =okin and no( .t (on:t take lon & .

We drive the fe( blocks to the house (here >en and $arl raised ei ht kids& The house is tiny5 not )uch bi er than the ara e but has a hu e backyard (ith a )eado( and so)e bi trees5 one of (hich holds the tractor tire >en:s kids s(un on fifty years a o& The three pines (e are standin by (ere all planted at the sa)e ti)e5 the one in the )iddle is full and tall5 the second closest to the (oods is )iddlin 5 but the third one closest to the house is as ra edy as WT had otten& The sandy soil here is perfect for di in the rave and Marilyn and . Fathy hu s >en5 too& . (ant to but feel three hu s )i ht be too )uch all at once& .ack at WT:s rave5 >en is cryin *uietly& -he tells Marilyn that her )o) al(ays told her and the other little kids not to cry (hen the do s or the la)bs the kids hand3fed at their far) died5 and here she is doin it any(ay& Marilyn hu s her5 sayin 5 8.ein there fired up a lon in for the past .t:s okay to cry5 >en&. didn:t so )uch see it as feel it5 as if . et to it (ith t(o spades Fathy brou ht& No one says anythin but .:d been 71 . et half(ay there and turn back to o ive >en a hu & Aater (e (ent to pick up -ister Dir inia at the . hadn:t felt in a lon ti)e& . think (e are all rootin for the little tree )akin a co)eback as it is nourished by WT:s closeness& Fathy brin s the ba (ith the s)all corpse and un(raps it5 peels back the blue plastic sheet5 and (e lay hi) to rest about t(o feet do(n& WT:s eyes are open and still shiny& We s(eep the sandy dirt in (ith our hands until he is covered and use the spades to finish up& Fathy arran es the burial site by replacin the turf and layin on a rectan ular stone that (ill be the base for the )arble slab one of >en:s kids has left over fro) a =ob& >en is oin to paint a scene (ith WT runnin about on it& Fathy says she helped bury a )uch earlier fa)ily do of theirs5 na)ed @uffee5 neJt to the thrivin pine& -he takes us over to sho( us the co))e)orative (ords she burned into the cross5 and pulls the post up to sho( Marilyn her (ork& Marilyn has co)pletely )issed that @uffee is a do 5 so she:s thinkin this is (here >en:s husband $arl @uffy is buried& -he is horrified they:d buried $arl in the backyard in the first place5 and is no( horrified by the nonchalance (ith (hich her sister is uprootin the rottin cross to sho( us (here she burned his na)e& Marilyn is tryin to et Fathy to put it back in the hole before >en or >od notice the desecration& .enedictine convent and drive to -till(ater (here there (as a co3op sho( at the >uild >allery (here Fristi the potter (as displayin her spider (eb black3on3(hite (orks& Marilyn and Dir inia had learned a -iJteenth Century firin techni*ue called :aku fro) Fristi at her (orkshop in >rand Marais& %fter firin the slipped pots at "5### de rees they are plun ed into buckets of lake (ater to do their crackin and cool off& We parked do(nto(n and (alked alon the river to the end of to(n (here the -till(ater 'rison (as built in 1461& The (arden:s house is still there and so)e of the rock (alls that (ere the prison cellblocks have beco)e condo (alls& We (alked in the dark alon the (alls built into a sandstone cliff and sa( a dun eon carved out of the stone hill they:d *uarried the rock fro)& There (as a li ht on in the dun eon and throu h the steel3barred door (e sa( (hite tiles on the far (all (ith iron rin s anchored hi h up as if to hold prisoners in chains and shackles off the floor& . a) inclinin to(ard the car5 carryin one of the spades back to Fathy:s station (a on& . could see the prison in its ori inal for)5 see the prisoners5 the uards in the to(ers5 the railroad station across the road as it (as back (hen this (as a lu)ber)ill to(n and (ater(heel boats tu ed the lo s do(n the -t& CroiJ in hu e rafts corralled by steel cable& .

there5 )aybe in this very prison (ay back& No( the railroad station (as the @epot >rill and the (orkin trains (hittled do(n to the diesel en ine Minnesota Iephyr that carries diners seven )iles in three hours (hile they have drinks and eat& 8<h look5 dear5 a deer&. )ove throu h the cro(d and telescope in& . (ill find& % bearded Aatino )an in a lon black overcoat takes the spotli ht& Wherever he stands5 eyes shift a(ay fro) the art(ork to hi)5 cau ht by this (ide s(atch of black state)ent and the intensity and presence he directs to (orks he stops before& 'eople fill the void he leaves as he )oves on and studies the (ork he eJa)ined (ith )ore focus than they ordinarily (ould& Then . find it& . how)d he do this3 Be is talkin (ith a couple tellin ho( he did it5 ho( he (as lucky5 it all ca)e to ether =ust before he pressed the shutter and he kne( he:d otten it5 a )o)ent in ti)e that (as never before and (ill never be a ain& Be says he used a Ma)iya 076 (ith ?u=i 'roviC 1##5 %-% 1##& . scan the roo)s5 kno(in there is so)ethin special .n every allery openin there is a treasure hidden5 not everyone:s treasure5 but so)eone:s& . see )ine fro) the front roo)5 the li ht of it carryin all the (ay over here& . Amaryllis. a) pretendin to )yself to be a =ournalist at a nursin ho)e doin research on a book to be titled 0renda. Lars B "e 7onderin( 7hat To Do @e!t& There is a protocol here (here (e eat the sand(iches first and sip coffee and talk about (ho died and (ho:s (aitin in line& >en for)ally announces it:s ti)e to play and oes around 7" .:) the conductor&. Aeor(e. Marilyn said (e (anted to co)e& 8>et your ticket over there at the (indo( and hop on& We:re leavin in ten )inutes&. scribble this do(n on an indeJ card& %bie:s canasta roup )eets the first Wednesday of each )onth at Fathy:s house& These atherin s have been oin on fifty years so)e(here or other5 but no( that Marilyn:s )other is ninety3siJ or ninety3seven5 no one is sure5 includin her5 it )eets only there& Marilyn:s sister Fathy buses in those (ho can no lon er drive& % ie5 %nn5 and %bie are the last of the ori inal sisterhood& The others5 like >en5 Aoretta5 and Marilyn5 are stand3ins for the sisterhood:s acolytes (ho occasionally fall ill or die& <n this particular Wednesday5 . nearly pull over a s)all bronCe ice skater )ounted on a tall stool (hen the blade on his outstretched foot sna s )y sleeve& Dir inia and Marilyn (ent lookin for Fristi& . .ut (e had the co3op sho( to o to& The place (as =a))ed5 a hundred people in 15### s*uare feet5 sippin (ine in plastic cups5 paintin s and photo raphs takin up all (all space floor to ceilin & -houlder to shoulder5 hip to hip5 . (as drafted to fill in for 'olly5 (ho had a stroke& >en also had a stroke a fe( (eeks before5 but not so serious as to keep her fro) the a)e& %t ei hty3siJ5 she:s all business and clipped re)arks& -he is a talented artist and her paintin s han around Fathy and %bie:s shared house& Bad she been in 'aris in the 1/1#s5 all of us (ould kno( her by her (ork& -o here (e are (ith our sand(iches at Fathy:s5 %bie and >en already at one table5 (ith the others lo(erin stiffly into chairs at the tables near the front (indo(& Marilyn and Fathy pull out their chairs and help the) tuck knees into place& To et around )y bein nearly as old as the)5 . 9iolet.:) not that s)art& That:d be hi) over there5 .t:s on the (all =ust before the entry to the backroo) allery (ith its fauJ seventeenth century3style $uropean still lifes& The photo rapher has taken a picture of this delicate natural stone arch at %rches National 'ark and captured the perfection in one photo raphic paintin & )ve been there. The three of us (ent over to the depot (hen the en ine started up5 Marilyn askin the )an puttin on a blue coat if he (as the en ineer& 8. Lucille.

don:t like chan e&. 89es&.t:s all . 8Ber kids (ere already spendin (hat they thou ht they:d et& %t a e1## the nei hbors told $liCabeth:s sister that she (as too old to o on livin alone5 so the sister took her to the 'ipestone Nursin Bo)e near Jasper& . This is >en:s voice& 8.f he:d iven her the end table she (ould:ve been fine&. (atch the drippin as (e play and )ake notes about it on indeJ cards5 annoyin )y partner& Fathy is helpin her )other because %bie is nearly blind and needs so)e coachin fro) ti)e to ti)e to kno( it:s her turn5 or about other players: discards& 8No5 you have fives (ith =acks&. pretended . 8<h5 does sheL. Fathy says to her& %bie says back to Fathy5 89ou have ei hts&. 8WhoL.s this a picture of Jesus5 or a cardholderL. -he:s leanin in close to her )other:s left ear5 touchin %bie:s cards and fin ers5 arran in (hat %bie handled easily until last year& -he:s on shin les pain )edication and so)e other thin s that slo( do(n her )ind& Ber dark hair today is stickin up in spears& . a) sittin neJt to a (indo(5 lookin into the patio5 and four icicles han fro) the (ood handle of the charcoal broiler5 drippin onto tinier icicles that see) to be ro(in out of the fronds and ste)s of bro(n oak leaves athered in the utensils tray belo(& . al(ays thou ht her hair (as naturally curly& . 8-o he (ouldn:t hear your heavy breathin L. 8Be kicked in the door in broad dayli ht& . They have a )an co)e over every fe( (eeks to do all their hair& 89ou have fours5.ut $liCabeth took a taJi back and called her to say the place (as filled (ith old people and she couldn:t stay in such a place& -he didn:t talk to her sister for a year& -he lived to 1#/ and outlived her randkids& -he ave a banker po(er of attorney =ust before she died5 and he sold everythin she o(ned and took (hat (as in her accounts& The bank fired hi)& -he had a niece or randniece in >arrison (ho happened to be drivin by $liCabeth:s house after she died and sa( all that furniture on the la(n5 and this end table she (ould have liked to re)e)ber her by5 but the banker (ouldn:t let her have it unless she paid full price& There (as a decorator la)p5 too& Be never told any of the) she:d died& .t sno(ed the ni ht before and (as cold enou h to )ake ice& . (asn:t ho)e and (ent into the closet&. (as born5 and )y husband:s and )ine& %nd he died& . (onder (hy she hasn:t had a per). (atch the patio broiler handle ice drip on the oak leaves and )ake notes (hen it:s not )y turn& <verheard bits of talk: 8-he (alks around and sleeps in every corner&. 8. 8No5 it:s a Cinnabon&. No( >en is talkin about the %&W that she and $arl and kids ran5 (hile Fathy (orks out 71 . have fro) before& -o . Fathy looks surprised& 'ow did her mom know3 . only lived in t(o houses in )y life& My parents:5 (here .(ith Fathy collectin cups and paper plates to take to the kitchen& No( (e:re dealin 5 and the )ood chan es as the li ht held in abeyance outside the (indo(s is allo(ed in& -o)ethin has snapped into place and these are no lon er =ust the very old5 but seasoned and brutal5 card players (ith trained co)petitive )inds co))itted to (in& .

n su))er it:s hidden like a cabin in the (oods& . -he )ouths to >en it:s her dau hter Mary& -he says aloud to Mary5 8What do you think she:s doin hereL. No( Marilyn is sayin 8-he:s Catholic5 part <=ib(a5 part Taos . 8@on:t kno(& The other do bit a child in the neck a year before and they didn:t do anythin eJcept (arn the (o)an& This ti)e it (as the terrier did it& They arrested her and her do s&.:) partner to Aoretta5 and Marilyn is to her )other& Aoretta and . don:t kno( the na)es for& We hand3busted the sod (e turned and scrunched out the black dirt fro) the roots and raked it s)ooth5 otten the (heelbarro( full of root syste)s fro) the rasses and )ullein and so)e beet3like lossy3leafed uy that:s learned tricks fro) dandelions so the leaves co)e off (hen you try to pull it up5 revealin a cluster of siJty3siJ (aitin buds hu in the ste) beneath5 =ust then cuttin into action& 77 . (ere puttin in the sprin arden alon the border (here our property )eets the vacant lot& The =un le out there )akes a neat protective (all of reen berry bush tan led (ith various kinds of creepin vines and *uasi trees . (in5 and because she has second3to3top points fro) both a)es ets the V1 priCe& .loud on %bie:s Canasta hand& The phone rin s and Fathy ans(ers and says5 .-he:s here5 it:s Canasta5 first Wednesday of every )onth&. 8The paintin &. 8Were they al)ost doneL. Then she lau hs at the response5 says oodbye5 and tells us Mary said she =ust (anted to )ake sure her )o) (asn:t drinkin and (horin around& >en is protestin that she doesn:t drink5 then oes into ho( the piCCa place neJt to the %&W that the @uffy clan ran for over thirty years (as offered to the) by the bank for less than (hat the previous o(ner o(ed& Be had upped and fled leavin dishes in the sink and leftover piCCa on the tables& -o the @uffys ran both places5 until they paid off the )an:s loan at the bank5 and then sold it& -he said they )ade everythin fro) scratch5 the sausa e5 sauce5 yeasted crust5 and it (as the best piCCa in %noka County& $veryone kne( that& Then $arl took a =ob he:d al(ays (anted at the airport5 and ot brain cancer ri ht do(n the )iddle that (as inoperable5 and (ent blind& >en is sayin he:d sit at ho)e5 (atchin television (ith the kids5 and lau h (hen they lau hed& -o)eone is sayin 5 8.ndian&.t is a fiesta of rasses and bushes and ypsy trees and raspberry thickets co)petin for turf& . 8With (hatL. Ber son Jonnie )et %licia a fe( (eeks before and (as s)itten& Be ca)e over a fe( ni hts after (e ot back fro) MeJico in the RD and (as talkin about her (ith flashin eyes& >en announces as our table finishes that it:s ti)e for dessert and to chan e partners and tables& Fathy serves cherry tarts (ith vanilla ice crea)& No( .it her in the throat5 ripped her (indpipe& The terrier bit her all over the le s before she fell do(n& -he:d =ust co)e over to help the (o)an paint her livin roo)&. a) third and (in V1&6#& The others et card scratchers that (in pocket chan e5 and Marilyn the cha)pion (ins V7 in ne( one3dollar bills& We store our RD in the vacant lot neJt to our place& . 8Ran&. 8%nd she:d one to help her paintL What did she doL. a) on the North -hore5 (ith the Mississippi )y pretend Aake -uperior& When Iach (as seventeen5 he and .

stopped by the arden and there (ere fresh deer tracks in the sod but no da)a e to the flo(ers or seedlin s& %t the RD steps so)e butterflies (hirled by and one settled onto )y shirtfront5 the third button do(n& . (ould be sendin )y (ife to a certain death& Not 'auline:s5 but her o(n& . said to Iach5 (hen she (alked a(ay5 that if (e ever decided to build a tree house (e:d have to put up a si n sayin @o Airls Allowed& Make believe is a uy:s a)e& Iach (ent to spend the su))er (ith his )other a (eek later& <n the (ay out here one )ornin . )ade connectin canals for the to)atoes and stra(berries that the dribblin hose (as fillin & .y )y stayin for the conclusion of the )ovie5 . stayed . ot back on )y stick to see ho( it looked fro) (ay do(n there& . thou ht of paddlin )y boat to and spend the ni ht eatin )y (ay into& Marilyn ca)e out and . could )arry a ain but it (ould take a(hile to really et over her and et to kno( the ne( one& -till5 .:) lookin do(n5 it:s lookin up5 (in s openin and closin & Then a bluish dra onfly hovers on the top step& That ni ht .We:d otten the three stra(berry plants set at the east borders close to the canoe set on sa(horses and the three to)ato plants& Iach )ade a shallo( line around the back border for the corn5 so (hen it ca)e up it:d )ake a fence line bet(een the =un le and our ve etable patch& While he planted corn5 .:d see the endin but lose a (ife& -ure5 . )ade a fe( chan es to the (ater(ays and levees in case the (ind ca)e up (hen . When fully en a ed (ith a violent fiction5 the real life stuff of life is not real or pressin 5 like the person you:re )arried to (antin to attend the last )o)ents in life of a dear friend5 (hile the )en fi htin and the kids bein (hacked around in the bus and the shot driver still acceleratin the bus is )ore i)portant& .t (as black (ith electric blue spots at (in tips flanked by s(atches of burnt oran e and tiny (hite nibbles alon its black (in flaps: .f . or 8Bo( (ell do you really kno( this person (ho is dyin and allL.:d learn ho( thin s turned out in the )ovie& The address Dir inia ave Marilyn over the phone put us in a nei hborhood that turned out 76 . (inced at )y (ince because it (as so inappropriate5 even to )e& Marilyn left the roo) to o dress& . )ulled this over5 considerin the options: .ass Aake RoadL Men can be cold3hearted at ti)es like this because their attention is focused entirely on survival and fi htin and pretty irls and i)probable action& We are liable to say5 8<h5 (ell hitch a ride on over5. re( incredibly s)all and ended up boatin on a stick under the overhan in to)ato plants and sa( far off the stra(berry islands (ith fruit as bi as )e& <n the closest one (as a ripe berry . re( bi a ain as she )ade su estions and told us ho( to et the corn in correctly& When she left5 . drive her over to . (as (atchin the )ovie Transporter # on television5 and there:s this hi h3 speed chase (here the Transporter5 dressed in a tuJ5 (ith the irl in the bikini he pirated the =et ski fro)& clutchin hi) fro) behind& Be is tryin to catch up to a school bus alon the shore drive& The bad uy is spread3ea led onto the back of the bus5 the Transporter po(erin alon the surf line& We see inside the school bus filled (ith kids5 and no( the Transporter sees his chance and veers the ski fro) the (ater at a boat launch platfor) an lin to the shore road& Be shoots out of the surf on the =et ski5 up the launch and throu h the air5 landin ri ht behind the bus5 still speedin alon on the )o)entu) of his leap& No( the bad uy opens the e)er ency door and pulls hi)self in (ith the school kids =ust as Transporter leaps fro) the =et ski onto the back of the bus5 and follo(s the bad uy in& %t this )o)ent Marilyn co)es into the roo) to say -ister Dir inia has =ust called to say -ister 'auline at the -anta Therese Bospice )ay not )ake it throu h the ni ht5 and asks (ill .t (as full3on black outside& -he has no ni ht vision to speak of these days5 and she (as ro y fro) a full (inter day& . (inced at her re*uest& .t:s a uy thin & .

n one call she asked )e to describe (here .:ve noticed that nuns are not bi on findin their (ay in this nether (orld& -t& Therese:s (as a nice place5 full of personal (ar)th5 indirect yello( li ht5 and entlin art of lades and lakes and flo(ers and butterflies& . . (as and .:d )issed the be innin first ti)e around and no( .to be )any )iles (est of the Bospice& Dir inia said .:ll be there in the by and by&. told her by an abandoned brick four3story buildin in an industrial section (ith all these dead3end streets and no trees near a deserted )all off -cupperhook Aane& Dir inia said5 8That:s itQ.arnabas as nuns& 'auline tau ht Marilyn to tap dance& -he (as short and tri) (ith bri ht eyes5 a bi nose5 and hot feet& When (e ot back ho)e5 it (as (ell after )idni ht and Transporter # (as startin on the B.< -panish channel5 sa)e )ovie5 different station and lan ua e& . They:d been friends since -t& %nne:s parochial school in the 1/7#s and (ere teachers at -t& .:d et to see the (hole thin throu h& That Marilyn& -he delivers the oods& 70 .:d co)e because it is so upliftin to be (ith Marilyn at ti)es like this& The rest of her5 (hich often lies hidden5 slips out5 and is *uietly a)aCin & Marilyn left )e in the lobby to =oin the others at 'auline:s bedside& We:d finally found our (ay by oin to a li*uor store for directions& We arrived at the Bospice as the front doors (ere bein locked for the ni ht& -he told )e she held 'auline:s bare feet (hile she slipped a(ay into the heavens5 and said to her5 8>et those tap shoes on5 -(eetie5 and (ar):) up5 .37/7 (hen she )eant -tate Road 10/5 and one3and3a3half blocks on the left after turnin onto .t (asn:t even close& . (as lad .ass Road turned out to )ean four or siJ blocks on the ri ht fro) the turnoff fro) 10/& We drove around silently screa)in in our race a ainst death and called Dir inia a fe( ti)es (here she confir)ed her ori inal directions& .

:ve never seen tall strai ht piRons even in Truchas (here . cut in fro) the other side and pushed it over& . stopped countin the tree:s rin s at 4## and there (ere still another fe( inches to o& There (as (ood enou h fro) the cedar to burn in a fireplace for a (eek or t(o5 no )ore5 a thousand3year3old tree )indin it o(n business until . could still see the sa)e sky (ay up there but everythin else (as different& . loved the (ood business because it put )e alone (ith the (ilderness& . drove fro) the villa e of >alisteo5 (here .:d laid do(n truck tracks in the rasses ettin here5 so)eone else (ould follo( these out of curiosity& . ot nearly throu h5 the tree didn:t lean into the notch and fall as eJpected5 it =ust sat do(n on the blade& . started .f . lived5 over to Ro(e Mesa near 'ecos& . cut the notch in the dead fir and took a break before startin in fro) the other side& There (as so)ethin spooky about this one& Nothin (as re ular about its branch arran e)ent& There 72 . kne( . used the aJe as a (ed e and a rock as ha))er to lever it up and pull the blade free& Then . left no( could . entered a lush cool fra rant copse (ith a sprin seepin alon a rock bed ro(in fern alon its banks& This (as unreal because Ro(e Mesa is hi h desert5 dry as a bone in su))er and the trees are narled because they co)e fro) the narled that (ere passed over by cutters for bi er and better trees for so lon that only the narled (ere left to perpetuate the species& . ca)e alon & ?arther out fro) the cedar (as a to(erin dead @ou las fir riddled (ith (or)holes& .:d lived hi h in the -an re de Cristo Mountains north of -anta ?e (here there (as plenty of sno( and rain& There (ere bi ones but their tops (ere like other trees: roots5 all over the place& The piRons in this copse (ere )a=estic and t(ice as tall as the tallest . (as bein allo(ed to see this and to be here& To others: eyes this place . ca)e to an island of tall @ou las fir )iJed in (ith (hat looked like desert piRon eJcept these trees had strai ht trunks and re( as tall as the fir& .t (as easily a truckload5 cut to len th and stacked to the top of the ?ord:s barred sides& Maybe a cord and a half& . (as in a parenthesis in ti)e& .:d been cuttin on Ro(e for a couple of years off and on& $ven pre3-panish .:d stepped into )ust =ust be land (ith cactus and stuff5 other(ise it (ould:ve been cut do(n lon a o& 'art of )e (as at peace and (anted nothin )ore than to be here5 another (anted to o et the chainsa( and start cuttin & There (as enou h to keep )e (orkin for a (eek of fellin 5 cuttin and loadin & The proble) (as that once .:d seen& .ndians fro) the nearby pueblos cut here& .CHAPTER NO RAINERS When . had a fire(ood business in the 1/2#s and :4#s5 . found a bi 3trunked cedar on (hat felt like a boundary line bet(een the sanctuary and the rest of the )esa top5 and decided to start there and see ho( it felt& . could see drivin in5 =ust cra y )esa top on all horiCons& The part that only (anted to soak in the stillness and beauty kept acin out the part of )ind that (as the (oodcutter& $ventually .:d break (hatever invisibility the sanctuary had and other (oodcutters (ould )ove in fast& . strolled around (ith )y aJe5 tried the (ater5 spoke to the trees5 )ainly asked *uestions& There (as no cicada buCC or bird son & .t took an hour to sa( throu h because the dry (ood soaked up the oil on the chain so .:d find the stu)ps of =uniper and cedar (ith stone aJe )arks& <ne day . kept havin to refill the reservoir and sharpen the chain& When . had a 1/7/ three3*uarter3ton ?ord pickup that ca)e off the asse)bly line black and (as no( deep3sea blue& . find )y (ay back hereL There (ere no land)arks .t (as around noon and (ould take the rest of the afternoon& .t (as still& No litter& % sanctuary5 that:s the (ord& .

better sit do(n& There (as so)ethin not *uite ri ht and . cli)bed in like a little boy and sat there holdin the steerin (heel and then so)e thin s ca)e to )e& . sa( but there (as no connection& . ot to the turn3off to Aa)y5 and then >alisteo (here . (as unta ed consciousness beco)in a(are of (here . needed to track it do(n& .f a tree can have epilepsy5 this one did& -eiCures of its spirit uided the (ood ro(th& My feelin (as to leave it alone& . (as here5 it (as here5 . )ade a )otor runnin sound& My left le t(itched& . rolled into the (ood yard at sunset& % (o)an (ith blaCin blue eyes (ho see)ed to kno( )e ca)e out the back door and s)iled& . kept lancin up ready to )ove a(ay if anythin dropped& When . (as al)ost throu h . drove at ten )iles an hour until . touched the thin s . left the clippers on a step of the stepladder 74 . didn:t kno( ho( to do (as fascinatin & What s)art hands& . s(atted at )y face and a ten3inch lon violet and crea)3colored centipede hit the round runnin and chased itself a(ay& Bo( did it et there in the fe( seconds since . hurtled up out of so)e(here to(ard the dayli ht and the centipede on )y face& There (as no (orry& When a person doesn:t kno( (ho he is or even that he is supposed to kno( there is no (orry& .:d never seen a truck before& %ll there (as in )e)ory (as an i)pression of three5 old bearded )en in ray robes an ry (ith )e )ovin alon neJt to )e as . pulled it out and looked at the end that:d been in )y brain& No blood5 only (etness& . understood the )eanin of all the horn honkin oin on fro) passin cars& -a)e thin (hen . (as& When . touched the Bus*uavarna chainsa( and it (as cold5 and that didn:t feel ri ht& .(as a fullness to(ard the top (here all the branches (ere t(isted and tor)ented as if the tree had been in pain durin its life& . (as ood at tellin (here a tree:d fall5 factorin in (ind and lean5 but couldn:t fi ure this one& -till .:d been in a s(eat& . had a sa( and truck and it had (or)s and no(here to o& Fillin the ancient cedar had )ade )e bold& The vibration of a sa( (ill travel up a dead tree and so)eti)es loosen broken branches5 so . ot the feelin . felt okay but fi ured . (as free of everythin that (asn:t auto)atic5 a =ust3born babe in )en:s (ear& . stayed at ho)e for a fe( days till )y )e)ory ca)e back5 and didn:t return to Ro(e Mesa& . reached up and felt a stick not )uch bi er than a carpenters pencil arro(ed strai ht do(n into the soft spot (here the cranial plates of the skull =oin& . ca)e upon the truck in (anderin . felt (etness on )y neck and traced it up to the crusted over hole in )y skull& There (as a burnin itch all over )y face and neck no( fro) the centipede tracks5 even )y lips hurt& . sat (ith )y back a ainst a tree5 clicked off the s(itch to the )otor and checked )y body out )entally& There (as an itch on )y cheek and so)ethin )ovin across it& . stood and looked around and didn:t have a clue to (here .:d satL The li ht (as odd5 the sun (ay over there& %nd it (as chilly& . (as by virtue of bein there (ith it5 (hatever it (as& 'uttin the sa( in the truck (as auto)atic5 tyin it do(n and (atchin )y hands do so)ethin . didn:t kno( (hat it (as& .t (ent do(n& My ri ht hand (as holdin the knob of the floor earshift& -avvy nerve patterns ot the truck started and scouted the (ay out by follo(in the s*uashed do(n rass5 and kne( (here to turn once (e ot to a 9 on a dirt road5 and then the )ain road off of Ro(e and throu h the villa e at the botto) to the free(ay (here . looked into the cab and didn:t reco niCe or understand anythin )ore than the seat& . looked do(n and sa( the clutch pedal and tapped on it (ith the boot& . =ust ot a little lecture on rust fro) )y (ife& . stood up to et a breath and (ipe )y face (hen so)ethin tapped )e on the head& .

bou ht (ith the children:s colle e )oney5 )i ht be a ood place to store the clippers& Ber dad said that a )an (ho doesn:t clean his tools and store the) (here they belon is laCy& . say . won)t be in a drawer with a bunch o* other tools.:d athered an ar)ful of flo(ers a fe( days before& -he (as sayin her dad al(ays said a )an needs to or aniCe his tools and clean the) (hen he:s finished (ith the)& . .ack)ll show up soon5 it:s thinkin 5 and we)ll cut some more. . Marilyn says that the V105### Crafts)an tool dra(er in the ara e5 that .t:s like a kid5 it (ants to carry so)e life it:s rolled in on its skin and not be spankin clean all the ti)e& This (ay it has its )e)ories&.ob has a point but there:s so)ethin satisfyin in lettin )y tools run free& %nd that the tool dra(ers cost V16#& Marilyn asks if . had )y business5 and . tell her5 8it:s okay5 it:s not personal5. )ade )y livin by& The lilacs (ere a one3shot thin & Bavin that ladder still over there re)inds )e of the fun . say5 8<h&. and .reckenrid e area of -u))it County (here (e had a trailer park cabin for a fe( years steered us to the ?eed and 'et -upply store& The soonest anyone else could et 'ebbles in (as three (eeks do(n the road5 but they said this ne( place had opened and they heard they (ere doin roo)in 5 8Try it&. lost her (hen sayin that havin rust on )y tools is soUs(eet& -he says distractedly that )aybe it does (ant rust5 )aybe all the tools in the ara e and in the tool chests (ant rust& 8-ure5. -he says the stepladder:s been out in the rain for a (eek5 and the clippers are rusted& . Marilyn isn:t payin any attention& . say it:s been three days and that . like rust5 8. like to clean it off so the tools lea) a ain5 and that lettin the) et rusty ives )e that chance&. uess& There (e (ere to ether (orkin on a co))on oal5 clippers and )e5 and it:s snippin ri ht and left and no( it:s han in out close to (hat (e did to ether and (hat it (as )ade for5 havin hope5 havin options& "aybe .:ll bet her dad didn:t al(ays clean his tools ri ht after usin the)& Men kno( that tools like sunshine and rain and ettin old5 =ust like us& Aook at those tools they eJcavated in Ja)esto(n that they:ve rediscovered 7## years later =ust crusted (ith rust5 and so deeply ad)ired they even put the) on display& %nythin lea)in (ould:ve been thro(n a(ay as uninterestin & . say not (ith )y hand adCes5 but that (as different& 8Those (ere the tools . did that (ith )y tools in the (ood yard (hen . had cuttin a bou*uet for you& Bavin the cutters rust is soUs(eet5 .over by the lilac hed e (here . The feed and pet place had been a strictly ranchin operation before the ne( o(ner bou ht it5 and (e heard he had put in a self3(ash and roo) area for do s& We (ent in and looked around5 sa( a youn )an (e asked about this& Be said his dad (as oin to be puttin in the plu)bin for it this (eekUthey hadn:t been here lon and settin up the rest of the store had taken all their ti)e& 7/ . (ait until she oes in fro) her ardenin and slip over to the lilac hed e to take the ladder and clippers into the ara e& -o)eone at one of the do roo)in shops in the . 'ebbles looked like a ho)eless person:s do eJcept (ith )ore )atted hair& -he had been rollin on carcasses she found near our cabin5 so (e (ouldn:t pet her on a dare or even ad)it in public that she belon ed to us& 8<h5 her5 =ust so)e do that:s been follo(in us& Can:t see) to et rid of her& WhatL <h5 take her off the leash5 you sayL Not a bad idea& Thanks&. (leamin( in the *or(otten dark *rom obsessive cleanin(.

ut no( that there (ere a*uariu)s and tropical fish5 and there (ould be puppies and kitties and rabbits and parakeets and canaries5 they needed a consu))ate heatin syste)& There si)ply (as no choice& This (as no lon er a ranchin operation only5 thou h ranchers could still et everythin they needed here sa)e as before (ith the other o(ner& .t (as part of the )ysti*ue5 he uessed5 or si)ply (ar)er than bein outside in the ho(lin (ind and bitin sno(& .We (ere standin by a display of )etal brushes for roo)in (hen the dad (alked up and asked if he could help us5 and the son drifted a(ay& The )an (as dark3haired and dark3eyed5 on the short and (iry side5 and intense& Be radiated ener y and intelli ence& Be eJplained that he still had a fe( thin s to do before the roo)in section (as set up5 like the plu)bin 5 and there (ere still the (alls to erect5 and the electrical5 of course5 oh5 and the (ater heater5 that (as a bi one& Then the stainless steel sinks5 they still hadn:t arrived fro) @enver& Be )ay have to drive do(n and pick the) up (hile he:s ettin the (ater heater5 and the (irin syste) for it5 and the li hts and the hot air heater5 in the (inter it could et flat out chilly at that corner of the store& Mi ht need )ore insulation& Be said that5 before he bou ht the place5 it (as =ust a feed store5 all livestock5 sheep5 cattle5 and horses5 and the ranchers see)ed to like the cold in there& . heard then5 as plain as could be5 (as the ne( o(ner5 @ad5 this (iry intense entle)an5 tellin Marilyn about his bein brain3dead& This dre( )e back there fast& Be didn:t s)ile5 =ust (ent on tellin ho( he had an aneuris) a fe( years back that had burst in the core of his left brain& Marilyn tried to lead the talk back to the sub=ect at hand5 but he (as into a litany as atavistic as the rap the priest ives =ust before Co))union5 and (e (ould =ust have to listen& <bviously (e (ere not oin to be able to set up a roo)in appoint)ent for the sinks anyti)e soon& The one hope of ettin on our (ay (as to et one of the roo)in brushes and )ove to(ard the cash re ister counter5 and Marilyn did that5 but the )an:s )a netic core of enthusias) for his story (as like a black hole (e couldn:t resist& . (as co))itted to hearin hi) out by no(5 especially into the part (here the doctors cut the arteries carryin blood to the left brain once the eJtent of the da)a e to it (as assessed& Marilyn3the3nurse5 ho(ever5 (ho has run a hospital5 (ho has attended )any sur eries5 (ho has heard a ood nu)ber of first3person stories fro) the sick and dyin 5 (as anJious to pay up and )ove on& -he broke in (hen he stopped to take a breath in the (ake of a recitation about ho( they told hi) he (ould have no )e)ory at all5 that this part of his brain (as one forever5 his skull sa(ed open5 and the brain lifted out and put in a ba ie for study& Be *uoted the)5 ave their na)es5 )edical specialties5 brief biblio raphies of books they based their conclusions upon& Marilyn said ho( (ell he (as oin to do no( he (as recovered by fillin a bi need in the co))unityUhe:d sell all sorts of pet products once they sa( (hat a rand operation he had here (hen they ca)e in (ith their do s to (ash and tri)& Be paid no attention5 sayin that the specialists at @enver >eneral had tried everythin in the book to save so)e part of the left he)isphere not affected by the pressure fro) the burst aneuris)5 but the da)a e (as =ust too co)plete& @octors said he (ould never (alk a ain or talk 6# . had (andered off to look at the displays of do food and these hu e le bones fro) co(s that looked like they:d been hi hli hted (ith colored3on bro(nish3to3dark3bro(n5 like you see on a rib roast stripped of its )eat eJcept for dry shreds of )eat5 ristle5 and skin& These thin s (ei hed a lot& 9ou (ouldn:t thro( one of these very far (ithout the risk of spinnin around and fallin do(n5 )ore like heavin one of those (ei hts on a rope you see in track co)petitions& What .

the )an says& 8.:d been throu h (hat he had5 . hear of his havin done it throu h sheer (ill5 the )ore .etter in a (ay& . Marilyn says in her end3of3conference voice5 8(e:ll check back on ho( you:re doin in a (eek or t(o& We kno( you have a lot to take care of ettin this ne( business started&.:ve been (ritten up in all the )edical =ournals& . (onder if he has a roo) for rent& .or be able to do anythin really eJcept be tended to& Be (ouldn:t be able to re)e)ber his na)e5 or (ho he (as5 or (hat abilities he had =ust lost5 no recall fro) one )o)ent to the neJt5 (hich (as actually a blessin since (hat (as there to re)e)ber other than not bein able to re)e)ber that one (as a kind of ve etable havin to be diapered and spoon3fed by a full3ti)e nurseL They told hi) he o(ed the) a *uarter )illion dollars but5 since he (ouldn:t re)e)ber that5 they:d bill hi) (hen he (as finally able to be (heelchaired out of there5 so)e )onths hence& We )ake it to the cash re ister by this point and he:s )akin chan e for the ten and the five Marilyn hands hi)& -he says she is very lad he is better and it (as nice )eetin hi)& ?rankly . did it&. sense in her an e)otional shiftin out of the )ystery of the to)b of resurrection to the scientist:s sterile eJa)ination table& 8-o)ethin 5. (ant )ore details5 the rest of the story& . a) still alive& $verythin (orks& Just no brain on the left side& $)pty&. feel this kinship5 havin ro(n up oJy en3starved& . (alked out of there5 )e)ory intact5 fully functionin 5 and (ith no left brain& .:d tell everyone (ho ca)e near )e all about it for the rest of )y life5 and then so)e& %nd here he (as openin a ne( business (ith his son that (as oin to pair up puppies and kids5 find ho)es for kitties and uppies5 and canaries5 (hose son s (ould fill the valley on su))er days (hen the doors (ere (ide to let in the fresh air& 61 .ut . (as before& . (atch hi) (alk& There is no si n of anythin at all (ron (ith hi)& . Be s)iles for the first ti)e5 )ore to hi)self than us& % s)all s)ile but as bri ht in )y heart as the flash of a dia)ond you )i ht catch fro) so)eone:s (eddin rin reflectin a particle of sun as the person (alks by (here you sit on a park bench& 8-o the association fibers in the ri ht brain )ust have taken over all the left brain functions5. (alked out of @enver >eneral in three (eeks& They couldn:t believe it& The University Bospital had (orked out a deal (ith the) and )e that . (ant to stay the rest of the afternoon and listen& .f . (ould allo( )yself to be studied by the) in eJchan e for their pickin up the entire )edical bill& . -he:s )oved in a t(inklin fro) his )issin left brain to her fully functionin left brain& . don:t take anythin for ranted no(& $very day is ne(& . Marilyn says& %nd5 8Was that the Circle o* 7illis (here the aneuris) burstL. )ean this uy is so alive and visceral and s)art5 and . a) ood as .rain sur eons around the (orld kno( )y na)e& They eJa)ined and reeJa)ined )e but they never did fi ure out ho( .:) in a(e of his focus and intelli ence and the )ore . The )an nods and raises a hand half(ay for his oodbye5 and turns to o back to (ork& . can do the sa)e& What he has done is train his ri ht brain to take over the duties of the destroyed left& 9ou:d never uess that this )an (as in any (ay related to his creative lotus3blosso)ed ri ht brain because all his )anneris)s5 his directness5 the (ay he speaks and reasons and *uotes scripture and verse about brain science5 and ho( they:d been 1## percent (ron about the adaptability of the brain to in=ury5 are pure reasonin 5 )e)ory and lo ic& Be (on:t let us o& 8.ut .t (as supposed to be i)possible& . Be raps knuckles on the left side of his forehead& 8Well5 that:s ood5. =ust really ad)ire that he:s )ade a )iracle of hi)self& . open to the possibility that .

y the ti)e (e had everythin to ether5 the head clerk at the )arria e office had left on vacation to Northern .reland (e )ade it around the island (ith .rish5 and that it (as okay (ith the)& This (as to prove that our for)er spouses (ere not .:ve been )arried to a )an .rish )arria e certificate5 and part of that )eant establishin . the (o)an said (ith real lon in 5 8every (o)an deserves a second chance& .t (asn:t& . really (anted to )arry Marilyn in @ublin& When Mr& Malroney5 the chief clerk5 returned fro) . AND DALHART @urin the su))er of 1//" at @ublin -tation in .reland to )arry& -he said (e:d each been been )arried before& 8%h5.rish residency5 (hich (as to take three (eeks& Throu h the .uck up5 lad5 this could be a blessin &.&. (e (ere (elco)e to stay at& @id (e (ant her to sho( us thereL -he (ould be happy to carry our suitcases& The s)all flickerin li ht shinin fro) her (as so fra ile& Marilyn eJplained that her father:s fa)ily (as fro) County Claire and (e:d co)e to .CHAPTER 1" D) LIN.rish -tate (e had to have been ranted our divorce in the sa)e country (here (e (ere )arried& Marilyn *ualified but5 since .reland5 that (e (ere not . (as ille ally divorced& Their la( posited one )arria eEone divorceEone country& 6" .reland5 Marilyn stopped to talk (ith a (o)an (ho called to us as (e stepped do(n fro) the coach car& .reland& Without his personal si nature on the approval paper5 (e couldn:t have the civil cere)ony& $ach Wednesday (e had returned to @ublin to o by the )arria e office to check in and say that (e had not broken the residency re*uire)ents& We lied& @urin the first (eek in . like to leave the scene (herever it is that (e arrive (hile travelin 5 and then collect )y (its5 but Marilyn packs hers (ith her& -he introduced us to the (o)an and said ho( happy (e (ere to be there& The (o)an said she had a . .rendan roup and they:d co)e over to ask Marilyn if (e (ere )arried yet& They said they prayed for us& While Marilyn filled the (o)en in on the latest stu)blin blocks5 their husbands (inked at )e as if to say5 8.rish eJpatriates5 an officialdo) craCiness& -tate and church at that ti)e (ere still united& What (e hadn:t brou ht (ith us (e )ana ed to et by air)ail by the third (eek& Marilyn:s for)er husband (as shocked because he had hoped for reconciliation& .rendan Tours and after that in a tiny rental car& -o)eti)es (e:d run into the .elfast5 he (ent over our packet and denied our petition5 his assistant eJplainin that for a divorce to be reco niCed as le iti)ate by the .:d been )arried in California and divorced in Ne( MeJico5 . There (as so)e pride in the (ay she said this& Marilyn took the conversation another direction but the (o)an (anted to kno( )ore about divorce in the United -tates& -he:d heard fro) boarders it (as easy as )akin up your )ind and then doin it& -he kne( country)en (ho left to divorce and returned ho)e to )arry so)eone they loved& We (ere here in @ublin to et an .ureau in @ublin to initiate the process& No( (e learned (e also needed affidavits fro) our for)er spouses s(earin (e had been le ally divorced in the sa)e country (e (ere )arried in& They (anted the ori inal divorce decrees as (ell as copies of our for)er spouses birth certificates5 acco)panied (ith an ori inal notariCed letter verifyin that each of the) understood (e (ere tryin to et )arried in . SAN CARLOS.rish Consulate in -an ?rancisco (e:d provided notariCed applications and ori inals of our birth certificates to the Marria e .:ve hated for forty years&.

:d like to see it and she sho(ed )e a book .t is a co)fort& . told the assistant that Ne( MeJico is in the sa)e country as California5 and he asked if . said that (as craCy& Be a reed and added5 8. held up a hand& <ne of the) said si)ply that (e had to o north to et south& .t:s @ew MeJico5 it:s one of the -tates&.:d (ritten years before5 based on a horseback trail trip . (as a kid (here such places (ere )ore like free the)e parks5 than so)ethin to hide behind corru ated )etal fences& T(o ancient DW bu s sat side by side on their rassy porch facin the hi h(ay& No( there (ere islands of piney (indbreaks5 )arkin far)s (ay off the hi h(ay5 little buCC3cuts of dark reen on drab yello( stretchin on forever& The hi h(ay beca)e )ore relaJed (ith narro( lanes fro) the fifties5 veined bu)py surface and faded3out yello( centerlines& Where there (ere safety furro(s retrofitted onto the shoulders5 they (ere no( eroded into shallo( depressions so tired drivers (ere allo(ed to (ander off the road at (ill (ithout bein shaken a(ake& The s)all to(ns are (hat3the3hell kind of co))unities fro) (ay back5 laid out (ith the used3up )achinery and tractors and trucks )eltin back into the earth in the directions they (ere oin on their last trip& We listened to Clapton and Cale:s :oad To Cscondido& Book looked like so)e (ell3)annered tornado scooted throu h every fe( years to see about rearran in thin s in case they started to su est a pattern of )an3)ade or aniCationM let:s say so)eone returns fro) the city for health reasons and decides the ho)eto(n needs fiJin up& Word ets to Tornado Central in the sky and so)e t(isters drop by to re)ind the people of ho(5 deep do(n5 they like thin s naturally co)in to ether and fallin apart& . told her . could (rite& -he hadn:t been able to et into )y earlier books& 61 .ut . could retire there and sit on a tiltin porch to soak up )ore peace& % fello( like )e is )ade of tornado rearran e)ents& <ne ni ht in the RD5 Marilyn ot up and slid the bedroo) door closed to o up front and read to see if she could et sleepy a ain& When . said5 8. We (ent to a pub across the street and drank lasses of >uinness -tout to )atch our feelin s& %s (ord ot around5 people ca)e over to try and )ake us feel better by tellin (orse luck )arria e stories about the)selves& @rivin south later (e ot lost in a )aCe of turnabouts and stopped to ask directions of t(o laborers co)in fro) a pub& Their instructions (ere co)plicated5 and their bro ues hard to hear the (ords throu h5 so . ot up5 she said she:d =ust started this fabulous book and ho( the openin rabbed her ri ht off (ith conversation bet(een the t(o characters that did a(ay (ith the need for narrative description of ho( they looked& . )ade (ith a friend& We rode the desert route of the -anta ?e Trail fro) Ulysses5 Fansas5 and ot to -anta ?e three (eeks later& Marilyn (as enuinely relieved .. <n one of our trips to MeJico (e (ere co)in out of Fansas into the panhandles of <klaho)a and TeJas5 cuttin dia onally south on 60& We (ere in a park in -tafford in the flatlands of the TeJas 'anhandle5 eatin lunch at a picnic table& 'ebbles had ne( scents to check out& -o)e MeJican (o)en (alked their little children to the s(in s and slides5 lookin at 'ebbles to au e her safety factor& Co)in out of Fansas there (as a pretty *uick shift fro) its for)ality& %l)ost in the (ake of the state line (as an open auto =unkyard like fro) back (hen .reland:s not finished yet&. thou ht he (as a fool& Be kne( his eo raphy and MeJico (as certainly not part of the United -tates& .

ecause it:s fun and it:s (hat .:s before $:s eJcept after C:s refor)5 arise into ne( 67 . could feel their =oy in our uts here on the round& We (ere up there (ith the) for a )o)ent5 honkin for all (e:re (orth& Then the others have the te)plate and their W:s and R:s pull apart and co)e to ether5 the . lost count at 015""/& We couldn:t take it all in5 too )any5 even the lake is flabber asted5 the local ducks fold their poker hands5 *uack their dis runtles5 and paddle into the pussy (illo(& We are only hu)an5 the for)ations are too varied for us to cluster round the D:s of )ind the eese have hatched fro)5 our necks too short for our eyes: need for panora)a5 callin on our spines to arch farther back for a better oosy ander5 hands spiked into our hips as struts for support as (e bo( back to launch our arro(s of a(e& Miracles& Where do they be in and endL More and )ore sho(in up like stor) clouds out of the northeast5 no( to(erin cu)ulus bolls of oosy le ions tipped olden red by a sun lon set& Aod.:s and C:s and @:s and $:s5 tryin the) on for siCe5 not kno(in (hat their D looks like =ust then5 but kno(in they (ill feel it (hen the D is there: No5 that:s a back(ard U5 that:s an ?& Bo( do they keep fro) collidin L There are t(ice as )any as there (ere last ni htP (e heard the) arrivin all ni ht& Bo( did they see in the darkL What kept the) fro) crashin into flotillas of others lon asleepL Cells find their places accordin to the invisible @N% of $Jodus& %nd there it (as5 the first (avery D of the day5 then a T strea)linin )a ically as it found its heart& They (ere doin it5 oh Aord5 they pulled it off5 ho( lovelyQ Bo( infinitely a)aCin and satisfyin Q Marilyn and .o(a5 Fansas5 the <klaho)a panhandle5 and in for a landin at Rita . avoid5 because they tell )e (hat they didn:t like so )uch and )ake su estions of ho( to i)prove it& -o (hy do . (ere in @alhart5 TeJas5 headed south5 spendin the ni ht at the lake in the Winneba o& -*uadrons of eese (ere flyin in5 sketchin the)selves into the red cirrus of sunset5 tens of thousands5 and if they (ere co)in in fro) the (est it:d be ni ht& >eese fro) all over the northern heavens5 lassoin the)selves out of their sacred D:s for their approach5 sno(in oose do(n5 carried on the north (ind of the) throu h Minnesota over .'eople (ho kno( )e don:t (ant to read )y books5 our kids especially& 'eople (ho (ant to )eet after readin )y (ork5 . do in life besides s(i) laps and drive the RD back and forth bet(een Minnesota and MeJico& There:s a )ovie called 0i( &ish (here a road sales)an brin s ho)e these tales he shares (ith his kids5 (hich are so unbelievable and e)barrassin to hear that his fa)ily:s lad (hen he oes back on the road& When he dies all these unbelievable people he talked about sho( up for his funeral5 a re ular circus sidesho( of storybook characters that5 in fact5 eJist& Bis (ife5 kids5 and friends are astonished& Be (as tellin the truth& No( they (ant to hear )ore of his stories but it:s too late& My youn adult kids and Marilyn:s are still at this disbelievin step& Not Cristina5 thou h& -he kno(s& Maybe Iach5 but he pretty )uch keeps his o(n counsel& Marilyn and . (riteL . you (eese2 The neJt )ornin the sound of cold oose en ines startin a(akened us5 (hat a noisy (ar)3up and taJiin into position for take3off5 stru lin throu h the alphabet5 lookin for their pure D:s throu h the .lanca Aake in TeJas here5 hundreds touchin do(n at a ti)e on a hundred (et and crisscrossin run(ays5 (ave after (ave& Bu e applause fro) a full house of eese already on the (ater5 and a peanut allery of poker3playin local ducks over at the reed s(a)ps& % ruckus of oose honk and yap and screech cheerin the arrivin fli hts at Rita offloadin at ates 05 115 "2 in Concourse >5 (aves brakin GsicH on the shore of t(ili ht and ripplin crosscurrents5 flo(in in5 tu)blin 5 lidin into the (et oose crested (aves of the black la oon5 ru)pled blankets of southern a)bition unravelin & More co)in and )ore5 .

sunli ht far across the sky fro) (here it (as last ni ht& We couldn:t see it yet5 eJcept reflected by their (in s and bills& Would they fly north a(hile before they re)e)beredL Aayers and layers of (in ed arro(s (ere findin their fa)ilies and friends and once3 children5 siJ )onths before fuCCy and funny3lookin behind their )others5 no( as )a nificent as those e in the) on hi her and hi her before (in in south by south(est& The D for victory pulled the) up into itself5 into its breast5 propellin the) to (here it is (ar)5 ardens of eese bloo)in in the )ornin sun over Rita5 sluicin cadres and herds and schools of the) stretched across the sky into *uilted patches of )oonless ni ht& We looked at each other& The (ords (on:t co)e& %ll the letters for (ords (ere up there (ith the) and )uch too eJcited to (ait on our voices to find and speak the)& <h5 the beauty5 the bravery5 the spirit and lory& Bo( to share it (ithout invitin you into our )inds at this )o)entL $ven 'ebbles (atched until she (ent cross3eyed and fell over on her side& % do has her li)its& 66 .

n bet(een love fests (ith the kids5 this %ustralian -hepherd (ould run by )e5 so)eti)es stop a )o)ent and sniff before ettin back in the fray& The dead )an of )e loathed the (hole thin 5 sittin on the rass in sprin ti)e sunshine at ten in the )ornin 5 traffic char in by on Nava=o on one side5 and kids and do s on the other& . needed a do & . (asn:t part of the decision& .:d use (ith 'ebbles back then& -he che(ed up and du up everythin in the backyard eJcept the fifteen3year3old oran e tree she (as (orkin on (e then (rapped (ith chain )ail& -he (as an abandoned yearlin (ho had learned that everythin has so)e nutrition in it& No fence . didn:t (ant to& . stopped her5 sayin it (as 8do pound&.n 1//1 or :/75 (hen (e )oved into the Re ner house in the -an Carlos part of -an @ie o5 Marilyn decided .ack then . .n our first year or t(o to ether .ut deep inside5 (ay do(n even belo( the coal deposits of )e5 a little uy dra in a )achete (as peekin out& No( this full3 ro(n yearlin do sat directly in front of )e5 and the kid in )e )ust:ve t(itched )y hand5 because suddenly she (as in )y lap5 lickin )y face& The )ain (o)an in char e of the do ara e sale instantly trotted over (ith her clipboard and si ned us up& . -he nodded and said a ain5 8There:s this do pond thin over at Ralph:s >rocery this (eekend& Aet:s o see&. (as horrified and said a strin of No:s that (ould nor)ally buckle a stron )an:s knees but only ricocheted off the t(o of the)& The (o)an (orked it out (ith Marilyn that (e:d take the do to our house a fe( blocks a(ay for a fe( hours on approval& Marilyn si ned a paper5 ave her a check for five dollars5 and off (e (ent& The (o)an said her kids had na)ed her 'ebbles (hile they (ere carin for her the first fe( (eeks after she (as picked up on a va rancy char e& -he (arned us 'ebbles (as frisky& .CHAPTER 11 THE LAST EST PLACE TO HIDE . . (as part of her life5 but her schedule (as too full to ferret out decisions fro) a ho)eless person recently hikin to Canada because he hadn:t have anythin better to do& -he didn:t co)e to )e for advice& .n the backyard of our Re ner house (e played ta and (restled& Marilyn left us to o back and do the for)alities and fetch her vaccine certificates& ?risky is not a (ord . (asn:t a bi part in decision3)akin & Marilyn (orked three =obs5 includin teachin nursin at NaCarene Colle e5 ho)e healthcare5 (orked on a doctorate in nursin science5 and parented her three kids (hen she (as iven the opportunity& They each ca)e to her for periods of )onths and other(ise lived (ith their father in Minnesota& . didn:t kno( it then& -he said5 8There:s this do pond thin U. either acted independently5 or . obeyed& There (as no )iddle round& Ber (ild intelli ence is ri ht )ost of the ti)e5 althou h . didn:t (ant to do anythin 5 but her (ill (as stron er than )y (on:t& We sat on a patch of reen rass borderin the parkin lot and (atched a passel of do s frolickin (ith children and the do pond handlers& . )ade kept her in& -he (ent over or du under& The leashes and ropes (e tied her (ithMshe na(ed throu h& The chains5 she slipped out of& Not lon after 'ebbles ca)e5 (e )oved to Montana5 driven )ore by a need to escape the 60 .

ot to sin the brief solo titled 8-he Bad % Way With Children5.n our drea) Marilyn (ould teach at the F throu h 1" school t(o blocks a(ay and . split the fire(ood and tossed it over the fence into their yard5 and fro) ti)e to ti)e they tossed )eat across the fence into ours& .t (as reat& NeJt door to us5 on the other side5 lived the (o)an (ho had the first li*uor store in to(n& .ut she had as heat& . but that (as ri ht on& The s*uabble in -an @ie o (as no( o(ned by the la(yers (ho (ere conductin it to )aJi)iCe their profit by provokin discordance (here there (as none and (orsenin it (here there (as& %u usta (as a ranchin to(n on the east flank of the Rockies (e:d driven throu h earlier (ith the Aundys5 and all the si ns (ere that it (ould ladly take us in& -o)eti)es (hen (e don:t pay attention to si ns they pile up and soon by sheer volu)e they finally bust throu h and carry us a(ay& We felt (e (ere finally ho)e in %u usta& . )ost en=oyed (as a Mor)on <ratorio& Ranchers ca)e around sayin ho( touched they:d been and these (ere )en (ho said little unless bucked off a horse or so)eone ca)e to the bunkhouse solicitin contributions for the United Theosophist ?und& . ot per)ission to cut on forest land that:d been burned over in the fire of :/1 that started on the (est side of the Rockies and ble( over the top and do(n the valleys to(ard %u usta5 (ipin out hundreds of thousands of acres of vir in forest and re ro(th& The rancher:s (ife (hose land .the fa)ily court chaos that (as killin us& We didn:t kno( then that Montana (as called 8The Aast .est 'lace To Bide5.:d co(boy for the Cobbs5 ridin herd on the (inter flock to keep a(ay the riCClies5 and cut (ood& 'ebbles (as born to this place& @o s lay takin the sun in the )iddle of the streets5 chased var)ints5 and (andered free and protected& $veryone loved do s and horses and co(s and kids& The to(n (as all about fa)ily5 and the school (as the heart of the place& Ra( specific life (as happenin all the ti)e and especially at the school& They )ade t(o )eals a day for the children fro) scratch5 baked the bread and pies5 carved and cooked the venison or elk or an us5 baked the potatoes5 cooked ve etables fro) ardens& This (as the library5 theater5 sports arena& No teacher dra ed into the classroo)& The school board of ranchers picked people (ho loved kids and (ere bustin out to teach& <h Aord5 (hat a beautiful5 beautiful to(n5 (hat beautiful people& We loved it5 'ebbles loved it& @urin deer season there (ere a fe( deer carcasses strun up to the li)bs of the el) tree across the street5 s(in in in the breeCe& This (as the kids: television5 standin a safe distance a(ay5 (atchin the slo( dance of the dead deer& 'ebbles lay there (rapped in the odor of paradise5 drippin at the =a( hin es& We lived neJt door to Millie and @ave on Aaura -treet& Be (as pastor of the nondeno)inational church a block do(n on the corner5 also a stocker at Aady and @on:s rocery on Main5 run by their dau hter -usie ?ord5 (ho (as the to(n:s choir director& -he athered up those (ho (anted to sin and rehearsed us for holiday concerts at @ave:s church& The Christ)as concert . about Mother Mary& -usie do(n there in the aisle conductin so)eho( took )y voice into her care and lifted it into places it:d not been before5 and then (e (ere all sin in (ith this passion5 and the (o)an:s chorus see)ed to have burst into fla)e& . cut on said he:d not otten over that loss and probably never (ould& Chester (as an ancient co(boy (ho (alked around to(n day and ni ht (ith a red retriever 62 . re)e)ber (aitin in line to check out so)e roceries at her store and seein her slip a bunch of Ra)en noodle packets into the ba (ith the bottles of (hisky a rancher (as (ritin a check for& -he sa( )e see this and ave )e a look of caution& We traded fire(ood (ith @ave and Millie for elk5 venison5 and beef the parishioners ave to the)& .

. bury the chutes and we meet at Charlie coordinates to hook up with the others. looked too disen a ed to be ?. had kids there in school& That cut off ten years of trial ti)e by the co))unity& %lso5 Marilyn (orked as a substitute teacher and they learned she (as a for)er nun& .5 too5 could slip out of )y =a))ies into fati ues5 rab )y (eapon fro) under the bed and head do(n to -teve:s for =ava in )y pickup (ith loaded Mausers in )y (indo( rack and ather (ith the clan to plan neJt (eekend:s eJercises in the .n that first year no one in to(n had any back round on either Marilyn or )e other than that she:d rolled into to(n (ith t(o kids in an RD and ca)ped at the park5 (ith )e follo(in in a U3Baul haulin a Dolvo& -he had Minnesota plates and . had Californian5 (hich (as akin to either spyin for do)estic intelli ence a encies infiltratin Montana (ith the oal of either cleanin out all pockets of survivalists and other patriots5 or buyin up all the ranch land to put in hu e a)e preserves5 ashra)s5 or )ovie sets& What saved )e (as that .belon in to -teve& -teve rented Chester a roo) out back of his house and looked after hi)& Be ran the dry oods5 uns5 survival ear5 and a)e3butcherin outfit across Main fro) -usie:s& Be (as also the )an you called for ho)e electrical repair and plu)bin and heatin & The second story of his store had clothin fro) AA . bite the capsule. we)ll take care o* your *amily& -teve (as )ovie3star handso)e5 and either startin up or breakin up (ith a (o)an& Be set a personal record (ith a siJ3)onth relationship (ith a private investi ator and bounty hunter fro) ?lorida& -he (as s)art5 sassy5 beautiful5 and thou ht he (as the neatest uy ever born& Be loved her and ad)ired her tou hness5 but (asn:t lookin for )arria e or children& -he (as his )issin piece and he hers& With her there:d be no li)its to (hat he could do& Chester (as the livin rid of %u usta& %s lon as (e sa( hi) and the red retriever (e kne( thin s (ere okay in life and to(n& When he didn:t sho( up5 (e ot restless& Then -teve:d spread the (ord that Chester (as sick or hun over5 and (e settled ri ht do(n& The (inds in %u usta (ere )ysterious& %lon the Rocky Mountain ?ront fro) north to south snaked a lon cloud )ade fro) the prairie (inds )eetin the )oisture rollin off the flanks of the ran e& These t(o fronts of dry and (et and hot and cold kept this snakin cloud rollin over us& <urs (as a little like a fish3eye vie( of river surface& This ave rise to terrific (inds like the ones barrelin do(n -un Canyon at 1## )iles an hour& <nce (hen the Coatses ca)e up fro) -an @ie o to visit5 ?rank and .ndians had a sure rip on5 bein here for a thousand years or )ore& They kne( that the physical la(s (e:ve deter)ined and e)pirical fra)es (e invented did not play fair here& .:d driven in the pickup to the -helby station to pick up Jonnie5 then ei hteen5 and his irlfriend5 @a(n5 on Christ)as break& % bliCCard ca)e up on our (ay and5 by the ti)e (e (ere 64 .ean& <n early )ornin s5 survivalists in ca)oufla e fati ues athered at his store and the (elder:s shop nearby for coffee& When . (as seen in the )ountains cuttin (ood5 and (e had Mike and -arah Cobb as friends& They (ere a kno(n *uantity& -till5 the talk didn:t start back up until . you bail out at $D$$ with Sampson and :embrandt. * 0luesman intercepts you.t (as a spirit ran e (ith ancestral forces runnin thin s& .lackfoot . (ere crossin a steel brid e (ith Marilyn and leanin al)ost side(ays5 han in onto the railin to keep fro) bein blo(n off5 'ebbles cra(lin on her belly& The confluence of rivers and strea)s and valleys5 peaks and prairie cooked up )eteorolo ical chaos that the (hite )an couldn:t deter)ine but the .ob Marshall: Underhill. and too broke to be a developer or preservationist5 plus . (alked in5 the talk stopped and t(enty5 thirty pairs of eyes riveted )e fro) over ri)s of coffee cups5 siCin )e up as either friend or ene)y& . (as one& . hoped for the day (hen .

didn:t think it could sno( (ith the te)peratures belo( Cero but the stor) didn:t care& . )entally inventoried (hat . rolled do(n )y side (indo( and (ar) air flooded the cab& The sno( on the road (as )eltin on the last le of the drive and (hen (e rolled into do(nto(n %u usta forty )inutes later5 the sno( on roofs and road had )elted and collected into a lake& There (as no sno( in si ht and the te)perature felt to be in the siJties& This (as @ece)ber in 1//0 after a froCen3solid )onth5 (here =ust three hours before it:d been thirty belo( in -helby& . two ?oined at hip. veered off onto a county road . Seventeen new lambs. fire up in the )ornin 5 and the heater (as blo(in cold air& -teve had told us to pack survival ear in the truck& Be:d been throu h this here (ith his Michi an fa)ily in the Chevy -uburban and the )otor startin to )iss5 (ith no one dressed for forty belo(& Without ruts in the ne( sno( the (heels (ere plo(in and the truck losin )o)entu) up hills even in four3(heel drive& <ne of the thin s .f you ot cau ht doin 1"#5 you had the fine )oney (hen the cop finally chased you do(n& $very driver had a fiver tucked into the sun visor& %fter a fe( Californians bou ht portions of the state in and around the Rockies5 this started to chan e& . "ay (o to the doctor i* don)t (et better.f a road ended suddenly at a canyon you (ere eJpected to have read the infor)al natural si ns of this about to happen5 and not depend on the state hi h(ay depart)ent to coddle you& . found so)e of her diaries )uch later in the base)ent and the entries (ere spare5 t(o3(ord (eather reports5 la)bin reports5 illness in the flocks and her husband5 then nothin about hi) in any of the later diaries5 =ust her and the ani)als and the (eather: Temperature at %$E. re)e)ber sittin in Nellie Aevay:s house on Aaura -treet in %u usta5 discussin buyin it& Cotton(ood fluff (as sheetin past the (indo(s side(ays and in the late afternoon sun it (as like a sprin ti)e bliCCard& -he (as a sheep rancher5 had been forever5 bou ht up a half3doCen spreads over the decades and (as leavin %u usta to )ove to >reat ?alls& -he (as ei hty& . 6/ . thou ht they:d close the road ate5 so . said that =ust )i ht be the li ht of Choteau& There (as another rise and beyond that the first buildin s silhouetted by the do(nto(n li hts& We pulled into a as station =ust closin for the ni ht& %s (e left Choteau and started up the bi rade to(ard %u usta5 the (indo(s suddenly turned opa*ue& . did not have: sleepin ba s5 propane stove5 (ater5 food5 candy5 socks5 )atches5 loves5 shovels5 and . did have (as a =ack and spare and t(o youn people (ith their (hole lives before the)& ?orty3five )inutes )aJ& The rollin hills (ere steeper5 the en ine lu in on the cli)bs5 front and back end slippin & To )e (e (ere dead eJcept for bein officially infor)ed& .:d never been on before to(ard Choteau5 t(enty )iles (est and the north road in to %u usta& This (as a paved road and as lon as there (ere tire tracks (e (ere okay5 but then the last of the tracks turned off and it (as =ust us and a road (ithout side )arkers and a foot of ne( sno( on the round& .f there (ere no tall5 sno( )arker sticks alon a country road5 you (eren:t oin to be directed to noticin this any )ore than you (ere oin to be officially notified that havin survival ear in your vehicle )eant survivin 5 (hile not havin it )eant freeCin solid in four hours& %t the ti)e (e lived in Montana there (eren:t even any speedin tickets& .nterstate headed south5 it (as already deep enou h (here .t (as so cold the needle on the te)perature au e (as (here it usually sits (hen .ible for last rites& No chains& The needle on the as au e (as (ay do(n& What .on the . sa( so)e reflected li ht beyond )y headli hts5 hi her up than the road and un)ovin & The sno( (asn:t as deep& . liked about Montana (as they trusted the drivers to have so)e sense& .

n the sprin they assisted in the birthin of calves up at the Cobb ranch (est of to(n& This is (hy (e )oved fro) -an @ie o to Montana5 to be back (here there (as a si)pler if harder life that paid off in character and stron fa)ily ties& .f Nellie had been there in the kitchen5 it (ould:ve been (olf bur ers& The kids be an to et their color back& Their eyes turned bri hter and they started fillin out into lively and Montanans (ho could thro( loops around stu)ps and ride horses& .oo)pffQ We dropped the) at the sa)e ti)e5 hi) one shot5 )e one shot5 it (as a)aCin ly beautifulQ We utted the) but they (ere too heavy to dra or carry and the bear could et the) if (e don:t et ri ht back&.n -an @ie o (e (ere o(ned by la(yers and their cultivatin hatred to )ake an already3bad situation (orse& The schools (ere 0# .ob Marshall Wilderness the year before and by so)e esti)ates there:d be 125### (ithin siJ years5 a )illion by "#1#5 and half a billion by "#"#5 and that (as =ust in Montana& The ranchers:d have to buy sheep and cattle =ust to (ard off the ravenous (olves to keep the) fro) carryin off their fa)ilies5 dra in babies fro) their cribs5 nursin )others5 school kids& Aord5 she hated the)& -he for ot she (as tryin to sell the house to us and acted out the end of the (orld5 as she kne( it& The kids (atched fascinated& We asked about the roof and its a ed cedar shin les5 but she (as talkin about ettin to ether posses and trackin do(n the (olves to kill the) all off& The neJt )onth elk season be an5 there (as sno( on the round and (e (ent up (ith the sleds to so)e hills near the ?alls (here t(o )en ca)e stu)blin out of the (oods into the clearin covered (ith s(eat5 clothes torn5 hands bloody5 eJhausted& They needed our cell phone to call a cousin in ?airfield to co)e (ith his horse trailer to help haul out t(o elk they:d otten up there in a hi h )eado(5 shot raCin side by side a fe( hours a o& They acted out the scene: 8. They eyed the kids: sleds and Marilyn asked if they:d like to use the) to start haulin the elk out& Bappy uys5 no(& They:d found a cell si nal5 )ade their call5 otten the cousin5 and he (as on his (ay& They (ere stoked& Up fro) >reat ?alls the ni ht before5 sleepin in the open freeCin all ni ht and first thin in the day they et their elk& We told the) (here (e lived and they pro)ised to brin the sleds by on their (ay out& Maybe their kids ot so)e use out of the bloody thin s because (e didn:t see the) a ain& Aater that afternoon (e (ent by the rocery and the (ei hin station (as doin brisk business (ith hunters and the three )ain bars (ere surrounded by pickups (ith elk le s stickin up out of the beds leakin blood out their tail ates& The kids (ere in a(e& They:d been on salads in Ba(aii and for otten about )eat5 but instead of bein scared by this )assacre5 they (ere fascinated& Crissie asked the hunters )illin around like soldiers =ust off the battlefields (hat they (ere oin to do (ith the)& 8Well5 (e:ll taJider) the heads and racks5 lil lassie5 han the) fro) trees for a (eek to soften up before butcherin the)5 )ake blood sausa e fro) the uts5 eat the liver and heart ra(5 and )aybe tan the hides to se( to ether into thro( ru s or =ust (ear the) (et and stinky&. The kids loved it& <n so)e visits (ith us fro) Ba(aii they ate butter strai ht fro) the dish and drank up the little crea)er cups fro) restaurant tables& Aater at the %u usta $le)entary -chool they ate elk and beef in the cafeteria5 prepared by %nnie the -cot and her cre(5 fresh for breakfast and lunch every day& .The (ay she spoke about (olves (ith us (as as if they (ere the interloper and not her and the other ranchers (ho:d been there a fe( hundred years but the (olves lon before5 and then durin 5 sharin the land and its bounty& -he said ho( the ?eds had introduced siJteen (olves into the .

t (as early sprin into the third *uarter of calvin season5 (ith 6## babies on the round5 and as (e drove around5 Mike (as lookin for si ns of distress& Be kne( all their )others5 had )id3(ifed the) (hen they (ere born5 and kne( all about the calves up to this point in their infant lives& Be (as the old3ti)e doc )akin house calls& <n this day he (as particularly interested in findin a little one (ith diphtheria to ive it a shot of antibiotics and steroids& . =ust stand there (ide3eyed kind of di estin his re*uest the lon (ay around5 so he tells Marilyn to et on the loves and help hi)& -he:s a pediatric nurse5 any(ay& .ack at the )ain house a little later5 Ji)5 Mike:s head (ran ler5 co)es to the lunch table to say that there:s a co( calvin and havin trouble because the unborn calf is turned around co)in le s first and he needs Mike to help pull it out& We all head to the barn& Mike pulls on so)e shoulder3len th reen lateJ rubber loves and connects black straps to the calf:s front feet stickin out of the co(& Ji) has the co( parked in one of those headlock )etal vises in a narro( (orkin stall that lets you )ove around& When Mike asks )e to help .:d take care of the brakes5 he:d already unli)bered his t(elve3foot3lon sheep hook and (as holdin it out alon side the doorP the calf had slo(ed do(n because of its diphtheria and (e overtook it5 Mike leapt out of the )ovin truck and nabbed the calf (ith the hook5 over handin hi)self alon the pole to et to her5 tackled her and in=ected the )edicine& .t (as the be innin of our healin as a fa)ily& .ob Marshall Wilderness road to visit Mike and -arah Cobb and their dau hters& Mor an is Cristina:s best friend& Mike and .ut all (ere fair a)e& Be:d so)eti)es spot a calf not doin (ell and dive out of the truck after it5 bi ol: bear of a uy racin full out and5 if he (as lucky5 he:d tackle and thro( it5 (hip out the syrin e and )edicine fro) his top pocket5 and et the needle in& With the feistier calves5 he:d )aneuver the co(s into a livin corral of sorts5 (ith the truck as the ate to cut off a calf:s escape route5 and then bail out of the cab and o after it& We bu)ped alon fro) herd to herd lookin for that diphtheria kid& Be:d seen the )other on the top of a hill5 ossipin (ith a bunch of other )others5 but no calf& T(enty )inutes later do(n in a narro( ully5 takin the sun5 (e sa( the baby& .ut in Montana5 the ranchers doted on their kids and the school& Marilyn subbed for teachers (hen they couldn:t )ake it in5 coverin for Ron <:Aeary (ith band and others for )ath and $n lish& -he (as paid t(enty3five dollars a day and loved it: colle e professor to fourth rade teacher in siJ )onths& Bo( lucky for us to find %u usta& .n 1//0 (e ca)e fro) to(n in %u usta out the .etter her& Be:s talkin really *uiet5 the kids are behind us5 (atchin & Marilyn rabs the )etal ripcord kind of handle connected to the strap and the t(o of the) pull& 01 .t ot up all (obbly and straddle3 le ed5 couldn:t have been )uch over four days old5 eyes lo))ed onto the truck (hen out of the cab co)es this hu e )an directly at it& Mike oes spra(lin into the ully for a tackle and )isses5 co)es back lau hin & We drive up the hill5 Mike:s plan (as to drive by the calf and =u)p out and .overcro(ded and desolate of art and )usic5 ood food5 fresh sir5 and space to be a part of unobstructed life& . drove in his truck5 haulin 1"##3pound rounds of hay to the cattle& Mike had a one3ton flatbed (ith hydraulic ar)s on the back that )ana ed the rounds& 9ou could lay the alfalfa roll out on the flats by lo(erin the hydraulic ar)s so the round touches the round5 then drive for(ard to have it unroll5 or park back(ards on a hill5 drive a back (heel over the loose end to anchor it5 and release it to tu)ble do(n the slope5 undressin as it oes5 layin do(n a feedin strip "## feet lon & .

:) there5. -he does5 and pulls out& Mike carries the calf to a stall and lays it onto so)e fresh hay and brin s the co( in& -he accepts her baby ri ht a(ay and no( it is punchin her )ilk sac (ith its cute snout5 clai)in life& <utside life co)es back into the barn5 the silence is finished (ith5 the air returns5 currents of scent and li ht and sound5 so)e lau hter bet(een the Mike5 Ji)5 and Marilyn birthin tea)5 the kids talkin a blo( by blo( of (hat they sa(5 -arah takin pictures& $arlier .Mean(hile Ji) is do(n there )ilkin the co(5 directin the spray into a plastic ba and5 thou h . see this5 . and Mike tells her5 8<kay5 o in (here it be ins to drop and leave the pill there&.:) pullin (ith Mike5 )aybe five hundred pounds of us versus the co(:s too3narro( pelvis5 so it )oves a little5 and pretty soon there:s its nose5 all bluish pink5 but .:) pullin on Marilyn5 around her (aist5 then holdin her shoulders5 then she:s ivin )e the )etal handle and . don:t co)prehend it& Mike and Marilyn pull and pull5 but the calf doesn:t bud e5 Ji) )ilkin 5 kids and )e (atchin 5 co( head locked5 tail lifted hi h5 =ets of dun slippin out fro) ti)e to ti)e& No( . (ant to help hi) (ith a raft5 and . Be cuts one of the )other co(s out of a corralled herd outside the barn and leads her into the barn& %s she passes the little carcass she sniffs at its tail and )ooos a rievin lon note& Mike )oves her into a stall and co)es out (ith his =ackknife5 cuts off a piece of hide fro) the dead calf fro) the )iddle of the back do(n to and includin the tail and cropper& We o into the 0" .sn:t there plenty of ti)e for that after the calf is bornL Mike directs )y (ork (ith hi) in a lo(5 lo( voice5 at one point he hands )e his strap and handle and takes )ine so it turns the calf a little and as it be ins to ease out (e ease up& . say5 8-ure&. )ean (e are no lon er rippin the calf out of herM(e are assistin her& Ji):s still do(n there )ilkin and .:) on no3thou ht )ode and kno( this only because . can feel the hard part is over5 no( he is ently uidin the baby onto the round as it drops fro) its )other and folds into a (et5 slick5 ne(born3critter position5 front le s tucked under its chest5 (ide eyes havin their first aCe at the (orld5 pretty )uch played out5 but a)e& Ji) and Mike ease a plastic tube do(n the calf:s throat into its sto)ach and press into the tube the colostru) fro) the ba Ji) has filled fro) the )other& Mike tells )e later that there are three hours (here the ne(born:s sto)ach is sterile and the colostru) has to et in durin that ti)e for the antibodies and other protectants to be absorbed in case the )other re=ects the calf:s nursin early on& Mike pets the calf (ith hard5 lon 5 lovin strokes akin to its )other:s ton ue5 as it lies huddled on the stra( beneath the hind*uarters of the still3i))obiliCed co(& Marilyn still has her lon loves on and Mike hands her a lon 5 blue pill to put inside the co(& Marilyn is not enthusiastic about this& -he oes in up to the (rist& Mike ur es her to o in all the (ay till she can feel the pelvis& Be tilts his =a( up at a balin (ire3hun skeleton of a co( pelvis and spine hun above the stall so Marilyn can visualiCe (here she is oin (ith the pill& -he pushes in up to the elbo( and looks at Mike hopefully& Be tells her5 8?urther&. No( she is al)ost in up to her shoulder (ith the co(:s tail draped across her head5 and (onderin aloud if she is supposed to follo( her ar) in case the pelvis is deeper& Then she feels it5 says5 8.:d noticed a dead and s(ollen calf in the bi corral across fro) the birthin barn ate& Mike asks )e later if . see its nostrils (here before . still don:t understand (hy& . sa( only listenin )atter5 and (e have so)ethin to (ork (ith& There:s pro ress and there:s this eJtra ener y that )oves into us by (ay of the co( )ind5 (here (e are all on the sa)e circuit and she is uidin us in sync (ith her o(n (ork5 . hear so)e of the kids (hisper it behind )e& No( .

birthin barn to a stall (here an orphan day3old calf lies& . help Mike do an autopsy to find (hat this calf died of& . uess it is the all bladder& Be says he doesn:t kno(5 he:s never seen one like this here in this position& Be cuts open the sto)ach5 (arnin )e the stench )i ht be pretty ood5 and sifts throu h the contents& .n stuffin it back into her Mike had scratched the endo)etriu)5 and she had apparently bled to death internally fro) that s)all cut& No( he has to pair the calf up (ith a co( (hose calf has died& . hold the back le s (ide apart as he cuts into the viscera for a look3see& There:s a s)all yello(ish balloon thin y attached to the sto)ach and he (onders (hat it is& .t:s a five3day3old5 so there is plenty of di ested rass in there )iJed (ith )ilk5 but no strin 5 this is (hat he had (orried about5 that he:d left balin strin on the round and the calf had otten it& Be studies the uts for a )inute and decides there:s nothin there obvious as a cause of death and5 takin the front le s5 (e heave it into the trench& %round this cut in the earth are the corpses of ei ht or ten other calves in various de rees of deco)position5 and he ripes that the riCCly isn:t honorin his contract to eat the) in the trench and not dra the) up here& 8Bard to find any dependable riCClies any)ore5.ts )other died the ni ht before5 her (o)b turned inside out in the calf:s birth& . he says& 01 .n the stall he is tryin to corner the little orphan to tie the fresh hide and tail onto it5 and at one point5 as he is bent over her lon (ays5 holdin her head bet(een his le s5 tyin the back of the hide on5 and she be ins to try and nurse at his crotch5 half liftin Mike:s body (ith each thrust and he:s politely cussin her in his lo(5 soft voice5 tryin to hold on lon enou h to et the balin strin tied& <nce it:s in place he carries her over to the stall (here the rievin co( is knockin around5 sets the calf do(n onto her feet5 and opens the ate to the stall& Be backs the calf in so that (hen the co( sniffs at her crop and reco niCes her dead baby:s rafted3on s)ell she (ill accept her and let her nurse& Resurrection& This is eJactly (hat happens5 she sniffs it hard5 is satisfied and the hun ry calf be ins nursin ri ht a(ay& We hook up the carcass of the dead calf to the %TD and dra it out to the du)p for the riCCly5 over the rou h3planked brid e5 and pull up beside the du)p& .

could follo( 'ebbles since she (asn:t under attack5 but she (ouldn:t )ove5 she =ust leaned in closer a ainst )y le s& <kay5 so . drove past& 8When did you leaveL. see her paintin that )ornin (hen . say5 8.t takes three days to dry and you never even said oodbye& <kay5 . she says& 8%nd (hat ti)e (as itL. bent over to touch it and said it (as dry as a bone& -he yelled5 8Why are you still (alkin on itL. dunno5 bet(een nine and ten& . %nd . touched it and itU.:d seen her s(eepin the back patio fro) the side of an eye as . yell back 8<kay then5 . <ne evenin .:) paralyCed (ith fear&. don:t say anythin & 8What ti)e did you leaveL. looked around for a (ay to et off her porch (ithout (alkin on it and there (asn:t any (ay& No( 'ebbles =oined )e5 fri htened by Marilyn:s outburst& Maybe . said .:) sorry . say (hen she (as s(eepin & -he yells . did Iach:s floor5 (hy couldn:t . et half(ay (hen her shado( fro) the top catches )e& -he says she told )e last ni ht she had painted the back deck but it (as too cold to paint the shed deck& -he hadn:t (alked on )y paint =ob (hen . (alk off her porch (ith the do and no( it:s like Tobacco Road (here everyone (ithin a block or t(o kno(s there:s either a husband in dire trouble or Jerry -prin er is holdin auditions& . (on:t )ention it a ain&. =ust drive off (ithout tellin herL .ecause you (ere lookin do(n and there (as a car behind )e&. yelled back5 8. respect hersL %nd (hy didn:t . say she (asn:t5 she (as s(eepin & -he says5 8Why didn:t you stop and tell )e oodbye or (aveL.CHAPTER 12 SHE IS &HY . she de)ands& . co)e back up the stairs to face the )usic& -he says she:s been havin heart pains5 she:d otten up early to order the kids: air tickets online and had to borro( )oney to do it& . No( she opens an eJtra lun and nearly blo(s )e over (ith a 8+8U AL:CAD+ SA D T'AT2 .n a )ushroo) is everythin (e 07 . say so)e nu)ber and she says she (as paintin at that eJact ti)e5 and . (as co)in out of the shed in the backyard durin our first year livin in Minnesota& We (ere )arried about ten years at that point& . (alked on your porch& . (as on the porch5 dyin of )old& Molds are fun us5 stardust seedin ne( life (herever there is a pool of hope (ith the ri ht che)istry& . had been lookin for the round vacuu) head for doin the drapes in the livin roo)5 and looked up to see Marilyn ettin out of her car in the ara e& . . 8. sa( a chance to et to the pool andU. )ade her )adder (hen . never leftQ . (ent to the 9 to s(i)L %nd (hy did . said .:) over it5 . (alkin on it5 she had told )e she painted it five hours a o& . she de)ands and . . 8Bo( convenient5.ecause the door(ay (as directly bet(een us5 she sa( )e and yelled to et off her porch5 that she:d =ust varnished it5 and (hy (as . kne( that and had felt it and it (as dry& -he yelled that it took seventy3t(o hours to cure5 and .ecause . duck into the house throu h the backdoor and start do(n the stairs to the base)ent& . (as never s(eepin Q . Wron thin to say& .

:d a(akened (ith an itchy throat and dry cou h and5 by the ti)e .t happened in a )ovie theater in Coon Rapids as Jennifer %niston )oved a)on her rich friends onscreen and . left Cristina and Marilyn there )unchin popcorn to drive to the house and do )y survival cere)ony& When .as*ue shepherd soothin it (ith soft (ords and touches& Nor)ally this (orks5 dependin on the concentration of the pollen or )old that set it off& . pull a(ay )entally fro) )y body& There are t(o of )e no(5 one a panicked eye3rollin kickin and bleatin sheep5 and the other a skinny . ot to the bathroo)5 kne( . take so)e inhales on a bronchial dilator and5 if that doesn:t (ork5 then to inhale ra( adrenaline and )unch up left3over 'rednisone tablets to hold as =uice in )y )outh for absorption& While these are kickin in . (as in the first sta e of anaphylactic shock& My throat (as s(ellin closed and )y lun s couldn:t eJhale the used air& % full lass can:t fit in )ore (ater& .t spa(ned plants (hen the oJy enEsun ratio (as ripe for plantin and the che)istry pri)ed to )ake chlorophyll& ?un us had to be here first for life to eJplore itself into bein 5 its spores pollinatin ripe pools on our planet (ith @N% that cooked into a never3before (orld in our neck of Creation& The )ushroo) is our randpa and rand)a on the s(in on the porch fro) (here all s(in s on all porches rocked us a(ake& Molds ive life5 and they take it a(ay& They turn a tree on the forest floor into a black antheridiu) sli)e that dries into fertile soil fro) (hich a ne( tree rises& -o)e call to you to pluck and eat the) to nourish you& -o)e blo( into your lun s and5 if you (ere on a hike inside your lun s5 you:d see fields of the) of all descriptions like on a -epte)ber day on the North -hore& -o)eti)es5 you see black ones ro(in so densely around lun alveoli that inhaled oJy en could no lon er penetrate into the blood5 and you see the tissue bet(een the toJic )old and lun in )ortal co)bat& The source of life is double3ed ed and there is no uarantee of benevolence in the short ter)5 only an innocent presence over the lon haul& Molds are not )oral& There:s a need for the philosophical for )orality5 and )olds are far beyond so pri)itive a sta e of develop)ent as posin *uestions and takin forever to not ans(er the)& They ot throu h philosophical (hen they decided on their destiny of fertiliCin the universe into eJistence out of one pure idea& <n this particular ni ht Marilyn sat (ith )e on the porch5 (aitin for )y reply to her *uestion of (hether . (as tryin to avoid that5 thinkin 5 can beat this thin(& . (ent to the $R at Unity& No(5 out on our porch on 06 . have a routine durin these ti)es (here . can o do(n fast& . a) ready to o to the $)er ency Roo)& . kne( it (asn:t (orkin 5 .ut (ith a really toJic )easure5 )y body:s defense syste)s try to isolate and kill off the invaders by s(ellin the throat shut so no )ore reactive stuff ets in5 then lockin do(n the lun s to protect the) fro) tainted oJy en& Really bad aller ies do this& We had to kill hi) to )ake hi) (ell a ain& 'rednisone is cortisone tellin the one3craCy defense syste)s that everythin is reat5 to o ho)e and take a load off& The adrenals are in battle )ode5 tryin to blast out lodes of concentrated oJy en hidden so)e(here in the body for =ust such a survival situation& Trouble is5 this is adrenal fantasy& What they:re doin is usin up (hat scarce oJy en is left& Bere alon the Mississippi in certain seasons5 there are )olds )y body has never )et before and5 (hen their reproductive ti)e co)es5 .are physically5 the reproductive syste)5 skin5 or ans5 brain& The )ushroo) is )ale and fe)ale at once5 a shaft and lans cap (ith a soft dark3 illed underside of va inas and (o)bs& $verythin livin depends on a )ushroo) )atriJ5 ly)phatic syste)s5 roots5 seasons5 people fittin or anically into one another& ?un us (as the first far)er of life on earth& .

a) past savin )yself (ith )edicines and disassociation as )y body is on a naked runnin 3do(n3the3dark3street suicidal ra)pa e& Marilyn helped )e et in the car and (e are at the hospital in four )inutes& . kno( for sure .this evenin 5 . a) blue5 to (hich the receptionist nods absently as she (rites do(n the infor)ation Marilyn is ivin to her *uestions: @ate of birthL Color eyesL Bei htL When (as his last co)plete physicalL .s he any ood in bedL Marilyn ently su ests that if . really co)e alive (hen )y body oes to (ar a ainst itself& That el) tree incident (as such a ti)e5 sittin a)on the branches lookin throu h the house (all into )y bedroo) (here . need help& . don:t et in ri ht a(ay )y heart is oin to stop& The (o)an lances up at Marilyn5 not )e5 to check ho( true this is& -he:s heard all sorts of stories fro) people tryin to et their people in before others (ho (ere already properly ad)itted and politely (aitin their turn in pools of blood& Marilyn leans do(n close to her and says she:d been hospital supervisor here at Unity years before5 all very lo( key& The receptionist sees she )eans business and allo(s ho( so)e of this ad)ittance cere)ony )i ht (ait (hile the doctors are eJa)inin )e& -he lets us pass into the inner sanctu)& .f you:re ut shot and trippin over your viscera you o strai ht into the $R throu h s(in in doors& <ther(ise there is a locked door and procedure& <ne of the nurses says to the receptionist checkin )e in that .:d died5 the ti)e on Ro(e Mesa5 and then on the dirt road in Der)ont (ith the snake& No(5 sittin on the eJa)inin table behind (hite curtains (ith Marilyn holdin )y hand and the in=ection of 'rednisone takin effect5 . s)ile at her throu h the oJy en )ask and see her tears& $verythin is better than ever& . a) alive5 and she is (hy& 00 .

PART T&O 02 .

noticed over his shoulder that it (as bein (ritten on an account for the construction of .:d heard of it fro) anyone& . called hi) Uncle %l& ?ro) $ast <ran e5 .ob stayed there for t(o days playin uitars and sin in till .ob stayed on in the Dilla e and ?red headed back fro) vacation to the University of Wisconsin& Chauffeurin . called it ho)e& %s an aside5 in 1/41 or :47 (hen .t never crossed )y )ind& 8ur mother an alkie3 And never noticed32 -o ?red and .ob @ylan to a door in his destiny (as a start for ?red& Aater in $n land he co3founded Run River Records and scouted for talent in the . kne( that place& .t took t(o (eeks to finish the (ork and (e trucked the) to the -anta ?e railroad yards to load into three boJcars& %s the )an (as (ritin the check . a) s)arter&.rvin 5 %lbert $instein spent enou h ti)e at our apart)ent in ?leet(ood %cres that ?red and .ob @ylan to Ne( 9ork fro) Madison5 Wisconsin& .sles for years5 launchin talented )usicians he put under contract& <nce at >erde:s ?olk City in The Dilla e to hear Jose ?eliciano5 . re)e)bered a conversation bet(een )other and hi) (hen . Mother ot a de ree in her fifties at UNM5 so no( she (as layin it on ?red about her definitive papers on T3shaped door(ays at Chaco5 published in the archeolo y trades& ?red countered (ith his havin been head reference librarian at the Aondon Aibrary after 04 . (as still in the (ood business in -anta ?e5 and he (as visitin fro) $n land& .etsy and our father5 .rvin 5 (ho) he:d never )et& ?red and . said she (asn:t5 and he looks at )e cockeyed and says5 8Ja3ack5 co)e on5 of course she (as5 and (hen you ro( up (ith a drunk&&&.ritish .ob ever since he (as a kid& ?red visited us at Aake Morena near -an @ie o after his (ife booted hi) out of their ho)e in $n land& -he:d had it (ith his drinkin & -o no( he:s s(illin scotch and tellin )e our )other (as an alcoholic5 (hich is ne(s to )e& .ut then a ain5 )y )other also said that after her divorce fro) .ob @ylan:s ho)e& -o you see5 ?red and )e:ve been takin ood care of .ob had been stayin at the house (ith a student friend5 (aitin for a ride east& My brother and .etty (as cookin dinner and (e (ere standin by the fireplace5 the t(o of the) ar uin about (ho (as s)arter& They (ere like t(o kids& .rvin (as trained as a concert pianist by Boro(itC5 accordin to )y )other& .CHAPTER 13 FRED %s a student5 )y brother ?red drove . 89ouL Bo ho&.ob stopped off in $ast <ran e5 Ne( Jersey5 to )eet our half3sister .rvin asked the) to leave& The bastardQ .ob and ?red (ent across the river to Manhattan (here . (anted to o over and ive hi) ne(s about ?red5 but he (as in another place (ithout an entrance& . Be lets )e fill in the rest& This (as the first .oth ste(ed to the ills5 and )e understandin that )y )other and brother (ere hi hly educated du)b people& 8No5 you:re not5 . had the vi a and sa()ill business in -anta ?e5 a )an ca)e to the yard (ith a hu e order for vi as and hand3adCed upri hts for a contractor buildin a house for a fa)ous person in California& . stare at one another5 )y )ind runnin fifty years of files on her5 hi) runnin fifty years of files on )e& . sa( @ylan standin at the bar5 (ritin notes5 and .

:d been tellin ?red a story that took place in Ne( 9ork City in the 1/0#s& Marion had been in the kitchen (ith .ill& . asked her na)e and she said5 89ou choose&. (as a bartender at The ?ish Bouse on 61rd and AeJin ton and kne( the da)ned nei hborhood& %nd (hat did . (ent to a (o)an:s (alkup apart)ent on AeJin ton and the upper 7#s years before but they kept correctin )y story& The (o)an had called )e at Mc>arvey:s and )y apart)ent on the Ao(er $ast -ide a fe( hours earlier and invited )e over5 said she kne( )e5 and everythin about )e5 but that . read @ick and Jane years before5 . not kno( her if she kne( )eL .raduatin fro) UW at Madison (ith until3then3unheard3of honors5 then she (ent on about (innin the 'ulitCer (ith her bio raphyEro)ance of %lbert $instein5 then he a . said ho( . told hi) . didn:t kno( her& Would . This (as the late seventies and . (as captivated5. ot confused (ith the plot (hen -pot ca)e into it5 so . like toL . Marion roans and ?red says ho( this is so bad he:s oin to the kitchen to slash his (rists& %ccordin to hi) there is no (alk3up tene)ent in that area5 a) . "acArthur &oundation Aenius Cndowment5 then her bein the first (o)an president of the U&-&5 then hi) about bein kin of $n land& .t:d otten too hard to o onP they didn:t (ant )e there )essin up their tutela e of one another as to (ho (as brainier& -ophocles and 'lato bein bad ered by BuntC Ball& No( here at Aake Morena5 ?red (as tickin off the evidence that our )other (as a booCehound5 countin points on his fin ers5 and so)eho( started back on his thu)b (ith nu)ber t(elve in the people:s case a ainst her& . . 8. held )y ton ue until there (as a lull5 and . (ere a child (ho:d =oined the adults5 yet a ain (antin to sho( )y one card trick& . and Catherine T. (as talkin about& ?red (ould interrupt and say5 8That:s so naive5 Jack5 JesusQ.:) sayin & 8 .:d been a pool cleaner and (as no( a (oodcutter& When . couldn:t keep their interest (ith )y stories5 so they:d an up5 (ith Marion finishin )y sentences5 correctin (ord selection5 ra))ar5 and details5 and ?red pontificatin on the historical or philosophical le iti)acy of (hatever situation .etty and no( (as back listenin in& Neither ?red nor Mother had been (ithin "5### )iles of )e (hen .:d been a pool cleaner& When . nutsL That:s all hi h rent5 and besides ho( could . held up a hand for hi) to stop& 0/ .ohn D.:d tried earlier that evenin to han out (ith the)5 they ot cross as if . Marion (ent off on a tan ent about a lover she:d had (ho (as in theater (hen she (orked at The @ew +orker )a aCine5 (ho had never told her his real na)e& -he:d call hi) and ask for Terry5 and he:d say there (as no one by that na)e there5 =ust hi)5 . )ean by or eousL he asked5 8(hat the hell did she look likeL %nd ho( )any (o)en call up perfect stran ers and invite the) over to their place in Ne( 9ork CityL.:d fantasiCed about thin s like this5 a ro)ance (here a )an and (o)an are free of any protocol )essin it up& Ber voice (as thrillin andU.

t (as Datican .. Marilyn said she (as here and he (as there5 and she had no control over hi)& They co))anded she stop respondin to his letters and lurin hi) on& Be (as talkin of leavin the priesthood and co)in out to )arry her& They sta)ped their feet& 8@o you hearL We forbid thisQ. They )ay as (ell have perfor)ed the )arria e service the)selves ri ht then& %fter bein in a convent fifteen years you didn:t tell Marilyn (hat not to do& %t the ti)e she (as datin a )an fro) the 'eace Corps and5 until then5 considered =oinin hi) in the (ork& -he had also )et an old far)er (hose (ife died in the hospital (here Marilyn (orked and felt that5 since she (as (ith his (ife (hen she breathed her last5 Marilyn ou ht to take her place& Be kept callin her (ith this fabulous proposal for her to *uit her education5 learn to )ilk co(s5 keep his ho)e hu))in 5 raise so)e fresh children5 and scythe his crops by hand (ith his (orkers in the autu)n& The priest had co)e by fro) the )onastery durin one of these calls and (hen Marilyn told the far)er she (as in love (ith another and handed the phone to ?ather Jere)y GJerryH to chase hi) off5 he be an instead to counsel hi)& %nother ti)e the priest (as there (hen the 'eace Corps (orker friend dropped by (ith a sheaf of papers to say he had arran ed for Marilyn:s intervie( (ith the local director and there (as the possibility he (as shippin out to -outh %)erica by sprin 5 and he hoped she:d be (ith hi)& Not )any of the priest:s fa)ily (ere at their (eddin because of the (inter stor)5 certainly not the t(o nuns on the West Coast& To ether Jerry and Marilyn took on the Dietna) War5 the troubled Church and social ills they (orked (ith others to fiJ& They (ere in the )ainstrea) no( and had never been happier& They (ere in love5 and for the first ti)e in their 2# .o @iddley5 ?ats @o)ino5 Jerry Aee Ae(is5 and The .CHAPTER 1$ N)NNERY AND N)RSERY Marilyn (ent into the convent in the be innin s of the fifties5 steppin a(ay fro) the (orld:s apocalyptic culture shift for fifteen years until released fro) her vo(s by the Datican in 1/02& -he heard $lvis5 the .each .t (alked out the t(o3ton door (ith a ed ae is intact& -o)e of (hat had chan ed in three years of D3" debate (as that the beautiful Aatin of the service (as chan ed to the local lan ua es of the people (ho had co)e to prefer the tradition of prayin in a lan ua e they )i ht not understand but felt )ore )ystical& Marilyn had )et a priest (hile in the nunnery and (hen she left they eJchan ed letters continuin conversations they:d be un the year before& Be had t(o sisters in a nunnery out (est5 and one day they ca)e by to see Marilyn at her parents:& They (ere in to(n visitin their fa)ily& %fter the )eetin 5 Marilyn said she kne( (hat -aint -ebastian felt like& Their brother (as the only priest in the fa)ily and he (as in love (ith her& Bis sisters ordered Marilyn to 8stop his love instantly and leave hi) alone&. days and there (as bi hope the Catholic Church could be tided into the tail end of the T(entieth Century (ith a )arried cler y and ne( life philosophy e)anatin fro) the people and their needs5 a Boly -ea (ashin freely upon a shore of love instead of dribbled fro) a old oblet onto parched lips& The Datican proclai)ed victory for itself =ust as it (as and5 after three years5 pulled out of the conclave it had athered to brin )ore heart to its )onolithis)& .oys only as distant thunder on a su))er day rollin across the prairie& When she left her ho)e in the Church they ave her a fe( dollars and a street dress& -he continued her callin on her o(n& .eatles5 .

lives (ere free of institutional restraints of their pure a)bition to help everyone5 anyone5 anyti)e& Marilyn ot her Masters in teachin 5 and her husband a 'h@ in psycholo y& They adopted Julianne as a tiny baby& Michael (as born5 and then they adopted Jonnie& Three airlifts of babies had otten out of Dietna) at the last )o)ent as the Dietcon took -ai on& <ne plane of babies (as shot do(n5 the other t(o )ade it& Jerry and Marilyn cau ht up on everythin they:d )issed inside as priest and nun& ,t (as no lon er prairie thunderMit (as .ob @ylan5 Joan .aeC5 'eter5 'aul and Mary5 )ovies5 TD5 dancin 5 politics5 and or aniCed protests5 (hile continuin the traditions they learned in the church& They (ere a pure balance of the secular and the reli ious5 (hole hu)an bein s so lon selfless5 no( learnin about the rest of (ho they (ere5 and of their po(er and lory& Marilyn isn:t afraid of thin s that scare )e5 like an ry people or in=ustice or i norance or hatred& -he isn:t afraid of dunnin phone calls5 threatenin )ail5 or rants of le al action5 (hich nearly kill )e& ,n thin s that terrify )e5 she is cool and clear3thinkin & -he is afraid of police and thin s in the dark because they don:t listen to reason and are i))une to her luster& ,:) not& -he obeys all rules and si ns& , don:t& ,:) fro) -anta ?e (here there (ere no si ns or rules& Rules (ere )ade to (in an ar u)ent and served up retroactively alon (ith statistics& Marilyn loves statistics5 any statistics as lon as they are in print or voiced by so)eone in authority& My brothers and , used to )ake the) up as (e (ent alon & We:d say5 8,n a double3 blind study at Johns Bopkins5 it (as proven that openin the door for a (o)an is innate in )en but not in )ice& No )ice opened doors5 siJ out of ten )en did& Three survived&; When , (ant to cross the street on a dia onal5 (e part (ays and she (alks strai ht across or uses the cross(alk5 (aitin for the little person in the boJ to blink on& ,f he disappears (hen she is not all the (ay across she:s like a deer cau ht in the headli hts at ni ht& .ut (here , han back in an e*uivalent stance a)on people5 she (ill o ri ht up to a stran er and start a conversation& Then for )e5 it:s5 8<h Jesus5 she:s beckonin )e over5 (here can , runL; <n the road drivin the .ounder RD5 the one she bou ht soon after us )eetin 5 Marilyn used to find places to park in the dark , (ould never have dared o: church parkin lots5 )otels5 roads to far)houses5 nei hborhoods5 fields& This (as (hen feared police& When , (as drivin 5 , pushed us beyond our li)its5 lookin for an RD park at ni ht& -he hears (hat is said and sees (hat is happenin 5 and ets involved (hen so)eone needs help or =ust so)eone to talk to& , don:t eavesdrop because ,:) so afraid to overhear (hat , eJpect (ill be bad thin s about )e5 ,:) that vain5 and , (orry about ettin involved (ith others& , (ant co)plete invisibility even (hen ,:) )ad5 or especially then& , sneak in a closet and yell& <r (rite it& Marilyn )akes friends (ith everythin that (alks or cra(ls5 (hereas , a) still tippy3toein past the politeness sta e siJteen years later in our )arria e& -he (ants to do thin s5 o places5 keep feelin the pulses of life5 and , a) happy sittin do(n here5 talkin to )yself on paper5 or s(i))in laps5 or ridin the bike5 or (atchin )ovies& -he lives& , (rite about her livin & ,t (orks out& <nce (hen , (as publishin )y )a aCine in -anta .arbara5 a creditor fro) A%5 (ho had been tryin to reach )e by phone5 finally did and started in on )e so ferociously that , panicked& 8, (ant )y )oney today5 yak yak yak&; , (as as fri htened as so)eone about to be burned at the stake5 and then the phone (ent

dead& 'eople in the office on other lines looked around5 (onderin (hat (as oin on& The telephone lines (ere do(n the rest of the day in our part of -tate -treet& That:s fearQ %nother ti)e5 ri ht after the %rab ,sraeli War5 ?rank Coates and , (ere in Western Turkey in <ld .lue5 the ancient .edford van (e:d bou ht in Aondon5 and (e:d parked for the ni ht above a broad valley of far)lands& , heard voices in the dark5 then the van rocked as )en cli)bed up the ladder in back to et at the bundles roped do(n on the roof& That afternoon ?rank had been (ell into happy hour (hen he called over a half3doCen far)ers returnin to their villa e5 ivin the) ifts of his stuff and then startin in on )ine& When , stopped hi)5 the far)ers ave )e so)e pretty severe looks before )ovin off (ith their loot& No( they:d co)e back for the rest& ,:d bou ht a )ock anti*ue duelin pistol in ,stanbul5 (ith a &71# shell in it5 and kept it under )y shavin kit in the top of )y ditty ba & , (as tryin to et ?rank a(ake (hen they tried the back doors and started hittin the) (ith so)ethin to break the handle& , lay on )y sto)ach (ith the duelin pistol in both hands ai)ed at the door& , only had the one shell& , kne( , (as about to die and that our heads (ould be carried around on poles the neJt day in the villa e5 but ,:d et a shot off first& The door busted open5 , sa( a )an there backlit (ith a halo of li ht& , heard )otors5 and no( the far)ers (ere runnin a(ay fro) vehicles that (ere co)in to(ard us& % couple of Aand Rovers and t(o trucks (ith soldiers in the back rolled up& -o)e soldiers bailed out and (ent in pursuit of the far)ers& , ot out& % Turkish ar)y officer ca)e over and asked in $n lish for our passports5 looked at the)5 said so)eone had seen us fro) the hi h(ay turn onto the dirt road5 and reported it to the arrison in the neJt to(n& We (ould ride (ith hi)5 8please5; one of his )en (ould drive our van& Be told us this (asn:t a ood place to ca)p& We could spend the ni ht in the ar)y barracks and after breakfast he:d allo( us to )ove on& ,:) convinced )y fear brou ht the)5 transported the soldiers to our van in an instant& Marilyn5 on the other hand5 (ould never have been in that part of the (orld in that field in those ti)es of (ar under any circu)stancesP but if she had5 those far)ers (ould not have returned to cause her har)& , need flashy and dra)aticP she needs so)ethin else& Marilyn (ill call so)eone to et infor)ation (e need& , prefer to let it sho( up on its o(n5 like Moses ar uin (ith the (o)en in his band a ainst askin for directions to the 'ro)ised Aand& -he ans(ers phones even (hen (e:re eatin 5 sin in 5 dancin 5 talkin 5 but (hen she:s one , don:t ans(er& ,t )ay be that uy fro) A% tryin to reach )e still& Bo( did he et )y ne( nu)berL ,t:s been t(enty3five years& .ut ,:) not afraid of ne( ideas& Marilyn:s )ore dip3a3toe3in about that& , cannonball in and then deal (ith (hether , can s(i) the currents or not& -urely there is a do(nside to all these virtues in character5 spirit5 and personality5 a hidden sanctuary (here the opti)is) and ood nature cru)ble under the (ei ht of bad stuff happenin 5 and the sacred plas)a turns ven eful and intolerant& Well5 ,:ll keep lookin & ,t:s hard to live (ith a practicin Christian and ,:) not talkin about a Cealous and rabid )issionary type5 =ust a (o)an (ith Christian virtues built in rather than retrofitted& ,t isn:t derived fro) the Church or priory or classroo)5 because it ca)e packa ed (ith her& , learned this fro) those (ho kne( her early on& -he brou(ht it to the Church and priory and classroo)& There are a fe( thin s about her& -he couldn:t find her cup of coffee recently because she hid it fro) )e5 (orried ,:d rip off a sip and et er)s on the bri)& , do not drink her brand5 besides (hich5 )ine (as in )y hand& %nd for our first several years to ether she called )e by

her first husband:s na)e (hen she:d et )ad5 for ettin that that particular (retch (as not meP , (as the ne( one& -he still slips and calls )e Jerry (hen she:s eJasperated& -he doesn:t say )ean thin s about others and5 (hen , try to take care of that5 she counterbalances thin s by oin deeper to the source of (hat , find conde)nable and shines ne( li ht on it& -he (orks at it& , a) so connected , can feel (hat she really (ants to say so)eti)es5 but she stays )ute& ,f so)eone is particularly despicable and has )essed up Marilyn she (ill say so)ethin 5 or (eep& -he vents throu h helpin others5 trans)utes resent)ent and hurt into blessin s for others& Aike that fairy story )aid (ho ets Ru)pelstiltskin to spin (heat into old for the kin L -ounds too saintly5 doesn:t itL ,:) al(ays tryin to et her to blo( her top at others& -he does it pretty easily (ith )e5 (hich ives )e hope for the)& My idea of Christian virtue does not include bein so deter)ined5 there:s so)ethin spooky about it5 for )e at least& ?or all )y life ,:ve let destiny )ove )e until so)ethin sna ed )y interest that connected to so)e abilities hard(ired into )e& ,f , (ent after so)ethin , thou ht , (anted5 and kept after it5 it never (orked out& Never& ,f , (ere a )iner ,:d (alk around until a nu et tripped )e& , cannot o into a )ine (ith a pick and chip a(ay lookin for it& , a) not that (ay& ,n the (ood business , (orked physically fourteen hours a day but only because of the =oy that sort of physical (ork and puCCle3solvin brou ht )e& , (asn:t deter)ined& The (ork by its nature )oves )e to be involved5 or , lose interest& .ein out(ard bound is okay but5 (hen her ethic Caps )e5 , feel like a caterpillar bein trained to (ear proper shoes& -till ,:ve be un to see that deter)ination is necessary and that fi htin is our nature5 and to be ood at it like herMall lo( key and keepin after it (ith i)a ination and i)patienceMhas brou ht us )uch of (hat:s iven us the )ost pleasure in our lives5 like )y kids (ho (ithout her deter)ination and virtues (ould:ve ro(n up (ithout this particular dad& Aike the houses (e found and )ana ed to buy (ithout *ualifyin for the)5 like ettin the RD and travelin around )eetin people& The last shores of )y personal little island of non3deter)ination are do(n here in the base)ent and in the lap lanes at the 9MC%& Without this double3ed ed *uality5 Marilyn (ould:ve done (hat the other irls she re( up (ith did5 )arried and been in service to their fa)ilies& %s a child of the @epression all the lo(3 han in fruit (as picked and to et any she had to shinny up trees& -he is a fi hter5 but her (eapons are not lethalP they are her beauty5 open heart5 focus5 and intention& -he sees everythin that is already part of the e*uation and fits her identity and purpose into (herever they can be of use& Ber peers in acade)ia often underesti)ated her because she is too accessible5 char)in 5 spontaneous5 and =oyous to be entirely trusted by the bloodhound types of acade)ics& %lthou h orthodoJ5 she has se)i3per)eable )e)brane li)its to the packa in the others ca)e boJed in that ives her an advanta e in fi urin thin s out to achieve real oals& ,n faculty and ad)inistrative )eetin s she kept the hu)an ele)ent present in discussions& Ber overflo(in happiness and ea erness irritated the pros and ave the co)petitive people reason to believe they could overtake her5 ace her out5 and shoot her do(n& .ut they only deflected her )o)entarily& -he (as out to learn and teach and heal& -he attracted the ca)oufla ed saints (ho (alk a)on us (ith the real po(er and understandin of the (ay thin s co)e to ether5 and these (ere the ones (ho reco niCed her enius& They (ere the ones (ho hired her to denature the chaos that rei ned in the faculty )eetin s a)on the a)bitious and self3servin by her identifyin (ith hi her ideals than the little ones cau ht up in the politics of teachin & -he (as interested in ho( better to serve the students5 and she (as like *uicksilver (hen teachers and ad)inistrators tried to hold her do(n&

%t the end of these )eetin s it (as Marilyn (ho had the overvie( of (hat had been achieved and (hat hadn:t& -he su))ariCed the t(o hours in t(o )inutes fro) her notes5 uncoverin a cohesive core& , (ould:ve thro(n erasers and sto)ped out& .ut the students (ouldn:t have been any better off& When at Mankato -tate5 she (as sent off on a t(o3year paid sabbatical to -an @ie o for her 'h@& Ber departure had been architected by those in contention (ith her lo(3key and hu)ane approach to teachin & ,t )ade their )ea er involve)ent look bad& .esides5 she (as )akin )ore than the)& The colle e could hire t(o for the sa)e price& %fter t(enty years5 they ot (hat they (anted and the students lost (hat they (anted& Marilyn is a butterfly touchin flo(ers to (ive them nectar& -he consecrates )ultitudes& -he has shared herself (ith thousands of children and colle e students and doctors and nuns and prelates5 s(eetenin the) (ith her spirit& %t 'oint Ao)a NaCarene Colle e in -an @ie o , sat in on her nursin classes& %ll her eJperience and learnin and po(er to co))unicate si)ply5 and (ith love5 coalesced into this bri ht e*uation of kno(led e she shared (ith5 rather than tau ht to5 the class& ,t is not (hat she has learned fro) teJtbooks and eJperience that )akes her a special teacher5 it is bein open3 hearted and undefended& ,t is this *uality that )akes a healer& The nursin students (ho reco niCed this and adapted to it ot so)ethin very special that sin led the) out in the Aeadership phase of their senior year& They:d o alon on rounds (ith doctors and (ork (ith staff at Faiser 'er)anente5 or the other -an @ie o hospitals (here Marilyn took the)5 and they brou ht that so)ethin special that (asn:t fro) books or the course syllabus& Marilyn )akes friends spontaneously& , et included because ,:) there& %lone , used to look like a sniper scoutin for a perch& Marilyn speaks plainly (ith affection and receptivity& -he is transparent& Not to say she is (holly uileless5 but (ith people dra(n to her she is enuine& -he doesn:t lin er because a butterfly has a )ess of flo(ers to visit& When she (ent into the .enedictine sisterhood5 -ister Carole -(eeley (rote of this *uality as a )e)oir forty years later in the book "onastery &ables, (here she refers to Marilyn as -ister -tephen& <utside the fable5 Marilyn (as kno(n as -ister Tho)as& U<ne of the )ost beautiful youn sisters at that ti)e (as in teachin but takin classes to chan e into nursin & This particular sister (as the unstated darlin of the co))unity5 not only (as she attractive in the habit but she (as ifted in personality and character5 her tall slender body5 thou h hidden by the volu)inous black habit of the day5 racin her presence (herever she appeared5 distinctive in its youthful ele ance& -he had a (onderful sense of hu)or5 (as easy to lau h (ith5 and char)ed any (ho fell into her circle of li ht& The deli ht she ave others (as unspoken but present in its silent appeal& <lder sisters believed in her5 thinkin she (as the 8real article&; <ne su))er this sister5 (hile takin classes5 )et so)eone (ho chan ed her life forever& Not only (as her life chan ed but )any in her co))unity (ere chan ed as (ell& This talented sister left reli ious life to share her life (ith another in )arria e5 to )ove else(here and have a fa)ily& Not until forty years later did she appear in the ne(ly built )onastery co)in to visit one of her old friends and =ust by chance did she happen to reet another sister (ho had once lived (ith her )any years a oU

%licia X-ister -(eeleyY looked in her friend:s eyes5 hopin to find her old friend& @urin their brief conversation %licia had tapped -tephen:s ar)5 a soft love tap (as all5 and -tephen had responded doin the sa)e to her& That (as all that (as left5 the love tap& <ver forty years and this (as all to be had for their early years of frivolity5 but there (ere the )e)ories& -he had these locked in her heart and stored (ith those past drea)s (here nothin is lost5 nothin is sad5 and those (e have loved are al(ays thereU -o)eti)es , rode alon (ith Marilyn on her ho)e nursin calls in the tou h parts of -an @ie o& Until , ca)e into her life she )ana ed =ust fine5 but , think she (anted )e to et a rip on the nature of her (ork (ith the people (ho have an especially rou h o in life& They are the special ones she has served& -he ca)e fro) the)5 she has stayed (ith the)& <ne of the children she tended to (as a bri ht and lively irl (ithout a face& The sur eons (ere )akin her one little by little5 trainin flesh5 bone5 and ristle fro) other parts of her body to be lips and the nose she (as so proud of& When it healed they (ould )ake the nostrils& What i)pressed )e (as her =oy5 the love that tu)bled out of this little irl& .ack then , felt =oy (as inco)patible (ith all that she had (ron because it (asn:t only her face5 she had )a=or ano)alies inside& Ber )other (as cra))in for a test that afternoon for the position of court reporter as Marilyn set up so)e )edical procedure , can:t re)e)ber no(& The irl had the )edical hard(are laid out and (as happily fillin us in on her upco)in nostrils5 her )other:s test5 and (hat the =ob paid& Ber )other had lived this for seven years5 , (as fallin apart after seven )inutes& , had everythin & -he had nothin eJcept the possibility of a =ob5 this little place in Bell:s Balf %cre and a beautiful dau hter (ho (asn:t eJpected to live )uch lon er5 but (as bein crafted a face so she could look in the )irror so)e day and say oodbye to a her she no( reco niCed& With $lena and her )other (e (ere in heaven& When (e left a half hour later5 the street (as no lon er scary& Thin s had chan ed& No one lurked around like (hen (e ca)e in5 no sirens or traffic5 =ust an e)pty5 *uiet5 ratty street on a soft su))er ni ht& The docks in -an @ie o do(nto(n are called the $)barcadero& Marilyn and , parked alon the (aterfront one ti)e to look at the hu e (hite cruise ship tied to one of the lon er docks5 the side(alk vendors sellin to the passen ers5 and to see a ain the steel3hulled sailin clipper called 8The -tar of ,ndia&; We (eren:t )ore than a fe( feet fro) the car (hen a (o)an trots up to us5 sayin her )other can:t )ove5 8-o)ethin :s (ron (ith her5 she:s in the truck over there but , can:t et it started and , have to et her to the hospital before she dies5 if you could help her out (ith cab fareL; Marilyn kicks into action i))ediately5 tells her she is a nurse and to take us to her )other to see if she can be )oved then (e:ll take the) both up to the UC-@ hospital& The (o)an says she is a nurse too but that isn:t helpin her )other et to the e)er ency roo)& 8<h5; says Marilyn5 8at (hich hospitalL; The (o)an says the sa)e one she =ust said& 8UC-@L; 89esQ; Marilyn is no( dealin (ith a sister in ar)s and in )ovin to take over rescue efforts (ants to kno( (hich truck& The (o)an see)s to have lost her bearin s and finally points at one do(n a (ays& 8The one (ith the (heelbarro( in backL: Marilyn asks&

The (o)an says yes5 but to (ait5 she:ll try her dad a ain on the cell and )aybe Marilyn can talk to hi)5 she:d called hi) before but he didn:t believe her and hun up& ,f Marilyn (ill =ust talk to hi) he:ll believe her and co)e et the)5 (hich (ill be better& Marilyn says5 8.ut that could take a(hile5 she needs to et help no(&; .ut the (o)an has already called& -he says5 8@ad5 don:t han up& Mo):s unconscious on the floor of the truck& , think it:s stroke5 her eyes are like before& NoQ @ad5 don:t han up5 she needs you5 , need you5 there:s a (o)an here (ho says she:s a nurseU; Marilyn says5 8, am a nurse5; a little )iffed& 8Will you talk to herL ,f you (on:t believe )e you canUno she:s not one of )y friends5 you can ask her5 =ust talk to her&; Marilyn:s hand is out5 (aitin for the phone& 89ou hate her5 you hate herQ; the (o)an screa)s at the phone& 8'lease5 don:t o5 here she is5 talk to herQ; -he =abs the phone at Marilyn and Marilyn says5 8Bello5 hello5 hello5; and says he:s not there5 and should she call hi) back5 and (here:s the nu)ber on her cellL The (o)an is in tears5 beside herself (ith rief& 8<h ho( could he5 ho( could heL Bis o(n (ife5 )y >odQ; -he stares in a ony at Marilyn (ho )oves to hold her and asks5 8Tell )e a ain5 is that the truckL; -he points and the (o)an looks over and shakes her head& -he )akes a s(eepin esture over )uch of the area (e:re in& 8There5 that one&; Marilyn is havin a conniption fit& -he needs )ore infor)ation& The (o)an asks a ain for cab fare to take her )other5 and Marilyn tells her (e (ill take the) if she:ll =ust lead us to the truck because the )other shouldn:t be left alone if she:s had a stroke5 Marilyn has cared for )any stroke victi)s& The (o)an says she kno(s5 she:s a nurse5 too5 but she needs $R ri ht a(ay5 a t(enty (ill et the) there5 she doesn:t (ant to trouble us& Marilyn says5 8,t isn:t trouble5; it is (hat she does for a livin every day5 and to please let her eJa)ine the )other5 she kno(s thin s to et her stabiliCed for the =ourney to the $R& The (o)an loses it: 8,:) a nurse5 too5 (oddammit5 you think , don:t kno( about thisLQ -he:s se)i3co)atose5 the best (ay you can help her is to either co)e et the truck started or let )e have cab fare&; Marilyn looks at )e to offer to et the truck started5 )aybe rebuild the en ine5 check the battery5 alternator5 and send out for a replace)ent if necessary& , stand )ute& ,t:s co)in to )e in bits and pieces that (e are bein suckered5 but (ho (ould o to all this trouble for a t(entyL -he had )e solid on the call to her dad (ith the tears and pain& 9ou can:t fake pain like she didP that (as fro) the heart& %nd the ferocity of her hatred for her dad& Whe(Q .ut (hy (on:t she lead us to the truckL 0ecause you idiot, there is no truck. There is no mother. ,:) ninety3ei ht percent sure5 but the other t(o percent is keepin )e oin for Marilyn& , can:t bear it to see her )ade a fool of& Marilyn asks )e to ive the (o)an a t(enty& ,t:s ti)e to let her oP (e did our best& -he is cal) in that cool space she ets (here her help has not only been re=ected but she:s been screa)ed at& , take her by the ar) and steer her a(ay so the (o)an can o (here she (ants instead of pretendin to return to the truck (ith the (heelbarro( in back5 fearin Marilyn )i ht see and run after her for a final try& The t(o percent no( kno(s for certain (e:ve been taken (hen5 after ivin her the )oney5 she s)iles for the first ti)e and for an instant , see in her eyes (here the ratitude leaves off and

the 8, otchaQ; be ins5 an actress respondin to her audience:s tears& We:ve been treated to a t(enty3)inute search3and3rescue dra)a that is better than the real thin because nobody ot hurt and it cost far less than the real thin & We:ve been )essed (ith5 but it (as (orth it& , replayed the (hole thin for Marilyn (ith co))entary asides5 but it still took her the rest of the afternoon to fully accept that it had been a sca)&


CHAPTER 1# LINSEEDIN% THE LINTELS Marilyn:s favorite channel is B>TD& ,t took years but it:s beco)e )ine5 tooP because as loaded (ith co))ercials as any other5 it is fascinatin to (atch people transfor) their ho)es into so)ethin that better reflects (ho they are5 or (ant to be& The =obs ordinarily hired out (e et to (atch done by lar ely se)i3skilled people doin (hat they can (ith deter)ination and friends& The out3loud )essa e is Bo(3to& The underlyin one is ho( our life is in our hands and (e don:t need a contractor:s license to fiJ thin s up& Marilyn desi ned the house she (anted for her first fa)ily in <(atonna& %n architect for)aliCed her renderin s and her brother3in3la( built it5 (ith her a)on the (ork)en& That (as in the early seventies& When she lost that house in the divorce5 a part of her (as carved out5 and she:s been lookin for it since& We lived in nine houses in our first siJteen years to ether& The one in .orre o -prin s built over ,ndian ruins is the first (here she ot to custo)iCe thin s5 turnin the ara e into a livin roo) (ith lots of (indo(s lookin out over the desert )ountains on one side and the pool and our date pal)s on the other& %t the ti)e she did this , (as (ith Iach5 livin in a )ountain cabin5 (ritin the book about the uy:s soul ettin cau ht up in the (o)an:s body (ith her o(n soul& %ll these years later5 (e:re on the banks of the Mississippi in an outlyin part of Minneapolis neJt to a vacant lot that the o(ner (ants a third of a )illion for& % decade earlier you could:ve bou ht the (hole nei hborhood for that5 and had enou h left over to build an ele)entary school and 9MC%& ,n )y fantasy5 one of )y books takes off and , buy the lot and have Marilyn redesi n this old house (here it has a second story overlookin the vacant lot that she and her son Mike (ill desi n into a se)i3private park& ?ro) the (raparound deck you (alk out onto fro) the sunroo) and see the full panora)a of the river loopin in fro) the north and strai htenin out in front of our place5 then you step over into the shade )ade by the roof out of the )ornin sun to aCe over the park )ade fro) the vacant lot5 (ith her tiny uesthouse tucked into the far back& $ver since (e )et5 Marilyn has spoken of needin a roo) of her o(n and (e have al(ays )ade sure she had it in all the places (e:ve lived5 so)e )ore private than others& My idea for the second story add3on to the )ain house (as to have her Dir inia Woolf private roo) overlookin Mike:s 'ark5 (ith a seriously (indo(ed sunroo) in the )iddle filled (ith plants for the lon (inters& <n the other end (as to be a s)all chapel above the ara e (ith a )i hty WurlitCer or an salva ed fro) so)e cathedral (ith the hundreds of pipes studded around the propertyMor a console piano and uitar if there:s so)e sort of city code a ainst this sort of thin & Marilyn:s personal ideas on this are not so)ethin she cares to discuss& Bo( do you discuss the architectural pinin of your soul (ith a (oodcutter fro) old -anta ?e (ho lived in )ud huts (ith peeled trees for roof bea)sL Be:d probably for et by dinnerti)e and be dred in up bits and pieces of your plan over his bo(l of reen chile posole as his o(n ideas& <ne early )ornin in the .orre o desert5 Marilyn co)es in and (akes )e& 89ou have to see this5 it is so a)aCin & Co)e on&; , thro( a robe on and follo( her out to the yard (here:d (e:d dra ed a sofa a fe( days before that (e (anted to ive a(ay& T(o do s are sittin 5 lookin at us over the sofa back& , tell

the) to o& The red do =u)ps do(n and takes a fe( steps at )e5 teeth bared5 back hair up& Be has a )ane like a lion& The other is a crea)y3colored and pink pit bull5 drop3dead beautiful5 the usual feral bluntness of pit bull features sculpted into classically fe)inine lines& Ber ears are up5 eyes focused and ready5 but not ferocious like his& Be is one of that breed (ith purple ton ues and strai ht3out hair& Be is rippin up the round (ith all four pa(s and has a pretty ood )outh froth (orked up& Bis eyes are )enacin (hile 'it .ullita:s are =ust curious5 (onderin (hether to et do(n off her throne for an attack5 or stay (here she is and let hi) handle it& These are upto(n do s (ith papers that have chosen the desert to a canned3food eJistence of safety& We are outnu)bered in atavistic savvy and )uscle and tooth po(er& When , rab a broo) leanin a ainst the (all5 he sho(s )e all his teeth back to the =a( hin e in black u)s5 and takes a fe( stiff3le ed steps to(ard )e& We have a situation here& , a) barely dressed and he has this attitude& Marilyn (atches5 *uietly )atchin their devotion to one another to us& , tell Red @o it is okay to sleep on the couch for the ni ht5 but no( it:s ti)e to o& %t this he lun es5 brakes5 lifts his le and for a fe( )inutes char es around peein on everythin hi her than sand5 and furro(in (ith )alice& 8, a) doin this to you5 .roo) Man5 you are this round5 these (eeds5 these date trees and bushes& That is )y (o)an5 she stays (here she is on your sofa until , tell her it is ti)e to leave5 not you& 9ou have a proble) (ith thatL; , start to say5 8@id you say so)ethin to )e5 did , hear you say so)ethin to )e5 @o L; , clear )y throat to try it out and Red @o lun es a ain and says5 8@id , say you could say so)ethin 5 .roo) ManL; No( 'it .ullita barks5 =ust once5 and he looks at her (ith eyes suddenly si)ple and trustin as a pup:s& 89es5 )y darlin L; -he steps racefully do(n fro) the sofa5 stretches and takes a fe( steps to(ard hi)& 89ou throu hL; Bere it is siJ on a su))er )ornin on a hill overlookin the %nCa .orre o desert and the (avery blue )ountains that cup the basin5 and ,:ve been challen ed by a psycho do no taller than )y knees5 (ith a blue ton ue5 (ho ,:ve backed do(n fro) in front of his (ife and )ine& Be and his bride stroll a(ay southeast into the (ild land beyond (here the street called Aapped Circle ends =ust beyond our ara e& Be looks over his shoulder and (ould have spit if do s could do that& 8Nice couple5; Marilyn says5 (atchin the) (ith ad)iration& 8Real )acho do 5 starlet sidekick& Bo( did they live out there5 1"#3de ree days5 /# at ni ht5 no (ater5 packs of coyotes5 scorpions5 snakesL Where did they co)e fro)L; ?or a lon ti)e after that (e si ned our notes to one another 'it .ullita and Red @o & Why did they co)e to our place and spend the ni htL What (as that encounter all aboutL Maybe they ca)e to tell us (e:d be )ovin a(ay fro) this )ost perfect of houses surrounded by date trees (e cultivated and a vineyard5 fenced a ainst the canyon (inds by oleander hed es5 one of =ust a fe( houses on the bi hub our street spoked fro)& Marilyn had discovered this house (hen it belon ed to a couple fro) Bo)er5 %laska5 and drove out to find )e on )y bike and brin )e to 8our neJt house5; as she called it& We (ere livin in the )ini)u)3security prison of the Roadrunner Retire)ent 'ark at the ti)e to be near our friends ?rank and .arbara5 but had Iach (ith us and needed a place (e didn:t have to s)u le hi) into and out of t(ice a day&

Maybe .ullita and Red ca)e to announce that they:d been sent to let us kno( (e (ould shortly be leavin this best place in all the (orld for Minnesota5 that (e:d be buyin a house there for eJactly the a)ount this one (ould sell for5 in a place (ithout cactus and coyotes and dates and fra rance of oran e and rapefruit flo(er5 (ithout our s(i))in pool and coyotes at ni ht5 drinkin fro) the fountain and feedin on the lo(3han in dates and tryin to lure 'ebbles a(ay on a hunt (here it:d turn out she (as the *uarry& %(ay fro) the *uarries of artists and (riters and iconoclasts and )isanthropes and citrus far)ers and the obreros and Carley:s5 Jiliberto:s Tacos5 and Casa del Iorro& Just (hen (e:d found the best house in the best tiny place in all the (orld these do s co)e and say5 8>et outta to(n or (e:re co)in back5 and it (on:t be pretty5 .roo) Man&; Not lon after(ard (e put the house on the )arket5 and Fen Cra oe sold it in t(o days& We took the )oney and bou ht the one (e:re in no(& We (ere =ust talkin about this tryin to re)e)ber the se*uence of events and the real (hys for this sudden departure5 and althou h so)e of the) see) lo ical , think the real reason (as our destiny shifted ears and it (as ti)e for the neJt chapter& % fe( years a o , drea)t of sailin over the sea on a usty bri ht blue day5 no one is at the rudder or (heel5 and there are other sailin ships bein carried by a po(er (e are part of but don:t have individually& ,t see)s (e are sailin 5 but above )e and passin is the boJ of a bi truck (ithout the tractor& There are other usually non3sailin structures ski))in over the (aves& We are not on the (aters5 our hulls or )ass are not in the sea5 (e are over it blo(n by so)e other force than the (ind& , slept to nine3thirty this particular )ornin & The house and ara e (ere e)pty of 'ebbles and Marilyn& , turned do(n the heat and (ent to look out at the sunny (inter day& There:s a s*uirrel that (henever , see hi) is either on his (ay to so)ethin to eat5 or eatin & ,t:s all he does& Be cli)bs up into the birdbath to harvest the seed (e set there on the ice rink& The pulpy apples (e toss out to the cro(s are all na(ed by hi)5 and lately he:s found the t(o3pound ob of suet (e put in a (ire ca e nailed up in the )aple& Thou h he can:t et his nose throu h the )esh the holes are bi enou h (here he can use his pa(s and a s)all pick& Be is so fat he so)eti)es has to use a (alker to et around the yard and block and tackle to o up the tree& ,n the backyard is a foJy s*uirrel that scares the be=esus out of the an s of birds (ho feed at the 8s*uirrel3proof; covered feeder& This s)all red uy has learned to navi ate up the tall =uniper arborvitae to a fe( fli hts hi her than the feeder and leap the three feet to its roof (here he ra es at cardinals and pope birds fro) the seed trou h& Be is a sort of )iniature Fin Fon on a )ini Datican& Be slides do(n the 'DC pipe pole like a fire)an5 and bounces over to the picnic table (here he eats (hat he:s brou ht in his cheeks& Be is so little and fierce5 ra in at the birds flyin over to (hat he considers his personal store& $arly the previous sprin , (as standin in the kitchen lookin out the (indo( at the river (hen a pure3(hite s*uirrel ca)e out of the thicket of dry (eeds in the vacant lot by the pine tree and diddley3bopped casually alon the curb& $verythin freeCe3fra)ed eJcept hi)& What )a ic to be standin in a robe in a (ar) kitchen at siJ a&)&5 sippin bre( )ade fro) beans ro(n (orlds a(ay5 picked5 (ashed5 dried5 and shipped to @unn .rothers to be roasted and round fresh the day before5 no( (atchin )y o(n personal river studded (ith ice and not a soul in si ht other than a pure (hite critter (ith a *uestion )ark tail& ,f , ot into it ,:d o craCy because it:s all a )iracle5 like breathin in air and the heart (hackin it every(here over and over and

over5 and the adrenals all pu)ped up on coffee5 shootin it out to every one of )y siJ trillion cells on the blood eJpress5 8<h3boy3here3it3co)es5; they say as they sense the caffeine on its (ay& Bo( do (e do itL %nd then (e eJhale the byproduct of the oJy en that =ust happens to be (hat the plants and trees need to survive so (e can eat and have a roof over our heads& , )eanU Aod2 There:s a ne(spaper here (ith ne(s fro) every(here (ritten on shado(s of for)er trees filled (ith (hittled infor)ation fro) around the (orld hot to carnival )y )ind (ith horrors and =oys and lau hter5 and ads for even )ore )iracles for sale for a fe( )ore spendable bits of the sa)e tree the ne(spaper:s printed on& There:s an ad for a car )ade fro) the i)a inations of )en and (o)en that is foundried out of iron )elted out of stone that rolls alon on four tires )ade fro) the sa)e under round pools of oil that po(er the )otor and so)eho( is )ade into the steerin (heel (e hold as (ell as al)ost everythin else inside the drivin cab& We see the road throu h sand (e turned into clear lass& The road itself is )ade fro) the sa)e pool of oil )iJed (ith the sa)e sand that )akes our (indo(s& The little albino uy is a )iracle& Bo( does he dare diddley3bop alon a cold dun3colored landscape in a (orld of (in ed hun er5 lookin like a fleJi3burrito on the runL , used to hear that %)erican ,ndians o on vision *uests to see (ho they are and (hat secrets nature kno(s about the)& %s a kid ro(in up in -anta ?e5 , al(ays had a ood feelin about this and (ondered if , had to be ,ndian to do it& The ans(er ca)e late in )y life in a (ood business , started (ith a friend , later )arried& ,t (as 1/47& <ne afternoon )y (ife Caroline G, )arried her after , left )y first fa)ily& -he had blaCin blue eyes5 (as ra)rod strai ht5 soft3spoken5 and an artist&H and , ca)e ho)e to the (ood yard on %irport Road (here (e lived5 and there (as so)eone drivin a truck across the land (here a sin le tire )ark can still be seen in the variance of the ve etation decades later& ,t (as so)eone drunk& , reco niCed hi) as $lo=Ol5 a fla stone *uarrier fro) the villa e of Ro(e near 'ecos& Be (as really plo(ed& , asked hi) to et back on the dirt road and leave& Be ot on the road and headed out to %irport Road5 but stopped by the s)all adobe roundhouse ,:d built around the (ell pu)p& My bike (as leanin a ainst the (all and he ot out and (as loadin it into his truck bed (hen , cau ht up to hi) in a run that collided us& , picked hi) up and carried hi) around to the driver:s side and shoved hi) in and told hi) to et the hell out of there& Be (as hollerin insults out the (indo( as he left and , took off after hi)& Rarely do , et fi htin )ad: , siCe thin s up5 like here:s a drunk uy ,:ve )uscled around and he:s a little out of his )ind and killin )ad5 but ,:d been ettin a ressive lately and short3 te)pered& $lo=Ol )ust:ve (ondered (hy he (as runnin (ith )e on foot5 and hi) in a pickup because he hit the brakes5 round it into reverse and ca)e back(ard at )e& , s(erved and ran into the neJt field bet(een posts ,:d planted and hadn:t yet (ired5 and he spun around after )e& ,t (as like that run in @orth 0y @orthwest (ith Cary >rant runnin fro) the biplane and you (onder (hy he doesn:t dod e to the side other than that the ca)era is trackin hi)5 runnin strai ht to(ard it& No( , (as findin out& .lind fear& There (as a loud blast behind )e and , cut a(ay fro) the sound instinctively as $lo=Ol (ent brodyin past lookin back(ard out his (indo(& , sa( Caroline (ay over there (ith the t(elve au e pointin at the sky& -he shot a ain and , heard pellets fro) the first blast rainin do(n onto the )etal roof of Feith:s ho)e near the (ood yard office& This ti)e $lo=Ol sto)ped on it to et a(ay&

, sa( Feith co)e runnin out of his house (ith Faren5 and Caroline yellin for the) to call the police& The police never ca)e but (hile (e (aited (e stood around tellin our stories all at the sa)e ti)e and lau hin & Caroline had the shot un in case $lo=Ol ca)e back5 and Feith su ested it:d look better if she didn:t have it (hen the police ca)e& Be asked her if she (ould:ve shot at hi) if he hadn:t taken off& -he didn:t say5 but she (as oin to et the opportunity to ans(er that *uestion directly (hen $lo=Ol returned (ith a friend for reven e one ni ht durin the -anta ?e ?iesta& We (ere asleep in the loft on -aturday ni ht (hen so)ethin (oke )e up& ,t (as lo( talkin co)in throu h the north (all the bed (as a ainst& , put on )y robe and picked up the shot un on the (ay do(n the steps5 callin back for Caroline to et the rifle and co)e =oin )e out front& , flicked on the drive(ay li ht on the (ay out& % )an (as standin there facin the north (all of the house& Be (as in a pool of li ht fro) the headla)ps of a pickup parked thirty feet a(ay5 a s)all (iry uy (ith a stra( co(boy hat (ay back on his head& Be said so)ethin about ho( ood it felt to be pissin on )y house and (hat did , think , (as oin to do (ith the unL Be said , (as covered by his friend in the cab of the truck& , kno( instinctively (ho it is but can:t see anythin beyond the headli hts& , also kno( if , raise the shot un , a) dead& , hear )ariachi )usic fro) the plaCa in do(nto(n seven )iles a(ay& 8,:) here5; , hear so)eone say5 and see Caroline (ith her rifle pokin throu h the (all (indo( neJt to the ate& -he:s taken out the potted eraniu) and the barrel is ai)ed at the truck& The co(boy struts5 insults5 and threats& -o)eti)es (hen he isn:t talkin , hear so)eone sayin so)ethin to hi) fro) the cab of the truck& , feel the si hts on )e5 so)eti)es )y chest5 so)eti)es )y head& There are t(o voices inside )e5 one relaJed and tuned into )ove)ent and sound5 choreo raphin (hat , do and say5 the other the usual )e lookin on in fascination& , a) bein set up for bein killed in self3defense& This voice re)inds )e casually to )ove slo(ly and keep the barrel of the shot un do(n& , have done )y part in settin this up and , have to play it throu h& There is no one co)in to save )e& ,f Caroline shoots it (ill be in response to )y already havin been shot& ,t is co)fortable so)eho(5 (e are en a ed in a set piece5 an a es3old dra)a& Me the barefoot Western Marshall in a bathrobe5 facin off (ith an outla( bent on reven e of his friend5 (ith Miss Fitty backin )e up& % funny thin happens (hen this thin flat3lines5 (hen the co(boy has no )ore to say5 (hen there are no )ore *uiet co))ands fro) the cab& ,t is $lo=Ol:s ti)e to shoot )e& % breeCe co)es alon carryin the plaCa )usic a ain and blo(s open )y robe& , a) naked beneath& The belt had been loosenin since , ca)e out5 but , didn:t kno( ho( to cinch it up and still hold onto the un& ,f , called a ti)e3out and tucked it under )y ar) to ti hten the belt , )i ht never have to do it a ain& <n the other hand5 standin naked in front of t(o )ad3do killers kind of broke the dra)atic tension on )y side of the sta e& , decided on full frontal in our shootout& , heard a i le and so)eone say F<ende?o24 fro) the truck& The co(boy lau hed and said 8-heeeee5;and it (as over& , backed up to the ate and throu h it5 latched the door and re3tied )y belt& Caroline and , (ent back into the house& We heard the truck start about five )inutes later and drive off into the ni ht& %fter that5 thin s pushed to(ard a critical )ass& , s*uashed a fin er unloadin vi as fro) the truck at Mar aret -choonover:s house over on a hill near the %ce*uia Madre& -he kept havin )e pick these heavy bea)s up and )ovin the pile this (ay and that& ,:d =ust )oved one

of the lon er ones three ti)es and5 (hen she decided she (anted it over there instead5 , yanked it up and the )iddle cau ht on the truck hitch5 , lost )y rip and the vi a sand(iched that lone fin er on the one beneath it& , call the poor thin )y -choonover fin er& , (as destroyin )yself piece by piece by refusin the call of )y soul to hit the road& NeJt , (as linseedin the lintels in the solar ain (indo( fra)es of the cabin5 standin on the sa(horse (ith a rickety le to et the top horiContal bea)& The sa(horse collapsed and , fell5 hipbone ha))erin onto )y little fin er and flattenin it& , (ent to -t& Dincent:s but the $R sur eon said the =oint (as pulveriCed and he couldn:t help because they had no fin er =oints in stock5 only knees& Then the (ild do s ot into the hen run and their kiva and killed the) all eJcept 'hil the Rooster (ho (as at the botto) of a heap of hens (ho:d piled on to save hi) and died of fri ht in the killin frenCy& Be and the %uracana5 Mud Ben5 (ere the only ones left& , (as 'hil& %nd , (as neJt if , didn:t et out of to(n& -o)eone (as callin fro) lon a o and far a(ay& , didn:t kno( (ho or (here5 but , had to o& When , drove a(ay fro) the cabin and Caroline in -anta ?e , (as dra(n by a force , couldn:t co)prehend but that left )e no choice& , either left or ,:d die& %ll the si ns (ere there& %fter drivin around the country for )onths on )y vision *uest , ended up rentin a cabin in the (oods a half3hour drive fro) Manchester Center in Der)ont& The cabin had lots of fleas in the livin 3roo) overlookin the valley& When the sun ca)e up5 , sa( thousands of backlit fleas =u)pin in =oy& They lived there on the sofa and pillo(s and thro( ru s because it (as (here their sun rose each day and set& They (ere (aitin for do s to co)e back& Until that happened5 they settled for )e)ories and )e& , (as harvestin raspberries one )ornin as , (alked alon a hillside dirt road5 fillin a (hite ena)el cha)ber pot , found in the tool shed& %t the sa)e )o)ent , sa( a run over snake in the )iddle of the road5 , s)elled an odor so sharp and toJic it knocked )e do(n neJt to the broken snake& My first thou ht (as that nerve as had leaked fro) an overturned tanker up(ind in Ne( 9ork a fe( )iles (est& The second thou ht (as that the raspberries ,:d eaten had a fun us fatal to people& The third (as that , (as dyin fro) a burst aneuris) in )y brain& , pushed )yself up off the road on one shaky ar) and so)ethin touched the ha) of )y hand& ,t (as the snake5 the burst out innards brushin a ainst )e& , had a friend to die (ith& The neJt thou ht , had (as (hich profile (ould be the best side to be sho(in (hen they found )e& -hould , keel over to the left5 (hich (as the side , (as leanin to5 or the ri htL , couldn:t re)e)ber (hich side looked best& To the ri ht (ould take )ore (ork& %fter a (hile the snake died and , didn:t& , (ent back to the cabin5 eJpectin to fall over fro) a heart attack5 but )y step (as vi orous and , felt )ore alive than , had in a lon ti)e& -o)ethin had clicked into place& That ni ht , drea)ed of the parkin ra)p in the Cha)bers .uildin in -an @ie o that , (ouldn:t see for siJ or seven years5 (ith only a little li ht co)in in fro) outside and so)e di) li hts in the ceilin & ,t (as that click2 of seein a fe( fra)es fro) the future (here , (as (alkin (ith so)eone5 and (e (ere approachin a concrete ra)p to o do(n to )y car& The detective in )e )ust have otten )ore detail than , did because the neJt day , (as drivin do(n the hill to the hi h(ay and headin (est& My randfather5 Aaddie ?rench5 lived in -anta .arbara and (as )y beacon& ,:d )et hi) once (hen , (as (orkin north of there as a ditch3di er at the 'oint %r uelles Naval ?acility5 no( Dandenber %ir ?orce .ase& , loved hi)& Be (as an %r)y Cavalry officer back (hen they still rode horses& ,n his old

a e he looked like >ary Cooper in 'i(h @oon& , for ot that he had died years a o till , ot to -anta .arbara and found only his (ido( at their ho)e& , stayed at the .lue -ands Motel on $ast .each the ni ht , ot in& The neJt )ornin , (ent to the beach at sun3up and sa( the bay (ith lots of dolphins co(boyin a )averick baby (hale off a sandbar and back out to sea& , kne( ,:d found ho)e&


(ere in the Cities fro) -an @ie o and ot to ether (ith @ick and Aaurie Aundy5 Marilyn:s friends fro) (ay back in her first )arria e5 and full3ti)e RDers (ho keep us in touch (ith freedo)& Marilyn and Aaurie used to drive to Corpus Christi fro) <(atonna (ith the kids and have so)e fun far a(ay fro) the (ork and (inters rippin the rest of the people& -outh 'adre . (as the chef and . )i ht be slo( to understand )y =ob5 it said it (as inherent in )y type5 and )aybe even scre(ed in (ith @N%: -lo( (as all that (as there& My particular brain and nervous syste) (ere best e)ployed in road radin or street s(eepin in Western Fansas5 or bein a arba e )an in a to(n of not )ore than nineteen ho)es and businesses (ith the landfill at one end of the only road in to(n5 and )y ho)e at the other& . (as @enny @i)(it5 . thou ht . didn:t have to accept this evaluation as the truth and5 since . drove to the 46 . (as& . had to deal (ith it& Myers3.f .:d developed a different )iJ fro) these in redients accordin to a secret recipe Myers3 .CHAPTER 1' MYERS RI%%S <ne ti)e Marilyn and . (asn:t lookin for a =ob5 (ho:d kno(L .f livin in a city5 the results inferred . ca)e in5 and here it (as revealed in a eneric test iven )e for fun& No( . understood5 the only one (ho understood that (hat (ere plans to others5 (ere only fleetin and conflictin i)pulses to )e5 and no )ore real than a thou ht& <nly in bein self3 e)ployed could .:d hidden this fro) the person .esides5 even if .sland is (here Marilyn ot her TeJas toe5 dancin (ith a co(boy (hose boot heel flattened it& .ri s and the Aundys forced )y hand by rippin do(n the curtain to reveal the no)e at )y controls& No( .ut the evaluation didn:t =ust eJtrapolate that . (as an ori inal& .:d be off the charts in ori inality and creativity fe( could )atch& They )i ht even have to desi n an ad=unct test specifically for )e& When the evaluation arrived fro) @ick5 the Myers3. couldn:t understand instructions& . (as the only one (ho could ive )e orders in a (ay . )ay have be(ildered the Aundy:s because . kne( . think .:d )ake a lousy e)ployee5 sure5 because . see )yself as this coura eous iconoclast5 dependable5 insi htful5 and a closet leader po(erfully inner3directed5 but (hat the test results indicated (as that .:d asse)bled fro) the ori inal parts in the packa e . force )yself to develop so)e cause3and3effect a(areness: . could still call )yself ?laubert5 (hoever he (as& %ll the test sho(ed (ere )y in redients5 but .ri s had no (ay to codify for potential e)ployers& . had to (ork for )yself (hen )y labor ot )ore co)plicated than pick and shovel or atherin piRon nuts: .ri s report said . (as another person than the one . re)e)bered (hy . (as po(erfully dependent upon others for )otivation and direction5 that . )ay be overstatin it because @ick has a (hole other take on it& . (as a )ousy conservative auto)aton that (ould do (ell in a =ob of repetitive (ork5 but only after finally understandin it5 (hich (as doubtful& This (as )y e)otional interpretation at the ti)e& . had finally rediscovered the truth about )e& . could probably handle bein a traffic depart)ent car counter on a t(o3lane5 or a t(ine roller5 but only for brief intervals since )y attention (as nearly noneJistent& -o)ethin clicked that (as the (orst and also the best part and it (as kno(in .:d )ind takin a vocational and aptitude test they said had been used for years (ith ood results in evaluatin thin s in potential e)ployees that e)ployers (ant to kno( about& Marilyn took the test (ith )e& . see)ed to be bri ht but (as all scatter3shot in conversation& @ick is (ay3up3there s)art5 Mensa s)art& <ne day the t(o of the) asked if .

t:s like so)eone rollin a cannon uphill to et a ood shot at her le ions and she helps the) push and load and ai)& When she even hands the) the punk to li ht the fuse5 they don:t notice the cannon is pointed their (ay& -he isn:t bein )ean5 it:s )ore 8. a) not a pu ilist and don:t have a Ne( 9ork accent or )uch hair5 no5 she (ouldn:t say that as )y a ent& -he:d sho( )e another script that (as perfect for )e and rehearse )e on it5 tryin to be entle and indirect& -he )i ht say5 8Take the Rocky intensity and purpose (ith you on this Ba)let:s father audition5 and re)e)ber -er io Aeone&.t took ten years& %fter the (ood business5 . could handle& Marilyn:s )astered the entle (arrior art of co))andin (ithout yellin orders& .ut if she consistently sho(s )ore (isdo) in these thin s than .nversely5 (hen so)eone is tryin to order her5 she doesn:t resistP she redirects the intention& .:ve been fi htin )yself in resistin her5 because she isn:t tryin to et )e to do her (ill& -he is helpin )e define )y o(n& . do5 then it:d be foolish to o read for the lead role in :ocky =& -he (ouldn:t ar ue that only -ylvester -tallone plays Rocky because he is Rocky5 and that .t:s as if she is )y theatrical a ent fieldin the roles bein offered so . et a business staff and that (as the be innin of so)e proble)s5 because (ith siJ e)ployees and a payroll . (as oin and had to turn around and o back5 (ell then . don:t like that at all& . started out si)ple5 as a (oodcutter callin hi)self 8The %Je5.:d be fired but5 (ith )e in the driver:s seat5 . hate learnin ne( conventional thin s& .:d learn& With another e)ployer . a) bein (orked on in an on oin uerilla (ar5 but lately . soon lon ed to et back (ith )y aJe into the forest& Turnin trees into paper and a )a aCine (ere t(o steps )ore than . don:t& %nd . de)and utter independence even if it steers )e to the brink5 or )aybe because it does5 because .:) not ri ht for& -he kno(s (hat . . don:t (aste )y ti)e on those . (ith a ?ord pickup in a fire(ood business that evolved into =uniper post coyote fencin 5 and then into a one3)an sa()ill5 and (hen . )i ht learn so)ethin and it isn:t a )ortal decision& . like the feelin of )y life dependent on )y neJt step& Marilyn is inventive in keepin )e fro) disaster5 or acceptin of disaster (hen there:s a chance .t:s a hi h3(ire act for her5 directin (ithout appearin to direct& .(oods and for ot )y chainsa( and (ater5 and then three hours after leavin the (ood yard ot to (here . need to et so)ethin done and ho( can you help other than by ettin out of )y (ayL. kno( isn:t ood enou h& The child in )e steers the ship to(ard the iant )id3ocean (hirlpool because he kno(s it (ill be fun to o round and round& Marilyn doesn:t rab the (heel5 she points to the distance and says she =ust sa( a s(ordfish 40 . started a )a aCine5 (hich is a (ood business of sorts usin pulp fro) the trees as pa es instead of fire(ood& The )a aCine (as doin reat as a fun eJploration of thin s one:d never read in )ost *uasi3)ainstrea) )a aCines& . couldn:t afford that luJury& . started losin touch (ith the ori inal (ild spirit of the )a aCine and its readership& No( there (ere people in an office dependin on )e for rational decisions and vi orous leadership& . .t su ests to the t(elve3year3 old captain of )y ship that (hat .:ve discovered that . fi ht this& . This refers to )y part in a Clint $ast(ood )ovie (here )y character says 8Ready5 %i)5 ?ireQ. can play5 and can:t& . ot sa(ed in half5 to a t(o3)an sa()ill& . kno( . allo(ed no paid advertisin & Considerin the )a aCine:s content5 this (as like stakin @o Trespassin( si ns on Aove Canal& -till5 a lot of people around the country subscribed& 'ut out a )a aCine on suckin rocks and there:ll be a support roup there for you& When still in business after t(o years5 so)eone su ested .

:ve for otten ho( it (orks& Aet:s see& % lon in in another plu s into her creative ener y and catalyCes it& $arly on she felt )y various lon in s and set about helpin the) )aterialiCe5 but invisibly& Near our cabin in .:ve seen it happen so often . (anted& <nce (e had it5 . (ondered ho( . could:ve one so lon drivin a =u)py =eep& . (ant this pickup or even lon for it *uietly5 it:s that she feels so)ethin deeper than . ha))er it& We sa( a house in -an @ie o on Talis)an Court in the -an Carlos suburb that (as (ay out of our price ran e& We hadn:t the credit score5 the inco)e5 the collateral5 nothin & We (ere )ovin back fro) %u usta in Montana and needed a place bi enou h for Cristina and Iach near a ood school5 playin fields and little lea ues& We *ualified for a t(o3bedroo) fiJer3upper& . don:t see it5. ot into the (ood business& %s lon as )y desire is focused side(ays5 she picks up on it& . don:t kno(& Marilyn (ants directness insofar as sharin infor)ation5 but she doesn:t like directness as in so)eone:s (ill bein i)posed on hers& 'olice terrify her because of this& %nd doctors& %nd nursin supervisors& To survive as a nurse in a hospital hierarchy she beca)e a nursin supervisor5 and eventually a professor of nursin & % direct re*uest or order is i nored5 )aybe not even heard& The sa)e re*uest deeply felt but kept silent (ill connect to her )id(ifery& . see ho( it (orks& . said to the realtor5 8We (ill buy this one&. cannot )ake so)ethin happen directly no )atter ho( hot3for ed . can reach& -he (ants it because it:s ri ht for )e5 and the black =eep isn:t any)ore& . can talk a second3story addition to the house forever and it (ill never happen& . 42 .:d been drivin pickups since before . don:t even kno( this yetP (e:re =ust (alkin around a used car lot in -ilverthorne5 Colorado5 near our cabin& %fter (e take the truck out a fe( days later and et a feel for it5 the =eep be ins to fade into a do(n pay)ent& This is an eJa)ple of her catalyCin so)ethin into happenin that .reckenrid e she stopped at a dealership on a -unday and (e (ent around kickin tires and sa( a used pickup that (as nice& -he (alked around it5 lo(ered and raised the ate5 leaned a ainst it5 patted the hood& We had a black =eep fro) (hen (e lived in . -he is a Dir o5 enetically bred and blended to be the hands to hold5 the ar)s and back to lift5 the tenderiCer for the tou h& 9ou don:t have to ask her for helpP she already kno(s (hat you need and is (orkin on it& Ber sel* is selfless& Where is she in all this5 her nucleus5 her core5 her fir)a)ent5 her eo)etryL . the little captain says& -he looks surprised& 8Way over there& <h5 you )issed it a ain& -(in the boat around5 )aybe (e:ll see it better&. kno( it (ill happen based on our years to ether5 . didn:t kno( .orre o -prin s to pull behind the RD5 but (e:d since sold the RD to buy the cabin& % fe( years earlier in %u usta5 (e had a -ilverado 16##5 sa)e as the one (e:re lookin at& .ut 70#4 (as the ri ht place5 t(o3storied5 four bedroo)s5 three baths5 lofty cathedral ceilin s5 all sorts of (indo(s5 a bunch of oran e trees and s(i))in pool5 and on a cul de sac (ith a )iJ of professional people (ith kids and (ithout& %cross the street (as a trail that (ound up throu h the Co(les Mountain (ilderness& We had been tourin houses (e could afford (hen (e ot to this special place and stopped5 ot out5 and kne( (e:d found ho)e& Marilyn peeked over the ate into the backyard and turned to ive )e a bi s)ile and thu)bs3up& .t:s not that .ut a recurrin half3asleep fantasy seein her in an i)a inary second3story office overlookin an i)a inary arden in the real over ro(n vacant lot neJt to us (ill be in brin in it about& .leapin fro) the sea and (ants to et closer& 8What s(ordfish5 .

The realtor al)ost lau hed5 sa( )y look5 and the look stopped her& Marilyn had heard it in )y voice and in t(o (eeks the seller Claude .t is not )y Jack self she listens toP it is this one& -he is the one (ith the (and5 she is the one Claude (orked out the details (ith on buyin his house& <rdinarily . (as the pu)pkin (antin to be a carria e5 and the )ice (antin to be the hi h3steppin tea)5 and this person could rant and drea) aloud about his (ishes forever but5 until he shared it do(n deep (ith the fairy od)other5 it:d never be touched by her love and (anded into life& 44 .raunstein offered to finance it at four percent and lend us the do(n pay)ent& We had three beautiful years there before Cristina (ent off to boardin school5 paid for by her rand)other5 and Iach (ent to spend so)e ti)e (ith his )other& The voice that ca)e out of )e that day on Talis)an Court ca)e fro) the peripheral intelli ence in )e that Marilyn taps into and is )ost likely a part of& .

realiCed ho( devastated she:d been by those losses& -he (as happy the spinet had a ho)e (here it:d be played5 sure5 and she told Jane this5 but the (ound fro) siJty years a o be an to bleed a ain& 9ou can take a lot a(ay fro) Marilyn and she (on:t flinch5 bark5 or even see) to notice5 but she re)e)bers& -he had . 4/ .CHAPTER 1* ICE TROPICS 8.:ve been takin lessons for siJ )onths fro) a (i (a)5. told her about ho( li htnin strikes up and not do(n5 as it appears5 she needled )e for )y i norance& When . a) a )oron tellin her that her eyes are (ron 5 the neJt . don)t know i* you are still alive. a) al)ost her e*ual& . -he (as five& -ister Renee5 a Canadian <=ib(a5 started her on piano in kinder arten at -t& %nne:s parish school and continued lessons until she )oved to another priory siJ years later& -he arran ed to have Marilyn continue lessons do(nto(n at Mac'hail:s Music %cade)y& Marilyn (as a)on those selected by the school the follo(in year to play onsta e at the Minneapolis Radio City Music Ball& The openin nu)ber (as by Chopin (ith ten students5 at ten pianos5 playin t(o )elody lines5 follo(ed by their solos& . love this about her& % )an (ho re)e)bered his second rade teacher fro) fifty years a o recently )ailed a letter to the Monastery of -t& 'aul that included a check for four thousand dollars and a hand(ritten )essa e on ruled paper: Dear Sister Thomas. remember sittin( in the classroom. 0ernard)s Arade School. believe you were my second (rade teacher at St. and was turned towards us. e)ailed her an illustrated scientific eJplanation sutured up (ith a bunch of footnotes and biblio raphy .:d like to play5. and the 8fro)&. but want to say Thank +ou *or bein( you. Marilyn announced fro) the sta e5 and the audience lau hed& -he for ot about the 8%nd no( . the chalkboard. +ou were walkin( in your nun)s attire towards your desk.n ei hth rade5 .ob and %bie sold Marilyn:s piano (ithout tellin her& -he (asn:t practicin as )uch5 and they needed the )oney& -he ca)e ho)e fro) school to find the )overs takin it& When they rested5 she played it standin up5 follo(in the) to the back of the truck and then inside5 cryin all the (ay& This rief played out a half3century later in .orre o -prin s5 (hen (e couldn:t fit her spinet piano into the U3Baul truck for the )ove to ?ridley5 and she left it (ith the Dan Bo(es& Jane ave it a(ay after a fe( years of not hearin fro) us about it& Marilyn tau ht herself to be 1## percent self3reliant and upbeat5 (hich is both heroic and scary5 because there isn:t )uch )iddle round to read fro) her eJpression& -o (hen she told )e about Jane:s letter to her about the spinet5 she said it as a thro(a(ay line5 like 8<h5 (ell5 Jane said she ave a(ay )y piano because . % fe( (eeks later5 (hen she (as talkin about her )other and father sellin her piano (ithout tellin her5 . (hich (as supposed to be bet(een 8the siJ )onths. found on the (eb5 )y stature in her eyes (ent (ay up& <ne )o)ent . left it there too lon &.enedictine nuns as teachers fro) kinder arten to ninth rade5 and they )ade education desirable to her as spillover fro) their o(n eJcite)ent about learnin and teachin & -o)e ca)e to their callin fro) a desire to learn5 (hich Marilyn carries on even no(& When .

so that would have put me in your class in %DE$. &or you had GhaveH the embodiment o* Christ)s enthusiasm. &rederick %n ad)inistrator at the 'riory called Marilyn and asked (here to for(ard the letter and check& Marilyn said to put the check in the <ld Nuns: ?und5 and =ust for(ard her the letter& %t the Minneapolis . (raduated *rom ei(hth (rade in %DEE. )m (rate*ul you were an e!ample o* his splendor. le*t Fwhom to pay to4 to your discretion. Gincludin( yoursel*H Sincerely with Thanks.ut they haven:t yet5 thou h he still has hopes& Be sin s his son only as (ords and )usic notes tacked on5 not as (hat a lot of us are used to as sin in & Bo( can the uitar be so out of sync (ith the (ords (hen one )an is doin bothL .t:s a soft sell for sure but by the ti)e he starts to stru) the uitar he:s attuned )e at least to pay critical attention to his )usic instead of =ust listenin & <n the one hand this could be a @ada3 es*ue bash that hides in its baro*ue folds a surprise a(aitin of 8My3 od3this3)an:s3terrific5. Cnclosed is a small contribution o* thanks *or you to use as you choose. would be honored to wash your *eet. start to et the feelin that his put3do(n is deserved& Be really kno(s he is terrible5 he is up there at the )ike half3sin in and half3talkin the blues of his life ood /# . *elt the hand o* Aod not in 'is splendor but in the ti(ht *ist o* 'is <ower and it was very pain*ul. because did somethin( *undamentally wron(. * not )ll do it in a thou(ht and a prayer.asilica and (anted coffee5 and hoped to have it in an early Ro)an backdrop of hot ash and the earthen after3i)a es of those (ho (ere snuffed out a fe( thousand years a o& Music co)in fro) the cafN in back dre( Marilyn& The a)plified uitar sounded too loud to sit near5 and the sin er:s voice (as )uffled& . like a heart attack.nstitute of %rt a fe( years a o5 (e:d =ust learned at the front desk that the 'o)pei eJhibition is not here but over in -t& 'aul at the -cience Museu)& We:d co)e fro) the . (as as . a) sittin lo(er in the plastic chair than . +our li*e had positive meanin(.smilin( and talkin( in stride. * it were possible. (anted to o upstairs to the cafN (ithout )usic& ?at chance& . or it could be like he says5 )iddlin & Be sin s a phrase or t(o and stops5 thu)ps his strin s and says that he usually (ears a har)onica to play on chorus but5 since he *uit it to force hi)self to sin )oreMor at least to hu) the har)onica part5 he so)eti)es for ets the lyrics because he:s used to revie(in the) as he blo(s har)onica and can:t do that (hile hu))in 5 for so)e reason& Be picks it up and plays the uitar (ith so )uch vi or5 the (ords to his son are lost alon (ith all conversation (ithin forty feet5 and ends on a sour chord that leaves us aske(& Be says this neJt son he hasn:t sun in al)ost three yearsP it (as a)on )any he =ust ot tired of sin in and playin and his feelin (as that ne( son s (ould co)e to hi) as soon as he ot rid of the old repertoire& .f noise has so)e sort of vibration that can be interpreted as a )usical note5 she (ill o directly to(ard it& We et in (ith our coffees on the tail end of the first set& The sin er co)es around introducin hi)self to people5 reat s)ile and (ar)th& Be )akes so)e self3deprecatin co))ents and5 (hen he starts the second set5 does a subtle riff about ho( )iddlin he is as son (riter and sin er5 ho( he:s had to take a full3ti)e =ob to finance an albu) he is puttin to ether5 (hich at the pay he is ettin (ill take hi) another four years5 and that this sin in in public is an alternative to (orkin and5 once he saves enou h5 he:ll et the albu) out& Tips help& .

(as thinkin she =ust ot paid so (e drove over to Bu)phrey:s (here (e parked in the )arina:s free lot and (ent to the hotel connected to the outside entertain)ent patio (here they brou ht the fa)ous na)es in blues and =aCC year :round& We (ent in a door and do(n so)e halls and throu h )ore doors in the labyrinth until (e ot to the outdoor pool5 and an area separated fro) the concert area by a (rou ht3iron fence& -he fi ured (e:d sit back in so)e loun e chairs and lend an ear5 althou h (e couldn:t see the sta e& -ecurity thou ht different and (e (ere asked for our ticket stubs or roo) keys& NeJt she rene otiated the )aCe and found so)e bushes in front of a siJ3inch space bet(een the hotel and the restaurantEbar (here (e could hunker do(n unseen and see a slice of band and hear reat& We had a free concert5 plus the fun of bein like t(o kids out late at ni ht (ith no adults ya))erin at the)& >uards (ent by checkin for other deadbeats but )issed us& . )et playin in a bar in -t& Aouis5 (ho loved Muddy Waters5 so . (ish he still had the har)onica& -o)e of his son s share the sound of Roy <rbison (ith only a half octave to fool around (ith5 others of @ylan (ithout the lon slides in phrasin 5 )usic5 and poetry& <n one son he turns do(n the uitar a)plifier so (e can better hear the lyrics and half(ay throu h pauses to turn it up a ain as people be in to talk& Be:s a handso)e )an5 fleshy .t (as like bein in Ravel:s heart (hen he first heard the co)position arisin fro) (ithin& <ne (inter5 follo(in church at the . sin it the (ay Muddy (ould if he kne( her or she kne( hi) directly5 or even if they didn:t5 . belon (here .ay in -an @ie o (e (ere livin on Bill -treet in 'oint Ao)a near (here she tau ht nursin 5 and she said5 8Aet:s oQ.rish is tryin to find a love son for Marilyn:s .ra5 a cabled3 to ether concert tent by the river do(nto(n5 to catch the )usic throu h the canvas (alls5 circlin for kaleidoscope vie(s fro) all an les (here canvas ed es per)itted5 includin fro) behind the orchestra lookin out at the payin audiences& The Coates:s once paid our (ay in to Ravel:s 8Rites of -prin 4 at one of those special ti)es (hen the orchestra and conductor beca)e sacred eJtensions of the soul of the )usic itself& .sland for the ice sculpture /1 .reckenrid e years later (e (ent to (hat (as then called Madonna:s .rish& Be:s back to thu)pin the strin s of the uitar as if his fin ers ot too tired and the poundin hurts )y ears& 8This one is about a irl . uess&: Be chuckles and (e do5 too& We (ant this one to be really ood& Be sin s it as Muddy (ould if he had nu)b lips and ter)inal fati ue& We can:t )ake out the (ords eJcept the na)e of the irl5 (hich is either Ta))y Mae or %lice& Marilyn is strea)in her en=oy)ent his (ay& Be no( be ins the intro to each son facin her& Bis talk is not so )ockin of his talent no( and he:s turned the a)p do(n so the ha)3 handed stru)s ive (ay to so)e pretty ood pickin & Ber support can:t re(rite his lyrics or bri hten the )usic5 but her enthusias) has spread around the cafN and directed people:s attention )ore to hi) than to one another or the eJit& -he believes he:s very ood& Be believes her& .asilica5 (e (ent to Barriet .naturedly5 the (ay he )i ht (ith a irl he:s tryin to pick up at a party& Marilyn loves hi)& . a) )ore of a payin custo)er sort (ith a ticket stub to prove .n .rish face5 thick curly black hair5 and )erry eyes& Bis .f she (asn:t )arried she could fall for hi)& -he oes for the yo yos& ?iJes the) up and turns the) back out onto the streets (here she found the)5 in ne(er and better )odels& . . (ant to be& Marilyn:s fun is ettin the sa)e sho(s for free5 throu h a crack in the (all or echoed fro) (alls outside the pay Cone& When Ray Charles ca)e to Bu)phrey:s <n The .

asilica that )ornin 5 (here the priest ivin the ho)ily sounded like he (as screa)in for help (hile bein held fro) behind (ith a hand over his )outh& When the audio en ineer lost the sound alto ether in the tent5 the una)plified island )usic (as a(eso)e and the dancin as fluid as bein half3naked at ten belo( allo(s& The po)padoured )an said so)ethin about his neJt son bein one he:d (ritten that .t (as sunny but so cold our eJhalations ran back in& %ll the parkin areas alon the street5 (hether public or private5 (ere staked out by entrepreneurs char in five or ten dollars per car5 but (e found an industrial lot (ith so)e truck trailers in back that hadn:t been clai)ed& We parked and5 as (e left5 a kid (as runnin up carryin a parkin si n he (as about to set in the drive(ay& Be told us (e couldn:t park here unless (e paid hi) ten dollars& Marilyn said to hi) pleasantly5 8%re you JohnsonL. in purity and feelin & Be (as hot no( and his voice hit )eCCo3soprano as easily as Callas& . ot oosebu)ps and it had nothin to do (ith the cold& Bo( can this sort of thin beL Bo( can people do this sort of thin L Who (as it that conceived of a the)e of the tropics in as cold a place as ever (as5 kids fishin 5 a)phibious planes soarin over =un le5 dolphins leapin L My >od& Tears ca)e and (ould have trickled do(n )y cheeks if they hadn:t froCen in place& .in Crosby5 %ndy Willia)s5 and $lvis5 a)on others5 had recorded& %s he ot into it5 and his dau hters and randdau hters s(ayed around hi)5 the )usic ot ri ht up there (ith Ravel:s 8Rites of -prin . ot the )essa e: Cn?oy this or (o sit in the car and tussle with the parkin( kid.sho(& . Johnson Truckin (as the si n over the )ain buildin & Be lanced to (here she (as pointin & Be (anted to ask if she (as Johnson but her eyes (ere too intensely blue and direct for hi) to try it& Be intercepted a fa)ily that ot in (hile he (as still on the run after us5 and de)anded ten dollars5 pointin at the si n as if it (as the la(& They )i ht as (ell have been deaf and blind for all the attention they paid hi)& My idea (as to (alk *uickly around the eJhibits sculpted fro) co)pressed sno( and others fro) clear ice5 see if (e could find so)e coffee5 and then hi htail it& . (anted to sob& . (atched irls s(ay as if choreo raphed by the )usic of sea breeCes and entle surfs (ith this intense blue3eyed s)ilin (o)an at )y side (ho (as sippin dark beer and cheerin loudly for the irls on sta e& Bo( she loves kids& Bo( did . because )m (oin( to soak up every last bit o* cold en?oyment there is around here& % red5 hot air balloon sat alone5 anchored to the ice over by the corn do shack& Nearby (as a To) -a(yer ice kid (earin a sno( stra( hat5 sittin on a sno( pier5 fishin in the sno( river for a sno( fish& The piece of stra( in his sno( )outh (as real& % fat )an in shorts carved fro) a block of sno( held a can of beer on his bare sto)ach in an easy chair5 (atchin sno( TD& Nearby an ice dolphin leapt =oyously& We ended up in a silver canvas double3fabric industrial tent that had been a fire(orks factory (here Naked Juice and .ut Marilyn:s idea (as based on fully en=oyin it until she (as cold enou h to beco)e one of the eJhibits& -he pointed at a pal) tree (ith a t(o3)otor a)phibian airplane takin off fro) a tropical sea )ade of ice& .ut it (as too cold to unclench for the fe( )o)ents it:d take for such /" .rue er:s (ere ivin a(ay sa)ples& <n sta e5 ei ht irls in Ba(aiian saron s and halters took their positions (hile a Ba(aiian )an (ith a (hite po)padour tuned up his uitar& Bis ancient5 sallo( (ife stood at the )ike5 ivin a brief history of the islands fro) their e)er ence as volcanoes to beco)in the fiftieth state in the Union& The audio )an )ay have been the sa)e one fro) the . end up here (ith her so far fro) -anta ?e5 so far fro) )y con*uistador culture5 no( a)on -candinavians i)portin e*uatorial life on dry iceL .

e)otion to flo(& Marilyn carried her dark beer in its plastic cup as (e floated throu h the rest of the eJhibits& There (as a hu e %frican elephant (ith trunk erect5 tusks lea)in in the sunshine& We passed a -outh . (as so taken byP . (as in ood hands& Me5 the solitary stone3faced )an (ho needed no one and could do any da)ned thin he (anted anyti)e5 lifted out of his little sno( fort and forever tha(ed5 no lon er an independent 'opsicle& <h5 the e)barrass)ent5 <de the =oy& /1 . kne( .each @iet display enclosed in a bi plastic bubble& ?reeCin youn (o)en outside ave a(ay nutrition bars fro) bins5 fillin our cupped hands (ith as )any as (e could stuff in our coat pockets5 offerin a front end loader if (e had a truck so they could o back inside& We drove to the brid e that crosses to -t& 'aul and sa( the red5 hot air balloon5 (hich had been parked at the corn do stand (hen (e arrived5 (as no( han in over do(nto(n -t& 'aul in utterly still air& -o)ethin about that bri ht stroke of color a ainst the rest of our life cau ht )y heart& The hula sho( in the old fire(orks tent at t(enty belo(5 free beer5 ba els5 coffee5 candy bars5 and a allery of a)aCin art under the bri ht (inter sunMMarilyn had )uscled )e into one of those instances that .

and that tall man with the black bushy eyebrows is 'ydro(en)s. tell her about a roup of us ne(s types follo(in Teller around the Aiver)ore %to) .o)b Museu) at Firkland %ir ?orce . a) settin up canasta (ith Marilyn5 tellin her about Teller5 (hile in her )ind she:s still do(n at the =ournalis) depart)ent (ith Tony Biller)an and sayin to )e as she al(ays does (hen (e talk about this that he:s the one (ho tau ht )e =ournalis)5 ri htL %nd .4 Be ra ed about <ppenhei)er ivin hi) this )oniker5 sayin <ppie (as as responsible for creatin the B3bo)b as anyone in the roup& We (ere all standin around listenin to his haran ue of <ppenhei)er5 (aitin for so)ethin to happen and too youn to realiCe it (as& -o here . tell you about your boJes of clothes in the stora e shedL: Marilyn doesn:t kno( $d(ard Teller fro) -a) -pade but (hen (e (ere settin the table for Canasta after (atchin the season pre)iere of #I5 )y brin in up Teller:s na)e in conteJt (ith %lbu*uer*ue and bein in the =ournalis) depart)ent )ade a connection& . tell her about )y life before . MARILYN/S HOPSCOTCH MEMORY %lbu*uer*ue5 Tony Biller)an5 and $d(ard Teller are a fluid reference cluster in Marilyn:s )e)ory& %s an educator she (as i)pressed that .:) sayin a ain that . lon ed for his dau hter for a (hile )any years later in -anta ?e5 but even then didn:t )eet hi)& .:) lettin it o& /7 .ut so)ethin about the )ysti*ue of so)eone she kno(s havin a class in ne(spaper =ournalis) (ith Tony Biller)an (hose books she has read5 stuck and took root& -he is not reat (ith na)es5 she:ll speed throu h a list of our children:s na)es until she sees the one she:s speakin to:s eyes li ht up and kno( that:s the one: SMike Jonnie Julie 'ebbles Jon Iach Cristina5 oh5 Cristina5 did . say beyond )y (antin a lass of (ater& $ven )y (ife doesn:t believe )ost of (hat . )et her& . took a sin le class fro) hi)5 and she:s disappointed all over a ain as this conversation has played eJactly this (ay a half3doCen ti)es over the years& .oy5 of the type dropped on Japan5 and further alon a display of the bi er bo)b (ith Teller:s picture identifyin hi) as the father of the B3bo)b& Be (as very upset (ith this label of bein the father of so)ethin fifty ti)es )ore destructive than the first ato) bo)bM8That)s @ickie)s dad there. Aos %n eles is nuked by a suitcase ato) bo)b that Marilyn is callin a hydro(en bo)b& . say they both do5 but a physicist na)ed $d(ard Teller )aster)inded the bi er one& Be (as one of the post3(ar >er)an brain trust uys (e inherited& . (as in Journalis) -chool at the University of Ne( MeJico (hen Tony Biller)an (as head of that depart)ent& Be had been a police reporter in TeJas5 and . loved this and decided it )ade better history5 so . )entioned $d(ard Teller:s na)e and Marilyn eJplained to (hoever (e (ere talkin to that he tau ht )e =ournalis) at UNM& . ask if she kno(s (hat a hydro en bo)b is and she says the one that )akes the )ushroo) cloud and . didn:t tell Marilyn this but no( it:s out of the ba & Maybe she (on:t read this& The other day . and 0illie)s dad way over there by the (oalie net.:) interested in $d5 she in Tony& -he has )e as Tony:s star student (here in fact he barely kne( )e other than as a na)e on a student class list& .ase& There (as a )ock3up of the ?at .n #I. think editor in chief at The Santa &e @ew "e!ican5 before UNM& Aike the fil) character:s o(n fa)ily in the )ovie 0i( &ish5 no one in Marilyn:s fa)ily believes anythin .CHAPTER 1.

%bie said& 8. and she:d catch her friend:s lance and they:d double over& Marilyn asked )e to )ail a card one )ornin that had been (aitin in the )ail basket for several days& . don:t like hi)&.:ve kno(n& .t:s nice in there (ith the la(n)o(ers and tool chests5 sittin on upended nail barrels& Marilyn has been a sin er and pianist since she (as five& %s a nun teachin rade school5 she refreshed her second raders (ith sin in & -he started by beltin out .t (as to her son Jonnie5 thankin hi) for her birthday ift& -he (rote it t(o years before and only found it (hile lookin for the car title& 8.:) sayin &. -he )akes )e lau h )ore than anyone . decided (e:d o around to nursin ho)es (hen (e returned to -an @ie o and be U-< entertainers for the battle3(orn& We san a lot to ether back then5 but never did beco)e troubadours5 in part because Marilyn had been pullin )usic out of /6 . %bie said& -o Marilyn a reed to o5 but only (ith a irlfriend and her date& Marilyn:s date ca)e by (ith the other couple5 drivin his dad:s car& Marilyn (as i)pressed (hen he ot out and opened the door for her& <n the dance floor he (as stiff5 countin 815 "5 15 and 15 "5 15. pulled it out to sho( her& -he said it re)inded her to call . uess . can:t see (hat . 89ou don:t even kno( hi)5 ive hi) a chance5.etty finishes one of her sin alon s5 there:s considerably ne( life in those old nursin ho)e folks& . . recently bou ht a tiny di ital voice recorder to carry around to record Marilyn:s stories& . . ya(ned )id3sentence (hile tellin her a story once and she said5 8. she told )e5 8please don:t for et it&.t:s ur ent5. -he tells )e that5 (hen .:) a borin listener&.t (on:t kill you5.ut despite the re)inder fro) )y pocket5 she for ot to call5 and (e )iss it5 and have to sin it ourselves in the ara e (here Marilyn keeps the piano for MoCart& .etty <rton about our co)in to the nursin ho)e (here she (as oin to play piano5 and Marilyn (ould =oin her to sin 8Bard3 hearted Banna the Da)p of -avanna5 >%&.t (as so s)all it (as easy to s(itch on (ithout )eanin to by =ust bu)pin into so)ethin or reachin into )y pocket for chan e& -he =u)ped and said5 8There:s a voice co)in fro) your pocketQ.ut5 Mo)5 . out loud5 and s(eated torrents& When her irlfriend asked Marilyn to o to the restroo) (ith her5 she noticed a bi handprint on the back of Marilyn:s polka dot dress (here the old dots had co)e off& When they fi ured out (hat happened5 they lau hed until they had to force the)selves to stop and o back into the dance5 but their lau hter kept breakin out over the rest of the evenin : 815 "5 15 and 15 "5 15.Marilyn:s )other5 %bie5 (as a )illiner and )ade the children:s clothes& Marilyn at a certain a e (as asha)ed of (earin dresses tailored for her instead of off the rack like other irls in her school& <ne ti)e she saved so)e )oney and bou ht a taffeta dress (ith old )etallic polka dots& %bie had been ur in her to o to a dance (ith this boy fro) school (ho adored Marilyn but (as so)ethin of a d(eeb& Be had been takin dance lessons at %rthur Murray -tudios for )onths =ust in case she said yes to oin & 8. We (ere sittin at dinner by the li ht of a sin le sputterin candle as she told )e about her day& -he paused )id3sentence and asked )e to find another candle5 eJplainin 5 8.rish son s for her dad and his brothers5 Johnnie and ?rank5 (hen they ca)e over to visit and (ent out to a pub& When (e first ca)e to Minneapolis to visit her dad in the Coon Rapids nursin ho)e5 and sa( the piano sittin there in the lobby5 .

say5 8WhatL 9ou (ere tryin for a siJ5 and ot t(o&. .t depends on the a)e you:re playin &. (inQ. say5 8Where:s the cardsL. had the )a aCine5 . she says& . -he says5 8-nake $yes beats a full houseQ. crack open an e and dandelion seeds spill out& There:s enou h ri ht in the eneral (eave to pass for real and5 because . When the Church decided once and for all to prove the -hroud of Turin (as a fake they used si)ilar reasonin & %)erican scientists had eJa)ined it and in the end could not decide (hat )ade the i)a e& They kne( it (asn:t paint or pi )ent of any sort they (ere fa)iliar (ith& They (eren:t tryin to prove it (as the burial cloth of JesusP they only (anted to kno( e)pirically (hat left the ne ative i)a e of the )an buried in it5 (hoever he (as& %n eJplosion of intense li ht see)ed to be the only possibility they could co)e up (ith after several years of study& When . intervie(ed so)e of the) in -anta .t (as idolatry& The Datican had a solid ar u)ent: . need to et your /0 .t:s a bakery lunchroo) (here you order5 pay5 and they ive you a nu)ber and brin lunch to your table& The boy at the orderin desk says to Marilyn so)ethin she hears as5 8. (in&. %nd Marilyn eJplains to )e5 8. %nd she says5 89ou didn:t take the) out5 that:s (hy . . say5 8you:re )iJin poker (ith dice&.f it (as the fake5 the Church said then (hat (as there to protect by testin the i)a e itselfL The Church said there (ould be no )ore testsMtoo )any people (ere (orshippin this thin & .reluctant souls all her life& -ince her divorce she:d lost the upper re isters of her voice& Marilyn doesn:t cotton to the idea that so)eti)es she is (ron & -he has a (ay of re3 suturin an ar u)ent to her o(n advanta e& Well5 (hy notL .t:s like .arbara for an article slated for the neJt issue5 the one that never ca)e out& This tea) and so)e others kept after the Datican to take sa)ples of the shroud to et a Carbon317 readin on the) and su ested they be taken fro) different areas5 fro) the inner older fabric as (ell as the re(oven outer )ar ins to replace fabric da)a ed in fires& The church refused to take sa)ples fro) any(here near the fi ure on the cloth5 clai)in it to be too threatenin to the inte rity of the )an:s i)a e& They ended up takin three sa)ples fro) the outer )ar ins that had replaced the ori inal shroud and sent the) off to labs in different countries& %ll ca)e back (ith a date fro) the fourteenth century5 and the church considered the )atter closed: -hroud of Turin is a fake5 over and out& . a) not *uick enou h to think under fire5 she usually (ins& Not by )y bein convinced5 =ust by surrenderin in playin verbal chess& <r shootin verbal craps: 8-nake eyes5 . kno( (hen it:s oin on5 but don:t kno( ho( to keep fro) ettin tan led up in it& . 8Bold on5. nore the -hroud and people (ill no lon er (orship idols& Case closed& T(o -nake $yes beats a full house& We have ordered our lunch and drinks and paid& .ut they didn:t count on the Fno(in & The Fno(in is the cu)ulative )e)ory bank that all life has contributed to5 a trans3cultural5 trans3species hard drive of collective truth& @eep do(n (e all feel the force of truth and no )an3)ade le erde)ain can fool us for lon er than t(o5 three thousand years& <ur sense and senses can fool us but not the hayseed deep (ithin us5 sittin on the fence5 suckin on a ste) of rass& Bis ristle is our core bein & Be kno(s& -o the Church:s findin s only )ade )any hun ry to kno( )ore5 to have the i)a e itself sa)pled in several places& .

look to the (o)an behind Marilyn for help& -he tells us ently5 8. Be nods& 8. )u)ble so)ethin in co))iseration& . she hears hi) say a ain& -he looks stunned& -he looks to us& We:re no help& Marilyn tells hi) she ordered the (ild rice chicken crea) soup5 and )e the sal)on salad5 and Aynn the 'ortobello3on34 sand(ich& Be tells her he kno(s5 she ordered fro) hi)& Marilyn says5 8Well5 (e:re fro) here in ?ridley5 (e:re over by $ast River Road5 and )y )other %bie lives on %lden Way& -he is ninety3seven& Ber house is close to (here (e live&.s that allL Be nods and (aits& Marilyn tells hi) she:s havin the soup and )e the salad& The boy (aits& Be looks like he (ants to o so)e(here but doesn:t (ant to offend her (hile she:s talkin & Marilyn tells hi)5 8Aynn (as in Ne( $n land for five years and =ust ot back to the Cities&.reckenrid e5 Colorado&. -he adds5 8Mike and Aynn put in our arden in . need to et your history5. Marilyn does a double take and tells hi) she:s (ith )e5 and this is Aynn our friend5 and (e:re payin for our lunches and hers5 and5 8. Marilyn points behind hi) and he looks over his shoulder& -he says it is way over there behind hi)& Be nods obediently& Marilyn (aits& Be (aits& The line of people behind us (ait& . think the boy is sayin that he needs to et his drink Gnot historyH5 )eanin your husband:s drink&.n Chica o or A%5 so)eone (ould be shootin at us& .history&. The boy looks at the (o)an ratefully and oes to the cooler to et )y peach soda& %t the table Marilyn G(ho didn:t hear the eJplanationH tells us that so)eti)es she:ll o into her history on her o(n but that she:s never been asked upfront for it like that at a cash re ister& We nod& Marilyn sips her soup and says it is (onderful& /2 .n Minnesota5 people (ait *uietly& -till5 it:s a lon line& Marilyn looks to )e for help5 utterly baffled& .

t:s a status thin & -he needs Iach:s social security nu)ber and . (as5 a couple of )iles up Ti er Run Road near the )inin bar e5 t(o la()en (ere killed by a black bear5 one5 t(o ni hts before5 the other =ust last ni ht& My first response is visceral5 that it could be the sa)e bear5 and she a rees& .CHAPTER 1IT/S NOT !)ST HER . have to call Marilyn at the cabin to et it& We tease hi) that he hasn:t )e)oriCed it yet& -he says ho( he (ill need to ive it to everyone in si ht5 havin to do (ith schoolin 5 education5 (ork5 and bankin Mfor the rest of his life& %s Iach is si nin his na)e to )ultiple fourteen3inch3lon le al docu)ents no( pourin out of the co)puter printer5 and initialiCin clauses releasin the bank fro) )ultiple responsibilities and acts of >od havin to do (ith his )oney bein deposited in their bank5 .orre o for siJ )onths to (rite this novel about a )an (ho ets lost in a (o)an he:s spent the ni ht (ith& Be is still hi) but sees out her eyes& Iach is in =unior hi h& We:re livin in our tiny cabin at Ti er Run 'ark& The bank officer is Aeta5 a fiftyish slender (o)an (ith peroJide3(hite teeth and )ussed up5 short blonde hair sprayed to hold that (ay& -he has a photo on her desk of a irl Iach tells )e later looks eJactly like Cristina& -he has =ust told us that the bank serves ba els5 donuts5 and coffee on -aturday fro) nine to t(elve5 and to co)e by& -he (ill tell us then if Iach ets his %TM card& .reckenrid e5 Colorado5 in "##1 (ith )y son Iach5 openin his first savin s account& .ay )erchant& The idea of a cup of coffee has )e oin no( and . tell her about findin bear tracks on )y hike out east on the Colorado Trail the day before5 and ho( 'ebbles took one sniff and lit out back the (ay (e ca)e at a full3out run5 hackles up so hi h it looked like she had on a backpack& Aeta says that not too far fro) the Colorado Trail fro) (here . 89es5 the first one (as bad enou h5 but the rancher (as really stricken (hen it happened a ain&. say to her5 =ust to )ake sure5 8T(o la()en (ere killedL.ank on -ki Road in . can understand that& . a) also thinkin 5 7hy would the lawmen be out there two ni(hts runnin( in the *irst place.ecause he is t(elve there is a *uestion as to (hether they (ill issue one5 but Aeta says she (ill do her best to see that he ets it& -he has otten to the part of the application (here she has to put in a dollar a)ount of the deposit5 and Iach hands over V"## in cash& Be is an e. could have been ri ht there alon side 'ebbles (ith )y o(n hackles up& -he says that the rancher that found the la()en (as really upset5 and . and what a coincidence to be killed by the same bear& . ask Aeta (here the nearest coffee bar is& -he says -tarbucks has opened on Main -treet in a yello( clapboard house up around the "##s& -he says she can:t understand (hy people are (illin to pay that kind of )oney for a cup of coffee5 but the hi h school kids (on:t drink anythin less& ?or Aeta5 a 2E11 cup is perfect& Ber o(n dau hter pays V1&6# for a Mocha Java -lushy and thinks nothin of handin over al)ost t(o bucks for a s)all cup of coffee called a >rande& . (as in ?irst . Well5 of course he (ould be5 but (hat about the police force and the la()en:s fa)ilies5 and (hat (as this special connection (ith the rancherL %nd ho( co)e this didn:t et into the paperL -care a(ay the touristsL There had been a story about a drunk on the front pa e (ho (as suspected of stealin a co)puter fro) a parked police car5 and (hen apprehended said he didn:t do it5 (hile the arrestin officer asked hi) then ho( co)e the co)puter (as in his handsL %nd /4 .:ve co)e up fro) .

order a s)all coffee& Three teena ers are seated at a round table (ith their drinks and .t (asn:t until (e hired a painter (ho (as as sin le3)inded as hi) that (e sa( t(o )asters tryin to out)aneuver one another in the arena and it (as reat because they for ot (e (ere around& The painter used runs of No as his (eapon5 as in 8Nononononononono5 that:s not it5. (onder if the irl (ith the Mocha Java is Aeta:s dau hter& Iach and . or 8B))5 tell )e about that5 it )akes a little sense&. We sat inside5 eavesdroppin on the)5 fi htin over details of paintin techni*ue5 the best sale brands and brushes5 (ood repair and sealants5 and (hat constituted dry rot and (et rot5 and about recyclin as a (ay to save the (orld& . We all stand up and shake hands& Aeta )ust be (ell over siJ feet tall because she is lookin do(n on )y siJ3foot3t(o3ness& Iach athers up his papers and (e leave5 et into the car and drive up the street to a -tarbucks set in a little yello( clapboard house& Iach orders (hat the bank officer:s dau hter usually does5 and .f he (as standin at the door to our cabin after droppin by and (e didn:t ask hi) in5 he (as happy to stand there and fill in recent history and the environ)ental thin s co)in up or =ust finished& .reckenrid e off and on those t(o years bet(een :/6 and:/25 Fenny (as our )ain can3do uy& Be (as an en ineer at heart but not by career inclination so he used his talent repairin thin s people thre( out& Be (as happiest replacin )echanical innards and )akin thin s live a ain& 9ou )i ht (alk in and see his parents: place (here he lived as they had left it (hen they follo(ed the sun south5 but in a )onth or t(o you (alked into (hat (as no( transfor)ed into his shop (ith television sets5 (ashers5 driers5 and sound syste)s coverin open floor& Be (as i))aculate in dress (ith intense eye contact and a (ork ethic that kept hi) pared do(n to (here his body (as like that of a skinned deer& Be (as a for)er co)petitive skier no( into recyclin causes and or aniCations5 a fiJ3it )an and recruiter for >reen5 satisfied (ith no )ore than a fe( free )eals and so)e ca)araderie& Not that he (as ea er to )iJ5 but he liked the ener y of a hi her3callin cro(d and the appreciation that recycled his (ay& Fenny opened his sentences (ith5 8The thin isU. as preface to (hatever truth he finished up (ith a fe( hours later (hen the sun set or a cold (ind be an to blo( and found us still on the porch& 9ou couldn:t interrupt hi) because the thin is he (as a bulldoCer (ith a blade that =ust kept plo(in & .ut (ith no )iddle round there (as nothin to learn eJcept (ho (as ri ht5 and there (as never any doubt about this in either of the)& Neither of the) ever said5 8Well5 )aybe you have a point5. (ith Fenny runnin off (hole riffs of 8The thin isU. Be sucks his )ocha throu h a stra(5 fi urin out ho( to appear to not kno( )e (hile bein at the sa)e table& When (e lived in . The painter (as paintin the lo slab sidin of our chalet one day5 the type they build on a // . start talkin about the bear and the la()en and ho( (eird it all see)s5 the coincidence of their bein at the rancher:s place t(o ni hts in a ro(5 and the bear killin the) and there bein no ne(s and&&& Iach interrupts5 8@ad5 they (ere lla)as5 not la()enQ. sit5 and .the drunk said he didn:t kno(5 so)eone )ust have put it there& Iach finishes up si nin his na)e and initialin the sheaf of docu)ents that are al)ost as thick as a )ort a e loan packa e& Be asks her if he can deposit his paychecks fro) his su))er =ob in Ba(aii throu h the %TM5 assu)in he ets the card5 and she says5 8No5 because the bank is only in Colorado5 (ith a sin le5 loneso)e branch in 'al) @esert5 California&.

looked back into her face there (ere lu)inescent colla es like little irls: play =acks they rab up fro) the floor (ith the bounce of a ball& What . 8r @onononono. use Tide5 (hat do you useL. (as seein in her eyes looked like =acks )ade of li ht =oined at the ends& While describin this to her5 she talked )ore about )issin her )icroscopic years& . =oked that . We:d been talkin about the clusters of afteri)a es the sun leaves (hen lookin at it& We (ere talkin on the bed5 lookin throu h the (indo( at it fluffin up its feathers ettin ready to set& When .(heeled steel fra)e and haul to your site& Not )anufactured ho)es but )anufactured chalets like little lo cabins on tires& Fenny (as drivin up in his (hite three3*uarter3ton four3(heel drive heavily antenna:d cre( cab and (e ran inside to hide and bar the door& ?indin the )an on his turf a ain5 Fenny ot into it ri ht a(ay5 the painter on the ladder doin the fascia and Fenny on the deck5 ar uin up and do(n& %s they parried (ith their set phrases5 (e be an to discover so)ethin fa)iliar in their feud& Take a(ay that handy)an vocabulary and put a dress on one of the) and you:d have Marilyn and )e bickerin over thin s t(o people our a e do& -o)eti)es . (as Fenny to her painter5 then (e:d s(ap roles (ith her on the deck and )e on the ladder: The thin( is. )iss )y )icroscopic years in acade)ia&. )issed )y )acroscopic years& We lau hed& We:d described (ho (e (ere in a fe( (ords& 1## . And the thin( is. Marilyn says5 8. @onononono. -he:s al(ays been horrified at bein taken for a house(ife5 and since she left her profession finds herself brin in up her acade)ic past (hen so)eone tar ets her as a hausfrau and starts talkin do)esticity: 8.

are (alkin (ith %leJ in a -unday )istin rain5 entertainin her (hile @addy Mike5 and Julianne and her husband . said -udan because5 the day before (hen leavin the -cience Museu) in -t& 'aul (ith 1#1 . a) too far out for her to )ake a safe step3 in& -he closes the passen er side door so . sto)p a puddle eJperi)entally& Not bad& .t (orks& . (alk easier on our (ay back to the ?rench Meado(& . can et the car closer& % car pulls in front of )e5 tryin to et to a parkin spot =ust bein vacated& The driver has to back up no( to let the eJitin car out5 and she thinks . %leJ says5 but the (o)an stays (ith her friends and (e o on& Marilyn says5 8. really sto)p the neJt one and %leJ lau hs approvin ly& Thou h the sto)pin sandaled foot stays dry5 )y other foot and pant cuff are soaked& -o)ethin loosens up in )e and . a) in her (ay& Marilyn tries to direct all three of us drivers5 standin there in the rain5 (hile traffic tears by in the street inches a(ay fro) our car& -he tells the t(o other drivers that (e need to pull our car for(ard closer to the curb so she can et in& No one )oves& -he keeps ur in the)& . . been =u)pin in puddlesQ: %leJandra tells so)e people standin outside a restaurant& They are (aitin to hear their na)es called for breakfast& Marilyn and . )op (et fro) the knees do(n& @addy Mike takes %leJ to )eet her )other at noon& .ill co)es (ith )e to et the car parked up the street& Marilyn is callin to our backs to co)e pick up her and Julianne& When (e pull up in front of the restaurant they are =ust ettin back fro) havin follo(ed us up to(ard the car& Marilyn co)plains they (ere ri ht behind us all the (ay and then (e backed up and =ust drove off5 ho( co)e (e didn:t see the)L Julianne ets in5 lo(erin & Marilyn says she can:t et in because of the (ater cascadin alon the curb5 that .f your )o) asks (ho let you =u)p in puddles5 you tell her it (as >randpa&.ill5 finish their -(edish pancakes at the ?rench Meado( do(n the street& %leJ has sto)ped every puddle on the side(alk and in the utters of the intersections (e:ve crossed5 and it is co)in back to us ho( )uch fun it can be& This is "##1 and %leJ is four& The people lau h5 re)e)berin 5 this red3haired (o)an sayin 5 8%nd you:re doin a ood =ob of it5 too&. -he tells %leJ she:d like to =u)p in puddles5 too& 8<kay5 c:)on5.t is ettin into a situation (here all three drivers (ould ladly floor their accelerators and plun e into one another =ust for the pure hell of it& Marilyn (alks over to the driver tryin to eJit5 and ently asks hi) to pull for(ard& -he then si nals )e to back up (hile she reasons the driver in the )iddle car out of stayin rooted (here she is by pullin back far enou h to let the car ahead leave the parkin spot she is so ea er to et into& . pull for(ard close to the curb5 Marilyn opens the door5 ets in5 feet dry& <kay5 here it is in "##0: MoCart ca)e (heelin into our drive(ay on his baby sister:s pink bike& Be is t(elve and nearly tall as )e& Be has t(o parallel and dia onal scars =ust belo( to(ard the te)ples& Be asked )e5 last ti)e he (as by5 if . 8Bu)pa a)pa(L.CHAPTER 2" MO0ART AND C) AN TREE FRO%S 8Bi uys5 .y the ti)e (e et there5 the older kids are (aitin for us outside5 %leJ and . kne( (hich nation in %frica he (as fro)& . %leJ asks5 peerin up at her a ainst the rain& 89es5 hi)&.

said to hi)& Bis eyes (ent fro) non3specific lo(er to happy5 and he flashed a s)ile5 said he (as fro) the -udan (here they do body art& The bone structure of MoCart:s and his face and blue3black skin (as also si)ilar& .W test that *uantifies a do :s intelli ence bet(een enius at Z15 to pin head at Z4#5 and ran it on this little uy& Marilyn tries to et MoCart to see the hu)or but it escapes hi)& 24 thro(s his front feet out(ard as if )akin turn si nals and5 the note Chuck ave us eJplains that 24 has sore feet (e:re supposed to treat (ith a (ash and oint)ent three ti)es a day (hen (e brush hi)5 and slip hi) his pills in a ob of peanut butter& .t (as a shot in the dark5 and MoCart (as surprised . told hi) she (as over at . tell her it:s )ore infor)ation than MoCart (ants because he is readin titles aloud louder than her story about Aois and her& Be finds 0ambi and says he:ll take this one and can he (alk the )op do L Marilyn:s been hankerin for a (alk and sees ho( she can et hi) out the door5 take the do alon the river (alk5 and ta)p do(n dinner& Marilyn loves to et several related thin s done at once& That:s (hy (hen she sends )e back in to et her purse she also su ests .rish has seen hi) on his tiny bike no( and then& Be thinks the boy is an adult because of his siCe and directness but (onders (hy he rides the tiny litter pink bike (ith (hite tires& Marilyn eJplains she drove over his other bike a fe( (eeks a o5 the one that belon ed to 1#" .unker Bill ca)pin in the RD (ith %leJ5 he (alked ri ht into the house and started lookin at @D@s neJt to the TD5 sayin (hich ones he had seen& Be stepped ri ht into the )iddle of our conversation and took it fro) a father and son conversation to a father and son video store& Marilyn and . (ere talkin (hen he ca)e5 he:d laid do(n his bike for five3year3olds in the drive(ay and co)e to the door5 returned the @D@ he:d borro(ed5 and started bro(sin a ain& Be asked about the platinu)3blonde )op do (e had tied up in the kitchen as he flipped throu h @D@s and old videos& Marilyn said (e (ere babysittin the little do for Aois and Chuck and started into (hen she )et Aois in first rade back in the Middle % es5 and he (asn:t listenin & The story of their friendship is a ood one and can stretch out to several hours on a ood day& .:d been talkin (hen he ca)e to the door and asked for Marilyn5 (ho (as ivin hi) lessons on the old Fi)ball in the ara e& When . ask MoCart to take hi) back to the house5 and Marilyn and . kne( his country& Iach and . .Iach5 the attendant totalin us had these raised dia onal scars on both cheeks and a stack of horiContal ones up his forehead& 8Nice face cuts5.rish)an co)es to a stop on his bike at the curb and tells us (hat a fa)ously perfect day it is& Be (as the one (ho told us (hen (e first )oved in four years a o about ho( ?ridley has (ell (ater fro) an a*uifer5 (hereas a lot of people in the Cities have piped3in processed river (ater& Be is a cheery sort (ith a full head of ray hair and a ood honest s)ile and bri ht eyes& Marilyn tells hi) about MoCart (hen he asks if (e kno( hi)& The -udanese fa)ily )oved in t(o years a o and . roof the house and do so)ethin about the s)ell in the laundry roo)& MoCart holds the leash to 245 the do 5 and the t(o of the) are a picture that Marilyn captures on her cellphone ca)era& The do has lon lea)in hair that cascades on either side fro) the perfect part alon its spine& Be has so)e shiatsu )iJed (ith Deronica Aake in hi)& MoCart oes at 24:s speed so (e are *uickly ahead of hi)& The do ot his na)e (hen Chuck heard about a do . on our (alk can still see hi) stoppin and startin alon the t(o blocks ten )inutes later because 24 is stoppin for every scent as if he has a lot of catchin up to do vis > vis the outdoors& %bout this ti)e a lovely .

ooboo and5 because it:s 7:6/5 it:s ti)e to ive hi) the pill to help (ith his liver or so)ethin & The do :s a )ess but has killer hair& 'ebbles needs nothin Mshe lives life on the natch5 no pills5 no our)et canned food5 no )edicines for all the (or)s and parasites they:ve discovered infestin all do)estic ani)als (ith ne( ones bein invented in vet labs every year& Coates and .H raced by in his black li)o after visitin a business pal in ?ridley:s industrial park5 it (as Marilyn he spotted and (aved to& Bundreds had been linin the streets all )ornin to et a li)pse of hi)& Be (ent fro) public s)ile to personal for her& -he )i ht:ve patted his tu))y5 but he had a nation to run& We pass @ick and -olvei :s house5 an %3fra)e they are sellin to )ove into a Autheran )inister retire)ent co))unity in Northfield5 near -t& <laf:s Colle e& 8They (ere over in -outh @akota a fe( (eeks a o and -olvei collapsed fro) the 1#63de ree (et heat5. divin into a flock of ducks to nab so)e breakfast5 and of so)e deer s(i))in across fro) the riverbank belo( us that )ornin & Be rides off& Up a fe( blocks (e see an oran e cat sittin on the roof of a pickup truck (ith a sno( blade on the front& Marilyn talks to it fro) our side of the street and says ho( pretty she is& <n our (ay back this sa)e kitty is no( on our side of the street and )akin a beeline to Marilyn& The kitty is beside herself (ith happiness as Marilyn pats her tu))y& Marilyn is a sort of )a net to critters& When the president G871. Marilyn tells )e& . a) thinkin he (ill be hun ry later on5 but (e:ll be asleep& We:ll try a ain in the )ornin & %leJ (as (ith us for five or siJ days that year5 (hen she (as seven& -he took it into her head to o to the park up the street and capture a fro 5 . feed 24 an hour later fro) the special dietary canned blend and a little later slip hi) another pill& Be sits by us to (atch a ne( Law and 8rder episode (ith a ne( actor (ho looks uncannily like Dictor Mature (hen he (as a screen idol in the forties& Then 24 oes over and thro(s up on the carpet and stands there lookin it over5 (onderin (here all this ood food ca)e fro)& .rish tells about seein one of the bald ea les5 8that nest over there5.illie >oat >ruff (hile Marilyn scouted for fro s5 (adin into the 1#1 .:) tryin to loosen& We have to (ash his pa(s no( and rub on so)e oint)ent called .efore he can tie on a napkin5 (e et hi) out of there and to ether clean it up& .:ve been out of the nei hbor ne(s loop for the better part of the su))er (hen . first started travelin out there& <n our return to the house the platinu)3blonde do let starts barkin (hile (e:re still three blocks a(ay5 so the (ind:s behind us or he has ood eyes& Bard to tell up close because the ri ht one bu s out and cants to the ri ht so you can see a ood dose of the (hite5 su estin he )ay not have its full cooperation& MoCart has tied hi) to the (rou ht iron balustrade facin the (rou ht iron front door5 and 24 has cat3cradled hi)self5 runnin his strin leash over enou h open iron curlies to (here it takes so)e concentration to free hi) as he stru les5 keepin tension on the sprin loaded leash . had been in -cottsdale at the ti)e (ith . don:t re)e)ber (hat set this off but (e (ent on our bikes Gher on her push scooterH5 parked5 and (ent under the (alkin path brid e at Rivervie( 'ark5 and played .arb spend enou h on their do s to run a s)all country& We spend a fe( bucks for food (ith no corn)eal or additives and thro( in so)e scraps& %t seventeen she is bri ht3eyed5 still sets do(n sticks for us to thro(5 and ets there after a (hile& .etty dyin for the first ti)e& .the neJt siCe up of his )any sisters& Be:d co)e over for a )usic lesson and she had to back the car out for the) to sit at the piano& The front (heel of the bike beca)e )ore of a fiJed lasso loop than a (heel but he rode it back ho)e any(ay& We three (atch a storky kind of bird standin in the shallo(s the other side of the river at the island (hile .en5 .

oulevard& .y no( (e (ere lau hin 5 eJcept the clerk& Marilyn slipped a nylon anklet sock over the top of the fish bo(l5 and the clerk ran off as another appeared out of no(here to replace her& -he sold us a ho(3to paperback book5 a cup of live crickets5 and (e left& We drove %leJ back to her dad:s in -outh Minneapolis and filled in Mike5 drove by the ne( house he and Fatie (ere )ovin into in a (eek and5 back at his apart)ent5 dropped %leJ and ?ro off5 and ca)e ho)e& We (eren:t here lon before Mike called (ith a report he:d otten on the (eb about Cuban Tree ?ro s5 prefacin it (ith the assurance that they (ould keep hi)5 1#7 .asilica at nine3thirty the neJt )ornin (ith us in to( but5 because of %leJ5 she called it off to et her to the store first thin & There (ere tiny fro s in private cha)bers (ithin fish tanks5 (hat they called the a*uatics5 and there (ere t(o in a dry a*uariu) an aisle a(ay& .t (as too hot and fro s not deep in the )ud by no( (ould be at the $R5 but (e (ere havin fun and fro capture (as the the)e& Wadin into the river5 %leJ sa( the )inno(s in the shallo(s as polly(o s that (ould soon beco)e fro s and tried to capture the) in a )etal indeJ card boJ she:d brou ht for a ca e& .creek in her blue plastic sandals& Marilyn eJplained that *uiet (as the su estion of the day because fro talk is subtle (hen the sun is up5 and hunters need to listen carefully if they hope to capture anythin & We all kne( this (as futile& . (rote a note on a card that they pushed throu h the slit bet(een the doors and (a led around tryin to et so)eone to co)e so they could ask the) about fro s& ?inally one of the (o)en (rappin up for the day ca)e and opened the door (ith so)e asperity to say they (ere closed and (ould open a ain at ten& The cash re isters (ere locked& Marilyn said (e (eren:t tryin to et in5 but %leJ (anted to kno( if they had fro s and if they did (e:d co)e back to)orro(& They did& The door closes and is locked& No(5 this is love: Marilyn (anted to o to the .t (as out of business& The si n (as one and the (indo(s covered (ith notices thankin patrons for their seventeen years of business& NeJt door (as a @airy Wueen so (e (ent there instead& <n one of the notices in the pet store (indo( (ere addresses for other stores so5 as soon as (e finished our ?lurries and cones5 (e drove (ay the hell over to Central and out to 16#th or thereabouts only to et to the store siJ )inutes too late& Marilyn and %leJ tapped on the front door lass and . su ested (e o to a pet store and buy a fro and %leJ (as a)e for this5 so (e returned ho)e and drove off to a pet store up Coon Rapids .n here lived t(o fro s5 a bei e5 olden3eyed5 toad3lookin tree fro 5 and one that looked like a do biscuit (ith chocolate syrup poured over part of its dark3 ray body& This fro (as hunkered under the open3ended fro house& The tan one had suction cup fin er pads it clun to a stick (ith& %leJ decided this (as the one for her and (e (ent lookin for so)eone to fetch it5 but5 (here there had been three clerks (hen (e ca)e in5 no( there (ere none& The store (as e)pty& We called and (alked the aisles and knocked on $)ployees <nly doors5 poked our heads outside& No one& ?inally . found a clerk in a secret corner5 )incin hard3boiled e s and celery and fruit on a cuttin board5 and asked if she:d et the fro for us& -he didn:t say anythin and see)ed hesitant& -he put the fro a*uariu) on the floor and stood back as if invitin %leJ or )e or Marilyn to reach in& %leJ did and the fro ca)e alive& Be (as stron and fast and leapt onto the cash re ister kiosk (all& Marilyn rabbed hi) and he ot a(ay fro) her and (ent sailin over the counter onto the floor& The clerk unrolled sheets of paper to(els to thro( over the fro 5 captured it and tried stuffin it do(n in the fishbo(l Marilyn had brou ht& The fro (asn:t into bein stuffed& .

. Marilyn (as encapsulatin a ne(spaper article she read about the reenact)ent of Jesse Ja)es and his an holdin up a bank in the to(n (here they have an annual celebration of the event5 sayin ho( 8all these pretend outla(s (ith uns are allopin around the bank on horseback shootin blank checks into the air&. -he sees )y look and says5 8<h5 . <nce she (as talkin about the poor and ho( 8everyone needs to have a roof over their )outh&. ot the feelin it (ouldn:t& We are pushovers as randparents5 but Mike is the la( (ith %leJ& Be (ill only o so far in pleasin her5 and . )ean the le 5 the dru)stick&. tell her . Clearin the dinner table of leftover roast chicken she asked )e5 8@id you have the (in or the prayerL. had the prayer& 1#6 .t had beco)e a scour e in ?lorida after co)in over (ith fleein Cuban eJiles and (as deci)atin the place5 dan erously thinnin out the alli ator population5 fla)in os5 (ater )occasins5 and retired people on (alkers& %nd it (as a cannibal& This (as the only reason it hadn:t con*uered ?lorida yet& The fro :s skin (as very toJic& Unless you (ashed (ith benCene after handlin it5 your flesh (ould )elt& Mike said he (as keepin the fro in the ara e and =ust (anted us to kno( in case (e (anted to drop by so)e day for a visit& Be didn:t say (hether or not the tree fro (ould o (ith the) to the ne( house5 but .:) sure he dra(s the line at ivin her a hi hly a ressive poisonous reptile as a pet& Marilyn is outside5 readin her bird book5 and calls to )e the infor)ation that a cardinal is classified as a finch5 and that 8this (ill surprise the pope&.but he (as sure (e:d (ant to kno( so)ethin about this creature (e:d otten his dau hter& The fro is a carnivore5 not =ust crickets but also everythin that breathes in so)e (ay and is di estible& .


t couldn:t be coincidence that she (as here at @over and Rivervie( (here .en (as tryin to (alk like you5 Uncle Jack&.en:s ri ht le (as defor)ed and needed corrective sur ery& . hadn:t noticed it before5 but then .:d developed out of )y love for her& 1#2 . (as on a (alk to the park in @ece)ber (hen . thou ht of callin the ani)al rescue people but decided to ive her so)e )ore ti)e& -he (as still at it (hen .CHAPTER 21 EIN% A DAD There are a lot of eese in ?ridley (here (e live& -o)e (ait until it ets really fri id before they fly south& .t had been )ore of a caricature& $ven today he s(in s the ri ht foot out(ard (hen (e:re to ether5 and he:s past forty& When (e (alk to ether it looks like (e:re startin a vaudeville dance routine& My errant foot dates back to <s(e o5 Ne( 9ork5 (hen . .t (as courtship ti)e and the ander (ith her (as )akin those snarky head )ove)ents of (arnin at us they do& The oose said so)ethin to hi) and he ot his neck back in =oint and backed off& -he and . only sa( hi) once or t(ice a year for short ti)es& -till5 ho( could .n so)e places the up3thrust ice blocks had collapsed5 sho(in a cuta(ay of the (ater level risin for the ten days before the da) busted and set the river free& .ailey Mott and . took )y son . asked hi) about it and he (as e)barrassed and couldn:t eJplain& Bis cousin Rachael said5 8. couldn:t believe . sa( a oose trapped by one foot in the ice of the river not far fro) the bank beyond )y reach& The )ove)ent of her free le in tryin to et free had kept a s)all pool of (ater fro) icin over& .ailey ot sick (ith a fever and ended up (ith polio5 and in an iron lun for fifteen years& Maybe . (ent back by5 peckin at the ice and flappin her (in s to try and lift out& The river had backed up fro) an ice da) do(nriver (here floatin ice kept stackin up5 raisin the level of the river before a hard freeCe hit for a (eek and (elded it all to ether& . looked one another over& . sa( . called the Bu)ane -ociety& %nd the neJt day (e left for MeJico in the RD and didn:t return until -prin & Marilyn ca)e back fro) a (alk and said she:d seen a oose (ithout a foot near the park and (e (ent back to check it out& There she (as& Ber ri ht foot (as one and she (as li)pin alon on the stu)p5 doin =ust fine& . have been so blindL %s (e spoke5 .en ca)e in5 s(in in his le (ith the ri ht foot bent rotes*uely out(ard& We )ade an appoint)ent (ith an orthopedic sur eon the doctor kne( and returned to the atherin (here (ord ot around *uickly5 everyone (atchin .en5 (ho (as then five5 to )eet )y reat uncle Ralph in @elray .:d first seen her cau ht in the ice& When eese lay their e s (e don:t see )uch of the) for a )onth or )ore& They raCe at ni ht and keep to the river thickets& Then one day you:ll see t(o or three adults on the rass strip bet(een the road and river bank stakin out turf (ith fuCCy little oslin s filin after the)& Up at @over the pe 3le ed oose had a brood trailin alon as she and her ander raCed on the ne( rass5 the little uys cantin to the ri ht =ust like their )o)& <ne ti)e .each& My brother ?red and his children (ere visitin fro) $n land& %t a atherin of friends at Uncle Ralph:s house5 a doctor friend took hi) aside to say that .en and )utterin pityin ly a)on the)selves& The neJt )ornin . ot a touch of it5 too& <r )aybe it (as a co)passionate li)p .en out by the pool5 playin (ith his cousins5 and the le and foot see)ed fine& . (ere best friends& We (ere t(o or three& <ne day )y )other took us to the co))unity pool and a (hile later .

have done thatL There are people (ho can park our souls and thro( the keys into the sno( =ust for the hell of it& They have an inti)ate po(er to transfuse their (ill into those runnin on idle5 and the oofusses they take over end up slaves or die of sha)e5 (hich see)ed (here . (as at& There (as nothin .en to leave the 'aradise Road house5 and that (as a tou h one .ut the eyes (ere the sa)e& Ber s)ile (as the sa)e5 too& My )a aCine folded in 1/4/& Cristina:s )other and . hated that survive part& %t the botto) all the pieces (ere oin to have to find their (ay back to ether before .ailey (ith her head stickin out of her hissin iron lun at the Mott:s house5 this hu e cast3iron tube (here paddles inside co)pressed her diaphra ) to eJhale air5 so fresh air could co)e in as her diaphra ) eJpanded on its o(n& % rearvie( )irror (as the (ay (e sa( her face5 and ho( she sa( the (orld and herself& . sa( her thirty years later (hen )y rand)other took )e by& -he hadn:t prepared )e& . had to tell . could )ake it to )y feet and look around (ith eyes that:d one blind lon before the fall& 1#4 .ron Maiden sat to be served fresh3s*ueeCed oran e =uice5 Cristina shouted5 8Aook5 Ma)a5. looked at her5 so she (as fired& Bo( could .yron . ca)e to the fire pit in a pasture nearby that )ornin 5 breakfast laid out on a foldin table on linen cloth cover& Be hid out of si ht to ive the illusion that this (as either all )y doin or the elves that run thick up there& When the ei ht3)onths3pre nant .en (as to vacate& .en (ho sat (ith his ar) around Cristina on the bed as her )other delivered Iach to the (orld in the (ater birth tub5 the one (ho held this ne( Underhill fa)ily to ether *uietly fro) the back round until Winter decided she (anted a (o)an on hand5 and hired a beautiful blonde car )echanic fro) to(n (ho *uit her =ob to co)e live in the shack .:d not do for herP kick out )y sonL -ure& -he (as like a cult leader (ith )e the one disciple& Me5 this bi 5 once independent and po(erful sta e driver of his o(n life no( ridin shot un to a shriekin harridan bull3(hippin the froth3)outhed tea) directly to(ard the cliffs& @eath (ould:ve been a ift5 but it (asn:t in the cards fro) )y deck& .en (as hidin behind so)e aspen trees& They took a lon ti)e to disappear into the early )ornin & This (as the . (ere livin on 'aradise Road in the )ountains above -anta .% lot of kids in our nei hborhood in 1/1/ ot polio and . liked hi) bein there5 he (as )y people and the fro s and Cristina idoliCed hi)& Be (as s)art5 intuitive5 and very funny& .ay& There (as a uest shack back in the trees (here he stayed and his vocation then (as buildin little haciendas for the fro s fro) )ud and sticks& Winter Wo)an (as beside herself that so)eone had nothin better to do than architect and build d(ellin s for tiny fro s5 so she insisted he find a =ob do(n in to(n and brin in so)e )oney& This )eant hitchin do(n the )ountain to (ork in to(n and then back5 t(enty )iles roundtrip& -he took )ost of his pay for rent& This (as )y son5 the one (ho set up the Mother:s @ay celebration a (eek before for her& Be had rented a heliu) tank fro) to(n and a hundred balloons to set free (hen Winter and . sent hi) on the road (ith a t(enty in his pocket and then had to tell the blonde )echanic (ho arrived neJt day (ith suitcases that WW didn:t like the (ay . still haven:t otten over5 nor he& .en Gat t(enty3t(oH ca)e in fro) %ustralia for the birth of his half3brother Iach& Be:d been bartendin in . sa( the) around (ith le braces and crutches& .arbara (hen )y son . sa( . (as oin to plu))et all the (ay to the canyon botto) and survive& . and a hundred balloons sailed up fro) (here .

wanted the plun e& Winter Wo)an (as a )ilk can full of snakes5 but she (as real& Me5 .There:s anony)ity in storybook Bell but (here people own you is the real pits& . Iach had a s)all stuffed bear since childhood called <at)eal& -o)eti)es . (ent one (ay and she the other (ith the kids& -he )et so)eone5 and they bou ht a house in ?i=i& %fter .:ll fit the rin on her fin er (hen the pastor says to& Be isn:t assured& Be (ants to ask the )an a ain but he is busy (ith Marilyn5 oin over the (ritten lines she is oin to say and the ones she (ants hi) to say at certain ti)es in addition to his o(n& 1#/ . re)e)ber his first birthday there in our backyard neJt to the cornfield& % fe( days after that . sa( )y involve)ent (ith her as a oatherd takin on Medusa and ettin in (ay over )y head (ith forces .:d been all )y life& . tell hi) . kne( nothin about5 into (hose real) . (as this e)pty )ilk bottle on the step of a deserted house (ith a (eathered note stuck in the neck5 sayin 5 8'lease discontinue delivery&.:) pretty sure it is )e and that .t (as %nna:s Gthe nannyH5 first ti)e a(ay fro) the islands and she (as stunned by it all& <n the (ay ho)e fro) the airport a truck passed5 pullin a trailer (ith t(o horses inside& %nna lau hed till she cried& -he said that (here she ca)e fro) horses pulled the cart5 not the other (ay around& Cristina at siJ (andered around in a po(der3blue co))union dress Marilyn chose for her& -he finally finds her spot out on the nine3hole olf course neJt to a pond (ith an electric circulatin pu)p5 and sits there aCin at the ripples (ashin over all she had ro(n used in her youn lifeMher )other and )e5 )ainly& Ber dad is about to )arry this other (o)an and there are all these ancient trailer park people she doesn:t kno( in their billed caps5 )illin about tryin to et a rip on (hat:s happenin & Iach5 too5 in his dress suit5 lookin like Colonel To) Thu)b5 clutched the rin he (ill ive to so)eone (hen the pastor in the black bo)ber =acket nods at hi)& The chopper pastor (ith the beard and tattoos had roared in fro) the ?our -*uare Church a little before to set up a )etal cross on a linen napkin on the picnic table& Iach asks )e if .ut did Winter o(n )eL <r had . asked her to =oin )e on a )issionL -he (as drivin the tea) and snappin the (hip5 sure5 but (asn:t . a) the one he ives the rin to or Marilyn5 orU(hoL . the one (ho handed her the reins5 once headed to(ard the precipiceL %nd can:t a )an ridin shot un leap fro) the sta e before it oes over into the canyonL That:s the (ay it (as in serial )ovies (hen (e (ere kids& We sa( the runa(ay tea) plun e over the cliff (ith the hero5 and then neJt -aturday )ornin at the kiddies sho( (e:d see a recap of the last scene fro) another ca)era an le (here the hero is divin off the (a on to safety at the last )o)ent& . (ent into his roo) (hen he (as a(ay at school and sat on the bed5 holdin <at)eal5 to feel Iach:s presence& . thou ht about (hen he (as a baby in Medford5 <re on5 and5 findin hi) on the floor of )y office5 pushin a lass )ilk bottle alon the floor and )akin )otor noises& Where had he picked that up fro)L . had stu)bled5 lookin for ne( pasture& . )et Marilyn in -an @ie o5 Winter sent the t(o kids alon (ith a ?i=ian nanny to stay (ith us a fe( )onths in )y siJ3by3ten roo) (hile she and her ne( )an shopped for furniture and ot )arried& .ut .:d been in (ood ten years5 and publisher of Li*eTimes for three5 but )y heart (asn:t in it5 and neither (as the Lo((er Times publisher& When . (ent north to see about a =ob as editor of Lo((er Times in 'ortland& . didn:t (ant to leap to safetyMthat:s (here . ot back Winter (anted us to )ove to ?i=i& .

-tuddin the cro(d of )ainly retired trades)en are Marilyn:s son Mike5 )other %bie Gno( ninetyH5 ?rank and .f they be in to look suspicious5 . have a dis uise of ray beard5 black lasses5 and (hite cane for hi)& They fi ure out at the front office eventually that he is livin (ith us but by then they5 too5 are in on the conspiracy& . nurse in the -outh 'acific5 raised seven kids5 and =ust ot her doctorate fro) -@U at a e ei hty3one in nursin science5 and has been coachin Marilyn in the sa)e doctorate& Mar e:s dau hter >inny is in =eans and a blue (ork shirt5 snappin candid photos5 invisible to everyone eJcept )e (ho has a lon history of invisibility and is only no( at the cusp of startin to take for)& >inny looks like a blonde %nnie Aiebo(itC doin a pro bono (eddin shoot for a )e)ber of her cre(& <ur ho)e faces onto the park:s last sand trap and final t(o puttin reens& .n real ti)e it keeled over by the third para raph& The biker rev had asked us a (eek before (hy (e (anted to be )arried& Marilyn said5 8.endiks5 Mar e in a blue suit and (hite hat and >eor e in his usual unifor) of (ork pants and (hite MeJican shirt3=acket& Mar e (as a World War .ill and Mar e look in the direction of their office5 (antin to cover the desk for ne( arrivals but not (antin to be i)politeMAood luck.t is a t(enty3 four3foot 'ro(ler trailer (ith add3on and separate bathhouse& We are on the (estern outskirts of the trailer park because of the children& Mar e and .t thrills the) to be ettin a(ay (ith so)ethin 5 even thou h they are the ones (e are tryin to hide hi) fro)& The trailer park theosophist and fortuneteller s(athed in purples and reds chauffeurs a olf cart decorated (ith fresh pine bou hs5 brin in Marilyn5 (ith Iach and Cristina sittin in the back& Marilyn is sin in 5 FShe)ll be comin( round the mountain when she comes4 as her (eddin son 5 and the others =oin in& 9ou can tell they:ve not done this before at (eddin s& The bride is dropped off at the sand trap neJt to the picnic table altar and the cere)ony be ins& Marilyn:s readin is poetic and succinct5 a condensation of everythin she has learned about the bond bet(een a )an and (o)an unitin for life& ?or )y readin .orre o Middle -chool all hunkered do(n in the seat5 then s)u le hi) back after classes and baseball practice& When the park overseers see hi) fro) ti)e to ti)e (e say he is visitin & . . chose a short story fro) )y for)er )a aCine5 Li*e Times5 titled 8The -eed&. (as lookin for so)ethin earlier5 but is no( stretchin out beyond endurance to (here the uests and pastor are li htin up ci arettes and checkin (rist(atches& These are not people (ith ti)e for life )etaphors5 they are truck drivers and electricians and (aitresses and civil en ineers in their seventies and ei hties5 so)e dyin fro) cancer in bet(een puffs on their 'all Malls and Ca)els& They like thin s to the point and easy to understand& .ecause . like thin s obli*ue or opa*ue5 preferably both& The pastor is (atchin a ha(k hi h above us5 people clear their throats and . don:t kno( ho( to end it (ithout readin to the end5 as it is all buildin to a cli)aJ5 but only on paper& . ..t see)ed very short (hen . (ill drive Iach to . (ent into a surreal @adaist Ne(3% ey son and dance that had his and Marilyn:s eyes 11# .ill -everance )ade an eJception to the adults3only Conin as lon as (e kept the) out here at the ed e of the park on the property line (here the boonies be in& This (ill happen several years later (hen (e are livin at the Roadrunner 'ark in .orre o -prin s5 (here children are prohibited eJcept for brief visits on holidays& . love hi) and (ant to spend )y life (ith hi)&. (otta run2 ?rank is )y best )an5 and Aaurie Aundy is Marilyn:s brides)aid& They ur e )e (ith their eyes to (rap it up5 (hile still standin tall and supportive& .arbara Coates dressed as if at a -an @ie o 9acht Club for)al5 and the .

sa( an ani)ated )ovie once about so)e Russian )ice that i))i rate to Ne( 9ork City and have so)e trouble (ith the cats& <ne of the cats puts on a rat dis uise to et closer to the )ice and the skinny Iooter over there looked like hi)& Bad he seen the )ovie and )odeled his look after the cartoon characterL The . open so)e =u s of (ine and the afternoon turns olden& <ne irl co)es up to say she really en=oyed 8The -eed&.laCed over by the second *uarter of the first )inute& -he never did fi ure out fro) )y convoluted rhapsody (hy .:d even beco)e a )an version of her in essence for a (hile& Was . turned to o5 but the bartender ca)e over and ushered )e in& Be sat )e at a table (ith t(o lon benches5 and lanced over at the other table as if so)eone called to hi)& .esus. ot to the truck& The dread fro) that place and the )atchin place (ithin )e stayed lon after . -he is around siJteen& 7here)d she come *rom3 .ndians at the table (ere his pack5 e)pty eJcept for (hatever it (as he held for the)& The evil eye thin doesn:t (ork on )e5 but it started to in there& @eep in )e is so)ethin cold and dark5 and . felt fear .en (ere (ith us& % fe( days before (e (ere to pick up the youn er kids in Cal ary on January 15 their )other 111 .:d intentionally send those t(o kids a(ay5 kno(in they:d not co)e back ever a ainL %pparently& This (as 1//03/2& Christ)as ca)e and Marilyn:s children and )y son . thou ht (as his5 but it (asn:t& There (as a skinny )an looked like >andhi in a Ioot suit (earin a pi)p hat& . (as )arryin her5 or (orse5 realiCed . kne( her5 .arbara and Aaurie carry the taco platters and chili and ta)ales to the altar picnic table& ?rank and . hadn:t a clue& There is a roup heave of relief as . felt hi) find and stroke it fro) (ay over there& % )a ician& Cristina had kno(n5 and tried to tell us (ith her tears& Ber )other had told the kids lon before that there (as no thou ht they had that she didn:t kno( of5 no feelin they felt she couldn:t feel5 and nothin they said that she didn:t hear& .t (as )ade of iant trees in the style of National 'ark lod es in the t(enties& The ni ht before5 Cristina had been cryin as (e helped her pack5 but she said nothin & We assu)ed she:d )iss us5 is all& . so starved for dra)a out on the %u usta plains that . tried to understand5 then ot up and (alked out& .arbara Coates and Marilyn are back in the 'ro(ler kitchen in their hats and finery )akin )ore tacos& When Marilyn and .f they (ere to tell )e (hat she planned5 she:d kno(5 and thin s (ouldn:t o (ell for the)& >andhi said so)ethin to the others and ca)e over& Be asked (ho .n the lod e there (as a )an in an apron at a hu e bar in a hu e roo) (ith a fe( )en sittin at a table (ay the hell over there& -o)e (ere slu)ped5 asleep& The place felt bad& . .:) not that una(are& . took the) to the ate& <n the (ay back to %u usta fro) the airport5 . (as shakin (hen . drove the) up to Cal ary and sa( the) off& They didn:t say a (ord in the truck on the five3hour drive or say oodbye (hen . (as lookin for and . told hi) no one& Be said that (as hi): No <ne& . ot ho)e to %u usta& .5 and Cristina and Iach Gt(elve and tenH5(ere livin in Montana5 the ?a)ily Court )andate said the kids (ere to spend Christ)as vacation (ith their )other in Ba(aii& -o . kne( Winter Wo)an& . finish5 (ith The -eed finally allo(in itself to be lifted off by the (inds& The fortuneteller has (andered back to her trailer a fe( spaces a(ay and be un playin the or an as the cere)ony ends5 brin in a fe( )o)ents of tradition to one of the )ore free3for) (eddin s in Aake Morena& We are husband and (ife& Cristina is so)ber5 Iach confused5 still not kno(in (hat he has been part of& . had to have kno(n5 . stopped at a bi ti)bered lod e on the Canadian side to et a sand(ich& .

)et Marilyn at a restaurant nearby overlookin the bay5 and . Jonnie prevailed and Marilyn ca)e (ith )e to Ba(aii& The plan (as to ask Winter Wo)an to let the children finish the school year5 then (e:d send the) back for the su))er& .f the psycholo ist =ud ed that the kids should return to Montana (ith us5 she (ould allo( it& . (as oin to Ba(aii to et the) and . (rote (e (ere co)in and she had her forces ali ned (hen (e landed& -he had friends coverin the airport ter)inal durin fli hts to the )ainland (hen Cristina and Iach (ere (ith us& No overni hts at the hotel5 no boat trips& -he (asn:t sayin 8No. (ent to %lturas and that three (eek fast& The real )e sa( (hat (as oin on but (asn:t able to (ake )e up to the dan er& Then so)ethin happened that shocked )e a(ake& . (as bein possessed a ain5 and the fa)iliarity of (hat . said . (as to send her )oney each )onth5 and blah blah blah5 click& . had a copy of a note Winter Wo)an had (ritten in pen at the botto) of so)e le al docu)ent sayin she (anted the kids to stay (ith us the full school year in %u usta& <ther thin s (ere happenin in her life and it (as convenient& .:d learned that for sure& That (as (hen Jonnie said5 8Mo)5 he:s your husband& 9ou have to o&. had taken as love that first ti)e5 (as there a ain& There (as to be no )e in their vie( of our fa)ily& . told Marilyn . (as saved& 8That:s not le alQQQ. didn:t (ant the kids (renched fro) her ar)s& -o . (anted her to co)e (ith )e& -he said nope& . )ean brayin lau hter that turned into rackin sobs that broke into )ore lau hter as . 11" . (alked into the counselor:s office& . (anted this to (ork out and not et the la( on her (ith court orders to take the) back to Montana& . (as o(ned by so)ebody else5 and took the first baby steps to re ain )y freedo) (hen . could o it alone5 but it (ouldn:t (ork (ithout her& . (as bad for the)5 . (alked out& . first realiCed . (as a chu)p in those days5 bi ti)e5 but .:d for otten about it even thou h it:d been in )y hand (hen . pro)ised he:d be back to co)plete the school year (ith his sister& . pro)ised the) their )other (ould send the) back in ti)e for classes5 because she pro)ised )e& That (as (hen Cristina be an to cry and couldn:t stop& The cat pro)ised the )ouse it could depend on her& . (as poisonin the) is (hat they (ere sayin 5 and in )y heart .called and said she (as not sendin the) back5 that they (ere so happy no( finally to be back (ith her5 and . (ent to this psycholo ist (ho turned out to be a divorce counselor5 and close friend to Winter Wo)an& We talked for t(o hours5 (ith Winter correctin )e fro) ti)e to ti)e& -he so)eti)es edited the counselor:s *uestions to clarify the) for )e5 and edited )y ans(ers to clarify the) for the counselor& -he (as )ore a conductor than a silent (itness& My spirit (as slippin back into the sa)e (hirlpool that had s(allo(ed )e years a o in -anta . (as a reein (ith the)& No ti)e had passed at all since back in 1//# (hen . lau hed and cried durin the )eal5 . outri ht& -he (as strin in us alon & <ne of these a)bits (as for )e to o to a child psycholo ist she kne(5 and in her presence5 but (ithout Marilyn5 present )y story about (hy the children shouldn:t be here& Winter Wo)an (ould be a silent (itness so as not to pre=udice a fair hearin & . pulled the paper out and handed it to the counselor and asked her to read it aloud& When she did5 Winter Wo)an eJploded in ra e and . she screa)ed and . said to her5 8Marilyn5 please help )e et the children back to finish school&.arbara& . needed her& The kids needed her& . told her about it& .efore (e had one to Cal ary5 (hen Iach had asked if he had to o5 .

(as doin there and . took a path to the cabin and ran ri ht into Winter Wo)an co)in around a corner of a buildin & -he asked (hat . Be looked into )e for a )o)ent5 and )oved on& Mean(hile Winter Wo)an ran (ailin neJt door to et her Chica o la(yer (ho ca)e back to stall the police and call the =ud e (ho had si ned the (arrant& -he told hi) that . re)e)ber the cops huddlin over the far side of the parkin lot as . told hi)5 and said .en (as livin on another part of the island and had co)e to shield the children as best he could (hen (e ot to (here they (ere livin & We drove out to the )assa e and yo a center (here the kids lived (ith their )other& .:d co)e to take the kids back to school& -he said5 8<h no5 you:re not5. and ran back up to the roo)5 (hereupon the police ca)e& %fter that (as a lot of screa)in and cryin fro) upstairs5 and )e collidin (ith a naked old )an co)in alon a trail (ith a toothbrush and hand to(el& Be stopped to ask about the screa)in so .:d never done anythin like this beforeUthat . told her that as lon as the kids (ere oin to school5 that:d be fine& We ot in the car and drove to the airport& When . (as t(o days shy of the full year needed in Montana to *ualify as resident5 so his order (as ille al& Be said the order stood& Then she (arned )e she (ould take )e to court on behalf of the )other5 and .When (e left for ho)e the neJt day5 the counselor (as in the departure area to )ake sure (e (eren:t stealin the kids& .t (as =ust before sunrise and .ack (e (ent in a )onth (ith an order fro) a Maui =ud e for a police presence& . (ould o to =ail& . couldn:t believe this (as )eU. (as a peaceful uy& Be said5 8-o)eti)es you have to do these thin s&. (ent over and ave her a bear hu and thanked her& Without )eanin to5 she:d saved )e& No( the plan (as to et the necessary le al papers to return to Maui and brin the children back to Montana& . told her .en ot out he ran over to a coconut tree and sca)pered up it barefoot& When the four of us fle( in over Montana that afternoon5 a sno(pack that:d been on the round for siJ (eeks (as )eltin & %t >reat ?alls a Chinook (ind (as blo(in all (ar) and s(eet as (e ot off the plane& 111 .

:ll have to ask hi)& Was . for et (hat (e are talkin about& No5 Marilyn has been a nurse for too lon to buy into the line of . (as not in ood shape (hen Marilyn found )e in a basket on her doorstep& -a)e thin (ith ?rank t(o years before5 (hen he (as sleepin in his car in the parkin lot at the -an @ie o 9acht Club& With the fe( dollars he had left5 after his ship (as confiscated in >renada durin the U&-& Marine invasion to topple a Co))unist re i)e of siJteen bad people and t(o burros5 ?rank paid his )onthly dues at the club5 a(aitin better ti)es5 and that:s (hen he )et .arbara does so)ethin alon this line5 too& -he (as a schoolteacher and principal and5 as a professional educator5 took it as her oal to educate ?rank& Be had al(ays been boss and the (ay he took this (as a little like ettin fired& ?rank intervie(ed Moyshe @ayan at the Bilton .di %)in5 Mussolini5 all three -too es5 and Bitler& .sraeli War& Be had a -(iss %lpenhaus restaurant and lod e prefabricated and shipped over to hi) to run in Ma))oth5 California5 and bou ht a ship (ith his friend .3need3to3sit3here3 117 . de)and evidence& -he de)ands evidence for the others& .ut you:d never even suspect this if you (ere hidin behind the drapes5 listenin to )y (ife speakin to )e a little louder than called for5 her eyes bri ht (ith contained eJasperation and forcin )e to look directly at her by repositionin herself on the sofa (henever )y aCe (andered& ?rank Coates: (ife .CHAPTER 22 ACTIN%.ob that they sailed do(n fro) -eattle throu h the 'ana)a Canal to haul car o a)on the islands of the Caribbean& Be briefly had a co))ercial fil) business in Ne( 9ork City (here he so)eti)es helped )e in the floor finishin business& Be launched a one3plane co))uter airline in MeJico5 hun out (ith John Buston at his place outside 'uerto Dallarta5 and enerally kne( a thin or t(o& Bis (ife says to this5 8That (as then5 this is no(&.arbara& -he (as his better ti)es& Marilyn (as )ine& .en ?ranklin5 $dison and Aeonardo5 Churchill and Jesus5 and )ost every creative fi ure in history of conse*uence& -he notes that 871. o(ned and ran so)e businesses and founded a national )a aCine& This is said to su est .ut (e (ere four steps fro) the allo(s (hen they sho(ed up& Maybe he was on a park bench5 . can put on )y o(n shoes5 unless they have laces& .ut (e:ve had a little trouble ackno(led in it& . OH S)RE . left -ai on5 and . had an opal )ine in Coober 'edy near %lice -prin s in 1/045 after )y friend ?rank and . (orked (ith eli nite and heavy )achinery& .ar in Tel %viv the day after the %rab . balanced )y o(n checkbook5 albeit not (ell5 (ashed )y o(n clothes )ost of )y life5 pressed the)5 cleaned )y apart)ents5 repainted the)5 (atered the arden5 s(ept floors5 had pets5 ot )edical checkups every decade =ust for fun5 entertained5 (as a bartender5 (aiter5 actor5 co(boy5 and (riter& . et off the hook of behavin responsibly by co)parin )y (ays and shot un pattern of focus to those of Tho)as Jefferson5 . <ur (ives prefer to believe our (orkin histories are )ake3believe resu)Ns (e stole off real people5 and that (e:ve sat on park benches )uch of our lives5 feedin pi eons food (e:ve be ed fro) stran ers5 (hen (e (eren:t in bars cad in drinks5 and tellin lies& Without their advice5 they can:t believe (e (ere capable of livin lon enou h to )eet the)& Maybe (hat it is is: (e peaked =ust before (e )et the) and they cau ht us on the plu))et& That could be& . never ot throu h colle e5 but . did pick up so)e kno(led e alon the (ay& . there5 tooL Marilyn doesn:t buy into this business of %@B@ (here . has %@B@ as did .

i 'iney in Wyo)in 5 and ridin horseback fro) -evilla to Madrid in -pain a fe( years before& . didn:t say your shirt frontQ.erardino in California& % psychiatrist and his (ife picked )e up and took )e as far as 'hiladelphia& ?or the first fe( )onths in the city . ask her to repeat herself5 and talks )e step by step throu h thin s . (ill sho( you about crackers& @o you understand crackersL No5 of course not& -o . .ut so)eho( .thinkin 3honey bit& -he co)pares )e to her dad in his last years& -he starts speakin slo(ly and (ith a loudness . a) shufflin around (ith stooped shoulders5 droolin & When . (ill sho( you a ain&.t:s her (ay of retribution for )e not ettin so)ethin ri ht off the bat& 8No( you:re ready for the cheese& Co)e over here and take this knife5 not that one5 it is too sharp for you5 no( place the blade at the ed e of the block of cheese like this and press do(n bein sure not to cut off your fin ers5 (e do not (ant blood on the cheese5 do (eL No( each cut of cheese you lay on the platter around the ed e all pretty like this& When you finish . collected une)ploy)ent fro) the Union and it (as )ore than )ost salaried people (ere )akin in the early siJties& The Union:s rip on railroad )ana e)ent (as (hat the strike (as about& Too )any )en on a =ob (ith too )uch pay and no ri hts for )ana e)ent to fire anyone for any reason& What (as the need of four brake)en on a frei ht train (ith four on standby in the cabooseL When the four ot off after their five3hour shift and the ones on standby took over5 four )ore ca)e on& Why (as a ditch di er on a si nal)an cre( like )e ettin V7## a (eek (ith roo) and board and full benefits5 (ith no skills other than usin a pick and shovel5 and no seniorityL We (ere installin ne( si nal boJes bet(een Chica o and Aos %n eles5 livin in converted passen er cars fro) the 1/"#s coupled to the cook residence and kitchen car5 ice boJcar5 and dinin roo)& These (ere to(ed alon the )ain rails to sidin s (here (e loaded up food5 (ater5 and ice5 and drive out to the old si nal boJes and road ates& Une)ployed5 . (as hired by a )an fascinated by the )ytholo y of the far (est (ho hired )e because of )y Western3cut suit and stories about bein a co(boy in . landed a position at Ronald 'ress5 a publisher of colle e teJtbooks and scientific )ono raphs by specialists in various fields& Ronald had the (orld:s definitive book on the seJ life of the )os*uito& . did five )onths before& . (as bein trained to o on the road in the Mid(est to et teachers to choose our books over the co)petition:s5 )ainly 'rentice Ball& .t (as bi as an unabrid ed dictionary& .n return5 the union (ould allo( a thirty percent reduction of the (ork force& . kne( nothin about teJtbooks5 publishin 5 or sellin 5 and by the ti)e they sent )e out on the road (ith a trunk of books . a) pretty (ell ac*uainted (ith: 8No( put the lass under the faucet5 ood5 no( turn the handle until the (ater co)es out5 no( turn the faucet off& %ll the (ay& Raise your ri ht hand if you understandU&No5 the other ri ht hand& That:s it& No( lift the lass to your lips and drink& 9our lipsQ . don:t need (hen . %ll clearly enunciated and sin 3son ey& %fter a half hour of this . (as laid off the %T&-? Railroad in the bi national strike of 1/015 . (as a si)ple person incapable of learnin enou h $n lish5 eolo y5 )ath5 and physics to convince professors 116 . didn:t kno( it& . didn:t kno( )uch )ore than . don:t understand ho( these thin s can happen& %nyone should:ve seen that . (as pickin up half pay fro) the railroad brotherhood at 'enn -tation as they looked around for a ne( position for )e& 'art of the deal struck bet(een )ana e)ent (ith the union (as for the railroad to pay half salary to those let o until they found other =obs& . hitchhiked to Ne( 9ork City fro) -an .

C3TD:s The Doctors and The @urses fro) an audition scene ?red Underhill (rote for )e and Judy %dler5 . si ned up at B.au)ann to be )y a ent and su ested .:d been replaced (hen %. believed her and felt her e)otion5 .:d otten the part it could:ve been another Ronald 'ress deal& . (as the (orst sales)an in the 1##3year history of Ronald 'ress& . (as a cha)eleon5 so as lon as .road(ay& Be ot @ick . left the city (ith Faren @e)in to o to her parents place in Connecticut for the (eekend5 and the neJt day kept oin into Canada (here .:d talked about& Be looked up )y )other and her ne( husband to bra that . said& %t the end of class there (as a s(ar) of (o)en (antin to do scenes (ith )e& . -tudios& Berbert . (as at a loss of ho( to beco)e real because . think it (as5 (alkin alone alon a street faced by the backs of theaters and passin under a streetli ht )id3block5 a tour bus passed5 slo(ed5 and stopped& % )an ot off and trotted back5 bi s)ile5 rabbed )y hand and shook it (ith both of his5 babblin on about ho( he loved )y fil)s and television series and ho( he had a bus load of tourists fro) 9u oslavia (ho had reco niCed )e and )ade hi) stop& Be (ondered if it:d be okay for the) to co)e over to take )y picture and et auto raphs& 110 . (as only as ood as the other actor . (ent out on auditions and (as paired (ith so)eone (ithout that spark5 . believed5 and once in the roove (e sparked& . (as fine (ith that& . decided to be an actor& Uta Ba en and Berbert . had ood ener y and eye contact5 . had no techni*ue& . try out for his (ife Uta Ba en:s advanced class5 (hich . ot the part it (as only a )atter of oin in to si n the contract at %. really listened and looked at people as (e do in real life& . looked at the actress (ho had been so e)otionally (rapped in her character that she ave life to )ine5 and she s)iled as if to say . (as believable& .t (as loaded (ith va abonds and outcasts the driver picked up alon the (ay& Weeks later . (as (orkin (ith so5 (hen .er hof had an actin school in >reen(ich Dilla e& .ob Warner i)a ined *ualities in )e =ust to keep )e around in )y black Aeddy co(boy boots5 tellin stories about the pueblo .ndians and Ne( MeJico ranchers& <r )aybe he (as too distracted by his @elta %irlines stocks and bein on the phone (ith his broker& Be retired t(o years later a )illionaire5 and one of the first thin s he did (as fly to -anta ?e to see the places .au)ann said he:d call )y )essa e service (hen the ti)e ca)e& .er hof assi ned )e a scene (ith a seasoned actress (ho in our rehearsals at )y apart)ent tau ht )e to act throu h her beco)in the character& . (onder ho( no one picked up on that durin )y trainin & .C couldn:t et hold of )e& . ot into by doin a scene fro) The :ose Tattoo& .(ho had de rees in their fields to chan e their 'rentice Ball teJtbooks for ours& Maybe . called ho)e and heard .f the other actor believed5 .f Berbert had done the ?oote play and . ot a cross3country ride on a ne( school bus bein delivered to the North(est Territories& . hadn:t5 .C& @ick .:d studied& . (as in for it no(& Berbert (anted )e to read for a supportin part in a play by Borton ?oote he (as to direct on . (ent on TD co))ercial calls and s)all theater5 then ot a leadin role in %. (as at best a collaborator5 so)eone a professional could bounce off5 (hich enlivened )e& <n sta e .:d been terrified& My success and acclai) in theater and on screen (as )ainly on the streets of Ne( 9ork& <ne ni ht bet(een -iJth and -eventh on 77th . (as po(erful5 and (hen (e did our scene there (as not a sound fro) the class at the end& The people stared (ide3eyed5 then eJhaled as one& Berbert tapped his pencil and looked at the ceilin 5 asked (here .en:s )other3to3be& The sho(:s producer5 @oris Wuinlin5 sent )e to the director of the television sho( the neJt day and he had )e read a scene on ca)era (ith the (o)an lead& When . delivered the oods& -he (as po(erful5 so .ecause there (as no one in her class that (asn:t a professional5 .ut .

=ust looked at hi)5 )e)oriCin his face5 al)ost bored5 yet ready for a )ove& Be asked if that (as )y (eapon5 lookin at (here )y =acket stuck out a bit& . (as a star& They:d sho( the photos back ho)e and tell of findin )e in this canyon of a street5 the )an they:d seen in so )any fil)s: +ou know him. turned so . had on a bro(n t(eed =acket5 dress shirt5 and slacks& We (ere bet(een street la)ps& They (ere pri)ed& No one (as on the side(alk either direction& . shru ed& They:d lost the adrenaline they brou ht out of their cars& .road(ay play& Be (as already runnin back to the bus5 yellin eJcitedly in a -lavic ton ue and the tourists (ere pilin out and headin )y (ay5 (orkin )en in (ork clothes and (o)en in sha(ls and bulky dresses clusterin around takin pictures5 handin )e pieces of paper to si n5 so)e of the) *uite )oved& Then the tour uide ave an order and they trotted back to the bus (ith hi)5 he shouted his thanks5 saluted5 cli)bed aboard and off they (ent& .:d been headed& The laid back )e )oseyed off into the park darkness5 and the faint )e stepped back in5 tre)blin all over& 112 . a)bled on in the sa)e direction . he si(ned his name on this paper. had they (anted& They kne( the si ns of fear5 could s)ell it5 depended on it to et the =ob done5 and it (asn:t here& <ne asked if . (aited& We talked so)e )ore& Then ca)e a lon pause5 the )o)ent of truth& . (as a cop& . him. 'e is so handsome. he)s the one who was in that *ilm with that blonde (irl. . pulled a hand out of a pocket and touched the place he (as lookin at& 8ThisL. what series3 . think he was tryin( to hide his *ace when we went by but the tour man saw him and stopped the bus and we (ot out.ut you are a cop&. let the) direct the conversation and dra( conclusions to (ho . we were so lucky the tour director saw him.t (as a ti ht rope but .:d )ade it in actin & . kne( (hat (as co)in 5 and this s(eet coolness ca)e over )e& This other )e had taken over& They reeted )e5 one in front5 the other behind& . My best actin role happened in Central 'ark at ni ht up in the /#s& . had bi pecs& . couldn:t et a (ord in: 7hat *ilms. not ?ust saw. you know the one. (as doin okay and they kne( it& They decided not to call )y bluff5 if that:s (hat it (as& They said oodni ht and (ent back to their cars& . 8h him3 +ou saw him3 @o. Be stepped back5 looked at his friend5 (ho said5 8.. this is his picture. looked fro) one to the other5 interested but casual& . shucked (ith the)5 relaJed but eyes super focused5 senses pickin up everythin about the)5 but not consciously& This (as another )e5 and his )ind and pitch (ere different fro) the )e peekin out no( fro) behind )y eyes& . hadn:t any credits eJcept one off . he was so kind. can)t believe how lucky we were.t (as only )y chest5 . (as and (hat . can:t re)e)ber ho( late it (as but there (asn:t )uch traffic on ?ifth (hen a car cut into the curb behind )e and another in front& The drivers ot out and strode over& . 7hat does it say3 t says his name. stood there a lon ti)e before realiCin . touched him. 7e were all around him. had one at each side and slipped )y hands casually into )y pockets& .

said5 8-trai ht ahead5.:ve noticed that a lot of older nurses oin into ad)inistration (ork et unusually bi in the hips5 as if this is (here their patients: disco)fort ot stored& Marilyn is tri)& Where is her stored painL Bell5 (here:s )ineL Maybe in this (ritin thin & <nce5 thou h5 (alkin alon the river5 .:) tryin to pluck her fin ernails a(ay fro) the *uick& <ur hands part and (e are fine a ain& Neither of us is ettin it ri ht& -o)eti)es (hen (e:re eJhausted they fit but (hen (e notice they seiCe up& -he doesn:t like )e helpin her up off a lo( chair5 or even (hen she falls& When she does reach up to )e5 she (arns not to pull her up5 =ust to steady her and she (ill do the rest& -he says she doesn:t (ant )e to dislocate her shoulder& <ne ti)e she (as follo(in on a bike at >ooseberry ?alls Ca)p round and (e ca)e to a split in the trail& -he asked (hich (ay to o and .t (as as if she:d been hit (ith a cripplin arthritis in the hand holdin )ine (here the pain (as so intense she could neither let o nor keep holdin on& -he ot so contorted for a fe( seconds that it looked like . needed to be )ore careful& -o)ethin in us is secretly co)bative (ith so)ethin in the other5 and (ill not yield& ?red and .:d dra ed the hunchback of Notre @a)e out for a (alk& When our seiCed3up hands finally let o5 she said ho( . hold hands5 so)eti)es our hands don:t fit& They touch5 they try to fit5 they stru le and then leave one another& <ur hands are the sa)e siCe& %nato)ically they are correct& -he says . (as only holdin her hand and she said then . rub her fin ers the (ron (ay5 so . tried to pick her up but she stru led a(ay5 lookin around for her lasses on her hands and knees& Bere she has a split in the buttock )uscle clear do(n to the sittin bone and is cra(lin around lookin for her lasses& Their loss (as )ore i)portant to her then than her (ound& More to the point5 she (as )ad as hell at )e for this& -he (ent over the handlebars another ti)e in -an @ie o5 the elbo( bone eJposed5 and her nonchalance (ith that (as the sa)e (hen . stay a(are to be entler& Then she says it:s like holdin a dead fish& With a little )ore fir)ness she says it feels like .CHAPTER 23 %I1IN% AND %ETTIM% When Marilyn and . )eanin to follo( )e& -he took it literally and piled onto so)e =etty3siCed boulders5 shorin up a dirt road head3on& . told her . noticed our hands fittin to ether and she felt )e notice it5 and the stru le be an& . had a contest of stren th and (iliness back (hen (e (ere little boys (here (e:d stand toe to toe (ith opposite hands ripped and5 at a si nal5 try to pull the other across the line bet(een us& With e*ually )atched ladiators5 this could o on for a lon ti)e& With Marilyn and )e it:s one on nineteen years5 so far& 114 .:d cut off the blood flo( to the left side of her body and )ade her diCCy& . found her (alkin the hospital hall(ay late at ni ht ten hours after )a=or sur ery& -he (as slidin alon the corridor (all to hold herself up& -he once fell do(nstairs at our Talis)an house (ithout a sound other than her body bu)pin do(n the steps& -he could )ake bi bucks as a )ovie stunt person& -he is used to bi hurt& The pain inside )ust be spectacular to absorb her physical pain so easily& Maybe in all her years in hospitals and ho)e visits5 the patients: a ony and rief soaked into her and she couldn:t et it out (hen she left the profession& Bad it beco)e her flesh and tendon and boneL .

unfolded the table for Marilyn5 laid do(n the old soft sheets and persuaded her to cli)b on for so)e body (ork& . pedaled )y bike5 doin the huff and puff of a stea) en ine& .:ve never )et a er) .t had been a really lon ti)e since .n )assa in . % nun could clai) her soul as hers5 but on loan to the Church and the people& No ifts (ere allo(ed in the convent5 iven or received& % (o)an fro) -(eden at Moline Bospital in . didn:t like& 'ebbles understands this& We pretty )uch eat the sa)e thin s5 althou h .n )ovin stuff to open (orkin space around the table5 .t (as s)all as a bite of cookie& . can see it (ay deep in her eyes so)eti)es& The priory (as (here a nun:s shiftin destinies (ere decided by the Mother -uperior& %s a . kno( it:ll be a ood )assa e& . don:t roll in carrion as )uch any)ore& The sound of the chords brin s us to ether and . held bet(een )y lips and ble( in and out on as . The doctor (anted )e to drink )ore coffee and start takin uppers& . don:t do it )ore& -he can use it& $ven (hen she (as youn 5 her blood pressure (as t(ice (hat )ine is& . had a tiny one . feel relaJed and at peace& .llinois5 (here Marilyn (as a nurse5 returned fro) a visit to the old country (ith a ift for her of hand3blo(n lass& .f a nun (as studyin education at -t& Catherine:s and there (ere plenty of teachers around5 (hile other priories (ere short of nurses5 the Mother -uperior )i ht ask the sister to consider chan in her )a=or and reva)p her acade)ic path& What the nun (anted (as considered5 but only as one factor& The nun (as a servant of the Aord5 a bride of Jesus5 and (here she (as needed (as (here she (anted to be& -he left her roo)5 friends5 and all that (as fa)iliar for the neJt adventure& There is a parallel in the (ay the service co))unities of the Church and the )ilitary are set up& The ai) of one is to heal5 educate5 and serve the soul throu h love& The other is to educate5 11/ . The totality of (hat (as once a personal environ)ent beca)e 8ours&. can chan e )y o(n in a )inute or t(o5 )ake it o (ay do(n (hen . (onder (hy . ca)e across one of Marilyn:s har)onicas& %s a kid . o in for a physical& The last ti)e the nurse said5 8>ood >od5 you:re barely t(itchin Q.enedictine the Mother:s connection (ith the Datican (as direct5 (ith no bishop in bet(een& The sisters chose her to help direct their spiritual and acade)ic education and )atch their vocational specialties up (ith the needs of priories in other areas& Non3attach)ent (as central to the vo(s of poverty and service5 so the sisters (ere never in one convent for lon & They (ere sent to (herever they (ere needed at the ti)e5 and their trainin (as so)eti)es chan ed to acco))odate the needs& . et a )assa e5 too& .t (as like crystal in sortin out the colors in li ht& Marilyn turned it in her hands to find the color she (anted5 then fine3tuned it (ith )ini )ove)ents to et its saturated radiance& -he:d never seen anythin so beautiful5 and it (as hers& .ut only for the )o)ent of ivin and receivin 5 because she abided by the rules and ave it to the co))unity to share& Thou h it disappeared the neJt day5 its beauty re)ains in her& .n the co))unity of the convent there (as no private o(nership: The clothes they (ore5 the shoes5 the bed and covers5 and food5 and =oy5 and sorro( (ere 8ours&. set up the )assa e table in the base)ent livin roo) and ot the oil heater fro) the ara e and hosed it off fro) its (inter overcoat and hauled it do(n to heat up the place& .. ble( so)e lo( notes on her Fohner5 soft so the sound (ouldn:t carry up the stairs and she:d co)e do(n to strai hten )e out about usin her thin s& -he is sensitive about er)s5 bein a nurse Gand a Dir oH and all& .

train5 and protect the body throu h )i ht& .oth are ri id5 endurin as rock5 and depersonaliCin in their trainin 5 oin by the book of (hat has been and ever shall be& They de)and absolute obedience& 9ou are tau ht (hat to think and ho( to act5 and trained in skills you need to fulfill a )ission5 and re3for ed on an anvil of iron devotion& ,:ve heard nuns and priests called soldiers of Jesus5 especially the Jesuits& Many of the) blaCed the trails in the Ne( World and cut ne( ones in the <ld& What do they et fro) thisL The pleasure of ivin the)selves to so)ethin )ore than (hat they once sa( in the )irror& %nd (hat is it they see no(L -t& Teresa of %vila and -aint John of the Cross (rote about it5 and Catherine of -iena: (hat they sa( in the )irror (as >od in ra s (ith fiery eyes and a heart burstin (ith =oy& The Church did not ive this to the)5 their souls did& The Church is one (ay people set the)selves and others free of i norance and an uish5 and to honor the ones (ho sho(ed the (ay& The Church )ay hold this divine intent on hi h5 but it is the nuns and priests (ho brin it to (here it needs to be to put into action a)on the people& They are the servants to the people5 not the prelates and functionaries (ho (ere once the servants& Think of a dandelion as it bloo)s5 then (hen it oes to seed& The Church )ay )artyr a (ild Cealot intent on chan in the Church but5 if lorious enou h to capture the love of the people5 the Church (ill also sanctify the) later& Ta)ed by @eath5 (e can adore the) in the reater safety of s)oke (aftin and bells tinklin & Today:s heretics and battle co))anders of the spiritually disenfranchised are to)orro(:s tablas and heroic paintin s nailed to the (alls of the nave& ,n The 0rothers Jarama5ov the >rand ,n*uisitor finds Christ has co)e a ain and orders hi) locked up& Be eJplains to Jesus in his cell that for the people to discover hi) no( (ould be to undo all the Church had achieved in 150## years& Be says the people do not (ant to be freeP they (ant so)eone to tell the) ho( to live5 ho( to (orship5 and (ho to (orship& They are like children& Be then sends his prisoner to be eJecuted& 8Bo( co)e you (anted to be a nunL; , ask Marilyn fro) ti)e to ti)e& ?ro) cheerleader and s(eetheart of the football hero at North Bi h to a convent all in the sa)e yearL Ber boyfriend @uane drove her in his red convertible (ith her dad and )o) in the back seat to 1#1 -u))it %venue in -t& 'aul (here she (alked a(ay fro) that life into another& Be hauled her trunk to the front door5 they said oodbye5 and he (aited for her to co)e out and back to hi)& When she took final vo(s five years later5 he =oined the Navy and in ti)e beca)e captain of a ship& Ber )o) prayed for her to return& Ber dad sent letters filled (ith theolo ical ideas he (anted her to consider and co))ent on& Maybe he (as a priest at heart and she (as doin the (ork he )i ht have had he not one to (ork in a boJ factory (hen in ei hth rade& What chan ed so suddenly in this vivacious and beautiful irl to (ant to (ork her (ay throu h novitiate5 aspirant5 and postulant to reach her true ho)eL ,t didn:t happen suddenly& ,t be an in kinder arten (ith -ister Renee introducin her to piano& Marilyn:s second rade teacher (as -ister % atha and her identical t(in (as the siJth rade teacher5 -ister % athina& Third rade (as the tall5 entle -ister -edonia %nne (ho (ore pop3bottle3botto) lasses& -ister %nne5 the artist5 took Marilyn:s cartoonin skills she (as learnin fro) her )other and %untie 'earl and refined the) into dra(in fro) life& -ister Therone of the dark3bro(n eyes and lon lashes tau ht fifth rade& The neJt rade brou ht her to -ister Marceline (ho beca)e Mother -uperior at the -t& 'aul priory later and uided Marilyn:s develop)ent as the nun (ith the convent na)e of -ister Tho)as&

%s a little irl at -aint %nne:s5 she (as i)bued (ith the nuns: deter)ined spirit and lon in for education& ,n first or second rade she asked her )other to )ake her a (hite veil and help put to ether a habit to pretend in5 and tried uidin To))y and sister Jackie in the (ays she (as learnin & -he heard stories of the children in Aourdes seein the Dir in5 and )iraculous healin s and of the nobility of the hu)an heart and spirit& This (as (hat she (anted& ,n hi h school she )ay have for otten this callin but she re)e)bered it (hen -ister Mary Bildebrand5 her seventh rade teacher at -t& %nne:s5 called in %pril of her senior year to invite her to a (eekend retreat at the priory& That -unday (as called % @ay of Recollection5 and durin Mass Marilyn re)e)bered her callin & The Church (ould be her ho)e5 the .enedictines her fa)ily& Marilyn and , share a lan ua e that sounds like the one , speak5 but on )y side of the conversation has no apparent po(er to co))unicateP , can feel it leavin )y )outh and the (ords flutter to the floor half(ay to her and turn into dust )ites& , a) )ovin )y lips and throat )usclesP she can see that5 but she doesn:t hear (hat )y (ords are sayin & To eJplain this5 she says , a) oin deaf& When she does hear )e5 fro) ti)e to ti)e she says , a) unclear and =ust (hat is it , a) tryin to sayL When , try a ain she says she already heard that but what is )y pointL When , tell her that was )y point she asks5 87hat (asL; -he backtracks out loud over (hat she heard )e say and (hat she said5 and it doesn:t =ibe (ith )y )e)ory of (hat (e said5 so , start doubtin )y )e)ory& , be in to tell her a ain5 al)ost chokin on the (ords5 but she has chan ed the sub=ect and5 (hen , try to recover (hat it (as (e (ere tryin to (ork out5 she beco)es *uicksilver cascadin into a bunch of tiny silvery lobules skitterin around& -he does this doe3eyed and relaJed (ith only a )oderately polite interest displayed that is )ore co)passion than true attention& ,t:s an art for) , think (o)en learn early on as a (ay to balance the scales of =ustice (e )en have (ei hted in our favor& Then a ain )aybe (e did that to deal (ith the disadvanta e of continually speakin (hat (e didn:t say and hearin (hat (e never said& -o)eti)es , listen to her naked feet& They speak softly (hen the rest of her is apparently cal) and unreadable (hile sittin on the sofa (ith )e (ith her feet in )y lap& Ber eyes ive nothin a(ay5 nor her )outh5 but unbekno(nst to her )ind5 her feet are tellin )e secrets& -he is deaf to her feet5 too& Ber feet and )e speak in our secret lan ua e5 toes curlin (ith resistance to an idea ,:) tryin to lay out5 arches strainin (ith 8Nonononono:s5; or a na)e ,:ve spoken ettin a (ave fro) her little toe if it:s so)eone she likes5 clenchin if so)eone she doesn:t& ,n conventional conversation she is like Will Ro ers and has never )et a person she doesn:t like5 but the feet tell another story& When she talks of )ean people her feet raise off )y lap as if to fly a(ay& Ber dadL They o li)p (ith the e)otion of pure love& Ber toenails listen& %leJ or CristinaL Ber feet lau h and rub a ainst one another& When she reads this she (ill ride herd on her feet until she for ets5 but (hat can she do about her fin ers and hands ivin )e the strai ht scoopL Wear )ittens or keep her hands in her pocketsL Then ,:ll start on her )outh& That speaks5 too5 even (hen the lips are sealed&


CHAPTER 2$ )T YO)/RE MY ROTHER My brother ?red told Marilyn on that visit to Aake Morena in 1//1 Gt(o years before his deathH that he (anted to convert to Catholicis)& Marilyn said5 8.ut you:re confir)ed an $piscopalian&; Be said this (as true but he (anted the real thin no(5 the (hole production5 no Catholic Aite5 no snivelin spin3off fro) the Ro)an Church hacked a(ay by a nitpickin anti3-e)ite >er)an )onk& Marilyn said Auther (as )ore than that: 8Be shocked the )other Church out of her torpor and ot her up and runnin a ain&; ?red said he (anted 8the )ystery5 incense5 shakin bells5 )edieval costu)es5 and boo)in Aatin prayer and an uished cries for repentance and )oney for the poor&; Be said 'rotestantis) (as 8for the dead but ani)ated&; Marilyn said5 8Aatin (as out (ith Datican "&; ?red said he (as brin in it back once converted5 and ho( could she help hi)L We had the feelin he (as haulin so)e really heavy chain& Be said he:d heard ood thin s about the .etty ?ord rehab pro ra)& Marilyn said it:d be very eJpensive and she kne( of a cheaper and better one if .etty ?ord didn:t (ork out& ?red didn:t look too lustrous& Bis liver (as in its t(elfth round (ith one eye s(ollen shut and the other bleedin & Be had left5 in Totnes Ga parish in @evon5 $n landH5 three children he adored5 a beat3up old do 5 and a Muscovite car (ith rusted3out floor pan throu h (hich he could see the road o back(ard& Be lived in an $liCabethan % e four3story house neJt to a pub on (hat had been a stone path used by lepers four hundred years before& Be said on so)e ni hts you could still hear the) chantin 8Unclean5 unclean; as they )oved bet(een the to(n and the far) (here they (ere *uartered& Be (as a (riter5 bookseller5 fil))aker5 and record producer5 and5 (hen livin in Aondon5 a research librarian& %t that ti)e Marilyn and , (ere trailer trash livin in a 'ro(ler t(enty3four3footer (ith attached side roo) at .ill and Mar e -everance:s trailer ca)p& Marilyn told ?red he could stay (ith us for t(o (eeks5 but at the end of that ti)e he )ust enter rehab& Be could drink hi)self silly durin that fortni ht and et no de)erits5 but he (as out if he didn:t o in& -he said she didn:t (ant his drinkin to influence her son Mike5 (ho lived (ith us then and (ho *uickly beca)e )y brother:s friend and acolyte& ?red (as the 'ied 'iper of the youn & We called for a roo) at .etty ?ord in 'al) @esert and drove over for a pre3ad)ittance screenin for the) to )ake sure ?red had the )oney& Be had his land in -anta ?e for sale and a fe( thousand pounds in earnest )oney& Be passed that part of the test& .ut then (e (ent on a tour (ith so)e docents chirpily carolin the T(elve -tep pro ra)& They took us into the chapel and spoke )ovin ly of their rede)ptions& ?red (as playfully splashed at the (aters of the ?ountain of the -aved5 iven the T(elve -tep hustle at every step5 and ended the tour early& 8Jack5 you can:t put )e in here& ,:ll die& , hate elevator )usic& , hate institutional chapels and fountains of holy (ater (ith coins in the)& , hate recovered alcoholics nancin around& ,:d rather die fro) alcoholis) ri ht no( and et it over (ith&; %fter he had a drink that ni ht5 he reconsidered and said he:d try it for t(o days and5 if he

didn:t like it5 leave it& Marilyn su ested (e try her place in -an @ie o5 but ?red still had this thin of (antin to do rehab (ith the stars5 not to a(k at the) but to be a)on the %)erican royalty to (hich he felt he belon ed& When (e drove back t(o (eeks later for his t(o3(eek stay5 the clinic had an e)er ency call fro) a celebrity (ho (as iven ?red:s roo)& They said it (as so)e sort of )iJ3 up5 but it (asn:t& Bis roo) had been confir)ed in (ritin a (eek before& There (ere so)e ne(s helicopters hoverin for the arrival of the celebrity (ho also ca)e in a helicopter that landed on the helipad& The person (as dropped into a (heelchair5 (rapped in an %f han5 and rolled in& %n ar)ed security tea) stopped our RD fro) enterin the parkin lot even (ith our letter of confir)ation5 and everythin (as on hold until the reat person (as into ?red:s roo)& ?red (as saved& When (e ot back to the RD he finished off the rest of the bottle of >renache rose he had for breakfast5 and Marilyn drove ho)e& Be said he felt it (as divine providence and that (hen he (as Catholic he (ould pray for the celebrity (ho saved hi)& We uessed at (ho it )ay have been5 and the bi er the na)e the surer ?red (as that that (as the one& 8, (ould:ve died there5 Jack& ,:d rather die in an alley so)e(here (ith Thunderbird in hand& ,:d be dis raced but un)iti ated&; Marilyn set ?red up (ith a rehab clinic in a hospital she:d (orked at (ith a five3star status fro) its raduates in the -harp Cabrillo Bospital in -an @ie o& ,t (as in a (in of its o(n on the seventh floor (ith one steel eJit door leadin out to stairs and a key3operated elevator& Bis roo) had a bi vie( overlookin freedo) =ust t(o (eeks a(ay& Be liked the staff and5 fro) the herd of alcoholics5 he selected a fe( neophyte booCers to discuss books5 ideas5 hi)5 and his breakout plan& Be called )e at the trailer park one day to brin hi) a portable type(riter on our neJt visit& Be had so)e short stories he (anted to (rite and a for)al escape plan to pass to his confederates& We (ent in fro) ti)e to ti)e for )eetin s5 educational fil)s5 and presentations (here (e ot an earful about ho( (e (ere e*ually responsible for our drunks bein in rehab and the need to chan e our behaviorMthe idea bein that (ithout it they could )aneuver us back into co3 dependency (hen they ca)e out: 9ou )ade )e (hat , a)Myou )ade )e o in thereMno( here , a)5 so take care of )e& ?red (as cheerful at these et3to ethers and had t(o (orshippers dod in their fa)ilies to follo( hi) around& Be said they had a foolproof breakout plan and told us the day they:d )ake their )ove& Marilyn pointed out that it (as the day before they (ere to be released& Be stood there aCin at her& 8,t:s the principle5 Marilyn5 don:t you seeL; -he said there (as nothin to break out fro)5 that he:d chosen to o in& 8That (as the principle5 (asn:t itL; When he left -harp Cabrillo he carried a bottle of %nabuse he intended to toss into the desert on his (ay to -anta ?e& Be bou ht a used =eep and took off& We heard he spent his first four )onths hikin and ca)pin at the places in Ne( MeJico he )issed )ost durin his thirty years in $n land& ?red never did convert to Catholicis) in -anta ?e5 (hat (ith lovin 'ooka and dyin & G'ooka (as a radiant (o)an (ho (as (ith )y brother the last t(o years of his life& Be:d been ready to die before they found one another&H .ut he did et the hood of his =eep air3brushed (ith a darkly radiant scene of three )en han in fro) their crosses on >ol otha& <ne ti)e he and 'ooka ca)e to our house on Re ner Road in -an @ie o and the four of us (ent to Ti=uana (here ?red bou ht @ay of The @ead fi urines5 plants5 bark and leaves5 dried )ushroo)s and insects,

reli ious tablas, a scrap of cloth fro) a robe (orn by a saint5 and a crucifiJ carved by a )an (ith no ar)s or le s& Be (as happy (ith his loot5 but )ainly (ith the histories the vendors ave hi) about these thin s& When (e ot back ho)e he rabbed )e to dance the (altC (ith hi) in the drive(ay and (e stru led around5 fi htin to lead (hile Marilyn videotaped us& ?red:s dau hter Cordelia ca)e (ith her husband Jonnie fro) $n land in a year or so later to receive ?red:s blessin of their )arria e5 (hich ?red had )issed due to his health decline& The outdoor cere)ony (as at the end of Canyon Road (here a piece of old -anta ?e lin ers& Bis friend Mac Watson had a house and so)e land there on the -anta ?e River& Many years before5 they had a contractin business called Three Aittle 'i s Construction& ?red had )oved his fa)ily to -anta ?e fro) Corn(all to see ho( it (ould (ork out5 and it didn:t& Just as he had )issed the desert for so )any years5 his (ife and kids )issed the (et and reen& Cordelia looked uncontrollably beautiful5 and Jonnie like a .ohe)ian Tony .lair& ?red finally ot relaJed enou h to (in his blessin s to the)5 then ot choked up to(ard the end seein this lorious (o)an (ho only a little (hile a o he:d carried around as a baby& , (as in Aondon (hen she (as born and (hen an ano)aly sho(ed up durin her delivery the hospital (ouldn:t allo( .elinda to see her baby till they decided ho( to handle it& ?red ca)e to )e (hen he could et no(here (ith the staff& , (ent to the head nurse5 and (ith her to the doctor5 and in ten )inutes .elinda had baby Cordelia in her ar)s& -o)eti)es that kind of po(er sho(s up in a ti)e of need& , dropped by 'ooka:s on the (ay back to the hotel5 and ?red (as lyin on the bed still dressed and fi htin sleep because he (anted to share so)ethin 5 afraid he (ouldn:t et another chance once , left& What he said (as that )y not fi htin for hi) at ?ountain Dalley -chool forty years before (hen a pack of senior students thre( hi) into the duck pond5 had 8)urdered; hi)& , (as his older brother5 he had no one else to protect hi) and (hen he called out to )e and , sa( (ho it (as they (ere dunkin 5 , didn:t co)e& , nodded& We:d never spoken of it until that ni ht& 8.ut you:re )y brother5; he used to say (hen ,:d thank hi) for so)ethin he (ent out of his (ay to do& , never connected it to the duck pond until that ni ht at 'ooka:s house5 that little ninth rader tossed into the (ater by bi er uys (ho didn:t like his attitude& %nd (hen he (ent back to his dor)5 drenched and sha)ed5 he sa( )e over there5 and his eyes said it5 and then his voice5 for the rest of our lives: 0ut you)re my brother& Be:d been assassinated5 but it took hi) all that ti)e to lay do(n and die& $arlier in our lives5 ?red:s friends in -anta ?e treated )e (ith a respect that see)ed real but unearned& , didn:t )easure up in social a(areness and intellect5 and (e rarely hun out unless ?red (as in to(n& Mac and ?red:s other )ale friends (ere scholars& Nor)ally such people siCed )e up *uickly and (andered off to be (ith their o(n kind5 but these uys listened to )y tap dance incoherence (ith attention and never interrupted to correct )e or try for so)e elucidation on =ust (hat in hell , (as talkin about& , accepted it5 thou h , could never fi ure out (hy they treated )e like a hero& When visitin -anta ?e once , ran into Mac Watson (ho said ho( a pack of pachucos had =u)ped hi) and so)e friends (alkin by the Chapel of Aoretto near Aa ?onda and really )essed the) up& Nursin their (ounds at Tiny:s after(ard5 so)eone said , (as in to(n and ho( if ,:d been (ith the) thin s (ould:ve turned out a lot different& ,t turns out ?red had been tellin the) over the years about (hat a vicious street fi hter , (as (ith utterly no respect for the odds a ainst )e& Bad they ever seen the siCe of )y knucklesL The scars over )y eyesL ?red ave )e a rep around -anta ?e that protected me, but (as entirely

invented& , have the hands of so)eone (ho does needlepoint5 and the scars are fro) (oodcuttin accidents& My co(ardice (as not so )uch in not oin to his rescue5 it (as in not carin for )y little brother (ho at that school (as at the mercy of )y carin for hi)& ,t (as betrayal as bad as %bel and Cain5 but (orse because it (as a passive assassination& ,:d tucked that thin a(ay in the back of )y closet and then )y dyin brother opened the door to set it free& Be died& , stayed behind5 ho(ever& %nd ,:d soon discover there (as )ore to this than the obvious betrayal& The little boy locked in the kitchen pantry (ould finally tell )e the real reason , let )y brother o into the duck pond& That school and those fe( )inutes have haunted )e5 and ,:) not sure (hat to do (ith the bloody thin 5 it:s so randfathered in& Bo( do you erase (hat has beco)e your flesh and )ind and dipped your soul in bittersL , sa( a si n on a coffee (a on in -anta ?e on Marcy -treet that said5 Aet 8ver t& %s if that:s all it takes5 et a cup of Joe5 pay your t(o bucks5 shake in so)e for iveness5 and sip& -ort of like oin to a church on (heels: pray as you o& We looked at one another there in 'ooka:s bedroo)5 laser looks that burned in and out of our souls& , (anted to hold hi) and let out all the sha)e and be his for iveness& .ut , didn:t& The instant of thro(in )yself on his )ercy passed5 a door had opened for one second after all those years and , (ouldn:t (alk throu h& , bent over and hu ed hi)5 and the neJt day returned to -an @ie o& , never sa( hi) a ain& Be died a fe( days later after a Mar arita3fueled .aile ?la)enco he danced on a dinner table at Aa Tertulia restaurant ruptured his liver& Be ot up the neJt )ornin to o do(nstairs to the bathroo) and never ca)e back to bed& My brother ?red loved books and honored the) by readin (ithout fully openin the covers so as to preserve the book spine& Be rapped )e for openin a book flat& Be beca)e a book collector after his record co)pany spun out5 char in around the .ritish ,sles to estate sales and buyin out other collectors: treasures after they:d otten )iserly over sellin their ood stock and one broke& ?red:s $liCabethan house in Totnes (as littered (ith his riches5 the desperate collectors: treasures (ith little bits of their broken hearts pressed bet(een the pa es like autu)n leaves or fra ile flo(ers& Be ave )e a first edition of Tho)as 'aine:s The :i(hts o* "an (hen he ca)e to Aake Morena& To honor hi) , peered into the barely open pa es (hen he (as around5 but laid the) flat (hen he (asn:t& Be said , needed to read 'aine so , fully understood (hy he lived in $n land instead of here& , said , had read it )any years before in a Classic Co)ics edition but5 because , couldn:t discuss it in a (ay he could tolerate5 for instance by not interruptin his )onolo ue5 he lost interest in refreshin )y )ind (ith the tenets of personal political liberty& Were he here (hen this book (as first published5 ?red (ould have read it in t(enty )inutes and taken )e to a really ,rish bar in -t& 'aul to ive )e a lon talkin 3to about the craft of (ritin 5 sentence structure5 etc& Be:d o on and on until the bar closed and (e:d (alk ho)e like (e used to (hen (e lived in Ne( 9ork City back in the siJties5 t(o tall brothers shoulder to shoulder5 o(nin the ni ht& %s he )ello(ed out on our (alk in -t& 'aul5 ,:d thank hi) and he:d stop and put his hands on )y shoulders and say5 8.ut Jack5 you:re )y brother&;


CHAPTER 2# THAN2S TO %OO%LE .y the second year of Marilyn and )e bein to ether , once a ain )ade peace (ith )y )ortality& ,:d done it first at a e seven in the el) tree5 and a ain at ten years old in -anta ?e5 (hen , understood that death:s stin (as not in dyin 5 (hich is pretty )uch like (akin up fro) a chaotic drea)5 but in others dyin & , cried because those , loved (ould die5 and in this a ony ca)e an understandin & This freed )e up to play Russian roulette for the rest of )y life& , (as a daffy kid all char ed up on the creative ener y of (hat (ould be later identified as attention proble)s& .ack then it (as thou ht of as )ental retardation and not as a broader5 faster5 )ore i)a inative (ay of perceptionMso , (as free& -ince no one eJpected anythin of )e5 (hen , did deliver5 it (as such a surprise that , (as for iven )y trespasses over and over and over& $Jcept by Marilyn& -he has a cut3off point& Marilyn out of the blue (ould say5 8When you:re deadU; or5 8When you dieU; Not 8 *5; or 8Sometime down the road when you die&; The (ay it sounded to )e (as that , (as a lucky uy if , )ade it to dinnerti)e& ,t bothered )e she thinks this (ay& ,t:s as if she doesn:t trust )e to stay around )ortally& , kne( then5 and , kno( no(5 that , (ill never die5 but that )y )ortality is oin to (ear thin so)eti)e in )y ei hties or nineties& .ut , don:t need updates all the ti)e5 her pencilin in thin s to do a fe( days a(ay because , )i ht shuffle off to .uffalo& , told Marilyn5 89ou:re pro ra))in )e to predecease you& Bo( co)eL; -he said that (o)en live lon er than )en5 8,t:s statistics is all5 nothin personal&; $ven if this is true5 (hy does she keep brin in it upL , tried doin the sa)e (ith her so she:d kno( ho( it felt5 but she paid no attention& -he kne( , didn:t have the statistics& The fi ures have already buried )e& , say5 8.ut5 s(eetheart5 , kno( )en (ho outlived their (ives5 and she says5 8Na)e one&; , say5 8Aon evity rules in )y fa)ily and (e all live into our nineties5 and she says5 89es5 but your father (as a youn )an (hen he died&; , say5 8-iJty3ei ht is not youn & .esides he s)oked and drank for four people&; , add5 89our blood pressure is so hi h5 there:s s)oke co)in out your ears5 and you s(ill )ilk like a ne(born calf5 you:re up fifteen hours a day&; -he isn:t listenin & 8When you die5 at least , (ill have the RD to live in5; she says& Why do , have to die for her to live in the RDL ,t:s not that she is )arkin )y death in her daily re)inder book5 (hich she can:t find any(ay& ,t is si)ply a )atter of fact that , (ill die a lot sooner than her5 and , )ay as (ell et used to it and live fully until that ti)e co)es in a fe( hours& , suspect that she really )isses her old life and (ants to et back to it5 the sooner the better& -he had it all back then: the spiritual for)at for all her adventures5 an easy3to3clean personal cell that no one else disturbed5 easy3to3)ana e (ardrobe5 silence upon de)and5 laundry and )eals provided by those (ho en=oy that sort of thin 5 choir5 piano5 cere)ony5 prayer5 psal)s5 theolo ical banter5 respect on si ht& Who needed anythin )oreL -he (as rich and purely adored and revered& -he lon s to et back to that life but5 to do so5 choke, (asp, , )ust die& ,t:s =ust a feelin thin & -he loves )e and doesn:t really and truly (ant )e dead5 but if , follo( her fifty3 year3old statistics she could et back to the best part of her life pretty soon: 8h "arilyn, what

are you doin( here3 7hy the black armband3 t)s not .ohn, is it3 t is, oh you poooor darlin(, am soooo sorry2 8h, how you must be (rievin(. Look, how about some ?asmine tea and a scone3 Did you brin( your suitcases3 , asked her5 8What if , don:t die first5 you kno(L What if you die first5 huhL; -he s)iled sadly as if to say5 8Then you (ill be up the creek&; , ot only one Christ)as card that year& <n the front (as a sno(flake desi n on a blue back round5 and to the ri ht alon the botto) is the sender:s na)e: >oo le& <n the inside there (as a list of reetin s to choose fro) be innin (ith <retti(e &eestda(en follo(ed by either Chinese or Japanese characters and then Alaedeli( ?ul o( (odt nytar& T(o3thirds the (ay do(n is Season)s Areetin(s5 for )e& ,:) thinkin 5 Aood (rie*, here is this hu(e company sendin( out cards to all their special people in all the main countries and they include me& Marilyn ets )any cards but only in one lan ua e and fro) =ust people& The personal )essa es o on and on about ho( (onderful she is and ho( they )iss her and so)eti)es include lon reports about (hat they:ve been up to all year& >oo le ets ri ht do(n to the essence5 blasts )e (ith =oy5 and ets out of there& , (as thinkin that5 (hen , die5 hardly anyone (ill be there5 )aybe Marilyn5 and )y kids if they can et a(ay fro) classes out there in -anta .arbara and 'hoeniJ5 and possibly a rep fro) >oo le& , never (anted a (hole Ballelu=ah Chorus any(ay& When you:re dead you don:t even kno( ho( )any people have co)e to pay their respects& ,t:s a (aste of their ti)e really5 and , don:t care5 ,:) (here there is full3blo(n love and , can )er e (ith anyone , (ish and feel (hat it is to be the)5 to feel their =oy at union (ith )e and the other unions they:ve been a part of and are no( a part of the)& There is no doubt in )y heart that , (ill run into so)eone fro) >oo le and let the) kno( ho( )uch they:ve )eant to )e&


PART FO)R 1"4 .

:d ever really seen it and (as so beautiful . )i ht die fro) it but that:s life5 8Cs la vida.ilbao& The doctor at the Bospital %)ericano in Madrid said no hospital (ould take )e in so .CHAPTER 2' 1I1A FRANCO . (as stron enou h for travel and ot a fli ht on . lock )yself in a roo) for t(o (eeks because (herever . hadn:t eaten for that ti)e and (as obsessed (ith a hun er for burnt su ar al)onds5 (hat they call almendras (arrapi1adas& . had the )ost virulent for) of the disease and there (as nothin he could ive )e to help et rid of it& Be su ested .n the (indo( of a candy store .:d been tellin her about livin there and a trip three of us students )ade on $aster 1/0# fro) -evilla alon a Ro)an Road built "5### years a o5 ridin throu h country little chan ed fro) the Middle % es& There (ere no schools or electricity or food5 other than (hat they re( and butchered5 no outside ne(s& The people had never heard of the United -tates or even the Ne( World& We rode horseback into a villa e and people dropped (hat they (ere doin to follo( us to the plaCa or inn (here (e:d dis)ount and sit and talk (ith the)& They (ere si)ple as children5 (ide3eyed5 so)eti)es touchin our ar)ents to )ake sure (e (ere real& .:d otten hepatitis fro) eatin infected shellfish in . left they:d need to boil the bed linens and (ash do(n the roo) (ith disinfectant& $Jcept for ettin up to drink and use the lavatory5 . . could hear cro(ds sin in 5 and cryin 5 8?rancoQ Diva $spaRa&. had lon hair and they:d never seen it on a )an& @i)itri had brass3colored hair5 and Ti) (as blond (ith blue eyes5 his face -cottish pink and stran e3lookin 5 even to us& They (atched us like kids do cartoons on television& <ne ti)e (hile there5 a stallion alloped up to the )are . (as a)on the)& <ne day . ate the) until . (ent . kne( they:d soon co)e for those in the Resistance and5 in the drea)5 . (oke up fro) the lon sleep and felt okay& .bNria back to the United -tates& <n the (ay to U&-& Custo)s fro) the plane at .t (as the first ti)e . (as ridin and collided (ith her and danced around5 bitin her and )y le that he took as part of her5 then )ounted us (ith front hooves du into )y le s& Be (as so turned on he didn:t care& -he kicked hi) off and tore a(ay faster than .dle(ild %irport5 . sa( a =ar of the) and bou ht a kilo& . (as (atchin this fro) )y balcony in the Botel Aope de De a in a drea)5 t(enty years after that parade took place in reality& . said5 and (hen .:d have to et throu h it on )y o(n& . slept for t(o (eeks and drea)ed that . touched or breathed on could be infected& . thou ht she could5 the stallion ri ht behind5 tail fla ed and even )ore deter)ined& Be (as circlin around to cut her off at a brid e (e (ere headed for but (e )ade it across and he stopped& Bis (hinnies carried for )iles& . stood on the (rou ht iron balcony of this hotel (atchin ?ranco:s ?alan e forces occupy Madrid& .ack in Madrid that trail report fro) Ti) and @i)itri 1"/ .:d be spreadin the virus& %nyone . lost a fe( beats of )y heart& Marilyn lined up a ti)eshare on the Costa del -ol in -pain and ot a reat deal on tickets& .:d checked into Botel Aope de De a5 sayin not to send in )aids or anyone until . sa( an %)erican fla flyin above the ter)inal& . That:s (hen . stood on a balcony of a hotel lookin do(n on the >ran Dia in Madrid seein tanks and trucks and soldiers and )archin bands and there (ere fi hters and bo)bers flyin lo(& ?ranco had taken Madrid and the Civil War (as over& .t (as 1/0#5 durin )y =unior year in -pain at the University of Madrid5 and .4 he said5 8Kue noL.

:d never heard& Marilyn plays :odri(o a lot& .:d kno(n it5 a country cut off fro) the )odern (orld until the year before (e students ot there5 (hen the borders5 closed for t(enty years5 (ere opened& >eneralOssi)o ?ranco (as still in char e& The people (ere (aitin for hi) to die and 'rince Carlos to assu)e the throne& When .ut (e didn:t& They:d transferred suitcases to the overseas carriers fro) our fli ht (hen (e landed5 but not (aited for us because of the stor)s& <ur lu a e ot back to us in Minneapolis three (eeks later5 lookin rested and tanned& <ut over the %tlantic (e noticed the li ht of the sunset chan ed fro) one side of the plane to the other& . fle( out of Minneapolis on a late %pril afternoon to 'hiladelphia (here (e (ere to chan e planes for the %tlantic crossin & We ot cau ht in a stor) and circled over the >reat Aakes to let it )ove throu h5 but it didn:t& We landed at 'ittsbur h to refuel and took off flyin in li htnin & We (ere the last plane to land at 'hilly before the airport shut do(n& The airline had a thousand passen ers (ho )issed their transatlantic fli hts that ni ht and5 by the ti)e (e ot up to the counter5 the neJt day:s fli hts (ere booked5 and the day after that& They said our lu a e (as lost alon (ith everyone else:s and for us to check back every hour in case so)ethin turned up& Bo( could it turn up (hen it (as on a plane to -pain5 and they kne( itL . %t the University (e studied (ith one of the country:s cultural heroes& Joa*uOn Rodri o tau ht a course (ith his (ife on the history of -panish )usic& -he played Nacisso 9epes: recordin of her husband:s Concierto de Aran?ue5 (ith the Madrid -y)phony <rchestra& The t(o of the) sat in foldin chairs in front of us5 hands in their laps5 his eyes unseein 5 hers closed5 listenin to soarin )usic the likes of (hich . looked at one another and decided (e:d see about that& We a reed that our trip (as doo)ed& We:d )issed three days of our ti)eshare5 had no lu a e and5 by the ti)e (e 11# . breathed the sa)e air as hi)5 that .)a ine the si)plicity of the country:s reatest co)poser sittin there (ith a roup of youn %)ericans5 (earin a tattered5 (orn3shiny ray suit (ith three3 blind3)ice lasses on5 and speakin to us of the influences on his )usic5 of its roots in his re ion of the country5 and the -panish need to be free& Marilyn and . heard his soft voice and (atched his (ife select the records he called for to illustrate so)ethin he (as sayin about %lbNniC or TTrre a or hi)self& . (ere headed& We (ould land in MTla a5 rent a car to drive to our ti)eshare5 and fro) there travel to -evilla5 >ranada and )aybe even Madrid& . lived in Torre)olinos after Madrid it (as a villa e on the south coast of a fe( hundred fisher)en& There (as one sit3do(n restaurant5 the . thou ht it (as a )iracle but then the captain ca)e on the interco) to say there (as a s)all proble) that (as really nothin 5 but re ulations )ade the) head back to have it checked out& Wouldn:t take but a fe( )inutes once on the round& Ten )inutes later5 he said (e (ere headin to .oston airport (here they had better )echanics5 then later announced the better )echanics (ere busy on other broken do(n planes5 so (e (ere headin to 'hilly& The head fli ht attendant announced that no one (ould be per)itted to leave the plane5 and Marilyn and .ar Central5 (hich (as locally o(ned until Aee -eto)er of Ne( 9ork City bou ht it& That started it& MTla a no( runs non3stop (here there had once been a doCen separate fishin villa es& This is (here Marilyn and . (anted to leave -pain to the (ay .)ade the rounds at the University and ot )e a reputation& The uys i led and snorted5 but the irls lared& Marilyn (anted to travel to the places .t (as like )eetin a youn love after a very lon ti)e and you et that one ori inal look fro) the heart before the )ind kicks in (ith a 8>ood >od5 (hat happenedL.:d kno(n and hear )y stories (ith a visual reference& @eep do(n . kne( hi)5 that .t )atters to her that . secretly dreaded it& .

et cal) at ti)es like this and said that the rest of the) could stay onboard5 but (e (ere leavin & The airline had lost our lu a e5 stalled us three days5 no( they (ere turnin back5 and it sounded to us like (e (ere not bein iven the facts about this e)er ency& -he tried starin )e do(n for a )inute5 said it (as not an e)er ency5 it (as procedure5 then returned for(ard to describe to the other ste(ardesses (hat she:d =ust been throu h& Marilyn and . decided (e (ould et up as soon as the plane (as at the ate and et off5 openin the door if (e had to& We didn:t have to5 but (e (ere the only t(o of 1## passen ers (ho dise)barked5 and that plane (as still parked there three hours later5 ettin a ne( en ine and (in or so)ethin (hen (e took off on our fli ht to Minneapolis& The airline refunded our )oney on all tickets and paid our (ay back ho)e& The older )an at the desk (as a s(eetheart5 (hich (e took as another si n that (e )ade the ri ht decision& 111 .nestled into our hotel roo)5 (e:d only have three days left& -o (e had one of the youn er fli ht attendants call back the bi 5 old5 scary one to talk (ith& -he started talkin before (e had a chance5 sayin she understood ho( terrified (e (ere but that this (as nothin 5 she:d been throu h it a hundred ti)es and (as still hereMbi and scary as ever& -he had so)e travel sickness pills that:d cal) us and turned to o et the)& We called her back and eJplained (e (ere not afraidM(e (ere ivin up the trip& There (ere only a fe( days left for our visit and (e:d decided to et off the plane& -he repeated that no one (as ettin off5 and the look on her face re)inded )e of Nurse Ratchet in the )ovie 8ne &lew 8ver The Cuckoo)s @est& .

RAMON %s (e planned to o to MeJico in January of "##2 . (orked at fittin this (ider and lon er asse)bly into the cro(ded space the s)aller brass filter filled5 borro(in an open3end 2E10 (rench fro) a nei hbor& . took off the filter and sa( it (as defective& The seal that the threaded connection nipple (as set in (as off center5 sli htly oval on one side (here it ou ht to be perfectly round& Road dust had accu)ulated around the asket (here the leak (as and it (as plain this leaka e had been oin on for a (hile& . decided to brin the notebooks& There (ere five or siJ by then& When (e left . felt cool (etness (hen . turned the )otor off& . brou ht the)5 of fire in the RD& We:ve seen ri s burnin to the fra)e and hubs on hi h(ays around the country& 9ou:re drivin alon 5 fire starts5 driver stops5 people bail out and run5 ply(ood and plastics inferno5 then the as tank5 then the propane tank5 fa)ily scatterin all over (hile the local fire)en pour (ater over the stea)in fra)e sittin in ashes and rin s of steel cords (here the tires (ere5 and the police direct traffic around the derelict& . beca)e spooked by the idea of fire destroyin )y (ritin notebooks& . couldn:t et it out of )e5 and the harder . rab the backpack (ith notebooks& The apprehension (as never far fro) )y )ind& . found )yself rehearsin an alar) scenario (here the enerator catches fire fro) a faulty fuel line and there:s only enou h ti)e to rab (hat is the )ost holy to us& Marilyn rabs 'ebbles and .CHAPTER 2* %RACIO)S.f . ti htened the filter still )ore& The filter cha)ber (as lass5 capped at top and botto) (ith )etal that (as not =oined& Too )uch tor*ue and the lass cha)ber (ould 11" . left the) at the house5 there (as the dan er of electrical fire and5 if . put the) in a daypack . biked into -an Carlos to so)e )arine parts stores and a counter )an at one of the) fi ured out a (ay to ri a as )arine filter to fit )y description of the carburetor5 usin a valve asse)bly off a =unked boat out back& . sat there s(eatin for the better part of an afternoon5 usin a (atch)aker:s touch to )ake the sea part (ant to be a road part& . took the filter off and (rapped Teflon tape around the threads )ore carefully and put it back in& -till leaked& . kno( about fear )akin the thin (e dread co)e around5 but . couldn:t fi ure out (hy . cranked the enerator up5 and it still leaked& .ack at the Winneba o . tried the stron er it ot& Aike unifyin a country behind a leader and concept to protect us fro) (hat (e fear5 it:s al)ost a )andate to brin about (hat (e elected hi) to steer us a(ay fro)& <ur fear put hi) in po(er and5 to stay there5 he needs to stoke it5 not deal (ith it& <ur fear in a sense creates the leader and concept5 so (hy (ould he (ant to do a(ay (ith our need for hi)L The fear of losin the notebooks to fire (as slo(ly pencilin in their destiny& <ne day in -an Carlos5 Iach and . touched the rubber hose connected to the filter& .:d had forever5 and stored the) in under the Winneba o dinette bench& . opened the enerator side panel to check the altitude settin that controls the flo( of air into the en ine& GWe had flo(n Iach do(n to =oin us for his sprin break& Be (as siJteen&H Marilyn had s)elled ra( as (hen startin the enerator5 and (hen shuttin it do(n& -he:d spoken to )e of it a fe( ti)es5 in fact5 even our first day on the road5 and that (as three (eeks before& The alti)eter settin controllin the air intake (as accurate5 but . s)elled as5 too5 and sa( a thin sheen slippin do(n over the brass as filter scre(ed into the carburetor (hen . (as obsessed (ith this fear because it is unlike )e& %s (e drove .

<ur ne( friend5 Fatie5 told us about the coconut =uice )an do(n the beach fro) her house and ho( his appearance on this particular -unday si naled the arrival of sprin in >uay)as& We (ere parked nearby at the Mirador Botel and RD 'ark and Marilyn had one up to Fatie unloadin roceries fro) the trunk of her car to ask for directions& Marilyn (as in dire need of a Mass and so)e cere)ony and5 in her (ords5 (as s(eatin like a Turk& We:d already been MeJico3 uided by four different people in four different directions to the sa)e Catholic church and (ere about to let it o and head back to the co)fort of our ri & Fatie (as a teacher at the ColL(io Americano nearby (here MeJican children are i))ersed in $n lish fro) kinder arten on& -he said the kids (ere speakin $n lish fluently by first rade& They loved havin a secret lan ua e their parents couldn:t understand5 a fun incentive in the earlier rades5 a functional pi Aatin to co))unicate privately (ith one another& Their parents: reason for puttin the) there (as to ive the) an advanta e as adults in business5 111 . hadn:t spoken of any of this till then& Marilyn lau hed& 8What if you died and the notebooks survivedL No one could )ake head or tails of your hand(ritin 5 any(ayQ. spoke to Marilyn and Iach about the notebooks& Whatever had started )y obsession had finally played out& . biked to to(n on -unday for so)e roceries and sa( a ratty pickup haulin a ratty boat collide (ith a s)all car tryin to pass it (hen the truck driver suddenly turned left to double back into to(n& <il ushed out onto the road fro) his crankcase& We (ent to an .:d felt around for the fear in )e that )ornin and it (asn:t there any)ore& . (aded into the sea to et closer to a fa)ily of dolphins trollin by& .ack on the beach Marilyn sucked the blood out of the (ound and it burned her ton ue and )outh& The pain rose in )y le like )ercury in a ther)o)eter to the lo(er calf5 and after a fe( hours dropped back do(n to (here it started& The neJt day (e (ere on the beach sunbathin 5 her sittin in a foldin chair5 readin 5 (hen (e heard (hat (e thou ht (as an %TD on the beach ettin too close at hi h speed& .nternet cafN behind a 'e)eJ station and5 on the (ay back5 passed a s)olderin fire3buckled and cindered van (ith so)e youn people standin around co)fortin one another as the fire)en rolled up their hoses& The hood had been aJed open to et at the en ine& .nstead a sin le3en ine plane cleared a dune =ust then and dropped still lo(er5 al)ost decapitatin Marilyn (ith a landin (heel& The pilot ski))ed over the (ater to(ard to(n and returned a little later flyin =ust as lo( but veerin up and a(ay fro) us at the last )o)ent& Iach and . )ade a cup of coffee and spilled boilin (ater on )y fin ers& %n hour later do(n at the beach5 Marilyn and . stepped on a stin ray hidden in the sand and its tail stabbed )y foot& .:d set fire to )y hands and feet5 passed it in the streets5 had it pass )e in the air5 and al)ost set the RD ablaCe by not dealin (ith the ra( as s)ell earlier& . cut the )otor there (as no back sur e& .break& This ti)e the enerator ran ten )inutes (ithout leakin 5 and (hen .t (as -unday late afternoon5 and theirs (ere the only vehicles at that end of to(n& That ni ht5 (atchin the sunset5 (e noticed a 1##3foot lon ill net (ith floats (ashed up on shore& ?isher)en anchor these thin s in the bay and harvest the) in the )ornin & This one:d otten a(ay& We (orked until dark and then by feel5 releasin the live fish& <ne (as a puffer fish (ith barbs that burned& <ur hands (ere skinned fro) the nettin and fin cuts& The neJt )ornin the nets (ere one5 %TD tracks in the sand& That ni ht (e sat by the iron(ood fire and .

t (as . could rent one o* these bun(alows and have all those *amilies playin( out there on the beach as my *ront yard.each5 the coconut )an5 and ColN io %)ericano5 hopin to reach the border by sunset5 and the <r an Cactus National 'ark ca)p round on the other side& The road sa ed north(est out of Ber)osillo and crossed )ore of the <ld MeJico .:d been talkin to Marilyn back then about )ovin here and raisin the) in a culture (here the fa)ily is )ore i)portant than anythin else& We had that in %u usta5 but ho( about havin it on the -ea of CorteC shores in MeJico (ith us ettin fluent throu h i))ersion in a second lan ua e and the -ea of CorteCL % pediatric nurse practitioner5 Marilyn (ould be a double asset for the ColL(io& Fatie brou ht out the Cole(io)s head)aster:s business card for Marilyn& That:s (hen she:d noticed the coconut )an (ith his push (a on& We said our oodbyes in -panish and (ent over to et t(o cocos and sat in the sand5 sippin the cold )ilk throu h a stra(5 and talkin over (hat (e:d learned& The cocoKuero had lopped off the tops (ith a )achete and s*ueeCed in =uice fro) so)e fresh li)es& % round of still3=ellied coconut )eat lea)ed around the openin & When (e (ere finished5 he split open the coconut and scraped out the s(eet pearl3(hite slush into a paper cup to )iJ (ith chili po(der5 )ore li)e5 and su ar syrup& Be stole lances at Marilyn as he (orked& -he (hispered to )e he could be one of her well babies fro) her prenatal3care days in <(atonna (hen she (as involved (ith )i rants as a public health nurse& With her cre(5 she looked after the field hands and their (ives and assisted in the births of their babies& -he tau ht the) ho( to o on (orkin after delivery (hile continuin breastfeedin & %t that ti)e in %)erican )edicine5 it (as custo)ary for (o)en to o to hospital or )id(ife centers to birth their babies5 and stay a (eek as if child3bearin (as an illness5 (ith their babies shelved in nurseries5 shootin do(n for)ula& Marilyn had one throu h that (hen Mike (as born& When the nurse refused to brin hi) for her to nurse5 she said if he (as not brou ht i))ediately she (as oin into the nursery to et hi) and then (alk ho)e& % MeJican bracera (ould have her baby and return to the fields the neJt day to pick cabba es (ith the ne(born ha))ocked on her hip5 so Marilyn (asn:t (orried about (alkin out of there& 89ou think you )i ht like to teach hereL.enito JuareC: birthday& . . (et my own immersion in the Spanish lan(ua(e. re)e)ber as a kid than the strai ht shot free(ay to the horror of No ales& . and make a salary& Fatie (as sayin they al(ays needed %)erican (o)en (ith a natural connection to children& . .ndian born as a peon into a nation run by a rulin class o(nin the country and all its resources5 includin the indi enous people& When 117 .:) thinkin 5 .esus. could use my two score years and ten in education to help others. this is what )ve been wantin( since we were up in "ontana with the kids.so havin the) speakin $n lish at ho)e (as a pleasure for the fa)ily& Fatie loved the classes and the people5 and the laid3back life style& -he (as fifty (hen she ca)e here on a vacation (ith her husband5 loved it5 and soon had a =ob at the ColL(io (ith this s(eet bun alo( on the beach& We helped her carry ba s to the front porch5 she and Marilyn chattin happily& Marilyn (as fascinated& -he adores children& They are a lot like her& -o she:s thinkin 5 'eck. thou ht about it5 but (e both kne( the ti)e had passed& We left Mirador . asked& 8Would you live here (ith )eL. she asked& .enito JuareC is to the MeJicans (hat Washin ton and Martin Auther Fin are to %)ericans& Be (as a Iapotec .

filled the RD5 but they (ouldn:t accept the credit card for pay)ent5 and all (e had in )oney (ere a fe( hundred pesos& The )ana er had so)eone drive )e back into to(n to the .ut there (as nothin there eJcept laundry& .ack (ith bi peso notes fro) the teller )achine5 . sprinted to the Winneba o before he ot a(ay and dove into the closet in back (here .ut today (as a holiday& 'eople (ere (ith fa)ily and it (as a host to(n& We rattled throu h in t(enty )inutes and5 once on the north side5 stopped for as at one of the )any 'e)eJ stations linin the road& . (as a lando(ner5 an 'acendado in a (ay5 decidin the destinies of )y )ade3up serfs& .?rance invaded and occupied MeJico5 it (as .ancoMeJ %TM (hile Marilyn and Iach (ere kept as collateral& The driver and . (as daCed (ith happiness& No one (ants )y books and here is Ra)[n (ho can:t read5 askin )e for one& Be (ill love it no )atter ho( bad it is& . (as pourin a cup of coffee5 Ra)[n5 al)ost (hisperin 5 asked if . he said al)ost inaudibly5 lookin do(n at a book . )ake a livin at itL . told hi) . (rite5 and (hy5 and did . tore open the dinette bench stora e co)part)ent and there it (as5 one last5 )int3condition copy& . (rote because it (as )y (ay to think5 and in )y novels .n his second ter) he separated church and state& When he died5 the country:s (ealth only chan ed hands for a (hile5 but there (as no( a constitutional overn)ent& The Church:s vast land holdin s and the po(er of the ar)y (ere cut (ay back& With JuareC5 there (as finally land for the indi enous people to till for the)selves& JuareC brou ht the peons pride and5 throu h hi)5 put so)e respect into )en to (ho) they (ere previously only chattel& No( they (ere a(are chattel& They kne( they had intelli ence and po(er5 not only a back and hands5 and (hen they had the chance (ith 'ancho Dilla and $)iliano Iapata four decades later to retake their lands5 a ain confiscated5 they did& We )ade it throu h the spra(l of Ber)osillo5 (hich nor)ally took t(o hours5 because the to(n ca)e to ether as a villa e (ith no rid other than decisions of the )o)ent to uide it& . char ed back into the store and scribbled hi) a note on the cover pa e in -panish& Ra)[n received the book (ith full attention5 al)ost cere)oniously& To )e it (as like reachin into a holy di)ension (here a s)all slot opened throu h (hich to pass the book5 and there:s this sanctity (aftin in throu h his open hands& 8Ar>cias5. had so)ethin .n his )ind .ecause they (ere )ine5 they (ere ood to )e5 they did (hat .i))i ration lanes and the be innin of a ne( 116 . ot to )ake up characters that ot to be real people in )y )ind and )e)ory& . <n our drive to the %TM he said he didn:t read but he liked books and had a fe( he (as oin to read (hen he learned ho(& . re)e)bered a fe( copies of Travis B "uldoon (ere in a s)all black canvas ba & . told the) to& This fascinated hi)& .enito (ho took it back& Be brou ht in land refor)5 reor aniCed the le al and social syste)s5 and (as president of the country t(ice& . settled up& We bou ht so)e ba s of chips and =erky and =uice and5 (hile .:d (ritten alon 5 8a poe) or so)ethin L. (rote once5 lookin at the inscription to hi) he cannot read& Ar>cias5 Ra)[n& %t the end of the day5 (e:d been drivin since eatin tacos carbon in -anta %na& %head (as the border shared by MeJican -onoita this side5 and %)erican Aukeville the other& We bu)ped and (eaved past the MeJican mmi(raci-n (here hun ry )en5 (o)en5 and tan3colored do s li)ped and shuffled about5 crossin in (aves in front of the RD as if (e (ere so)e bi and tired old drea) ea er to stop for the)& % fe( hundred feet ahead (ere the U&. talked in -panish about (hat (e did5 and (hen Ra)[n heard . (as a (riter he ot interested& What did .

could al)ost see )y reflection in the shine of his shave& . added that there (ere three of us& Marilyn said5 8%nd 'ebbles&. for ot everythin else5 like the passports (e (ere (arned (e had to sho( to et back into the country and the declarations of (hat infectious thin s (e had in the frid e5 lost in (onder at ho( he )ana ed to shave so close that his skin listened like lass& .:) talkin to the suspect&.)ovie set alto ether5 strai ht lines5 fresh paint5 shinin lass5 and in Aane 1 for RDs stood an %ries sort of fello(5 Marine3like5 (avin us crisply for(ard and haltin us (ith a bulletproof pal) upraised& Be looked up at )e (ith intelli ent pit3bull eyes5 and . Marilyn said three5 there (as )e5 drivin 5 Iach sittin on the sofa behind )e Gshe kne( he ou ht to have on his seatbeltH5 then there (as her5 )y (ife& -he likes to be thorou h (hen facin authority& . for ot . had on sun lasses but he sa( throu h the) into )y core& 8%re you %)erican citiCensLS he barked& Marilyn said5 89es5.y the ti)e (e ot to the ca)p round entrance5 the reception booth (as closed and a si n directed us to pick a spot and folks:d see us in the )ornin & We pulled into the nu)ber t(o slot on a terracotta3colored ce)ent pad surrounded by cactus fa)ilies ea er to )eet 'ebbles& We (ent for a (alk to the end of the ca)p round (here everythin (as black (ith only the stars and Aukeville and -onoita shinin in the distance& 110 . That (as it& No passports5 no *uestions about e s and ve etables and fruit or ho( )any ille(als (e had hidin in the bathroo) and cabinets or under the bed& The year before5 in No ales5 it took three hours to cross5 and they stripped us of all food and plants5 includin a potted plant that rode do(n (ith us that Marilyn:s )other ave her& We speculated that they (ere a cre( in trainin because their boss returned the potted plant (hen the others left5 raisin a fin er over her lips to keep Marilyn fro) thankin her& The hi h(ay turned fro) latticed asphalt to ?ederal s)ooth because (e (ere ri ht a(ay in the National 'ark syste)& No bu)ps5 ya( and rock and roll per)itted5 only (ide5 dependable and silent s)ooth& . and he lanced at her as if to say5 8Who asked youL . 8Bo( )any of you are thereL. Be checked our drivers licenses and said5 8<kay5 you can o&.

rubbed the da)p sand off and dropped it into )y pocket to ive to Marilyn later& 'robably because of her fru al nature5 she prefers ifts fro) nature5 like the s)all5 cracked5 ray stick around (hich a bush had knotted a livin splint of (ood& .:d =ust otten back fro) bein (ith .nventors aren:t satisfied (ith the (ay thin s are& They:re artists drea)in up (hat they hope has never been before& They:re difficult to live (ith because their )inds aren:t (here you can reach the)& They are isolates in a sea of hu)anity5 drift(ood fro) sea3busted alleons (ashin up on never3before beaches& 'ebbles is interested in (hat has been around forever5 thin s that are round or that co)e off trees (hen the (ind blo(s5 or that (ash in on (aves& -he is an archivist of sticks and balls she:s chased in her life& <nce she found a ne( tennis ball above the )ountain tree line near an abandoned )ine above .reckinrid e5 Colorado& Marilyn thre( it and 'ebs ran across )ine sla (ith ease5 not even (inded (hen she returned for another fetch& That (as the day (e ate packed3 in sushi in a half3fallen roofless cabin5 lookin out over half the civiliCed (orld& -he:ll drop a ball on a lon (alk to et )ore ton ue3lollin roo)5 then re)e)ber it on the (ay back& We started hikin because of 'ebble:s ener yP (e ot into ardenin by transplantin all she du up& -he is a thro( ru no(5 choosin the places (e (alk the )ost5 to thro( herself do(n on& %s an a)bulatory ru 5 she keeps us ni)ble5 learnin fro) her ho( to roll out of our falls& .t (as one of those )o)ents (here life really (ants to lau h and there:s only the youn ducks skitterin across the lake5 and you and a fe( others sittin on the shore nearby )ust ive voice to it& -o (e all did& Marilyn drove off (ith %leJ one )ornin to Wisconsin to see her old friends Jane and John for an overni ht& . et back ho)e5 divin into the base)ent and hittin the keys to debrief and catch up to )yself& My body is here5 but the rest of )e is out on the road so)e(here and needs the )a netic resonance of )y )ind at (ork as a co)pass& . )e5 as she called it5 instructin her to co)e et her or so)ethin if .etty and .t:s four inches lon 5 narly and satisfyin (hen )y hand strays across it in )y pocket& %nd the s)all rocks she:s brou ht ho)e5 o)i od5 (e could cobble a (alk& 'ebbles picked up Marilyn:s habit of atherin rocks and (ill (ade into Aake -uperior to dunk for stones like kids do for apples& -he carries the) back to the beach and (ades back in& Marilyn ets the s)all ones5 'ebbles the three pounders& -ittin alone one )ornin at >rand Marais5 .etty had survived a heart issue but no( she had cancerH and Marilyn kne( there:d be a fe( days (here . PE LES FORE1ER .CHAPTER 2.:d be (alkin around as if blindfolded and didn:t (ant )e bu)pin into her& Writin is the (ay . (as on a ladder5 flushin leaves out of the utters (ith the hose (hen they left& Marilyn had sent %leJ out to 8spot. (as (atchin teena e ducklin s near their parents5 dashin across the (ater5 playin ta & 'ebbles (ent in and started dunkin & Moose raCe on under(ater rasses in rivers and she (as like that5 head co)pletely sub)er ed and )ovin around as she tried to et a rip on a stone she fancied& . found a s)all striated stone on the beach (ith lines of red and blues and (hites contoured the (ay they:d be on a sea shell& . fell& %leJ (as bicyclin and told Marilyn that she couldn:t spot )e and bike at the sa)e ti)e& 112 .en in -cottsdale G.

thou ht 'ebbles (as beatin her dru)s and to pat her )i ht interrupt so)ethin holy& . co)e back laterL. and die (ith it on our lips& . had the (hole day to )yself5 and the ni ht and half the neJt day5 )y od5 life (as )y canvas5 (here (ere )y brushes and paletteL . tell her (ith relief that .:ve ever had any )ystical eJperiences lately5 .f Marilyn ever asks )e about (hether . opened the door and there (as 'ebbles lookin up at )e5 tail (a in 5 (antin to co)e in to eat supper& . thou ht (as dyin 5 rin in the doorbell& . (as a bit indi nant that )y (ife thou ht . (ent to the house and into the kitchen (hen the doorbell ran & 7ho in hell3 . (ant to eJplain better5 but she is all ea er to take her babies ho)e to )a)a& -he is a poet and doesn:t need perfect clarity& .:ll tell her this one& What is this )a)a thin L We:re born yellin 8)a)a. e)er ed it (as late and .arone fro) across the street is in her ardenin to s5 (heelbarro( over by the curb& -he left her plants (hile she and -tan (ere a(ay& .n Minneapolis she:d stiffened up by a e nineteen and (as sleepin )ost of the ti)e& We had one there5 at 'ebbles re*uest5 to body surf one last ti)e& No( she (as alert and (antin to play& Marilyn tossed drift(ood into the (aves for her& When she (ent back to the RD on the other side of the sand dunes5 'ebbles (anted to o (ith her so .s this the Boly MotherL Why does she have this hold on our soulsL We (ant (ar) soft breasts nuCClin us and ar)s holdin us in close s(eet hu))in love& . ot on )y hands and knees under the ri and sa( that she (as breathin & .ut (e leave those ar)s to o find another )a)a& Ro)antic love pretends it is )a)a5 drink pretends it is )a)a5 reco nition5 riches5 belon in to so)e roup or other& We speak her na)e lon in ly as (e live5 hatin her for lettin us o5 then die hopin this (ill take us back into her ar)s and s(eet nuCClin caress& <n the beach in -an Carlos5 MeJico5 'ebbles ca)e back to life& . 'at . hear a (o)an:s voice callin throu h the open backdoor5 8Jack5 . let her in5 askin 5 8Bo( did you do that5 'ebblesL. looked around for 'ebbles5 (alked to the RD5 and she (as still there& We keep eJpectin her to die (hen (e see her on those days (hen she can barely (alk and doesn:t eat& . say to her5 8This is so (eirdMho( did you do thatL. Then . (ent do(nstairs and (rote for siJ hours& When .n bet(een (e:re tryin to track her do(n& Who is this al(ays3thereEnever3there oddess of our universe (e are created by5 and killed by5 fro) never findin herL . put the leash on and took her for a (alk do(n the 114 . thou ht she (as )y do (ho . -he (alks throu h the kitchen over to her bo(l and sniffs at a bean burrito Marilyn:d tossed in there the ni ht before& 'ebbles didn:t (ant it then5 doesn:t no(& . (as all ri ht& We (aved oodbye as they drove off and . needed a little irl on a bike to )ake sure .Marilyn said she had a point& . left her in case she (as like Chief @an >eor e in the )ovie Little 0i( "an (here he carries his cere)onial thin s out to the desert to die and brin s this little (hite )an alon as an apprentice to learn about @eath and the >reat -pirit& The chief sits cross3le ed for a day chantin 5 s)okin his )edicine pipe5 beatin the dru)5 tossin corn )eal around5 and havin drea)s& <n the second day he ets up and says5 8-o)eti)es it (orksP so)eti)es it doesn:t& Aet:s o back&. .:ve co)e for )y plantsMshould . (ent out to the truck for so)ethin & 'ebbles (as on the round neJt to the driver door and stru led to et up and (obble off& -he usually looks interested in ridin shot un5 but not no(& -he flopped do(n under the RD in the shado(s and cool of the rain fro) the ni ht before& .

ible5 because there:s a chance it could actually unite the scarecro( and seven3year3old irl for eternity& 11/ . )ade the )istake of tryin to take a bite of in the kitchen on )y (ay out& .t isn:t the . never heard about itL Was . (as sho(n to the front porch to )y plastic chair at )y assi ned plate5 carryin a taco salad that had started as t(o tacos .:d heard her (orryin aloud about ho( the crust (asn:t for)in and she:d push the ooseneck la)p bulb do(n closer& %leJ told )e later it (as )ade of ice crea)5 Balf and Balf5 Rice Frispies5 bro(n and (hite su ar5 and a teaspoon of (ater& No( . (ent inside for a )inute and5 (hen . (as ettin the distinct feelin that the (eddin (as hers& There (as a lot of )ove)ent and dis=ointed phrases that be an to co)e into a pattern .beach to(ard Condo)inios 'ilar& -he kept stoppin and lookin around to see if Marilyn (as follo(in & %fter a )ile . could s)ell the fiJin s cookin & Aike at Marilyn and )y (eddin & No( %leJ (as askin Marilyn to call %untie Fathy to co)e over5 and Fay5 too& . noticed a Ballo(een scarecro( in a seat four chairs do(n5 le s crossed5 a oofy s)ile on his fabric face5 stra( stickin out at all the ri ht places& Be (as the roo)& -o this thin did have a point& %leJ patted his face (henever she )oved by and said ho( patient he (as and ho( the cere)ony (ould be soon5 and (e (ere only (aitin for the other uests& . ot back5 Fathy (as there (ith . took the leash off but she sa( so)eone (ay back there and took off& . says %leJ5 and lau hs (ith the rest of us& -he asks us to take our seats and the cere)ony (ill be in& Marilyn co)es out of the house and heads to the drive(ay5 carryin a hu e book& . va uely identified& . 89es5 %irhead5.t:s (here Ma)a last (as and that:s all 'ebbles neededMthe beacon of Marilyn in her heart and the hope that she:d find the lost treasure of the -ierra Madre& $ven if it turned out to not be her5 'ebbles had the =oy of that lopin alon on arthritic le s and pa(s to(ard her love& @urin our drive here to -an Carlos (e listened to an audiotape of . <ut of no(here in "##25 Marilyn and ten3year3old %leJ (ere talkin about a (eddin and arran e)ents for the dress and caterers5 so)ethin about uests and5 althou h . (asn:t payin )uch attention5 there (as a briskness in both that )ade it see) like this thin (as bein planned for early this evenin & Bo( co)e .arb bein reeted by %leJ5 (ho raciously thanked the) for co)in to her (eddin on such short notice& -he introduced her fiancN and5 (hen Fathy asked his na)e5 she looked to >rand)a (ho told the)5 8'lease )eet )y future randson3in3la(5 %irhead&. (as indentured as a uest& %h5 they (ould be servin tacos& .n the story Fatie:s husband Johnnie has been on a lon drunk and she has locked hi) in his bedroo) to o throu h the @Ts& Ber sister Cissy oes into the roo) on the third day of his tor)ent and5 takin do(n her bodice5 holds his head to her breasts to co)fort hi)5 ivin hi) a teaspoon of (hisky every fe( hours to relaJ his body& -he is there for t(o days holdin hi) until he is finally throu h the (orst of it and drifts off to sleep in her ar)s )ur)urin 5 8Ma)a5 Ma)a&.etty -)ith:s A Tree Arows n 0rooklyn& . oin to have to et dressed up and o buy a iftL Bo( )uch ti)e (as leftL %leJ (as carryin the foldin tin tables out to the front yard porch and arran in the) precisely and settin on (hite plates& -he had a bunch of red carnations she (as carryin around and as she entered the house or left it she:d call out that (e (ere not to look& <nce she said it (as okay to look at her flo(ers5 but not her dress& -he had a cr\)e brule under a ooseneck la)p on the round MeJican table in the dinette& .ase)ent .t:d been there since breakfast5 the heat of the bulb cookin it and hopefully )akin a crust& .

reland that never happened& . pronounce you scarecro( and (ife&.'ebbles is (earin a fabric lei around her neck and (addles after )y (ife3the3)inister (here Marilyn turns to sole)nly face %leJ and %irhead& -he is (earin the broad3bri) $n lish hat she:d bou ht for our (eddin in . and %leJ says he does& 8Then by the po(er invested in )e by @ante %li hieri5. she says5 thu)pin the book5 8. They kiss and (e cheer& 'ebbles is (oofin 5 and a pack of cloned bicyclists co)in round the bend in the road in a ti ht pack pay absolutely no attention& %leJ )uses that her first husband (ill no( have to be her second one5 but she see)s okay (ith it and hopes he (ill be& -he and %irhead can:t stop s)ilin & We take photos of the (eddin uests5 and the husband and (ife5 and of 'ebbles in her sunset and blue colors5 lei sittin at her feet& 17# . thou ht she:d lost it on the %er Ain us plane& Readin so)e ponderous poetry salted (ith her o(n sense of altar dra)a and deli ht5 Marilyn ets on (ith the vo(s: 8%nd do you5 %irhead5 take this (o)an5 %leJ5 as your la(fully (edded (ifeL. %leJ says he does& 8%nd do you5 %irhead5 pro)ise to honor and obeyL.

CHAPTER 2OTTER PO&ER We )ade friends (ith a retired Autheran )inister and his (ife a fe( blocks south of us here in ?ridley5 and they took us out to dinner to celebrate our finally ettin a(ay to MeJico& <nly thin (as5 (e (eren:t& We:d couldn:t )ake it this ti)e because of the cost of as and didn:t have the )oJie to tell the) ri ht a(ay& They (ere dependin on our oin so they could i)a ine bein (ith us out of the ice and ray& -o they bundled us into their car and drove us to their favorite eatin place& %t Neptune there (as a (ine3tastin counter to lube up arrivin diners (ith five Wisconsin reds and (hites after initial seatin & . am the solace o* my labor pains. am the whore and the holy one. am the barren one and many are her sons.. @ick:s brother had bou ht a -anta 9neC (inery (ith so)e of the )oney he )ade fro) sellin ri hts to a )usic synthesiCer he invented& The (inery he bou ht (as under3producin poor to )iddlin (ines that he up raded to Rhone:s of )erit at affordable prices& Be brou ht the vintner:s art to other varietals and (as soon considered a )aster5 up radin ad=oinin vineyards by virtue of their sharin the sa)e soil and sunli ht (ith his vines therefore inspirin reater eJpectations a)on their clientele& The 'urrOssi)a Mountain Winery up raded the (hole area& 171 . am the wi*e and the vir(in. am she whose weddin( is (reat. am the midwi*e and she who does not bear. am the slave o* him who prepared me. am the ruler o* my o**sprin(. &or am the *irst and the last.. and it is my husband who be(ot me. am the members o* my mother. am the mother o* my *ather and the sister o* my husband and he is my o**sprin(. asked hi) about hi)self& We:d )et the) out bikin and in (alks alon the river5 and once shared a table (ith the) at -t& Fate:s Colle e for a fantastic se)inar about fra )ents of a ospel accordin to Mary Ma dalene discovered in the area (here the >nostic ospels (ere found5 and also scrolls called Thunder <er*ect "ind <apyrus: Do not be i(norant o* me.t (as a lon ti)e before any of the others ot back to the table& They ordered a bottle they a reed (as the best at the tastin bar and @ick be an to talk of his brother (hen . am the mother and the dau(hter. and have not taken a husband. am the bride and the bride(room. am the honored one and the scorned one.

Be said his brother decided to stop (orkin for others (hen as a boy (ith a paper route he took his canvas ba s of ne(spapers to a vacant lot and du)ped the)5 s(earin never to (ork for another a ain& Be vo(ed that his )ind (ould be his only e)ployer5 and (ith this per)ission his )ind happily hired hi) and took hi) to hei hts )any )en only read about in Cntrepreneur "a(a5ine& When @ick drifted into talkin of his o(n life5 .:ve learned fro) Marilyn5 so for )yself . a) laid back on the (aves here5 breakin open cla)s on )y belly& Marilyn calls )e into her office to sho( )e the neJt sun lasses she is oin to et& -he is (atchin the Today Show (here they are honorin %nn Curry on her tenth anniversary (ith the sho(& -he (ants )e to han around till after the co))ercial break in case they sho( so)e )ore of the se )ent of %nn in %frica (here she is (earin these shades& . (as hearin this& . couldn:t believe . a) the sea otter (atchin the ship pass (ith the dolphins openin the (aters before it& Maybe so)e of the patients on board the hospital ship can see )e throu h the portholes of their roo)s and feel a lot better fro) seein ho( cute . don:t speak Church5 eJcept (hat . let it& -he is the pod of dolphins leadin the Red Cross ship around treacherous rocks and (hirlpools5 (hile . so)eti)es like to think5 -ure they:ve done all this stuff5 but have they really en=oyed itL <f course they haveP that:s (hy they (ant )ore and )ore to do& They:ve rubbed bi sticks to ether to )ake confla rations of ood (hile .esides social5 ad)inistrative5 and spiritual duties5 the t(o counseled5 played in sy)phonies and cha)ber orchestras and (rote books& @ick beca)e senior pastor of the central synod& We ordered dinner and the salads ca)e (ith a fresh bottle of (ine& @ick said he had a chaotic drea) the ni ht before (here people (ouldn:t keep their seats and kept runnin in and out of the roo) un)indful of hi)& Marilyn asked if he had so)ethin co)in up he (as (orried about and he lay out a schedule in Wisconsin he (as co))itted to in a fe( days that (as so co)pleJ and challen in in )y )ind for even three )en and a (ife to do that . discovered a deter)ination as irresistible as his brother:s& Be (as as )uch a Type % but lo(er3keyed5 dra(n by a callin to serve& %s an intern )inister in North @akota he (as assi ned by the bishop to take over t(o active churches out in the country and revive t(o others that:d been shut do(n& $ach -unday after finishin services at these churches the t(o of the) crossed into Canada (here @ick ave a ser)on at a non3Autheran church till a ne( pastor could be found& -olvei carried around a plu 3in keyboard on (hich to play the three hy)ns she kne(& Thin s didn:t li hten up for the neJt fifty years thou h -olvei learned a lot )ore hy)ns and took up the cello& .:ve contentedly loun ed by the fire pit5 tryin to fi ure out ho( to li ht the piled3up (ood so)eone else brou ht5 (ithout )y havin to et up and strike a )atch& The )ain difference in Marilyn:s and )y core operational philosophies is that she believes that (hat you (ant done ets done the (ay you (ant only if you specifically do it5 (hile )ine is that everythin ets done i* . sit (ith her on the sofa and (atch %nn in @arfur then5 in another se )ent5 parachutin out of a plane and landin in so)e 17" .f @ick and -olvei had been runnin a (ood yard in -anta ?e5 it (ould be the Christ)as season (ith )ore orders than there (as (ood or ti)e to fill the)5 (ith the phone rin in off the hook and a bearded )an (ith a pre nant (ife on a burro standin outside the office trailer5 knockin at the door and askin if they could co)e in out of the sno( for a bit& Bo( do the @ick and -olvei s5 the Marilyns and nuns such as Dir inia and 'aula do unendin (ork (hile reachin for )ore and not think t(ice about itL . translated it into ter)s of the (ood business: .

:ll bet she)d (ant a pair& .ut (hat really ets )e is (hen they sho( the Muppets se )ent (here $l)o sin s5 89ou Ai ht Up My Aife. (ant to stay a little lon er (ith her and that the sun lasses she already has look really ood5 and if %nn sa( Marilyn on TD (earin the)5 .ut Marilyn isn:t payin attention because %nn Curry is no( chokin back tears& 171 . can o no( if . (ant& .%)erican fa)ily:s backyard (here they are (atchin her on TD insideM'ey isn)t that our house there3 sn)t that our backyard3 sn)t that Ann by the clothesline3 sn)t that us runnin( out the back door to (reet her3 sn)t that us with Ann3 8mi(od.t is all . tell her . can do to keep fro) ba(lin & Then they o to the Cookie Monster (ho kisses her and ives %nn a plate of cookies& When she can talk a ain5 Marilyn says she thinks the sun lasses (ere (raparounds any(ay and she kno(s they can:t )ake prescription lasses of (raparounds5 and that . to %nn& . we)re on the Today Show2 .

t (as ne(& ?or fifteen years5 her choices (ere li)ited to oin alon (ith others )akin choices for her& Bere at the botto) of the seventy (ooden steps (ith (ater pipe railin built by her father5 her )other had =ust let Marilyn kno( she (as a free (o)an& -he could stay seated on the botto) step5 and no one (ould call the 'ope on her& ?reedo) had been called do(n to her at the botto) of the stairs fro) the top5 to co)e to the top (hen she (as throu h (ith the botto)Ma )o)ent that can chan e a life& The neJt freedo) ca)e fro) realiCin that as supervisor at Unity Bospital5 her bikin to (ork and back that (inter (asn:t oin to (ork& %n a)bulance driver (anted to sell his Malibu and offered her a ood price& When she asked -ister Rose %lice at the convent for per)ission to hold back her earnin s fro) the priory to buy the car5 Rose said she could keep only V26& .enedictines and the Church and it (as no( ti)e to care for her inner needs& ?ather Joseph said this (as selfish5 that her (ork and responsibility to others ca)e first5 that this is (hat nourished a soul& 177 . think it (as a s*ueeCe play to et her back to the convent5 because even a cloistered nun kno(s cars sell for )ore than that& Marilyn told Rose %lice that she (as keepin her earnin s till the Malibu (as paid for& %round this ti)e5 ?ather Joseph5 a postulant )aster fro) the Jesuits5 (orkin (ith the .CHAPTER 3" DON/T E SCARED -ister 'aula told Marilyn she didn:t see) happy any)ore in the convent& Marilyn told )e this convent history after Fatie and %leJ left& They:d been over for supper and openin presents5 (ith Mike out in the cold5 sno(3plo(in for his outfit5 Mo):s Aandscapin & The three of the) (ere headin north to her parents: the neJt day& %fter they left .enedictine <rder5 then %leJ rescued her te)porarily fro) havin to ans(er (hen she and Fatie ca)e back in5 all breathless to et %leJ:s stuffed do ie and other thin s they:d for otten& Bere (e (ere in -ister 'aula:s roo) forty years before5 she (onderin about Marilyn:s unhappiness5 and ho( she )i ht be able to help& When the irls left a ain5 Marilyn said 'aula su ested (ay back then that she take a leave of absence to sort thin s out instead of pullin out& This (as ri ht after the disappoint)ents of Datican .enedictine sisters5 ca)e by to reason (ith her about leavin the <rder& Ber leave of absence had affected the youn er nuns as (ell as his Jesuit char es5 and he said it (as irresponsible on Marilyn:s part to stay a(ay: she (as a pillar and set an eJa)ple that others follo(ed& The botto) line of his pitch (as that she didn:t have a ri ht to leave& Marilyn said her very soul needed to be free5 that she had iven these years of her life ladly to the . %bie said5 8<kay5. (here nuns and priests (ere leavin the Church in droves& -ister 'aula kne( that5 should Marilyn leave5 others still undecided (ould follo(& -o Marilyn (ent to -ister Rose %lice and ot a furlou h& With a leave of absence a nun returns to the outside (orld (ithout the habit5 but keeps her vo(s and the other spiritual connections to the priory and Church& Whatever she earns in the outside (orld5 she is eJpected to send back to the Mother -uperior& -he is still a soldier of >od5 but in civvies& <ne day durin this furlou h5 Marilyn (as sittin on the banks of the Mississippi (hen her )other called do(n to co)e to dinner5 and Marilyn called back5 8Not =ust no(5 Mo)&. and to co)e (hen she (anted& Marilyn liked the feelin of this& . asked Marilyn a ain (hy she left the ..

ut she parried it to speak instead of her concern for the older nuns bein )oved fro) the priory to a s)aller one bein built nearby for the) to live out their years& The bi buildin 5 havin outlived its usefulness (as bein sold to the county to house5 feed5 and educate battered (o)en and their children& -isters Dir inia and 'aula5 and )any of the re)ainin nuns fro) Marilyn:s ti)e5 lived in s)all secular apart)ents a(ay fro) the priory5 and had for a lon ti)e& 8-till5. said5 8don:t you feel&&&L. -he asked >od (hy he didn:t save people fro) the hurt and tra edies of life5 and Be said to her that the pure innocence of everythin in creation takes so)e ti)e to understand but that5 (hatever the pain5 it is al(ays Bis heart findin its (ay into ours& We (ere parked at the T(o Barbors Ca)p round up north of The Cities& Marilyn had )ade the front livin roo) of the RD into a sta e (ith curtains fro) strun up sheets and a 176 .f you cried in heaven5 everyone (ould lau h because theySd kno( you (ere =ust kiddin &..-he said it (as her decision to )ake5 no one else:s& Be said it (asn:t5 too )any others depended on her (isdo) and devotion5 he a)on the)& -he (as devastated and %bie5 too5 sayin she and her sister Aiotta had never (anted Marilyn to o into the convent in the first place5 but kept silent out of respect for her callin & With this third te)ptation out of the (ay5 ca)e Marilyn:s decision to (rite 'ope John and ask to be released fro) her vo(s as -ister Tho)as& -ister Auanne helped her translate the letter into Aatin and5 later in the year5 the 'ope si ned and sealed the docu)ent rescindin her contract (ith the Church& -he returned the old (eddin rin that represented that union and5 (ith siJty five dollars and a lon dress for a rubstake5 stepped out of that (orld into another& Talked out5 (e turned on '. feel so despairin .enincasa of -ienna (ho at the a e of seven left ho)e to o find a place in the (oods to live in5 and adore >od& -he found a cave and )ade a cross of t(o sticks she tied (ith so)e cloth fro) a strip she tore off her dress& -he leaned it a ainst a (all and set beside it a loaf of bread she brou ht& . asked Marilyn if her painful knees )i ht be tellin her so)ethin about that disconnection forty years a o& . -he pointed out that (e (ere runnin a half hour late and .t:s i)possible for Aove not to hear us5 so (hatever happens . needed to pay attention to drivin & Marilyn told )e of Catherine de . kno( this perfect teacher helped )e sta e it&. %nd she (rote: 8-o)e days . pray to heaven (ith all )y soul S>od5 please help )e&: . .t (as all she needed& % voice said5 8What a brave irl you are5 but this )ay not be the best ti)e for our (eddin &.and happened upon the final scene fro) the )ovie A @un)s Story5 (ith %udrey Bepburn re)ovin her habit and han in it on a hook5 the ca)era liftin fro) the hook to a cross in the (indo( sill above the door5 then to the neJt shot of her in a plain dress5 steppin thou h the door to the street5 a s)all valise in hand& There is a lon shot of her fro) (ithin her roo) as she (alks a(ay alon a cobblestone alley to(ard the bri ht li ht of the boulevard5 turns in the distance to look back5 and steps around the corner& That )ornin on the (ay to church5 . can:t et dressed5 and . %nd she a(oke in her bed at ho)e& -he (as sure it hadn:t been a drea)& That )ornin she took her little brother (ith her to the cave and there5 a ainst the (all5 (as the cross she )ade and the loaf of bread& -he later beca)e a @o)inican nun and nursed the sick and fallen5 seein in each of the) the face of >od& -he (rote love poe)s to >od& %nd then this: 8.

ut a little5.H %fter three acts5 Marilyn (as played out both as audience5 as the assistant sta e )ana er ettin sheets torn do(n in the action back in place5 and assistant to the director helpin her (ork out dialo ue and story develop)ent& %s a youn ster5 Marilyn had played piano and sun . Then5 (hen she felt she had been too violent and cau ht up in the sta e production herself5 she said5 8They aren:t really fi htin because they:re hand puppets Gbash bash bashQH5 so you don:t have to be afraid&. said5 8. (asn:t afraid5 but she looked so disappointed5 .and5. and she bri htened& -cenes follo(ed (ith the hand puppets continuin their fi hts (ith less and less dialo ue in bet(een5 so scenes ended )ainly because %leJ (as (orn out fro) all the action she had to provide her actors& @urin these inter)issions she passed out popcorn and drinks that she asked us to pay for in pretend )oney& Then she sat sippin and )unchin 5 thinkin about the neJt act& -he (as continually re(ritin in her )ind5 obviously a seasoned auteurEdirector5 (hich )eant the hand puppets (ere al(ays )e)oriCin ne( lines& G8No5 not bash bash bash5 it:s no( bam bam bamQ. Marilyn su ested (e have the fifth act the neJt ni ht5 and %leJ thre( her ar)s around Marilyn and thanked her for bein such a ood audience& Marilyn thanked her back for (arnin us about the scary parts and said ho( )uch (e en=oyed it& 170 . .beach to(el held to ether (ith clothespins and duct tape& %leJ (as puttin on a puppet sho( that ni ht& This had been an all3day pro=ect5 (ith %leJ (ritin the script and rehearsin her puppets Gpo( po( po(QH and lookin after all those thin s a sta e )ana er5 director5 and narrator have to& -he eJplained that she (ould have to do the talkin because the hand puppets couldn:t on their o(n5 but she (as oin to try and stay out of their scenes as )uch as she could& -he said it (ould help if (e pretended they (ere real5 but that there (ere oin to be scary scenes (ith so)e fi hts so5 to protect ourselves5 all (e had to do (as not pretend as )uch& The curtain ti)e ca)e& Marilyn had )ade her up to look believable as the narrator and director5 sketchin in (orry lines5 fro(ns5 and dark circles under her eyes& %leJ outlined the scenes5 re)indin us that there (as oin to be so)e action that )i ht scare us5 but not to (orry because the puppets (ould still be okay (hen the play (as over& -he (anted us to clearly understand that this (as )ake3believe and not real life& . and 8Nel ?laherty:s >oat5. told her . and she:d led choirs as a nun and an ele)entary school teacher& %s a nurse she:d dressed and undressed the livin and the dead5 and steered t(o husbands out of the (ay of onco)in traffic for thirty3five years5 thou h not at the sa)e ti)e5 so she had the credentials for co3)ana in a hand3puppet sho(& The inter)issions ot lon er and it (as plain that %leJ (as losin hope in findin a rand finale that (ould have the audience on its feet5 shoutin 5 8.rish son s in pubs (ith her father and uncles5 like 8Clancy Ao(ered The .ravoQ. Then further alon 5 8This is oin to be the really scary part5 =ust so you kno(&.oo)5.n the first scene she introduced the characters as *uickly as she could put the) on and take the) off her hands5 and provided so)e back round on the) such as na)es5 personalities5 and the feuds bet(een the)& -he obviously had a ood rasp of dra)atic tension as she built the conflicts (ith punches5 insults5 and (restlin around on the backs of seats behind5 neJt to5 and in front of the sheet curtains& True to her (ord5 she (arned us of these thin s about to happen as soon as she felt the) buildin in herself& 8This isn:t really happenin &. 8McNa)ara:s .ravo5 .

The play rese)bled the one fro) the ni ht before5 a theater in the round of The :ocky 'orror Show5 (ith four hands no(5 %leJ narratin and hushin her irlfriend (henever she tried to brin in ne( narration or actor:s lines& .The neJt ni ht %leJ (anted to have the conclusion outside at the picnic table that (as to be the ne( sta e& Marilyn hun decorative colored li hts on the RD a(nin and (e ot a ood fire oin nearby& -o)e other ca)pers had co)e in that day (ith their t(o little irls she drafted to help her (ith the production& Car)en (as the irl closest to her in a e and (as to be her personal assistant and the hand in one of the puppets& @urin rehearsal5 their hands fou ht a lot and they i led (ith secret kno(in (hile (e older uys visited a)on ourselves and helped (ith arran e)ents (hen beckoned& Maya5 the littlest irl5 (as about a year3and3a3half old5 and %leJ had her runnin the popcorn concession5 passin a)on us5 leavin chits the irls (rote out on bits of paper for us to pay (ith& Maya:s dad told %leJ she (asn:t oin to )ake )uch )oney on the popcorn concession that (ay and su ested us payin so)ethin 5 so %leJ said5 8<kay5. and that it (ould no( cost t(enty five cents5 but only pretend& When the play started5 the tiny vendor kept circulatin 5 sellin real popcorn for i)a inary *uarters she pretended to pick up and stick in her i)a inary pocket& %leJ occasionally fell out of character to snip at her5 8Not no(5 the play is on& -top itQ. % ain (e (ere told that the scary parts (ere not )eant to fri hten us and (eren:t really happenin Mit (as only a play& We all relaJed then and sat like a ood audience for an hour till the )o) and dad sa( it (as ti)e for the popcorn vendor:s bed5 and the ya(ns all around (ere so thick even the lead actors (ere for ettin lines and ettin a little punchy& 172 . ad)it there (as so)e ne( )aterial fro) %leJ thou h5 like5 8Be:s really )ad no( but she )ay et a(ay before he loses it&.

PART FI1E 174 .

etty said that (as crap5 and eat your suet puddin & Be liked o)e a31 oils5 pollens5 *ueen honey5 flo(er essences5 plant eJtracts5 teas fro) leaves collected by specially trained ants5 and ice crea) fro) rice and sa(dust& Be loved tarry %yurvedic supple)ents& -he rolled her eyes and openly ridiculed anyone (ho didn:t eat the (ay she did& -he (as seventy3nine and healthy as a5 as a5 (ell5 let:s see5 she (asn:t really that healthy& .)a ine your skinniest friend oin %rnold over a year& Be (as a tall uy before5 no( he is a bi )an& There:s fifty pounds )ore of hi)& Be strides no(5 fills his space fully and so)e beyond his& Bis )ove)ents are sure& Be ives )e a bear hu & Be flops onto the sofa and splays out& Be used to settle hi)self and perch5 shoulders hunched to di)inish his siJ3foot3t(o fra)e& Bis face is broad no(& . considered se)i3starvation Ghe didn:tH ended (hen he ca)e to look after .n Ba(aii5 (here he lived before )ovin to 'ortland5 .etty5 and she took hi) out to posh places (here they ate poached %tlantic sal)on and pri)e cuts of beef in s)oky dark sauces and roo)s5 s(illed booCe and fine (ines5 and finished off (ith cr\)e brule and @eath .f he (as to arrive back there today in his ne( -cottsdale incarnation they:d see hi) as a for)er brother one )ainlander5 either (ith plans to buy the property and build condos (ith private s(i))in pools and celestial observatories5 or to set up a )usic and )assa e eJperi)ental lab to further develop a technolo y he (as eJplorin usin vibrational fre*uencies on the sensory re ions of the brain throu h dru) beats5 cello5 lass bells5 and voices chanted5 spoken5 sun 5 and played5 then fibrillated into the uts and )uscles by (ay of speakers and thu)pers built into the )assa e table alon (ith di=eridoo pri)al tones o)))3ed directly over the chest and sto)ach& Be used early versions of this body(ork (ith success on clients in 17/ . tell hi) he looks like Charlie -heen& Be s)iles and says he lacks the proper an er& ?ifteen years of (hat .etty didn:t like Chilean lla)a hats holdin in his lon hair5 or for)less unhe))ed Calcutta shirts5 or sandals& -he (anted a )an to care for her5 not a hippie& -he liked short hair and clean3shaven =a( and lip5 =aunty (alk5 condescension to(ards one:s inferiors5 and deference to(ards her& -he liked belly lau hs5 nicotined air5 the fruity s)ell of Jack @aniels5 loud5 pointless conversation5 and runnin the sho(& What .y Chocolate& -he force3fed hi) on &o! T9 @ews and cocktail parties she architected and he catered& .en lived under the porch of a church on an or anic dairy far) on a )ountain5 tradin labor for fresh )ilk and cheese& Be (as a )usician and body (orker& .en (as& Be kne( (hat to eat and that to take a break fro) it for a year of t(o (as the only (ay he (as oin to )ake her feel ood about hi) and survive this nursin thin 5 so he ate her (ay and5 secretly5 his (ay& .CHAPTER 31 MIRACLE EN @rivin the Winneba o5 (e roll into -cottsdale and over to .etty:s house on Coolid e at Wrinkle Ranch& -he looks ood& .t (orked out& .en is a )iracle in his )id3thirties& .en liked5 she didn:t care about but (anted hi) to ive up5 the sooner the better& Be liked fun i fro) the %)aCon (ay upriver and siJty )iles in by canoe alon a tributary eJplored by the McFenna:s& Be liked nutritious hu))us fro) an ancient continent pressed out onto the vertical surfaces of Bi)alayan rocks into a paste that )illions of years of collision bet(een tectonic plates had forced back into the li ht and (as no( bein scraped off the faces of hi h peaks by native rock cli)bers harnessed by lon ropes and pulleys& .

etty because it (as her house and she (as forty years his senior and tou h as a )ountain )an (earin live porcupines for shoes& There (as no (ay she:d ever lie do(n on his )a ical )assa e table5 (hich in her )ind represented a static escort service& .ut =ust havin hi) there *uietly doin her biddin (ith ood (ill and a enuine affection ave her t(o years )ore of parties than she (ould have had (ithout hi)& Be found $ssiac tea for her5 a plant concoction the <=ib(a ave to a Canadian nurse na)ed Rene Caisse for people (ith cancer& The ori inal for)ula of precise )easure)ents of sheep sorrel5 burdock root5 slippery el) ca)biu)5 and turkey rhubarb root is reportedly responsible for re)issions (hen iven early& My favorite .en )ore than .en (as the savior of her5 and Coyote .etty the savior of hi)& Neither one chan ed (ho they (ere5 but they toned so)e of it do(n5 .ible story is about Joseph and his brothers5 (here his )isfortunes accu)ulate to the point that he ends up directin the Fin of $ ypt on ho( to not only prepare the country for a co)in fa)ine5 but to ro( richer by sellin the surplus to unprepared nei hborin countries& The residual is that Joseph is reunited (ith his father5 (hose reater love for hi) had inspired his brothers to atte)pt )urder5 and his subse*uent sale to slavers so that the (hole fa)ily is not only saved fro) starvation5 but set up for life& 16# .A% and Montecito (ith his buddy5 %leJander& %nd so it ca)e to pass that .

arbara5 and then classes5 she:d only no( learned about her kitty fro) her roo))ates& . re)e)bered only the bare bones of the drea) so5 on a(akenin 5 kne( nothin )ore consciously of )y destination than (hen .n a Der)ont cabin near Manchester -tation5 .each& .t (as the end of her second year in photo raphy school5 but he )eant )ore to her& .ut she dropped out of . don:t kno( if she didP she never said& . (ere parked and on our (ay fro) the third3floor ra)p to the second after seein a fa)ily attorney5 a bankruptcy la(yer5 )eetin a C'% about strai htenin out )y finances5 and ettin a )arria e license5 all of it scattered around a four3 block area& 161 .CHAPTER 32 CRISTINA Cristina called& Fevin Costner had been into the Montecito restaurant (here she (as (aitressin 5 (hile at . she said& Marilyn asked if he left a bi tip& $arlier in the day5 another celebrity had left her t(enty3 t(o cents5 one of the pennies bent5 (hich is (hy Marilyn asked& Cristina said it (asn:t )eanness5 the celebrity (as =ust ha ard and depressed& Cristina (ouldn:t say ho( )uch Fevin left5 only that she:d never have to (ork a ain& When .:d been pro ra))ed and (as no( on autopilot& The ara e turned out to be connected to the Cha)bers . had the )a aCine5 (here the dolphins rescued the baby (hale on $ast .rooks about four )onths later and )oved to A%& -anta . (as (alkin do(n a ra)p in a parkin ara e (ith so)eone5 and in this arran e)ent (ere the coordinates of the place and person . -he had an assi n)ent to turn in5 a portfolio of photos by Christ)as and hadn:t any feelin for it until no(& This (as for her advanced photo raphy class and the (ork had to pro=ect the personality of the student photo rapher& -he (ould do this for . said5 8Maybe you can do that&. -he sobbed& This scenario (as too )uch for her& -he )issed .ob5 and the loss of hi)& .ob and (as (onderin if she really (anted to stay on at .rooks& 8Be had a cute s)ile5. (as seekin & .t:d been four days& -he:d taken her boyfriend to A%] to fly to the Marine base in -outh Carolina and5 (hat (ith havin to o to (ork (hen she ot back to -anta .arbara is (here Cristina (as born5 (here . Cristina:s voice chan ed& 8That:s itQ. ot to talk (ith her5 she asked if Marilyn:d told )e about her kitty ettin lost& . had a drea) .rooks .nstitute or follo( hi) east& .t (as no lon er %nnie:s thin 5 it (as theirs5 they:d put it to ether& -o %nnie ot back to it and ot better5 seein -usan:s death as a )essa e: use the loss of )e to brin the best of you to the (orld& . left -anta ?e and the (ood business in 1/47 on a pil ri)a e to the rest of )e5 hopin to find hidden parts under rocks5 in caves and ullies& . (ent to bed& -till5 . told her about %nnie Aiebo(itC:s book (here she celebrates her love for -usan -onta (ho had died the year before5 and ho( %nnie (as in the sa)e e)otional place (ith her photo raphy as Cristina (as no(5 until she realiCed that -usan (ouldn:t:ve (anted her to (alk a(ay fro) (hat she so celebrated (hen alive& .uildin in do(nto(n -an @ie o (here ei ht years later Marilyn and . asked if she:d one around lookin for it5 sayin she could be all hunkered do(n under a bush (aitin to hear you call her5 89ou need to put in the foot(ork&.

Talk about ettin life in order all at once& % sin le fra)e fro) the i)a e in that drea) )atched up to the sa)e sin le i)a e in real life in the parkin ara e and sparked an Aha2 in )e as the t(o connected& Not until recently did it really flesh out for )e& Click: in the ara e drea) deep in the Der)ont (oods in 1/47& Click: in the sa)e ara e (ith so)eone . take pictures *or me2 and i)ll send you some o* my 16" . i recieved your e/cards.uick Re al into the parkin lot and (e started to et out& With hands on the door handles5 a feelin of such love ca)e over us that (e couldn:t )ove& The li ht di))ed and had no depth to it& Nothin )oved outside5 there (as no one5 there (as no sound5 no cars co)in and oin & This thin had stilled us and held on and on as it filled us& %fter so)e ti)e5 the outside li htened& We re)e)bered (e (ere ettin out of the car& Cars drove in and out of the lot a ain and people ca)e and (ent& We (ent to )y apart)ent and fell asleep *uick as (e lay do(n& The sa)e thin happened a )onth later (hen (e parked to o into the hacienda in Montecito (here Winter Wo)an rented a roo)& -he (as tellin )e about findin a sproutin seed inside a rapefruit she:d cut open for breakfast that )ornin in -edona5 drivin back fro) <klaho)a (ith her sister Nancy& %l)ost as if on cue the presence (as in the car (ith us a ain& . (anted to )arry in 1//1& . but more that you all are in them. wish i could be there with you. him in his room with his door shut. lived in an apart)ent on Red Rose Aane& Ber )other3to3be5 Winter Wo)an5 (as (ith )e as . i love them all. marilyn. pulled the old . you typin( on the computer. but those moments that happen when we all collect to play canasta or watch a movie to(ether. and Mach. re)e)ber the vacant lot neJt to the hacienda5 softenin fro) a (eedy and trashy =un le into a arden of rando) colors alive like flo(ers but )ore radiant and (ithout any set definition& $verythin eJcept that field rayed out& We had no identity5 there (as no ti)e or thou ht5 only the sa)e feelin as before at Red Rose Aane& Cristina (as born in a birthin tub at ho)e& We:d been in preparation for this day since the rapefruit seed& We (anted to carry her those nine )onths (ith tenderness and =oy and et to a place (here no fear or doubt (as left in us& We talked (ith her5 san to her& Ber )other co)posed a birthin son to honor her and her soul a fe( days before she (as born& % couple of red tail ha(ks circled above our rental house in Bope Ranch durin those )onths& . (o to the (ym.arbara the year before Cristina (as born . re)e)ber a hu))in sound and seein t(o vertical cylinders of li ht side by side5 appearin in the bedroo) neJt to the bed and birthin tub& Cristina slipped out of her )other like a dolphin baby& Ber eyes focused on her )other:s then )ine5 even (hile sub)er ed& We held her and she looked at us (ith ancient eyes5 turnin her head easily& -he (as in co))and of her body5 coordinated and present& -he had slipped fro) the inner ocean of her )other to the outer sea of the birthin tank5 and (as paddlin around under(ater5 trailin the still3connected u)bilical cord& ?ro) Cristina5 (ho couldn:t be here in Minneapolis for Christ)as: daddy dearest. the most recent one Gthe one with the animals carolin(H brou(ht tears to my eyes cu5 i was picturin( them bein( the woods creatures up in "inneapolis sin(in( on your *ront lawn in the beauti*ul snow. and marilyn upstairs watchin( the newsNpreparin( mystery meat. and mamasan and Mach.n -anta . or even paintin( the house on our way out to dinner are all (ood memories that miss very much.

own : H i love you all soooooo much. *rom the dau(hterNsister that misses you most 161 .

CHAPTER 33 APPLES <n %rbor @ay (hen %leJ (as seven5 she spent a fe( days (ith us and brou ht a bare root apple tree saplin fro) school& -he (anted to stick it in the round and (atch it ro( into a tree and eat the apples fro) it (hen she (as a little older5 in her (ords& Ber father Mike helped her find a da)p spot for plantin and fuss over it so it felt loved& Ber first rade teacher had been teachin the) the po(er of love to heal& When she left the saplin looked sad& .y the tree:s second year it flo(ered eJuberantly and tiny apples for)ed& Thirty stayed on the little tree (ith so )any on the sun side that Iach and . (anted to plant it eJactly (here she put hers but Marilyn has this funny thin about bein honest all the ti)e& -he didn:t (ant to trick her into believin it (as her tree5 but . or so)ethin like that& .ut (e ave it another (eek and (e tried it a ain& .t had tiny shrivels in its baby bark and (hen . did& . had to lasso the trunk to a stake in the round to et it upri ht& ?or us it (ill al(ays be %leJ:s tree because5 (ithout her5 (e (ouldn:t:ve planted it& .y the ti)e it:ll be ready for cli)bin 5 she:ll be startin colle e& When she ets )arried )aybe her kids can co)e over and cli)b it& We can hobble around on our canes and tell the) about ho( this rand healin apple tree started off as a little stick their )other stuck in the round (hen she (as 167 .t (as clear that no apples (ere ever oin to ripen on this little uy& -o (e (ent to . 8<h5.t didn:t see) to )atter )uch to %leJ5 the stick plantin (as past and she (as no( a lot older& T(o )onths& . says %leJ and s)iles5 8. eJplained to her that is (hat (e do (ith children all the ti)e: (e lie throu h our teeth about thin s to ive the) hope and surprises and lee& Think of the Tooth ?airy and -anta and the $aster .unny and breakin a (ishbone to et (hat you (ant and crossin yourself for protection or help and not steppin on side(alk cracks& -he said that:s different5 those are traditional thin s (e all believe in till (e don:t5 but )akin her think the stick she shoved into the round (as oin to brin in a crop of apples in a year (as addin )ore )a ical thinkin to her already3abundant ha)per& . start )akin points )essin (ith her feelin about so)ethin she can:t eJplain that:s =ust so)eho( ri ht& -o (e plant the tree ei ht feet east of round Cero& When %leJ co)es over a fe( )onths later5 (ho is it that takes her to that eneral vicinity and says5 8-ee anythin L. thu)b nailed it the (ood (as a little too dry beneath to ive it )uch hope& . said this is the ti)e for )a ical thinkin & -he:s not oin to be devastated if she fi ures out so)eday that she stuck the stick in there and the apple tree ro(s over here5 so (hat:s the dealL Who is double3crossin herL %nd even if she does fi ure it out5 it:ll be her fun discovery5 @etective %leJ at your service& Marilyn =ust stops talkin (hen . %leJ looks precisely at (here she planted the stick5 then over at the apple tree (e bou ht& -he says No5 (hatL Marilyn says5 8The apple treeL. and she (alks over and touches (here the stick (as& Marilyn tells her it didn:t )ake it5 but 8(e found a friend to take over5. planted it there5. thou ht . (anted her to believe she:d planted a livin stick and (ith her love3fussy )ade it root and ro(& .ach)an:s and bou ht another little Baralson (e took ho)e and planted near %leJ:s stick& .

didn:t like it enou h to eat )ore and had left it on the counter& The apple ro(ers have found (ays to )ake an apple that died t(o years a o still look ood enou h to eat& The $ yptians invented the process of )u))ification but it took today:s apple ro(ers to )ake it into an art for)& . didn:t (ant to pay ten dollars to park for an hour in the ara es around there5 so . (as plannin for it5 . dropped the) off& . tried to be off payin full price at the door for the little ti)e that re)ained of the sho(5 but they (eren:t buyin it& .a little irl& %leJ at eleven (as (ith us for the (eekend and (e decided to o to the Bo)e & 'atio -ho( at the Convention Center do(nto(n& . (as up on a kitchen chair5 re)ovin the ballast hub fro) the burned3out la)p of the overhead fan (hen she noticed she (as havin trouble breathin & -he said she could die of 166 . told her . found Marilyn and %leJ ri ht a(ay and (e (ent around the displays and had fun5 especially at a kiosk featurin refinished old barn and river dock (ood& %leJ tracked do(n a pink panther doll she:d seen other children (ith& %lthou h vendors said they:d iven the) all a(ay5 an %sian (o)an at one cabinet display overheard %leJ (orryin that (e (eren:t oin to find one and reached under a counter to brin out one she (as savin 5 )aybe for her o(n child& Bere (as another in desperate need and ho( perfect to brin her a pink shot of =oy on the spot& %leJ ot tears in her eyes& We left Marilyn to talk (ith so)e vendors (ho (anted her to si n up for so)e rand priCe of so)ethin or other5 and (ent to (alk the five3or3siJ blocks to (here . kno( fro) years of study that thin s . needed (as one )ore dollar&. said it tasted like cellulose and .:d parked& %s (e ot there5 %leJ bent over and picked a dollar bill off the side(alk and sho(ed it to )e (ith a )assive s)ile& 8Aook5 >randpa5 no( . (ondered aloud (hat a dead cheerleader could do and she said5 8%ll the sa)e thin s a live one can eJcept (ith scars5 fan s5 blood5 and reen skin&.:d cut a piece fro)& . took off to scout out the free -unday parkin )eters alon (ith every other late visitor5 and it (as a ood forty3five )inutes before . Marilyn doesn:t like to (aste anythin so5 (hen she sa( the cut apple and asked (hat . This (as all over a poisoned apple she ate after co)plainin about so)e )ali nancy on an apple . -he eJplained she had been plannin on oin as a (itch until she found out )ost of the irls in her class (ere doin that5 and she s(itched& . (as oin to thro( it out& . didn:t kno( they had dead cheerleader costu)es5 and she said they did and they (ere s(ellMa (ord she ot fro) )e& .n the 'haraohs: ti)es they could:ve )ade Fin Tut look ood enou h to stand at a lectern in an %)erican Ae ion Ball and co))and silence (ith his countenance alone: 8Bold it5 %rnie5 he:s about to speak& >od he looks terrific5 no( that:s a leader5 re)inds )e of Mac%rthur&.:d save her a step& . didn:t like the bro(n stain that (ent ri ht do(n into the core& -he said that (as (hy >od invented knives5 and she de)onstrated by carvin out the stains5 peelin the skin5 and eatin the apple& . thro( out )a ically reappear later in places far fro) the (astebasket5 so . thou ht . The day after Ballo(een5 Marilyn said5 8Well5 you could al(ays o find another (itch to hu you&. said . ot inside& . can et )y @ead Cheerleader:s costu)e& %ll .

said& 160 .:d been takin photos by available candleli ht fro) the 15### carved pu)pkins alon the paths5 sluicin tides of fa)ilies& 8. could al(ays o back to the Ballo(een -prin brook 'ark celebration for a hu & .anaphylaJis5 (hich is nor)ally )y line& . (as hopin she (ould because it (as really cold and )y heart (as lonely (ithout Marilyn to share all the (icked en=oy)ent of bri ands5 thieves5 and hideous creatures& .:d been there the ni ht before (ith )y ca)era and in the circle (alk had passed a (itch standin by her cauldron and cob(ebs ivin hu s to the little costu)ed children passin by (ith their parents& -he hu ed )e5 too& .:d )iss her and her hu s& That:s (hen she said . told her not to die5 that . . can (ait until neJt Ballo(een for another hu 5. don:t think . (ondered if she (as bein funny because she rarely co)plains about physical stuff5 preferrin to be in silence (ith only a pallor to ive her a(ay& .

t (as our second year to ether5 1//"& .CHAPTER 3$ A FREE HAND Marilyn (anted to take )e to a nursin conference in do(nto(n -an @ie o& . ot to have the) (ith her& The conference (as fascinatin 5 a (hole ne( (orld and the first ti)e . (ouldn:t (ant the) at )y bedside& . they (anted to send us& 162 . arrived late5 after parkin the car5 and (ent to si n in& <n the table beside )y na)eta (as a MeJican sculpture carved fro) iron(ood (ith Christ on the cross5 but (ith one ar) free of the crossbea) and a dove flyin free of his hand& Never in )y life had . ot to see the underpinnin s of the nursin profession& Many of the older nurses (ere into ad)inistration duties no(5 heavy and ri) people (ith pointy eyes and slope shoulders like Russian peasants (ho had carried too )any sacks of rain in their lives& %)on the)selves they lau hed5 but en route to se)inars they (ere purposeful and5 (ell a lot like hi h3po(ered5 super3 fueled salva e vehicles drivin round the desert5 lookin for sunken ships& Aord5 .orre o -prin s to be fed in )ilitary kitchen tents and sleep on cots in the hi h school y)& Marilyn si ned us up as volunteers to help (here (e could and take in those (ho could not sleep in the open on cots& The e)er ency tea) called back (ithin an hour about a couple of 8advanced a e. seen a crucifiJ in (hich Christ had a chance& Be (as al(ays nailed to his destiny of bein (orshipped in li)bo5 his (ords and (ounds cauteriCed into a )essa e of despondency (ritten for hi) by his church: Come to me. had to have this on the (all of Marilyn:s house on Bill -treet& . think of Fathy . bou ht it and took it into the auditoriu)5 ea er to hand it to Marilyn& Bis freed hand su ested a ne( story for all of us& %t this pivotal )o)ent in nursin M (hen )edicine and healthcare (ere bein reen ineered into a business )odel at the eJpense of a tradition oin back to the first (ound and its healin Mthe nurses sa( this transition as the end of (hat dre( the) into service in the first place& Marilyn (ould retire fro) the profession in a fe( )ore years5 (hen (e )oved to Montana& When -outhern California (as on fire5 refu ees fro) the (ooded lands ca)e off the )ountains into .:d one (ith her the year before to -an %ntonio for a three3day conference& %s a re istered nurse she needed thirty hours a year of continuin education credits5 and .ates: character in the )ovie "isery& .n the lectures it (as all left3brain stuff and the bi deal back then (as the dyin of a syste) in (hich nurses (ere the heart and backbone of healthcare that (as patient3based& This syste) (as co)in apart in the early nineties as insurance rates took off5 support staff for the nurses (as skeletoniCed5 phar)aceuticals (ere takin over5 e)er ency care (as privatiCed5 and no one kne( (hat (as oin on& The pros (ere tryin to =u le (hat had been (ith (hat (as beco)in a ne( business )odel to replace the service )odel& %t these lectures and se)inars5 no )atter (hat the announced the)e (as5 the session eventually devolved into to(n )eetin s of )utineers lookin for leaders to help save a syste) that had (orked (ell for patients5 nurses5 doctors5 and hospitals& The heart had stopped no( and no one kne( ho( to et it oin a ain& %t the -an @ie o conference . but throu(h the servants) entrance& The i)a e (as as if our (hole syste) of life in bein nailed to a fra)e(ork of (hat (as5 and (ould be forever5 had shifted in the second it took )e to realiCe that Jesus:d otten freeQ There (as a price ta of V116& We didn:t have that kind of disposable )oney then5 but .

(ish (e could have shared their children:s lorious bou*uet (ith the)& .n Fathy:s end of the house there:s a fa)ily clan all3at3 once birthday celebration oin on& They call )e over to take a photo (ith her ca)era& Trouble is (ith the posin arran e)ent of the) on the sofa and beside and in back of it5 and the kids playin on the floor in front5 they don:t all fit into fra)e& .y the neJt afternoon5 they heard that the fire had )oved past their house outside Julian and they (ere bein allo(ed to return5 so (e drove the) do(n to (here buses (ere leavin 5 and (aved the) oodbye& % (eek later a hu e bou*uet (as delivered to our house sent by their children& . (anted to kno( )ore about his life and his (ife:s5 of (here they ca)e fro)5 and ho( they:d risen to (here he:d have the savvy to build the afterburner (hen the idea appeared& <ver to Mo):s for her ninety3fifth birthday& .t:s al)ost cast to be clutched to a boso)5 a (ei hty fusion of s)ooth and rou h5 lea)in and flat& %bie (as part of a prayer roup for forty years intercedin for )any people5 and no( (hen life is confined to the roo) (ith the heater and television5 to an eJistence of *uiet punctuated by a fe( soaps and Wheel of ?ortune5 (e felt this could be a solid hands3on presence of the divine love she has fielded for others& When Fathy (asn:t there5 she:d have this& Marilyn:s brother To) is here5 Jean and their ro(n son Tony and randson Colin (ho rese)bles Rin o -tarr fro) (ay back& . back up and a) stopped by the door to the patio& . G-he (as curious about ho( the (o)an )i ht have described our a e to a volunteer&H The (o)an said5 8Mid3ei hties any(ay5 )aybe )ore&. think he (as five or siJ years older than his (ife& They (ere enteel and you could see by their )anners and eyes that these (ere people used to )ovin (ith the elite& They (ere )ade of tou h stuff5 thou h5 and )ade li ht of their pli ht and the i no)iny of havin to seek refu e& Be had so)e health proble)s that he bore racefully5 his (ife steerin hi) around (ith li ht touches and soft (ords& We (ere in love (ith the) both5 and so honored to have the) in our house& $ven the house felt it5 and looked better than usual& <ver a li ht dinner he told us of his (ork (ith various aviation co)panies over the past siJty years and it ca)e out that he (as a pioneer in the industry as the inventor of the afterburner for fi hter =ets& %pparently the idea of a hi h3tor*ue kick to =et en ines ca)e to )any people )ore or less at once5 but he (as the one (ho devised the best syste) first& .:ve thou ht of the t(o of the) over the years and ho( their presence in our lives ennobled us& .Marilyn said5 8-ure5 and ho( advanced was their a eL.t:s a -unday& %t the . open it and step out on the porch5 but althou h they no( all fit in no(5 they look 164 . (ent online to find the inventor of the after3burner5 but there (ere )any na)es included a)on )any co)pany tea)s in the fifties5 (orkin to develop it first& . (ish (e could re)e)ber their na)es& . Marilyn said5 8-end the) over&. % 'ark -ervice truck dropped the) off and the ran er carried their belon in s into our house on Aapped Circle& <ur uests (ere beautiful and coura eous and apolo etic to put us out and so rateful for our hospitality& We ot the) situated in the bedroo) and sho(ed the) around5 all the (hile hearin the adventure of their fiery fli ht& .asilica:s AuJ store (e found a crucifiJ of a copper3bodied Jesus on a rou h black cross& The i)pressionistic polished lea) of hi) is the teJt5 the black and crooked cross the pa e& The thin has a ood heft and is s)all enou h for %bie to hold in one hand& .

see a s(i))er on the laps side )akin )oves to et out5 and . like hi) for this but that (asn:t the *uestion& The deniCens of the deep are cli)bin out of the pool no( and headed this (ay5 happy and li)pin & . Thelma4 as the instructor conducts the) fro) the ed e5 . hearUis that chantin( or somethin(3 Where:s the yell and bu)p and rind of a*uaticsL Then so)eone leaves the sauna and (aftin in the open door is a phrase that cau ht )y attention& .nstead they are up to their elbo(s in a s(i))in pool (ith hands =oined& %s . and the door closes5 but the sin 3son ey rhyth) is still )akin it throu h& -ure it:s a Christian outfit5 that:s (hat the C in 9MC% stands for5 but this is so)ethin ne( to )e5 forty elders in spontaneous prayer (here ordinarily they:d be splashin about to boo)boJ son s like 8The Wanderer.ack (ith %bie and the cre(5 Tony is )akin the) lau h (ith his one3liners eJcept %bie in her lift3recliner& The (indo( li ht on her face )akes her see) )ore su ested than real5 lu)inescent5 eyes innocent of si ht5 deaf5 hair still naturally chestnut3colored5 hands relaJed around the apostolic apostrophebic Jesus in her lap5 perfectly open to sensory stuff but not ettin )uch& -he looks co)plete5 acceptin and beautiful& <nce . uess5 because she lau hed till tears ca)e& %s (e all ot ready to o5 %bie asks if she ou ht to put the crucifiJ in her dresser dra(er neJt to the bed5 and Marilyn says any(here she (ants it5 thou h )aybe she:d like to keep it close by on this special day& -o it ends up neJt to %bie:s iant re)ote (ith the bi nu)bers& -he is (atchin the Dikin s -unday a)e5 clutchin Christ (hen (e leave& <ne )ornin in the sauna at the 95 seein thirty or forty bobbin heads in the )ain pool sin in 8'appy 0irthday. ask if he heard the people in the pool prayin aloud& Without ans(erin )e5 he stretches out alon a bench and be ins sit3ups5 sayin that his boy is fourteen and (orks out at the y) after school upstairs to prepare hi)self for contact sports in hi h school& Be says he has an open3door policy (ith the boy5 so he feels free to talk to his dad about anythin and not be afraid& . and flops around )ovin its )outh& . back out into the patio thirty feet a(ay5 lookin throu h the vie(finder and holler -M. ave her a sin in bi )outh bass )ounted on a trophy board5 the one that sin s 8@on:t Worry5 . ask if she heard the) prayin =ust no(& -he looked at )e but didn:t reply& .t is eleven a&)& They:re on their (ay to the bi (hirlpool neJt to the sauna (ith a fe( shuntin over into the kids: pool to play (aterball and try for a ne( record of keepin the beach 16/ . o over as she cli)bs up the ladder& -he takes off the s(i) cap and shakes out her hair& The elders are back to rock and roll and shoutin & .like they either have ice cubes in their shorts or fierce cra)ps& The children on the floor look like they have lock=a( and no lips& .t (as on a day (hen she could see a little5 and her hearin aid had fresh batteries5 . or 8Rock %round the Clock&. keep an eye on the t(o occupied lap lanes5 but this perfor)ance distracts )e& . or 8-ecret % ent Man.e Bappy5.A$ and5 (hile they:re lau hin 5 run back to the top of the steps and et the shot5 and another and another5 and they:re all ood because everybody:s lau hin & . . s(i) a lon ti)e and return to the sauna& % tall5 sli) $thiopian )an is in there5 ladlin (ater fro) the (ooden bucket onto the rocks of the heater& . sit5 )eltin do(n in the sauna5 . settle back and close )y eyes and drift& No( so)ethin different is in the sound co)in fro) the pool5 like people are all sayin the sa)e (ords at once5 not related to a*uatics or birthdays& They:re in a circle& -o)e are holdin hands (ith others&. clearly hear5 8Uand ive us this day our daily bread5 and for iveU.

Marilyn lau hs as she listens to the sounds Julianne is )akin at the other end as she coaches her )oves& 10# . They both lau h at so)ethin Julianne has said& 8@o you have a lon tined forkL . 8Well5 ho( about salad ton sL. 8Not under this sink&.t:s like a fork but (ith lon sharp points&. a) not ready for this& . Julianne says& 8<kay5 -asha (ill& Mo)5 this does not o into )y ravy5 .:ve only been eatin )eat for t(o years and never even seen a naked turkey eJcept after it (as cooked and sliced& . never kne( turkeys ca)e (ith these horrible thin s inside the)& . try it but )y sto)ach ets in the (ay& %fter a fe( )inutes . -he lives a half hour drive near -u))it %venue in the top floor rental of a castle near Aake Barriet& .t:s Thanks ivin $ve& Marilyn talks her throu h the preparation: 8'ut a kitchen to(el over it and fra)e the cavity so the to(el covers all the bird:s nakedness& No( stick so)ethin lon into the hole&. Marilyn says this is a traditional (ay to et the) out& Julianne is ne( at this& -asha (as a chef before he )et her and is doin the )ain cookin 5 but she is his sideboard cook& -he says he told her the thin s to do before he left for (ork5 but she had no idea she (as oin to have to reach into the turkey& Marilyn says the uts are in a ba & Julianne says5 8That:s (hat -asha said but there:s no ba 5 the uts are runnin free& . . Marilyn says5 8the insides are the parts that o into the ravy like the iCCard and the liver and heartU.t:s close to Thanks ivin and she is in a panic& . (ant to beco)e a ve etarian a ain&. says Marilyn5 8rubber loves like you use for (ashin 5 they:re usually under the sink&.t:s a free3ran e turkey or so)ethin that doesn:t have all the listenin horrible thin s in a nice sack like do)estic turkeys& .:) tellin you ri ht no(&. 8No&. 8Well5 Julianne5. (on:tQ. Julianne says she:s not ettin it and to start over5 what does she do (ith the to(elL Marilyn oes throu h it a ain and asks if they have a lon barbe*ue or steak rillin forkL 8Nope5 nothin like that&. et the insides of the turkey outL @o . 8Well a re ular fork then5 stab the nearest or an and dra it out& 'ut it in a saucepan because you:ll be cookin it&. can touch )y narly toes& Julianne calls Marilyn& . 8No . can hear Julianne:s (ail over the phone in the neJt roo)& Then5 8Mo)5 can you co)e do(n and do it5 pleaseL. have to touch the)L. 8?ireplace ton sL. 8No&.t:s "##4& -he and -asha are havin our =oint fa)ilies and -asha:s )other and friend fro) up north& -he says5 8Ma(5 ho( do .ball aloft bet(een players& The $thiopian:s feet are the e*uivalent of a concert pianist:s hands and he can touch his heels over the tops of his toes& When he leaves . Julianne cuts her off5 sayin this is )ore infor)ation than she needs& What she (ants is to find a (ay to et the) out (ithout touchin the)& Marilyn su ests loves5 her dau hter says no (ay5 they cost her fifty dollars& 8No5.

t:s the s)allest one5 shaped like a heart&. she tells her dau hter finally& . hear a lon (ail on the other end of the line& Aon pause: 8-o you (ant )e to co)e overL.t:s sli)y and black and ooCin so)ethin &. Julianne says5 8. Marilyn looks at )e for help& My eyes )i ht as (ell be rapes for all the help they offer& 8No5. Misery in her voice& -he has trouble refusin her dau hter& 89es5. Julianne says& 8Would youL. -he says5 8>ood5 stab it and dra it out&. .t sounds )ore like a *uestion& Julianne says5 8Then (hy did you offerL Mo)5 et over here ri ht no(Q. and she han s up& 101 . Marilyn i les& Ber dau hter tells her that pullin out this horrible dis ustin thin is the hardest thin she has ever been forced to do in her thirty3four years& Marilyn says5 8Wait till you have children&.8No( tell )e (hich one (as it5 the neck or iCCard or heartL. -he tells her the or an her dau hter is starin at in horror is probably the liver5 she ives a brief history of (hat a liver does5 then: 8Can you see a lon phallus shaped thin in the cavityL. Julianne asks her to describe the heart& Marilyn says5 8.

t doesn:t help& Marilyn stays (ith hi) at the hospital until the others fro) the lake and Jon:s (ife et there5 then hitches a ride back to Round Aake for her certification dive& %ll the ti)e she is (alkin in slo( )otion siJty feet belo(5 she is seein Jon:s face5 his eyes5 feelin their shared air co)in out of his lun s into her face5 feelin his heart under her hands5 (illin it to catch on to (hat she is doin and take over& .CHAPTER 3# RESC)ES % )an in a divin suit tu s his friend Jon to the shore of Round Aake5 near <(atonna& Be is yellin that Jon:s heart has stopped and to call for help& Be thinks Jon is narked& They (ere s(i))in (ith a roup of certified divers5 and Marilyn (as (ith another roup there for a certification dive (here she (as preparin to dive to siJty feet and (alk around& -he (ill trade )outhpieces (ith her dive partner to si)ulate one diver runnin out of air& -he is terrified but thinkin 5 if she could )ake it throu h her recent divorce5 she can et throu h anythin & Marilyn opens Jon:s suit to et at his chest5 tears off his head ear and scoops out his )outh before ivin hi) breaths5 then chest co)pressions& %fter ten )inutes he still has no other heartbeat than the one she is ivin & -he is overheatin in the dive suit and stru lin a ainst the lead (ei hts belted around her (aist& %bout this ti)e another (o)an fa)iliar (ith C'R runs up and kneels beside her to take over the breathin (hile Marilyn continues the chest co)pressions& %fter t(enty )inutes there is no chan e5 the t(o of the) are the only thin keepin Jon:s body alive& Marilyn felt his spirit (as one even before she arran ed hi) on the shore& Be:d been on the botto) several )inutes before Fen ot to hi) and started for the surface5 and they:d lost another fe( ettin hi) to shore& The rescue cre( arrives and the t(o (o)en keep up their rhyth)s as he is loaded on a urney and (heeled to the a)bulance& Marilyn rides (ith hi) to the hospital as they use paddles on his chest and in=ect adrenaline& .ro(n:s dau hter Mary aboard& %lthou h there (as a hard rain the ni ht before5 south of to(n the creek level (as nor)al5 sun (as out5 blue skies5 bird calls5 )oos fro) fields carried by li ht breeCes& They hadn:t kno(n of the rain in the area the ni ht before and the first sur e of runoff s(ept the) under& Mary s(a) to shore (ith Mike5 and Jonnie (as carried alon (ith Marilyn ri ht behind& When she (as s(ept around5 he rabbed her foot and5 (hen she (as pulled under and had to =erk free of his rip5 they (ere separated& -o)e MeJican crop3pickers on the bank siCed thin s up as they sa( the) co)in and linked the)selves bet(een the bank and a lar e rock in the )iddle of the creek& -earch and Rescue arrived and (orked (ith the MeJicans to save the)& T(o Jons5 t(o rescues5 one Jon left& -anta Clara 'eak in Ne( MeJico is sacred land& The -anta Clara 'ueblo o(ns the land5 10" .n a old clippin fro) the <(atonna ne(spaper is a full3pa e photo of Marilyn claspin her son Jonnie to her& % rescuer has =ust handed hi) to her after takin hi) fro) a flooded river& <n that day Marilyn had taken the fa)ily inflatable do(n Maple Creek to @art 'ark (ith her sons Mike and Jon5 and Teddie .reathin co)pressed air fro) tanks on her back she is still tryin to )ake Jon live a ain& -he ets her certificate5 but doesn:t dive a ain& Thirty years later she still tears up (hen she talks about that day& .

:d found those three decks of $n el)ann spruce abandoned by the lo in co)pany5 the lo in road they:d cut in had been trenched dia onally every fifty feet5 so there (as no (ay to et a truck back to the decks& $arlier .t (as Cero visibility& .ut it happened and they )et in soft collision a fe( thousand feet above us& There (as dead silence5 the back round noise of the (oods (as no )ore& We sa( a bunch of birds of all sorts that never fly to ether5 like ha(ks and finches and (oodpeckers5 cau ht in an invisible (ind& Cro(s and )eado(larks )iJed into so)e sort of ener y pipeline5 Ci Ca in past us (ithout a peep& We sa( the collided clouds fallin to(ard usMnot lo(erin M. o into the Winneba o& .t (as hard to et cuttin per)its of any kind on Clara because the ?orest -ervice had really scre(ed up (hen they let a Colorado lo in outfit clear3cut land that (asn:t included in the bid5 as (ell as (hat (as& %nd they hadn:t enforced cleanup uidelines5 so the land looked butchered& . crashed into it in a fo at 6## )iles an hour& The ran ers had been touchy about this area5 reluctant to even sell per)its for fa)ily cuttin or s)all operators like )e& . )ean *allin(& Clouds cannot fall5 they settle5 they drift5 they do soft thin s& These (ere fallin onto us& .:d (orked at the Santa &e @ew "e!ican ne(spaper (here . (ill do that )yself& 101 .n a (hile Marilyn pokes her head in to say there is a (o)an out there (ith her kids (ho has a flat tire& Then she:s one& .:d one to the Ran er -tation in $spaRola on a hunch that . have a heart5 .t:s a back road ca)psite far and a(ay into the (oods& .ut that day the chief ran er sold )e a per)it for all the decks in that area5 sayin they (ere a fire haCard& We turned the t(enty3five dollars that per)it cost into 165### dollars (orth of lu)ber and vi as& %nd that (as the late seventies (hen one of those dollars (as (orth thirty of the) no(& . couldn:t see hi)& ?ro) the ti)e the clouds )et5 to our seein the rope of birds tu)ble past5 to standin here in an i)penetrable fo 5 only a )inute had passed& The fo be an to lift as *uickly as it had settled5 pools of it in hollo(s nearby liftin a(ay fro) the land as s)all clouds to follo( the )other cloud returnin to the sky& Then (e sa( a tall dead $n el)ann spruce isolated in the clear3cut to the (est of us si)ply separate fro) the land and shoot up a hundred feet or so alon (ith debris at its base and5 before reachin its Cenith5 there (as a loud boo) and a (ave of air that sta ered us& The tree dropped back to the round and broke into pieces& Thirty years later5 "##2: We are at Rock Aake near the Wisconsin border on . (ould et a per)it to haul the) out& .ndian land& . )et Neil Aane in display advertisin & We (ere at the ed e of this lo in devastation on Clara (hen (e noticed t(o cloud fronts headin at one another at (hat looked like the sa)e level& We couldn:t fi ure ho( t(o stor) fronts could do this& .ut the )ountain only speaks Te(a& When . (as leanin a ainst the truck door5 Neil (as by the front bu)per5 and .thou h the state and the feds think they do& .n the )idst of vir in forest (as this scar )ade even (orse (hen a fi hter bo)ber fro) Firkland %?.n this (ay she has not called )e a(ay fro) )y (ritin Mif . ca)e here in the ri to (rite and be alone& Marilyn drove in the day before (ith 'ebbles& We (aded out to (here 'ebbles stood (ith a stick in her )outh5 tryin to et (hat she believes is a better stick under(ater& The stick under(ater disappears every ti)e she pa(s in the (ater for it and beco)es reflective fra )ents of a stick until the (ater stills and it beco)es (hole a ain& -he sees it a ain under the surface (hen it:s really in her )outh& -he fi ures out that the only (ay to rab it is to drop the one in her )outh and snatch it up a ain5 that (ay she (ill have the stick she already has and the one she lon s for& Marilyn (anders off to talk (ith so)e kids and their )other5 and .

return t(o hours later5 . can tell (henM(hen Tina starts her old . )ake these notes in the s(eat of the )o)ent: Tina5 the tire5 the othic dau hter5 the hu e bi 3headed baby5 ro(lin son5 beautiful little irl5 the flat tire5 the hydraulic =ack5 the (ide3ri))ed underinflated spare5 the )echanics toolboJ5 the fire(ood5 the ci arette li hter air co)pressor5 the hand pu)p5 the touch of her hand5 the )o)ent of fleetin beauty of the (hole )ess dancin in perfect syncopation at Rock Aake as sun oes to forest cross the lake5 us here rollin around on round5 positionin =ack over5 over5 the car on the slope co)in after us (hen the =ack falls5 try to drop the front end on us5 the dau hter on cell phone not kno(in her dad:s phoneZ to co)e et the)5 her bein a dark (aif of a /#3lb thin (E rin s on her fin ers5 toes5 hoops5 pins5 ro))ets5 (ashers safetypinned5 looped to ski5 larin black eyes + Tina (ith her reenish oner eyes all clear5 perfectly beautifully e)pty5 the stink of old deep )ari=uana s(eat fro) skinny body5 (e (ork5 nothin is synchin 5 an hrs one5 best part of another5 this thin starts to happen as little irl asleep in Tina lon a o a(akens5 takes over5 little by little takes char e5 )akes the ri ht )oves5 kno(s the (ays5 she:s re)e)berin her brothers puttin her s)all hands to (ork reachin into the places their bi hands (on:t fit rebuildin en ines5 cars5 Marilyn over there (E the blaCin (hite baby in ar)s no(5 black3eyed 113yr3old )other is (arnin her she can hold hi) but not o out of her si ht or she is co)in after her (E a ha))er5 the ro(lin roarin brother in the (ater (Ehis beautiful little sister half his a e cursin 5 splashin her a(ay fro) hi)5 all this is Tina:s5 one flat tire5 a 1##3dollar Chrysler to take her to (ork Binckley casino5 too3(ide too3 soft spare in the trunk5 her lass clear eyes5 bi brothers fr& lon a o (ith little sister (ay back then resurrected to save her ro(nup self5 et this da)ned tire chan ed&&& .)perial and ets her kids inside5 and the bi rock (e:d put in front of the back (heel is still there5 and the fire(ood lo on the other side is still there so the bi car (ouldn:t try to kill us a ain5 and she tells her othic dau hter to et rid of the)5 and (hen the black (asp can:t and (on:t stop cursin her )other5 Tina ets out and )oves the) herself& Ber othic dau hter is still on her case as they drive a(ay& -he speaks in stin in nettles& . 107 . have to s)ile& 8What a fa)ilyQ. o in and Marilyn co)es in (ith the lantern a (hile later& 8Bo(:d it oL.When . .t:s dark (hen . be an to reviseU Tina sits cross3le ed at the e)pty (heel hub5 fittin the spare onto the five threaded bolts like she:s been doin this every day since (ay back5 and the bolts clear the (heel holes (ithout a scrape to the threads5 and she:s turnin the nuts (ith her fin ers (ith the cal) of doin (hat she:d learned to love in the olden ti)es of irlhood5 and she:s ti htenin the) (ith the spinner (rench5 turnin like a plane prop5 and (hen she:s done the little irl of her oes a(ay5 and .

:d:ve )issed Tina and her brood& . tau ht the) to s(i)5. she says& 8They loved it&. What a (o)an& Without her .ob:s sisterH and5 alon (ith the rest of his line5 is stron )edicine& GRobert:s brother is the chief&H Robert has one eJpression to listen and talk (ith5 and one for a)use)ent& <ut of politeness he doesn:t look directly at you for lon & ?or visitors5 any(ay5 a)use)ent co)es out )ainly as an itch in his )ain eJpression& % )an of one eJpression is hard to read5 or easy if you:re not too co)pleJ& We (ent by his house (ith RoJy& -he lives in the (oods by the lake a )ile or t(o a(ay and he lives in this spra(lin place (ith a yard littered (ith the carcasses of )any cars and trucks standin by (ith spare parts for hi)& Be (as replacin brake pads on their dau hter Mary:s car (hen (e drove in& .:d:ve been (ritin & 9ep5 Tina and the tire5 and the othic dau hter5 and the bi 3headed babyU. -he is entirely at peace5 throttlin her s(eater:s neck ently5 eyes far a(ay5 a s)all s)ile& .n the kitchen he ave us coffee and so)e s(eet nuts& NeJt to the old (ood cook stove (ere shelves holdin 'rincess @iana photos5 )a aCine covers5 and special3edition fi urines5 a lot of the) still in their (indo(ed cardboard boJes& @iana is s)ilin or de)ure5 as fiancNe to 'rince 106 .Marilyn tells ho( she turned the little ro(lin boy:s tryin to dro(n his sister into a a)e that earned the) life uard points (hen they saved each other& 8. like Robert -cherer& Be is a tribal elder of the <=ib(a5 )arried to Marilyn:s cousin RoJy Gher )other (as .ut later5 (hen . ot to have the real stick in )y )outh and the one reflected& Rock Aake 'oe) to Marilyn can see more throu(h your eyes Speak clearly with your lips +our heart moves my blood * was a *armer. )d plow my *ield 7ith the blade o* you 7ater the *urrows o* me *rom the sprin( o* +our ?oy and rain o* your tears )d harvest with your scythin( lau(hter And sell the crop *or no more than your smile n the winter you are my warmth and the Snow*lake in my open hand .n the kitchen5 a sort of s)all boJin rin 5 (e circle each other lookin for a place to set a pan or plate5 or rinse a dish5 or et so)ethin in a cabinet or fro) a burner5 te)pers hot (ith frustration in this too3s)all place5 fists up5 chins tucked do(n5 t(o3steppin 5 eyes fierce and evasive& . (alk in fro) s(i))in 5 the faucet is runnin in the sink onto her bei e (ool s(eater (ith the )ock *uilt patches& Bere she co)es around the hall(ay corner5 steppin by )e li htly to (ash the s(eater drea)ily5 eyes focused on the river5 the bird bath5 the s*uirrel sneakin in fits and starts up to the porch to plunder the stale bread in its torn cellophane che)ise& -he doesn:t try alertin )e (ith a 8Aook5 see5 co)e et cau ht up in these )iracles outside and not =ust the )iracles of your chips and hu))us and -cottish oat)eal and autu)n cider&.

tell hi)5 89es yes yes yesQ.ob likes @iana but that .oo ie (eekend at the .t (as . start thinkin of it as an altar& RoJy ot her de ree in psychiatric nursin at .Charles5 radiant as a bride5 a )other5 so)ber as one (ho cared for the hurtin of the (orld5 and si)ply as a cal)ly beautiful and re al (o)an& .ndian3like and reserved5 thou h she isn:t .ndian casino and5 =ust as (e ot into the tented area (here the )usic and dancin (as oin on5 (e sa( a )an drop dead on the dance floor& We kne( he (as dead the (ay he dropped like a sack of rice5 no sta erin around holdin his chest and ri)acin 5 =ust boo ie (oo ie and 'o(QMthe end& The fiddler stopped5 a youn irl fro) Aouisiana (ho:s been playin for audiences since she (as three5 and her band stood silent (atchin to see if he (as oin to )ake it or (hat& <ther dancers clustered around hi) and there (as so)eone shoutin for everyone to hold their breath and pull back and let hi) et so)e of the air they (ere all usin up5 and so)eone else callin for a doctor or nurse5 or to call /11& -o)eone else called out for (hoever kne( this )an to co)e over& Marilyn ed ed throu h the cro(d to the dance floor (hile another nurse in black5 lookin like @eath fallen on bad ti)es5 (addled to(ard the stricken )an5 announcin in a co))andin voice that she (as a nurse and she (as takin over& ?ortunately another5 tri))er5 nurse in reen3 billed cap and T3shirt dropped to her knees beside the )an and shooed her a(ay& C'R by 8Moon Ma)a.ayou . shouldn:t think of it as an altar& .ntruder5 and a 9a)aha Royal -tar Denture& <ur choice (as the Royal -tar because it (as decked out for tourin 5 but had )ore presence than the >old(in tourin bikes nearby& % black Barley (ith a )an in black at the (heel pulls in and slides up the beveled curb past the other clusters of )otors to a place behind a ce)ent bench5 nosin his 4##3pound )achine around (ith real )astery that talks of a bunch of years in the saddle& Be s(in s out of the saddle and co)es over to (here (e:re covetin 5 he:s pullin off his loves (ith his teeth& We talk a little5 then he asks Marilyn if she:d like to o for a ride5 =ust like that5 no prea)ble& Be:s dressed head to toe in black leather (ith le chaps5 he:s tall5 an ular5 and . (ould have )eant sure death to either her or hi)5 if he (ere still alive& The tri) nurse (as still ivin C'R t(enty )inutes later (ith another (o)an neJt to her5 and the cro(d had thinned out& -till no )usic& No( and then so)eone asked over the sound syste) fro) the sta e if anyone kne( this )an5 and if they did to co)e over& No one did& This dra)a had taken Marilyn back to tryin to resuscitate Jon %leJander at the lake in <(atonna t(enty years a o5 so she:d left to o sit in the sun and look at anti*ue cars (hile (aitin for RoJy to sho( up& That ni ht outside the casino5 (aitin for the shuttle back to our ca)p round5 there (ere a bunch of )otorcycles parked near the entrance& There (ere Road Fin s by Barley5 -uCuki:s preternatural . When (e see her in Minneapolis she is )ore . don:t even let her et in a (ord& Be helps her up onto the passen er seat5 ets the loves back on5 and (orks his (ay around her into the saddle5 eases the )achine out (ith her holdin on around his )iddle5 and off they 100 . stand there ad)irin her and the display& RoJy eJplains that .ndian eJcept throu h )arria e& We ca)e up on a shuttle fro) (here (e (ere ca)ped near the bay at >rand Marais t(enty )iles south& .oston University and ca)e to >rand 'orta e to help set up a clinic& The Tribal Council eventually reverted to traditional )edicine and RoJy )oved on to be school principal& -he is really ani)ated this visit5 introducin us to people she runs into on our tour& 8Bey5. she shouts at so)e people at the as station5 8co)e )eet )y cousinQ.^.

roar into the ni ht& 'art of )e (onders if ,:ve =ust iven a(ay )y (ife5 a letter arrives in a *ew years, sayin( how they)re livin( on an or(anic *arm and she)s teachin( a(ain and happy, there)s photos o* their dairy herd and her lime/(reen :oad Jin( and their mon(rel Lab, .ack& They:re still one (hen the shuttle arrives and , ask the driver to (ait5 tellin hi) so)eone =ust took )y (ife out on a )otorcycle ride to(ard Canada and the kid looks at )e i)passively& Be is an ,ndian fro) >eor ia but looks like a (hite )an5 blond5 fair3skinned& Be and his brother are (orkin their (ay around the country:s reservations& When Marilyn returns she has transcended bein Marilyn& -he is so)eone )ore5 it:s in her eyes& -he is B$R& -he doesn:t talk about this part on our ride back in the shuttle5 only ives )e details of the ride5 but so)e )usical chord she:s only i)a ined has been plucked in her soul and , see a road )achine in our future& Up till no( it:s all been talk but no( she:s cli)bed on and been there (herever that special place is that horseback riders and )otorcyclists kno(& %s (e drive back to our ca)p round she tells )e the )an in black is fro) -outh @akota5 he:s been ridin for fifty years5 started (hen he (as eleven& Be drove here to )eet up (ith the other riders in his an fro) Wisconsin for their annual tour to >uadala=ara5 MeJico5 (here they take do(n )oney they:ve earned for a ho)e for street kids that they helped build years a o& Could there have been a better )an to take Marilyn out in the dark5 shriekin up Bi h(ay 01 at ei hty )iles an hourL Maybe& ,:ll have to see&


CHAPTER 3' TH)NDER ROAD AND THE THREE N)NS ,:ve been rich a fe( ti)es5 not despairin ly rich5 but , had )ore than , needed& %nd it (as al(ays iven5 never earned& Money (as not the source of )y riches& , (ork hard at (hat , like5 but it:s never )ade )e (ealthy& , didn:t (ant to be rich& Whenever , (as5 )y freedo) started to rust& ,:ve rarely done (hat , didn:t (ant to do5 and that li)ited )y earnin po(er& What , liked to do (as never associated (ith (ealth: (ritin 5 (oodcuttin 5 ditch3di in 5 daydrea)in & $dison and Marconi )ade a (ad daydrea)in 5 but they had that eJtra step in their drea) incubator& .ein rich (as a ood feelin for a (hile5 and then ,:d start findin (ays to et rid of it so as to et back to )y co)fort Cone& Co)e to think of it5 Marilyn and , alike feel unco)fortable havin too )uch& -tru le is )ore our style and (e love to bra about ho( broke (e are and (hich of us is the culprit this ti)e& Wake up5 o upstairs to the livin roo) lookin out over la(n and river5 Marilyn there on the sofa (ith the Anoka County Shopper in hand5 (earin her lon pine3 reen do(n overcoat5 clippin coupons& , ask if she (ants the heat on and she says , can if , (ant& , re)e)berM(e:re into hard ti)es5 cancel the ne(spaper5 turn off li hts5 put the freeCer on the back porch5 turn (ater heater do(n to vacation5 rocery shop for only essentials like flour and salt5 and o to the library for ,nternet& -he is eatin a crust of bread and drinkin coffee ,:) sure is )ade fro) the first rounds of yesterday& -he hands )e a coupon5 says they have unbelievable specials at this Chinese buffet on Coon Rapids that includes the Mon olian rill (ith fresh )eats5 ve etables5 and sauces (e select for the cook to prepare in front of us& 8We couldn:t prepare it at ho)e at these prices5; Marilyn says& ,:) thinkin of the (ild turkey and deer around here5 late at ni ht5 bo( and arro(5 (ho:d kno(L .ecause she is the financial officer in the fa)ily5 it bothers her , a) not as bothered by our situation& %lso5 ,:) the one (ho ot us into this& ,t oes unsaid for the )ost part because she is kind& , re)e)ber in %u usta5 (atchin kids co)e by on their (ay ho)e fro) ele)entary school and a little irl tackle a littler boy (ho dared ans(er her taunt and rind his face into the sno( in the street and stuff it do(n his back& Be didn:t fi ht back& -he ot up and (alked off (ith her friends& Be didn:t stru le enou h for her to (ork hi) over any )ore& -till5 (ith Marilyn5 it is on the back burner al(ays5 and ri ht no( on the front burner (ith the fla)e turned up5 so ,:) )ake co)fortin sounds of a ree)ent and surprise& , (ent throu h so)e craCiness over the previous three years (here , conceived of5 (rote5 and published a book , had fun (ritin & , put )y heart into it5 and a buncha )oney5 and it flopped& ?or )e it (as po(erful5 seJy5 pri)itive and s)art& ,t (as destined to do (ell in bookstores& Think of the fil))aker (ho )aJes out his and his friends: credit cards )akin this fil) everyone (orks for free on& 'arents )ort a e their ho)es& Cast and cre( sell their cars and baseball card collections5 (o)en sell their hair to (i )akersManythin to keep oin and finish this )ovie& %nd it:s a hu e hit5 like (ith Clerks5 everyone oes on to take their place in the elite hierarchy of bankable directors5 producers5 actors5 ca)era)en5 set desi ners5 and so on& No(5

(hat if5 after all this5 the fil) doesn:t catch onL That:s )e in (ritin 5 publishin and )arketin the book& , used to sit at )y keyboard and talk (ith )y heroine about this& -he:d say the book (as her and Barry:s reality5 and it had its o(n enesis apart fro) )y o(n& When they and the other characters in the book (ere ready they (ould co)e into this di)ension throu h readers (ho:d identify (ith the) and lend the) life& ,:d i)a ined and consecrated the) into bein (ith )y deepest feelin s5 but their destinies (ere not in )y control& ,:d done )y part and they:d take it fro) here5 includin stayin unkno(n& , asked her (hen the book (ould catch on and she said this (as up to the characters ,:d created& , think there:s so)e of Marilyn )iJed in there& Marilyn never liked the idea of )e oin (ith Iach to a )ountain cabin for the siJ )onths it:d take to (rite& ?or her it (as abandon)ent5 pure and si)ple& >o to (ar5 sure5 o on the road to sell iC)os5 yes5 prison sure& @isappear into the (ilderness to (rite a book for half a yearL %t the sa)e ti)e she kne( , had to do it5 so the best she could do (as beat )e up for a ti)e and batter )e into the iciness of )y o(n heart5 then (alk a(ay5 leavin )e snufflin in the sno(& -he has rules she lives by& Co)in fro) -anta ?e5 , have none& Marilyn5 as an ,rish -(ede <=ib(a fro) Minnesota5 has )ore rules she lives by than <le and Aena durin courtship& What fe( directives there are operatin )e co)e fro) spleen and adrenalsMhers fro) heart5 (o)b5 and left3brain& -he (ants a solid business plan and schedule to help in areas , haven:t a clue about& -he (ants )e to be realistic (ithin the nebulous structure of )y fantasy by acceptin the assistance she offers enerously& Ber i)pulse (as to help )e )ake it all happen in any (ay she could5 )ine (as to i)press her by doin it all )yself& That:s been )y (ay5 and only in s)all (ays have , succeeded: , can di a ditch5 fell a tree5 sit5 sleep5 and et confused5 but that:s about it& $verythin else , need help (ith& ,t:s taken )e a lifeti)e to co)e to ter)s (ith this& ,f you are readin this it is because Marilyn )ay have been successful in hookin )e up to a lar er reality than )y co)ic book idea of Jack& -o no( here (e are in the livin roo)5 her in a (inter overcoat because (e can:t afford to turn on the heat5 )e (earin a veneer of )ediocrity5 holdin a coupon for the Mon olian >rill at Fin :s Chinese near the Mall ?ro) Bell& T(o of us for ei ht bucks5 Mon olian rill included& .ecause she is a nurse5 a teacher5 and a force to reckon (ith5 Marilyn takes char e& ,t:s her callin & ,:) a (oodcutter5 a va abond and a Aeo5 adore )e5 applaud )e5 lift )e to your shoulders5 and carry )e throu h the streets5 but do not ask )e to think& There is a sayin that you can lead a (hore to culture but you can:t )ake her think& That:s )e5 )etaphorically& Marilyn siCes up people:s abilities and liabilities fast5 and pitches in to help (here they need it5 (hether they kno( it or not& ,t:s a delicate business and pretty hard to finesse& When the patient:s dyin you ive the) C'R and don:t (orry about ho( they:ll react if you touch the)& My drea) (as to surprise her (ith an a)aCin success that:d =ustify her belief in )e5 (hatever (as left& )d be the (iCard (ith the (and turnin pu)pkin and )ice into a coach and siJ& -he could redo the kitchen5 buy the vacant lot neJt to us and put in a ardened park open to everyone in the nei hborhood& -he (as Cinderella and , the prince& Three years later5 she:s in her overcoat on the sofa5 clippin coupons for dinners out that (ill be cheaper than our eatin at ho)e on flour and salt& What a lonely and sad thin to see& -o)ethin in )e snaps& ,:d done this& ,:d undo it and cancel )y subscription to the spell ,:d subscribed to& , couldn:t th(art her love and desire to help )e any)ore& ,t is (hat she is5 (hat dre( her to )e in )y drea)& , a) a one3ar)ed sailor in a ro(boat far out to sea& %ccept it Jack5 she is the Connector5 the lifeline& Why has it taken so lon L Why have , held her back fro) )eL

The packa e , carry5 drivin throu h the valley of the shado(s of death5 is i)portant& , kno( in )y drea) this scene is lifted fro) a )ovie called Thunder :oad about a )oonshine transporter (ith a "##3 allon tank built into the botto) of his souped3up sedan& , a) the Robert Mitchu) character and ,:ve been chosen for this run because ,:) able to keep )y )ind e)pty5 )ore a natural state than anythin ,:ve )astered& , kno( nothin about the packa e , carry5 the better to th(art )ind3readin ener ies alon the road5 and ettin throu h roadblocks and other defenses set up to catch the rebel brin in this i)portant packa e to its destination& ,f it is found a lot of people and plans (ill be destroyed& %s , tear alon 5 , so)eti)es feel the probes of the )ind readers in the darkness5 searchin )y )e)ory and purpose5 so , focus on the drivin and keepin the car on the ti ht turns of the black road& Thunder :oad is a )ind field , a) careenin throu h& No( ,:) past the (orst of it& ,:) ettin into a dark city and have to follo( va ue intuitions to et to (here ,:) oin & , end up drivin alon a hotel corridor and stop outside a roo) (here three nuns in black3and3(hite habit appear and take the s)all packa e fro) )e& $ven before this drea) , had hotel corridor drea)s5 runnin a(ay fro) or to so)ethin 5 one place as fri htenin as the other& , never ot past the lobby to the outside& , (as trapped in a )aCe (ith infinite levels and elevators =oinin the)& -o)e of the elevators )oved side(ays into uneJpected turns and plun es5 and (hen the doors opened , (as at another corridor oin every(here5 (hich is no(here& This (as a vivid drea)5 as real as anythin , call real in (akin life5 so it:s stayed (ith )e these t(enty3five years& <n a (alk to the park one day alon the Mississippi5 it ca)e to )e that , (as the sender of the packa e& The three nuns (ere Marilyn5 Dir inia5 and 'aula& The three of the) back to ether a ain here in Minneapolis tells )e5 'ere, take this packa(eO you)re stron( enou(h to use it *or (ood now. When , ca)e back fro) the park and told Marilyn of this discovery5 (e (ere sittin at the round table in the kitchen& -o)eti)es a )o)ent co)es (here there:s this flare of understandin and (e et beautifully choked up and (eepy& ,t (as one of those& That drea) had troubled )e for years& When , )et Marilyn in -an @ie o in 1//15 , shared it (ith her because she had been a nun5 and for no other reason& T(o years a o , had a drea) of the three nuns in a red Cadillac convertible racin do(n a steep hill in the city at ni ht5 but until this )o)ent didn:t connect the t(o& The nuns in the black3and3(hite Thunder :oad drea) (ere the sa)e as the three in the red Cad drea)& The back country road throu h the boonies of Bell has been an adventure in real life that nearly killed off Marilyn and )e )any ti)esP but (e )ade it throu h5 neither of us kno(in the (ay but kno(in (e (ere uided by a po(er that did& Marilyn:s friend Teddie .ro(n is a healer5 so (hen she ca)e up the other day fro) <(atonna5 it (as in part to do ener y (ork on Marilyn:s knee& ,t:d been a decade since they:d really spent ti)e (ith one another so there (as so)e flurry to et cau ht up before Marilyn (as relaJed enou h to receive a layin on of hands& Marilyn as a nurse5 teacher5 and nun e)eritus is not co)fortable on the receivin end& They (ent to her sister Fathy:s to see %bie and5 (hile there5 ran into .ase)ent .arb (ith a )i raine that Teddie coaJed a(ay5 bopped over to 'anera for lunch to )eet Aois (ho had a fresh3bou ht3and3installed knee that needed so)e love to better fit (here the old one had been5 and then )e back here at ho)e5 sittin cross(ays in the ar)chair5 listenin in on their happy talk and servin as a kind of C'R classroo) du))y for Teddie to de)onstrate her )oves and ener y on& , ended up so relaJed , had to roll out onto the floor to et

to )y feet for dinner& Teddie brou ht raspberry preserves5 fresh bread5 cheese5 and (ine& The talkin ca)e easily& Ni ht (as (ell settled in and , could tell Marilyn (as fi urin that if she could =ust keep this oin another half hour5 she could et out of a healin & -o (hen Teddie said it (as ti)e for her to cli)b onto the )assa e table5 Marilyn insisted Teddie )ust be eJhausted by no(5 daCed by food and (ine5 $ddie )ust be (onderin (here she (as andU 8Nope5 healin (ork is like rain fro) heaven5; Teddie says& -he is ready5 the li ht is in her5 leapin around lookin for Marilyn& -he puts on so)e of the heart )usic she:s brou ht as a ift5 turns off the livin roo) li hts5 so there is only the a)ber lo( of the street la)p shinin throu h the trees5 and does (hat she:s co)e to do& -he leaves at eleven5 tired but happy& We do a fifteen3)inute5 condensed version of a Minnesota oodbye out in the front yard and stand in the (ake of her oodness5 (atchin her li hts disappear into the ni ht&




CHAPTER 3* MARION/S LO1ES They (ere in their late teens& They drank so)e (ine one ni ht and , (as conceived& ,rvin and Marion5 youn kids in a ri id Ne( $n land (orld after the >reat War& , think they (ent lookin for so)eone to set her free of the pre nancy but by the fifth )onth )y rand)other strapped Marion into a ti ht corset and she and )y father (ere )arried& Marion said that the concert pianist Dladi)ir Boro(itC (as ,rvin :s teacher and had iven hi) a .ald(in Concert >rand before leavin on tour& %fter the )arria e ,rvin sold the piano and (ent to (ork in insurance& Marion (as a debutante& ,n those days youn (o)en ca)e out into society in a for)al set of cere)onies that celebrated their beauty and availability for )arria e& >ood looks (ent a lon (ay (ith her5 and ,rvin (as tall5 sli)5 *uiet and dull5 a perfect fra)e& They cleared the ballroo) floor (hen they (altCed5 )en looked at her (ith lon in 5 cro(ds hushed (hen they approached5 traffic stopped5 the sun ca)e out5 )usic be an to play fro) so)e(here& <n their honey)oon they drove fro) <s(e o to Rochester5 Ne( 9ork5 in their ne( car& Marion (as rhapsodic over the autu)n colors& ,rvin counted telephone poles& %fter ?red (as born they (ere divorced& Marion )arried To) Aove and kept his last na)e for the rest of her life but ot rid of the rest of hi) after their son Ralph5 or Woofie5 (as born& We all headed West and ended up in -anta ?e5 the Aeft .ank of the U-%5 and Marion (as finally ho)e& That )ove saved all of our lives fro) bein eJtin uished by alcoholic fathers and a culture that )oved on the skids of appearances and position& ,n -anta ?e everyone (as free to be (ho they really (ere5 nobody cared a rat:s ass about (altCin and co)in 3out parties or old fa)ily and riches5 they =ust (anted to have fun& %ll people et 11# pounds of pleasure issued upon conception& ,t:s our personal treasury& We can spend it any (ay (e (ant& To et out of life early5 let:s say (e:ve co)e for a *uick visit (ith specific people and are ea er to et back ho)e5 so (e spend it all at once to et back to our forever ho)e& We )ay leave as babies born and unborn5 or children& ,t:s no one:s fault& ?or those of us (ho have a lon er3ran e plan5 (e are free to spend our stash of pleasure to buffer so)e of the ri ors of life and )ore fully en=oy the other& To love costs none of our ori inal endo()ent& ,n fact it replaces (hat (e:ve spent by rene(in the ori inal ift frittered a(ay on pleasure substitutes like cotton candy5 tobacco5 or a)blin a(ay one of our feet on the outco)e of a dance contest& My )other spent her 11# pounds lavishly5 and it never ran out& To invest the pleasure in others (ho are runnin short feels pretty ood5 also enriches our treasury& >ardenin is one of those instant returns on spendin so)e of our pleasure& Aookin deeply into shallo( eyes )ade i)per)eable by fear is (orth half a pound of our assets5 since it )ay unlock the treasure chest they:ve lost their key for& -avin so)eone:s life in so)e (ay5 like Marilyn did )ine5 has lon er3ran e stock earnin s than >oo le or even the ori inal 9ahoo& $ven better5 it is the universal old standard& Mother used to tell us kids of her stepfather 'a ani5 (ho (as pretty u ly5 yet he lavished his appreciation of (o)anhood on the )ost plain as (ell as the )ost beautiful of (o)en& Be ot ri ht into their eyes (ith a passionate ad)iration that carried the scent of his heart& Bis u liness took on a beauty that eventually daCCled )y rand)other Nana (ho (as one of those collector3

ite) ladies that looked like they:d stepped out of a full3len th John -in er -er eant paintin & -he (as used to havin her beauty reco niCed but didn:t necessarily see it in others5 eJcept in co)parison to her o(n& Be lavished pounds of his stash of pleasure on her and (on her hand and devotion5 and she stayed eJclusively his until he died five years into their )arria e5 spendin all his accu)ulated treasure at once& That (as his ticket to ride& My )other never ot over losin 'a ani5 and it (as years before her )other5 $leanor5 )arried a ain& Marion had learned her stepfather:s look and )ade it hers& -he located the scent of her heart and set it free for all to track& ,t said to those she looked into5 if only for a )o)ent5 8, kno( you and adore you5 and you are the choicest )orsel ,:ve ever seen5 and , =ust (ish you:d let )e spend the rest of )y life (ith you5 or at least toni ht&; When Marilyn lances into so)eone:s eyes5 they kno( they:ve been seen& %nd they kno( that (hat she sa(5 she liked5 no )atter (ho they are& ,t a)aCes )e ho( she is able to shortcut to people:s hearts like that& No( ,:ve started lookin for >od in people:s eyes5 too& <pen but blinded eyes flash a(ake in an instant tryin to find (ho =ust sa( the)& , reco niCe the) neJt ti)e5 too5 and they )e& <nce after Marilyn:s pool (orkout , =oined their roup at 'anera for coffee and5 in ettin introduced around5 , looked in everyone:s eyes& Nor)ally (ith a roup of stran ers like that5 , pull a forear) over )y eyes and raise a silver crucifiJ in their direction5 but this ti)e , didn:t& ?or at least a (eek ,:d kno( the) (hen (e passed in the halls at the 95 or cau ht lances in the pool& -eventy years ,:ve been hidin and no( ,:) eye3hoppin & Can:t et enou h of it& .etty and )y )other5 (hile visitin -cottsdale fro) -anta ?e5 invited Marilyn and )e to the Ca)elback ,nn for Thanks ivin & They (ere servin a (hole roast turkey per table (ith stuffin and traditional tri))in sMin a settin re)iniscent of bein at ho)e5 but lar e enou h to hold a bunch of fa)ilies (ith foldin partitions scattered around to afford so)e privacy& My )other had never been e)barrassed by (hat she or others did5 but (hen youn er she kne( ho( far she could o before crossin the line of social acceptance& No lon er& When the last of her physical beauty and char) packed up and left in her early seventies5 so did her carin about behavin in a (ay that needed that beauty and char) to do their =obs& ,f she (as oin to be an old e)bittered (o)an5 she (as oin to play the role to the hilt& .etty re)e)bered the day Marion (as lookin at herself in the )irror and said5 8,t:s all one5 isn:t itL; .etty said no5 and that she looked beautiful& 8They (ill pay for this5; Marion said& 8WhoL; 8$veryone&; % fe( years earlier (hen Marilyn:s sons and Iach (ent out to dinner (ith us at the .lue <J in -an @ie o5 (e (ere steered into a private roo) in back so .etty and Marion could s)oke& No one ca)e instantly to take the drink order& My )other and .etty had been spoiled in -anta ?e (here5 as publishers of The Santa &ean )a aCine5 there (as plenty of hoverin 5 aidin 5 and abettin by (aiters and bartenders fro) the ti)e they kicked open the s(in in doors to (hen they foJ3trotted out four hours later& $very restaurant and bar in to(n kne( (hat they drank and only asked to be properly subservient& .etty ave hu e tips to the ifted subservient& %fter a fe( )inutes5 Marion be an t(istin in her (heelchair to look back at the door5 ru)blin at .etty about (here were theyL %ll the kids (ere (ound up ti ht by Marion:s behavior because she:d insulted the) all5 spearin everyone in the ti)e it took for her to et out

that she is an archeolo ist and the Nava=o (ere not potters5 they (ere %thapascan (anderers and basket)akers5 so the )ural is very (ron in that respect& They (ove that (hich they could carry& 'ottery is done at pueblos& The (aitress tells her she (ill convey this to hi) but they are very busy because there are fifty fa)ilies at fifty tables bein served and5 before Marion can say )ore5 she scoots a(ay& When she returns (ith a bottle of (ine5 the (aitress says she told the )ana er and he said he:d have the pot erased fro) the )ural as soon as he (as less busy& Marion rabs the irl:s hand and kisses it sayin 5 8<h thank you5 thank you5.etty5 the (aiter5 bartender5 and >od& No( here (e (ere5 a couple of years later into a Thanks ivin )eal in -cottsdale and )y )other is behavin beautifully& Ber only co)plaint is that the )ural on the (all sho(s a pottery bo(l in a)on artifacts )ade by Nava=os& -he calls over the (aitress and tells her to send the )ana er to co)e see her ri ht a(ay5 8There is so)ethin terribly (ron &. to brin eJactly (hat she said& -he ave hi) full eye contact5 set do(n her ci arette5 and half rose fro) her chair& Be backed off and she sat& %fter the first fe( s(allo(s5 Marion =abbered happily5 findin so)ethin to like in everyone around the table& -he has an innate feel for this& -he finds the best in everyone (hen she:s happy& . no( pressin her cheek on top of the kiss& The turkey has been roasted over )es*uite and tastes like no other turkey . poised for action to lift or lay do(n or pu)p hearts or dislod e food& 8. (ant a tu)bler full of (hiskey (ith a float of (ater5 please&. need )ore ravy5 please& . Marion said de)urely and patted a napkin to her lips5 )i hty pleased she:d =ust electrocuted us all (ith her rene ade thirst& 8Jack @aniels on the rocks5 please5 and be snappy about it&. . need a drink5.f there is any irony in this5 it is (asted& Marilyn:s face is still drained of blood& %ll of her years of treatin every affliction of )ind5 body5 and soul are no( rendered do(n to t(o innocent (ide 126 . )ay have ended up (ith the tu)bler of (hiskey she (anted because .etty for eJplanation but she shru s and s)okes& The (aitress asks Marion if she )ay tell the )ana er (hat see)s to be (ron L Marion says5 8.of the car5 into the (heelchair5 and be pushed across the lot& 8B$A'QQ.etty told the )an5 8No5. $ntire fa)ilies turn to pillars of salt before our eyes5 forked turkey or stuffin froCen bet(een plate and )outh& No one kno(s ho( to shriek any)ore5 so Marion is ivin lessons& -taff runs to our table in panic5 our (aitress )arble3eyed& Marion looks up at her and says s(eetly5 8. N$$@ M<R$ >R%D9QQ. The (aitress looks at . don:t re)e)ber )uch after that& Marilyn tells )e that follo(in the le of la)b and a fe( )ore drinks5 Marion returned to insultin the) all5 her5 son Mike5 his fiancNe Fara5 son Jonnie5 )y kids5 .:ve eaten before5 the al dente ve etables are still kickin 5 the )ashed potatoes the real thin 5 and the ravy the best ever& Marion can:t et enou h of the ravy and5 (hen it runs out5 she looks at us as if (e:ve =ust stolen her dolly& Tears co)e5 and out of no(here she shrieks at the top of her lun s5 8>R%D95 . a irl of siJ in an ei hty3year3old body5 s(eet5 intolerant5 indo)itable& The (aitress brin s a tureen (ith a half3 allon of ravy and sets it do(n neJt to her& . . never et enou h ravy5.t doesn:t seem to be (ron P it is (ron 5.etty edited this to (hiskey and (ater (ith a float but Marion kne( (hat she (anted: 8. she screa)ed& 9ou:d not eJpect so bi a sound to co)e fro) so sli ht a (o)an& Then she yelled a ain and this ti)e a )an ca)e runnin in (ith t(o busboys trailin askin 5 8What:s (ron L.

etty aspin 5 8.etty (anted it si)ple& We took her ashes to a private ce)etery and lo(ered the urn into the hole du by the backhoe5 parked a fe( feet a(ay& .etty:s rave at this sa)e spot siJ years later& No( .etty are different in their approaches to @eath& With .en:s abori inal notes lifted Mother into the -anta ?e afternoon& 'ebbles and .lack Jack after five& This had her doctors up the (all& When .y this ti)e5 he:d been (ith . but it:d been too lon 5 . fle( out and stayed (ith her t(o or three (eeks5 =oined later by Marilyn in the RD5 and5 after that5 .etty:s lon ti)e friend5 Ainda Mc%doo5 called and said to co)e ri ht a(ay to -cottsdale because . .4 -he:d asked for 8The -kye .etty5 it:s a contest& With 'ebbles5 it:s a rabbit she can:t catch& With .etty5 this isn:t =ust about you& We loved her5 too&. never lose&.:d like to say a fe( (ords5.etty said5 8No&. Then Marilyn said5 8.rish servant like those at the fa)ily )ansion in <s(e o (hen she (as a little irl& My )other (as addin black depth and back story to a ni ht)are chapter in Marilyn:s life& Marilyn lances at )e (ith a stran er:s eyes (onderin (hat she:d otten herself into by )arryin )e& % fe( years later in -anta ?e5 dyin at -t& Dincent:s5 )other (as finally at peace& The hospital bed (as s(allo(in her into its bunched linens& -he (as s)ilin fro) this cotton aura and her eyes (ere s(eet (ith love& -he (as al)ost there& . said& .etty:s Cad nearby5 a s)all ranite slab (ith their na)es& Marilyn (anted to read fro) a prayer book she brou ht but .t (as al)ost a drive3 throu h intern)ent (ith .lack .etty lared at her& .blue eyes starin at her )other3in3la( (ith inco)prehension5 this tiny no)e of a thin (ho at their first )eetin sa( )y (ife as a .etty:s potassiu) had dropped to Cero in =ust a fe( hours& -he:d been taken by a)bulance to the hospital (ith heart failure5 lun failure5 brain failure5 and le ede)a5 and (asn:t eJpected to live lon & .en to fi ure out and restructure& Be )ana ed her visits to various doctors and the Beart ?ailure Clinic (here she (as eJercised and her vital si ns follo(ed& Be )ade her o on (alks she called the .: F (ave my love a cherry without a stone. 8. .etty:s care and Marilyn and . and . 8We:d like to sin a hy)n5.etty for a year and a half& Without hi) she:d:ve died5 because once out of the hospital she refused to o back& This left the )edical care to . (as in Minneapolis ettin ready to drive to MeJico (ith Marilyn in January of "##6& .etty see)ed to be holdin back a sneeCe& -o )uch of life in so s)all a body& .en said he:d play a fe( notes fro) the di=eridoo5 the sa)e one he (ould use to play a dir e over .etty said5 8No&.enson & Bed es and sipped . said& .en (ho (as livin in 'ortland& Be took over .oat -on .en sat holdin her hand& . al(ays (in5. couldn:t re)e)ber any of the (ords& -he died in her sleep a fe( hours after (e left& There (as no service& . .etty5 it:s ar) (restlin at the 'alace bar (ith @eath raspin 5 8. (ent on to MeJico& .ataan @eath March5 fi ured out her prescriptions5 and (eeded out the redundancies and flat3out errors& Thin s ot better& Then she ot )outh cancer& -he said it (as because she stopped eatin to)atoes5 she:d otten tired of the) and5 (ithin a )onth5 a sore developed that (ouldn:t o a(ay& Mean(hile she lit up her . took her to @r& -ahlisi the first ti)e5 follo(in the potassiu) crash5 120 . . san 8The Riddle -on .etty said5 8No&.

en (as oin do(n fast and5 (ithout hi)5 she didn:t stand a chance5 so she assented to the Bospice presence5 8but only to help you boys out5.ecause she:s old and stiff5 she can:t chase after us as she used to5 roundin us up alon )ountain )eado(s and shorelines into a herd of her and usMthat:s too hard no(Mbut at least she can keep us fro) oin too far a(ay by usin her enetic herd3positionin abilities& 122 . turn to o back she:s there on the linoleu) floor neJt to the counter5 blockin passa e& When . have to s*ueeCe past stacks of papers5 books and the printer5 s*(ooshin by the roll3top desk& -he shifts position5 puttin her le s (here .t:s then that . (ait5 'ebbles standin there in the open door(ay5 lookin over her shoulder (antin to )ake sure of (here she:s been& Maybe she:ll o back and check =ust to )ake sure she (as there before she (as here& -he has to think about it& Maybe she:ll co)e in& Then a ain&&& -he raises her nose to sniff the air& 9ep& .:) oin to have to =u)p to et out of the roo) and5 as . cut around throu h the livin roo) to et back to Marilyn:s office5 'ebbles has )oved a ain and is settled do(n in the hall(ay (here this all be an& -he is easy enou h to step over but .etty it re)inded her of the $n lish Colonials in her native . topple5 tryin to avoid steppin on it& -he pads over to sniff at )e on the floor and relocates in the hall(ay& .en thirty3nine& 'ebbles lovin ly seeks @eath:s hand to lick5 and (ith a little help to cra(l up into Ber lap and o to sleep& -he:s been lookin in the front (indo(5 then trottin around to the back of the house5 and ettin up on the trunk on the deck to peer into the livin roo)& 'ebbles5 not Marilyn& This s(itches on the back deck li ht& . understand she:s playin (ith )e5 usin that ability sheep do s have to stay a fe( steps ahead of the e(es and la)bs& . needed help lookin after a )ean old plucked bird& -ahlisi didn:t like her abrasiveness and told . can see .etty recovered fro) the potassiu) crash5 started to party a ain5 and . step over her to o to the kitchen for so)e coffee5 and (hen .etty said5 8>ood&. ro(l and rab her by the scruff of the neck and (rench her sorry ass into the dinin roo)& . have to step neJt5 and oes back to sleep& More like a co)a& -he:s li)p as strin and deaf5 so )y curse only reaches her as a li ht pu))elin of air(aves& . (as siJty3 nine at the ti)e5 . can:t push back (ithout fallin over her5 so . . open the slidin lass door after the li ht has blinked on and off enou h ti)es to irritate )e5 lettin in t(enty3de ree air tryin to (ar) itself up& .t:s (inter for sure& .etty she (ouldn:t take her on unless she stopped the s)oke and booCe& . is (hat she said& . a) be innin to (onder& .etty said 8Nope5.n May of "##2 she e)ailed )e that she (as sleepin siJteen hours a day and fi ured she (as at the end of the trail& We called in Bospice of the Dalley about palliative care5 and they )ade it clear they (ould do only (hat (ould )ake the end of her life as pleasant as dyin can be& .ndia& . do5 she a(akens and lifts her head5 so .she told .en ot ready to et back to his half3life in 'ortland (hen the sore in her )outh started& -he (as at . and challen ed her to (ork around her habits to et her (ell& -ahlisi sa( .riones and felt a hu e stab of pain as she bit into an artichoke leaf5 then a ain (hen she bit into the steak& .etty sa( . slide the door shut into its fra)e of frost& Aater (e are in Marilyn:s office doin up a packet of fi ures to present to )y bank& 'ebbles co)es in fro) (here she lay blockin the hall(ay to hitch up a ainst the back le of )y chair so .

ut once into civvies5 it chan es& .CHAPTER 3. SOLDIERS AND N)NS Marilyn is hypervi ilant& -he (as trained to be this (ay5 like a co)bat soldier& ?or a soldier:s life depends on senses that run at hi h alert5 even (hile eatin or sleepin & ?or a nurse5 the lives of others depend on these senses& Marilyn still has difficulty sleepin throu h the ni ht& With the sli htest touch she a(akens5 instantly ready for trouble and prepared to deal (ith it& @o not kiss her neck (hen she is asleep& % soldier:s outfit is his or her real fa)ily& Marilyn:s 8outfit. speak (ith the authority of bein one (ho fou ht (ith this sa)e resistance a lon ti)e till . handed over reins to )y soul and be an (ritin our story in a spiral notebook& With )e it (as )y lo(er back and knees& No( it:s hard to tell the difference bet(een )e and TarCan s(i))in 124 . think Marilyn:s knees )iss the stone floors of churches and chapels she has prayed in5 at least )etaphorically& -he is a (riter& Ber soul (ants her to (rite her o(n story5 alon (ith the stories of others she has served and lived (ith and5 until she does5 her knees (ill be killin her& .n street clothes5 Marilyn (as not reco niCed as a spiritual (arrior back fro) a fifteen3year tour of duty& -he (ent throu h culture shock& $verythin had chan ed& -he had little in co))on (ith close friends fro) hi h school other than their )e)ories as children and hi h3schoolers& -he (ent for )ore education (hile )any of the) chose )arria e and )otherhood& -he:d chosen a co))unal life of service to others and beco)e a fe)inist& %s so)eone lackin basic sensitivity )i ht ask a soldier on furlou h ho( )any people he:d killed over there5 so)eone )i ht ask Marilyn (hat she did in there all this ti)eL They have no idea ho( )uch it hurts to be asked to spill your uts for chitchat& The co)bat soldier )i ht involuntarily snap into the Rules of $n a e)ent to protect hi)self and his )issin unit5 but a for)er nun5 (hat does she doL Without the habit cloisterin her vision5 it (as as if the lid to her privacy had been lifted a(ay& Ber head (as naked& -he rediscovered full3ti)e peripheral vision& -he didn:t have chafe )arks on her cheeks and could scratch her head (ithout partially disrobin & -he felt people could see (hat she (as thinkin & -he (as naked in a forei n city (here fe( spoke her lan ua e& -he )issed the food5 the fa)iliarity of her sisters5 the ardens& The soldier:s C< (as the nun:s Mother -uperior& -he )issed their talks5 she )issed her little roo)5 the library5 the study5 the rules of silence5 the prayer5 the beautiful belon in & %nd like the soldier5 she )issed the adventure& ?or soldiers the adventure (as puttin one:s life on the line (ith the outfit in service to others& ?or her it (as her soul on the front lines& The soldier could reenlist& -he chose not to& -o she brou ht her vo(s (ith her fro) the nunnery into the )ainstrea)5 and used the) to reor aniCe the chaos she:d ventured out into& -he rode a bike till she learned to drive5 she (orked in hospitals and eventually (ent for a doctorate in nursin scienceU . (as the sisterhood5 and it is this one she o(es her alle iance to& -he calls it her other fa)ily& -he )ay share her heart (ith others but5 for a lon ti)e after she left -t& Mary:s5 it (as kept in a silver boJ at the priory and only occasionally loaned out& When she left the convent she (ent throu h )any of the thin s returnin co)bat troops o throu h: the loss of re i)ented duties they:ve trained for5 and the loss of identity hin ed to that& % nun dressed in a habit is honored =ust as returnin soldiers in unifor) are& .

can only sense because (ords (on:t o (here thou hts pull up their skirts and screa)& . pull out of )y stupor .laps& When Marilyn (rites5 her knees are =oyous& They for et to hurt& When -ister Dir inia and -ister 'aula co)e to visit5 Marilyn ets happy& They (ere the Three "s.:) brave (ith ideas and takin possibilities outside the boJ5 (ay beyond the (ay thin s are& . (ill co)e runnin to your rescue if you:re bein bullied& .:) then co))anded to back up (ith lo ic and reason )akes )e o )ute and blind& Writin a enre novel or follo(in so)e short story for)ula5 or havin to sell anythin at all5 ive )e the rin 3eyed fantods& .:) fine (ith these thin s& . can challen e and par (ith kni hts in black holes of unstructured ener y that . (as lad they tossed hi) in& My little toy )achete had finally cut deep& Marilyn is brave to the core on bi thin s5 and (hat )akes that ro)antic to )e is that she is still terrified of )akin a (ron call or doin the (ron thin & -he is in near )eltdo(n (hen so)eone is an ry (ith her or tryin to convince her of so)ethin that oes a ainst beliefs that are lar ely based on her eJperiences& -he is vulnerable and innocent5 and tou h& -he:s been 12/ . ran into the) co)in alon the trail and stopped to visit a )o)ent before )ovin on& 'aula see)ed overly solicitous and the (ay she spoke (as like Marilyn (hen she used to speak to her father at the nursin ho)e5 leanin in close to )ake stron eye contact5 enunciatin slo(ly5 fir)ly5 si)ply& 'aula asks5 8@id you have a ood (alkL <h5 very ood5 very ood& 9ou look a lot better no(& Well5 :bye&. think a lot5 and 'aula s*uinted back at her5 not buyin it for a )inute& . (as sittin (ith the) in the livin roo) and pulled one of )y fadin 3out )o)ents (here to others it see)s as if . a) afraid of )y o(n shado(s5 all ten of the)5 and the an er and violence so)e of the) are cau ht up by& .keteers in the priory and still are (hen they co)e over& When (e )oved here to ?ridley5 the three of the) ot to ether (henever they (anted because there (as no lon er the t(o3thousand3)ile run like (hen (e lived in -an @ie o& <ne day . Marilyn told )e later that 'aula asked (hat it (as like livin (ith an %lChei)er:s victi)& -he said . see)ed to be a lot (orse than last ti)e she (as over& Dir inia lau hed and said5 8Be (as that (ay (hen . learned this by not co)in to ?red:s rescue at ?ountain Dalley -chool& When he confronted )e (ith it that ti)e at 'ooka:s5 days before he died5 . a) listenin intently (hen . a) really very far a(ay& The flo( of conversation co)es in )y ears but then oes into a playback )ode for so)e reason so that (hen . couldn:t tell hi) it hadn:t so )uch been fear or co(ardice5 it (as that .:d done it a ain5 and eJcused )yself to o on a (alk to the park& <n )y return . )et hi) at the Bill -treet house in -an @ie o years a o& Be doesn:t track like )ost people&. Marilyn eJplained to 'aula that . look do(n and it:s black do(n there forever and ever5 or tryin to et do(n off a led e fifteen feet above the round5 or bein looked at directly5 terrifies )e& To be asked for an opinion that .ut if so)eone rou hs you up5 a fe( of those an ry shado(s in )e (ill see it happenin : 9ou:re there5 and (e:re here5 on our (ay there& . could tell by the pained eJpressions that .:) fine (ith hoodlu)s and killers and (ild ani)als and )eteoric i)pacts of one sort or another and (ith hurricanes of fire5 but s(i))in in canyon3deep ocean off a beach (here . )i ht repeat (hat they:ve been talkin about for ten )inutes as )y o(n contribution to the conversation5 even usin phrases verbati) they:ve ori inated (hile talkin & Dir inia is a(are of this peculiarity but 'aula5 (ho co)es over less often5 is not& .

throu h bad stuff5 but she oes on shufflin it into so)ethin decent& -he is an alche)ist this (ay& .ut (hat (ill the nei hbors say about )y )other sleepin in the ara e5 .t:s not that she )anipulates (hat is real and bad into (hat she sees as betterMshe actually (ran les it into reality& -he ives si ht to the blind5 hearin to the deaf5 a ood le to the la)e5 and speech to the halt& Up at Coon Rapids @a) (e (alk in the ne( sno( ta)ped do(n by early cross3country skiers The day is bri ht and the trees bare eJcept for the red oaks that:ll han onto their leaves till sprin harvests the) to tickle a(ake the roots& Marilyn is talkin about her dad:s brothers5 $d5 Johnny5 and ?rank5 and sister Mary5 and of her randfather Mike Toner5 and .ob:s cousins (ent into the Church as priests in Washin ton: Jero)e and Martin to the . off key for her final )onths of life& We are han in over the da) railin 5 sin in her son back to her )e)ory& 8There:s an iceber 5. -he told hi) it didn:t )atter (hat they thou ht and5 if he had to say so)ethin 5 to tell the) he couldn:t stop her& 8Then (hat are they oin to say about thatL.ob:s )other had a stroke after her husband Mike died5 she )oved in (ith .aker:s -*uare and et a vat of coffee and slice of pecan pie Marilyn dives into5 s(ord3fi htin )y fork a(ay (ith hers as .ob and %bie and the kids on Russell %venue& 'aralyCed on one side5 .arbara (on:t (ork for her& >ood ne(s and bad ne(s& We don:t kno( ho( (e:ll et to see her on our (ay to MeJico if (e don:t use the ti)e slot she:s =ust cancelled& We tell her (e:ll see her on our (ay back in siJ (eeks& -he see)s fine (ith this& -he:s in love any(ay& We o to .ertha runnin the 'oor ?ar) in $au Claire5 Wisconsin5 the poor providin for the poorer5 all the kids buildin 5 far)in 5 )endin 5 alon side the others livin there& Marilyn:s father dropped out of school in ei hth rade to (ork at the boJ factory and brin in foldin )oney& .erthaL. can keep it strai ht: 8Bere:s Mary and Aou5 here:s their kids RoJy and @anny and Julie and CindyU. The cell phone rin s and it is Cristina fro) A%5 sayin the ti)e (e plan to be in -anta . Marilyn says5 8looks like a short (hale (ith lon teeth5 and one like a carved pu)pkin&.ertha did (hat she could to help (ith the kids and house chores and5 (hen she ot to feelin in the (ay5 )oved her thin s to the ara e& -he )oved the (oodbin and coal to the other side of the roo) to )ake (ay for her bed by the (indo(& -he had it done eJcept the rolla(ay bed fro) the dinin roo) (hen . 14# . try to nab so)e& We order another slice and pour the coffee do(n pipin hot& . We visited ?ather Jero)e at -t& Martin:s %bby in <ly)pia5 Washin ton5 t(elve years a o5 their first since she (ent into the convent a half century before& When .ertha sat in her rocker in the ara e5 lookin out the (indo(5 hu))in 8<ld .in Crosby:s house to play piano and sin till the nei hbors: co)plaints turned hi) into a soloist.ob ot back fro) the barbershop& -he asked for help (ith this& 8.enedictinesP $r(in5 ?rank5 and >ordon to the Jesuits& Ber dad said as kids the cousins used to o into the ara e at .lack Joe.t is so ood to be inside5 al)ost any(here5 but particularly here ri ht no(& There:s no better place on earth& T(o slices of pie do(n and (e:re still hun ry so (e order basil to)ato soup (ith a toasted cheese drea) (ith bacon and slice of to)ato& -he takes one of )y indeJ cards and pencils in her fa)ily tree so . (alk on the ski path in the sno(5 Marilyn (alkin neJt to it because she kno(s the skyor protocol& -he:s brou ht an eJtra pair of her loves for )e and the Russian fur headband she says )akes )e look like Ihiva o& ?ive of . he (anted to kno(& Marilyn tells )e ho( .

think .enedictine nuns5 the Church and Jesus and Mother Mary5 and it is this: the Toners had a callin for the Church that (ent (ay back to County Claire in .y the ti)e (e et up to leave5 .reland& While all the sons of Marilyn:s t(o Toner reat uncles beca)e priests in the Ne( World5 it (as Marilyn (ho beca)e the first nun& This )ade .ob Toner very proud& 141 .. understand (hat else propelled Marilyn into the convent besides her love for the .:) =aCCed by the taste of the food5 her presence5 the li ht pourin in throu h the curved sunroo) (indo(s5 the inti)acy of learnin the eo)etry of her fa)ily and their positions in ti)e and vocation5 their abilities and character and eccentricities tu)blin out of the sack race of her (ords and =oy as she rediscovers the) and tries to et the) into )e as fully as they are in her& .

8<r no(5. say5 8all the kids over the holidays and Cristina sick and all&. No ans(er& <ne year (hile RD travelin 5 Marilyn and . . read everythin (e could find (ritten by Charles Aindber h or his (ife %nne Morro( Aindber h& Charles (as al(ays takin off and leavin his (ife %nne (ith plenty of opportunity for *uiet conte)plation& . et to have so)e *uiet ti)e&. kno( better than to say anythin no( or try to solve it& . (ant so)ethin no( for )yself: *uiet5 readin the book -olvei lent )e5 (rite a poe)&. stopped at the site of Aindber h:s parents: ho)e5 no( a state park& This (as (here 14" . ask her (hat she )eans by 8)ove into.ut . -he:s s(eepin up onion skin that dropped fro) a net ba of the)& 8. call do(n5 8-o (hat happensL. sip the coffee softly and (atch her& -he hates loud sippin and )unchin sounds& Try suckin )ovie theater popcorn into a )ash before che(in so)eti)e& Marilyn says the (o)an talks to her un)arried self in the bathroo) )irror5 askin ho( she can et her back& -he )isses her5 she loves her5 and (hy did she leaveL Ber husband has =ust presented her (ith a ne( en a e)ent rin and asked her to )arry hi) a ain& What in hell can she doL . drove to(ard ?ar o and ca)ped alone& . but she (aves a(ay the nats of )y (ords& -he oes out on the back deck and dra s in a trunk she stores Christ)as tree orna)ents in and co)es back into the kitchen (hile . (asn:t allo(ed to have that space for )yself&.f she stays5 she:s scre(ed5 if she leaves5 sa)e thin & Marilyn is lu in a load of laundry over to the top of the base)ent stairs5 )e follo(in (ith coffee cup in hand5 standin at the top as she (orks her (ay do(n and disappears around the corner& .t breaks the )ood she:s in and she ets furious& This is a feelin thin that can:t be solved& -he =ust needs to let it out& -o .t:s like (ith )e raisin )y first fa)ily5 . a) )akin a cup of Benry:s -eattle blend in the kitchen after sendin Cristina back to -anta . .t:s not hi) tryin to (in her back5 you kno(5 it:s that he doesn:t kno( (hat:s troublin her& . took off for a (eek in the fall of "##0 to see the place (here Charles Aindber h lived as a child& .t:s the ti)e for it5 but . . (as at the airport& -he says this (o)an (orks for a )a aCine out of her ho)e5 she has three darlin kids and a lovin husband5 but there is an e)pty space in her life& Marilyn is really ani)ated5 (alkin around the kitchen5 usin her hands to try and et across to )e (hat is churnin in her5 or in the (o)an& 8-he )eets a )an and they have a ni ht of love5 or part of one5 and she co)es back ho)e fulfilled by the love)akin but feelin uilty5 so no( there:s an even e)ptier space in her life she either (ants to fill in or )ove into&.ut she:s back in the sa)e thin 5 perfect kids and husband5 only no( she:s suspectin him of infidelity& -he:s in a ony& Ber youn est son tells her S. (ant )y )o))y back&: This ets her& <ne )ornin her husband lays roses in front of her5 reachin around her fro) behind to set the) on the counter& .:) havin the first sip of coffee& 8. (anted this& .CHAPTER 3CHARLES AND ANNE MORRO& LIND ER%H . -he says5 8.arbara& Marilyn is tellin )e about this )ovie she (atched (hile .

%nd there:d be no ans(er eJcept fro) )e: 89eh5 .:d brin her back here (ith )e neJt ti)e and (e:d talk about fiJin up one of the places as a eta(ay spot& We do that a lot& We have a hundred eta(ay spots (e:re oin to fiJ up so)eday& %t Aake .Aindber h as a youn )an ca)e to see his dad on his only trip ho)e after his fli ht across the %tlantic& There:s a path to follo( on a several3)ile loop that includes the )eado( he landed at& Be took up his dad for a fli ht that ti)e to see the far) fro) the sky& . shed )y do)estication over the neJt fe( days& . think Marilyn even told )e this but no( that it (as )y personal discovery . (as follo(in north (as in fact the Mississippi on its (ay south once it )ade its turn& . do5 so cool& -o (here you (ant to o neJtL. stopped at and (alked around5 i)a inin their lory days fro) (hat re)ained& This (ent onto the videotape5 too& . didn:t run into the (ild )e there but kne( it (ould probably happen as .n the )ornin .:d overheard people at the park talkin about this and even read infor)ation si ns statin it but5 until . (as drivin alon this strea) . finally understood that the s)all strea) . cooked breakfast on a Cole)an stove and carried the ca)corder in a free hand5 recordin it all tellin Marilyn ho( terrific it felt to be here seein the place (here a )an (e ad)ired had run free as a boy& <n the road (e:d read to one another fro) his autobio raphy5 and his (ife %nne Morro(:s about ho( she:d )et hi) and about their courtship and )arria e and raisin the fa)ily5 (ith hi) one )ost of the ti)e& Be )oderniCed the %r)y %ir Corps5 deter)ined )ail routes around the (orld5 often (ith his (ife5 toured Bitler:s )ilitary plants before the (ar5 and or aniCed a ainst %)erica:s ettin involved in that (ar based on (hat he:d seen of the NaCi (ar )achine& When that failed5 he test3piloted )ilitary aircraft and helped up rade fi hter and bo)ber )anufacturin plants& . had to share it (ith her& .tasca5 . put the tent up a ain in the rain for the fifth ti)e in as )any days and tried to capture the co)eliness of )y ca)psite and the lake vie(& . could =u)p across5 it hadn:t connected& The strea) heads northeast a (ays before s(in in south to the T(in Cities and the >ulf of MeJico& . drove alon 5 videoin )y point of vie( fro) the steerin (heel (hile narratin and turned do(n a dirt track to a fe( abandoned far)s . put up )y tent in a nearly deserted park (ith the leaves turnin color and frosty ni hts& . pulled over to video the strea) and proclai) this ne(ly discovered truth to her& 141 .tasca . @rivin north after Aake .:d say5 8AookQ 9ou see thatL. recorded couples and fa)ilies strollin alon the paths5 Coo)in in to track the) and pick up pieces of conversations& My narration (as like )y end of a conversation (ith her& .

a) too stricken to brin it up& -he likes )oderate5 (ith occasional clouds and the sunli ht distilled throu h lots of trees& 8Bon5 .31# to A%& Dan . (alk back(ard in front of her5 (aitin for her to lance up and flash )e a s)ile that says she is only kiddin & . a) lookin at her as . say5 8. Aood(od2 7ho is this person in "arilyn)s dress. say5 8. brou ht it up too soon&. (ant to look closely at her eyes but don:t dare& -o there it is5 us out in hellish heat5 s(eatin bullets5 eJa)inin our future channeled throu h )y (ifeM)e as a for)er (oods)an (orkin outside here shirtless (ith )aho any suntan5 carpenterin particle board into nifty sofas and chairs5 and no( and then fishin a cold one up out of the t(enty3*uart ice chest and talkin 147 . don:t kno( this (o)an at all& 8We could have a double(ide over there&. (as a (oods)an5 but that (as fire(ood and stuff& 'lease5 you:re scarin )e& %re you okayL.ut5 honey5 (e left the desert and 1"#3de ree heat in . -he points at a fara(ay spot on the horiCon& Marilyn:s eyes are bri ht (ith lon in & . she can:t take the cold& -he can:t take the heat either5 even in Minneapolis5 but . pray one (ill hit it =ust ri ht and ?risbee it over to behead )e& . don:t carpenter& . pro)ise you5 if . say5 8Marilyn5 Marilyn5 this is not )e5 . Marilyn says5 8To et a(ay fro) the cold5. .orre o -prin s four years a o and that (as a lot prettier than this& We didn:t (ant to ro( old there5 re)e)ber5 sit around in the hot tubs (ith others discussin diseaseL Why (ould (e ever leave ?ridleyL.CHAPTER $" YO)N% AND OLD -even3thirty in 'hoeniJ in the su))er of "##0 and it:s already ninety de rees at the resort neJt to a deserted do 3racin track& This is a resort in hell that has only eJtre)e heat and noise (ith breadth and (idth to reco))end it& We pulled in the ni ht before out of desperation5 lost and tired& This is West 'hoeniJ off .:) thinkin she )ay have had a s)all stroke or so)ethin & 8%re youL.t doesn:t co)e& There is a s*uare of *uarter3inch ply(ood on the street that construction trucks are drivin over and . pro)ise not to last that lon 5 seriously&. %nyti)e (ould be too soon& . pointin( at some particle boards stacked on top o* a picnic table out *ront o* a short trailer with an added/on work stall and massive table saw you could rent out to *ruit pickers to live under3 . ever5 ever5 ever5 ever5 planned to live here5 it (ould curdle )y soul&. she snaps back& 8When (e:re in our ei hties5 (e:ll be unable to run our house and function&. -he says5 8That:s not the point& Aook5 there:s a )an (hose (orkshop is attached to his trailer& Co)e over and see the tables he )akes outside&. .uren runs by the front of the park (here overni hters park5 and it is a noisy5 busy road& %t siJ in the )ornin roofers be in usin their nail uns at a ne( develop)ent across the road& This part of 'hoeniJ is t(enty )iles (est of do(nto(n on its (ay to California& Marilyn is takin )e alon the route she and 'ebbles eJplored a fe( hours before& -he (ants to sho( )e (here (e:re oin to live in a fe( years& %fter ten )inutes . -he says5 8Well5 . feel like fallin do(n and havin a tantru)& -he is sayin ho( (e can store the RD here in back and use it ti)e to ti)e to drive do(n to -an Carlos part of the year5 and ho( (e:ll learn nine3hole olf and the kids can co)e visit us on holidays andU -he is serious& .

pack a bale of (rinkles& % fe( days later out of 'hoeniJ5 drivin throu h .ron(ood trees shado(in the RD cab5 and beyond to the (est in earshot (as the -ea of CorteC5 (aves strollin in& %ll free& . said5 8$specially then& When . et that far one . did (ith Marilyn& Bere:s ?rank tellin )e this: this for)er Marine5 builder and o(ner of The 9odeler in Ma))oth Aakes5 co)petition horseback rider and skier and captain of the s(ift ship %urora. think you (ot it. re)e)ber . a) lookin ahead for us5.about the (eather (ith passersby: Sure hot.arbara and ?rank Coates sayin ho( they (ere lookin around at those three3 sta e retire)ent arran e)ents (here you )ove fro) one to the neJt as you need )ore care& . F *eel like )m runnin( down a dead/end road. plan to find a bear cave in Montana and cra(l in to nab a nursin cub&. Be said5 8Not (hen you have diabetes or cancer&. Marilyn says& . she saw to it. thou ht he (as thinkin too far aheadP this (as ten years back& 8. 8. . plyin the (aters of the 'acific and Caribbean5 (ho still had the body of an athlete and could ride a racin bike 1## )iles in the desert in four hours& . @ice thin( you)re buildin(. need someone to tell me which way ou(hta (o. )ean5 (hy not pick out your plot and headstone (hile you:re at itL. +eh. @ice. had to fi ht the steerin (heel to not turn and find a retired dirt road to park beside and start dancin upri ht& The difference bet(een youn and old is the youn :d do it5 (hile the old:d consider it& The (rinkles drifted back into place& We (ere pushin the end of our siJties& 'ebbles (as seventeen5 still runnin 5 pantin happily5 lookin for thin s to do or chase or (atch& -he had so)e ray in her )uCCle but had be un usin >recian ?or)ula& <n the beach neJt to us (hile ca)pin in -an Carlos (as a bi ManCanilla and t(o . said5 8>ood5 . -he stayed seated but everythin (as )ovin in rhyth) to the (ailin: and pickin:& %fter a bit5 it ot to )e and (e (ere dancin to ether in our seats (ith all the )oves of the li htly electrocuted& The (rinkles (ere one by the ti)e (e ot to the cut 8@ead $nd Road&. Thanks. told hi) the horror .et(een the beach and us is a riverbed e)ptyin its dryness into the sea& The bed is deceptive because there is reasy )ud beneath the salted surface (here four3(heel drive is a 146 . Be had even (ritten his to)bstone )essa e: 'e lived ri(ht. . looked at ?rank back then the sa)e (ay .ndian country in Ne( MeJico5 Marilyn put on a C@ and started dancin to the first cut5 8@an er&. Sure is.4 We (ere passin the eJit to To/hu/?ille not far fro) %co)a pueblo& . Whatever it (as about that place in 'hoeniJ that (as seducin MarilynMthe *uicksand let o the )inute (e ot back into the RD and never appeared a ain& . told hi) . felt about their plannin and he said that (hen they (ere in their sta e3t(o condo at their life3assist place5 all co)fy and )edicated in front of their fireplace (ith a nurse standin by and the cold (inds ho(lin out there and sno( threatenin 5 and they sa( )e cra(lin all ra edy and cou hin convulsively across the ice to(ard their place5 they:d stand at the (indo( and feel sorry for )e for not plannin ahead& Maybe they:d toss )e a dollar or so)ethin 5 but they (ouldn:t let )e in& . Be said they 8already did5 all paid for&. it)s kinda a memorial to the Cli**s o* Dover in %$EE. like the streets&.

t tiptoes out5 looks around& Nothin to do& Ahhh5 it says and )oseys across the dry riverbed over to the shore& What )i ht not happenL No one calls after it to be sure to re)e)ber so)ethin 5 there is no voice at all5 only the )ur)ur of the (aves (ashin in5 and the ulls and cor)orants no( and then& ?or a (hile the freed spirit feels disoriented (ith no structure or oals to direct it but5 in ti)e5 flops onto the sand to look blandly out to sea& 7hat was that thou(ht saw3 @othin(. could see the @uprees5 too: ele ant5 s)ilin 5 bullet3eyed& +es3 140 . 7hat was that thou(ht heard3 @othin(. (ere oin to do if (e )et a lo in truck5 and she said (e:d put a for sale si n in the (indo( and (alk back out& With that settled5 (e started to en=oy the adventure& We (alked the cobbled street to see (here the road (ent& .:d have to s(in out farther than it looked like . 8h.t (as parked directly across the street fro) a t(o3door RD ara e connected to a t(o3story house that took up half that block& Aook one (ay and you see a rusty old trailor ca)ped in front of a friend:s place5 and to the other: @avid and %la)ina @uprees: opulent 1#5###3s*uare3foot eta(ay beach cotta e (here they live in (inter& . stood a (hile soakin up the eJtre)es& . could see hi) in )ind:s eye5 sli ht5 (hite3bearded5 ponytail5 ci arette5 bare3chested5 deni) cutoffs& .n a situation like this . We drove the ri to the Marina Real RD 'ark to e)pty the bil e tanks and fill up (ith fresh (ater& <n the (ay back to our spot on the beach (e stopped off at the l>vanderia to do laundry& T(o MeJican ladies ran the placeMnot a coin3op& They char ed by the load and included soap and dryers5 and they did the handlin & . 8h.:ve learned that it (ill usually (ork out if .y the ti)e (e understood (hat (e:d otten into it (as too late to back up the ri 5 there (ere too )any s(itchbacks and not )uch tolerance for s(in in out too far on turns& . (anted to back up four blocks5 (as studded on both corners (ith po(er poles and to s*ueeCe bet(een the) . (as te)pted to knock on the trailer door& . (ondered (hat in hell Marilyn and . could because of a (all& . 'mm.daho5 drivin up (hat turned out to be a lo in road over the -a(tooth Mountains (e ot to (here the track (as one truck (ide (ith a lon drop to the valley on the clear side& .t is peaceful& % person used to acco)plishin 5 or aniCin 5 and puCCle3solvin )i ht soon panic& What can you do (ith a fe( birdcalls and the breeCe )ovin throu h the brushL -o)eone used to doin too )uch (ould soon o )ad and tear hair& The strain of (atchin the clock and )akin lists and strai htenin thin s doesn:t )ake sense nor brin re(ard& There is no one to keep track of: 7here have you been3 8utside. don:t hassle it (ith (orry& <nce in .liability& $ven (alkin across it5 your feet sink throu h the crust of salt and s)all fish skeletons and tend to slide out fro) under you& <n the sand (e (atched dolphin fa)ilies raCin leisurely on schools of fish they follo(& <ne of the )others likes Marilyn and s(a) over to visit (henever she sa( her5 her kids by her side& .:d parked in front before realiCin (e (ere on a one3(ay that narro(ed to a footpath a fe( blocks do(n& The only road to turn do(n5 unless . (alk a(ay fro) it for a (hile& Reality see)s to ad=ust itself to the need (hen .t (as a s(eet nei hborhood (ith tall old trees5 ardens5 and a )averick5 rusted3out house trailer on the street fro) the fifties& . -oon the spirit that runs these thin s in us sickens and takes to bed5 leavin us un)olested5 and a ne( spirit lon locked in peeks out& s the coast clear3 9ery& .

y the ti)e (e ot back to the Aaundro)at5 the t(o seRoras had our clothes on the final rinse spin& While (e read the bulletin board of rentals and used %TDs and boats for sale5 Marilyn noticed one of the (o)en rubbin at her neck and (alked over to )assa e her shoulders& The (o)an s)iled (ith such ladness it chan ed her a e& These (o)en didn:t have a s)ile any(here on the) (hen (e ca)e in but no( they:d both found so)e& The other (o)an (atched and (hen Marilyn looks over at her5 her eyes are pleadin 5 "e too3 Marilyn nods she:s neJt& We left t(o )i hty happy als and carried our clothes to the ri and cla)ber in& We )ake the turn on the first try (ith a nats3ass clearance on both sides and the back end kissin the (all& We tool by ol: -a) or .ob:s trailer and the )a nificent @uprees5 pass a cre( of ardeners further alon 5 co)e out =ust (here (e (ant to be5 and haul it on ho)e here to han out the da)p clothes on the iron(ood tree and )es*uite bushes& 142 .8h. @ice place. ?ust wondered what you looked like. . hi.

CHAPTER $1 SO)L TAL2 Marilyn:s son Jonnie )et %licia a fe( years and brou ht her to dinner soon after& The four of us (ent to Red Aobster (here (e ot ac*uainted& %licia (orks (ith . hey ah Dominum.t is a copper bo(l of (ater& . but not very (ell& NeJt to (here (e sit is the bare fra)e of a round5 do)ed lod e )ade of bent branches laced to ether (ith ra(hide and colored t(ines& %n ani)al hide is thro(n over a folded (oven blanket inside the fra)e& .n the tobacco cere)ony the s)ud e )an passes a bo(l of loose tobacco everyone takes pinches fro)& The t(o priests say prayers in <=ib(a and $n lish5 and people fro) the con re ation (ith special prayers line up at the altar to say the) aloud5 sprinklin their tobacco into the bo(l of burnin incense the )edicine )an holds& The s)oke of the tobacco lifts their prayers to Beaven& %t so)e point (e:re invited to reet nei hbors and it happens (ith a lot of vi or5 people (endin round the roo) (ith s)iles and hu s or four3handed handshakes& The (hite priest had been talkin of >od as tan ible5 not an abstraction& We are Bi)5 and in any other person there We are& Be tells us to see this in others: eyes& %t one point later . -o here (e are in a sunlit roo) (ith a life3siCed full3body portrait of the Boly Mother on the (all behind a (hite3robed (hite priest standin neJt to a hu e . a) so lost in the feelin of the cere)ony that )y eyes are closed and (hen so)ethin round is placed in )y hands .ndian fa)ilies in the T(in Cities& -he says she has 16# children she keeps tabs on individually and throu h their fa)ilies& -he says there needs to be three )ore of her to keep up (ith (hat has to be done& -he (ants to )ake a difference in the (ay .ndian children are educated and cared for in the city after leavin reservation life& Three (eeks later5 (e )et Jon and %licia at a Catholic and .ndian )an (ith lon black hair5 dressed in =eans and deni) shirt& The altar is a cross of t(o3by3fours on the floor5 like a lar e rou h3he(n Christ)as tree stand5 (ith poles stickin up fro) the ends5 )arkin the four directions of the co)pass and )akin a cradle of sorts for a bi )edicine bundle (rapped in buckskin& This sits on deer hides laid out (ith (inno(in baskets and (ood and cera)ic bo(ls (ith tobacco in so)e and sa e in others& <n the poles are han in (hat look like (ild turkey or ea le feathers (ith the *uill points (rapped in red t(ine and beads& The priest speaks in $n lish and <=ib(a and a youn )an in =eans (alks around the roo) (ith an abalone shell of burnin sa e5 s)ud in us by (aftin the s)oke (ith a fan of ea le (in & We sin the hy)n 8Aakina minawaani(o5idaa onaani (ewendanda5. The transubstantiation is iven fro) a bi pottery oblet and a plate of fresh flatbread broken into s)all pieces carried to each of us directly& The . have no idea of (hat to do (ith it& . attended dances in the Rio >rande pueblos& Reli ion is a divine dance for the sa)e od (ith different steps and chants& We kids tried the pueblo chants and rattles at our $piscopal church in -anta ?e but it (asn:t the sa)e5 and Reverend Finsolvin had so)e (ords (ith us& 'ey ah.ndian priest takes a lar e hand dru) fro) the hide on the floor and beats it really loud5 sin in (ith a (ailin sadness you hear (ith coyotes at ni ht5 and it touches so)ethin (ild in )e a re ular (hite )an service steers clear of& This is lon 3a o soul talk5 coded 144 .ndian -piritual Center do(nto(n& The place (hisked )e back to (hen )y brothers and . dip )y fin ers in5 but the neJt people drink fro) it& 8ops.

heartbeats speakin across the plains& .s Jean a friend of yoursL <h5 your (ife&.ut they don:t prescribe )orphine for that& No5 even (ith strep5 <Jycodone is for thin s like cancer& <h5 Jon5 you need to o to $R ri ht a(ay5 (ho is this Jean5 any(ayL Be:s not a doctorP you need to see a doctor& Bave you had %licia take your te)peratureL. turn the )usic off so she can hear better5 and . and says happily she kne( he:d call& 8%re you ettin ready for schoolL <h5 noQ @o you think you:ll )ake first dayL.t )i ht be strep&.ndian tacos on fry bread5 follo(ed by bin o (ith t(o cards for a *uarter5 usin hard )acaronis for )arkers& We sit (ith %licia and her dau hters5 Rainey and -kyla5 and her father5 $loy5 a TaoseRo .ndian fro) Ne( MeJico& Marilyn (ants to (in a di ital ca)era on the priCe table that Rainey (ants5 but it:s Marie5 $loy:s friend5 (ho bin os and ives her the ca)era& %bout this ti)e Jonnie ets up and %licia tells her kids that she and 8@addy. Aistens& 8What kindL. kno( they are oin to )eet Marilyn:s for)er husband5 but (ho is this @addy oin (ith the)L They leave5 =ust the t(o of the)5 so Jonnie )ust be @addy& Marilyn looks at )e& 'e)s Daddy3 They only met two months a(o. no( have to o to <(atonna& Marilyn and . -he listens and says5 8-tressL <r strepL.s there a feverL <h no5 painL Bo( badL. No( Marilyn realiCes this )ay not be Jon but To)5 her brother5 (ho had a rotator cuff operation four days a o and has these iant steel staples holdin his ar) onto his rebuilt shoulder& To) is partially deaf and Marilyn is partially asleep& Jean is To):s (ife& Be has called to (ish Marilyn (ell on her birthday& When Jon does call later5 she tells hi) (hat happened and as they finish up she asks ho( his shoulder is and they have a ood lau h& 14/ . -he listens& 8. (ettin( her two (irls used to the idea3 .t:s Marilyn:s birthday5 (e:re in the RD in >rand Marais readin & -he is (aitin to hear fro) Jonnie (ho still hasn:t called to (ish her happy birthday& -he falls asleep on the bed readin a paperback ro)ance by @anielle -teel& The book:s been around the ri for years and she keeps after it& Today she:s found a character she says re)inds her of )e5 a dapper (ell3turned3 out older uy (ho preys on rich youn (o)en5 is ele ant5 broke5 and s(i)s laps to stay in shape& Be is totally spoiled and thinks only of hi)self& When the phone rin s she (akes up fro) deep slu)ber and says5 8Bello5 Jon5. a) standin there (eavin around like so)eone about to faint& %fter the service5 (e o into the neJt roo) for . Did they marry Kuietly3 8r are they ?ust rehearsin(. (as first rentin a roo) fro) his )other& Be (as spendin a year of hi h school livin in -an @ie o (ith her& Be starts his fourth year teachin school in $dina in a fe( days5 but not if he has strep& Be:s rarely sick and (hen he is it:s because of over(ork in school durin flu season& Today is the end of su))er vacation& 8Bo( are Rainey and -kylaL. can listen in& Jonnie calls )e WC@ for West Coast @ad fro) (ay back (hen . . ?ro) Marilyn:s replies it sounds like they:ve decided to talk about the (eather instead of the t(o irls& 8%re you stayin (ar)L %nd (hat are you takin for itL. -he listens5 concerned5 says5 89our voice sounds really bad5 do you have a coldL 9ou doL . Aistens& 8<h5 for the pain& . Aistens& 8That badL .

do5 it:s =ust a thin so)e *uiet5 introverted5 life3re)oved5 laCy )e alo)aniacs do& 9our dad is a landscape en ineer5 Marilyn is a nun and a nurse5 Jonnie is a teacher of ele)entary school children5 you are a student5 and . decide to stay upstairs and play house& Maybe .t is %pril first and5 in celebration5 ei ht3year3old %leJ (as hidin and poppin out of odd places in the house5 (ritin a note on a paper plate (ith Marilyn that she runs do(nstairs and ives )e about . pull do(n so)e real )aple syrup fro) the cabinet and Marilyn (alks in =ust in ti)e to be part of the feast.i foot is ettin usQ.:) tryin to fi ure this %leJ =u)ps out onto )e fro) the hall closet yellin 5 8%pril ?oolQ.:) in a bind: . -he (ants to kno( (hat a )e alo)aniac is& -he:s brou ht it up a fe( ti)es over the years because she (ants to et to kno( )e and . say5 8.t:s (hat . (rite&. . When . are takin an after3dinner (alk alon the Mississippi to Rivervie( 'ark& %leJ has shoes (ith rollers in the heels and holds onto the crook of )y ar)5 lidin alon & . -he has on Marilyn:s apron& . fi ure she:s hun ry so (e o to the kitchen and she can:t decide if it:s oin to be oat)eal or scra)bled e s (ith cheese or bacon or pancakes5 so (e )ake the) all5 her )akin the )ain )oves of beatin the e s5 shakin cake )iJ into a bo(l since (e don:t have pancake )iJ and addin so)e of the stirred e s and oil into the batter& We have bacon cookin 5 oat)eal5 a pan heatin for the batter5 and (hen the bacon:s done the rest of the e s (ith so)e Mediterranean )iJ of rated cheeses (ill o in for a li ht o)elettin & -he says5 8This isn:t so)ethin you see every day: )y randpa and )e cookin breakfast&.i ?oot bein upstairs& When she oes upstairs she and Marilyn sto)p around on the floor above )e& .:) throu h& . chooseL .CHAPTER $2 A PERFECT FIT %leJ5 Marilyn5 and . o up . hear shouts of terror5 8>randpaQ . also (onder ho( (hen there:s this fabulous little irl upstairs doin fun and ori inal thin s (ith Marilyn (hy . (ill han out (ith her a little (hen . have this story about her to finish but it isn:t as real as the one .:) (ashin dishes after(ards %leJ asks if )aybe . Marilyn cooked a ood supper of e plant5 fresh to)atoes5 round beef5 and tasty ravy for the three of us and (e (alked by sprin eese pokin around in the sno( for rass5 and robins callin fro) nearby5 thou h (e can:t see the)& % sno(stor) invaded sprin but they are takin care of it5 the robins say& %leJ asks5 8Bo( co)e you (rite all the ti)eL. can (rite about it and en=oy that version later& 1/# . %s . could flip a coin5 or even better (rite a story about a uy flippin a coin to help hi) decide& .:ve =ust been invited to be a part of by the real %leJ& Which (ill . see Marilyn:s behind stickin out around the end of the sofa and (hile . (alk fast to ive her a better ride and eventually (e et pretty far ahead of Marilyn& There are ei ht inches of ne( sno( on the round5 )akin everythin eJcept the asphalt street into (inter& The street is dry because the air is (ar)5 and the ed es fro) the sno( plo(ed that )ornin are nearly )elted& . stay ento)bed belo( like so)e yakkity5 )old3scatterin spores& %ny(ay5 there she (as5 skatin alon the street on her roller heels5 han in onto )y ar)& Marilyn continues an ancient pace of rite5 )ore out of (onder at this slice of sprin fra)ed in (inter than fro) inability to keep up& We are skatin throu h sprin on asphalt5 Marilyn is a)blin throu h sprin on sno(& <n the )ornin of %pril second5 %leJ co)es do(nstairs& Marilyn is at %*uatics& . keep dod in a(ay into (ritten reports of life& .

)assa ed it (ith olive oil and basil5 )int and sa e5 and stabbed slices of fresh arlic into (ounds )ade (ith the parin knife& The recipe said to cut a lon ash in the flesh and heap the seasonin into the (ound to sit overni ht& This le (as closer to a full3 ro(n sheep:s siCe& . said so)ethin about ho( (ell she (as readin and doubled back into the roo) to sit neJt to her and listen& ?or siJ or seven pa es she shared the story of Tinker .y one in the afternoon (hen Mike5 Jonnie5 Julianne5 and -asha arrived5 it (as ready& . a) sittin neJt to her dressed to the teeth in )y $aster suit5 holdin a business3siCed envelope in one hand and her book in the other5 cau ht up in the coCiness of parent3child closeness& . (as in this roo)5 )assa in Julianne:s upper back5 di in an elbo( into the seiCed3up )uscles alon her shoulder blades& $ven as . couldn:t re)e)ber ever doin this (ith Cristina or %leJ5 and .@ays later . happened to be 1/1 . over3coated it (ith cookin foil under the rill hood and set the heat on lo(& . heard her say the (ord 8deter)ined&.:d said5 8>eeC5 hon5 (hat . put all )y (ei ht into it5 she (as askin for )ore5 sayin she didn:t feel any pain fro) (hat .:ve kno(n the) both since Bector (as a pup& $arlier in the afternoon .ath & . al(ays drea)ed of&. .ed5 .ell and so)e of the other li ht spirits she hun around (ith& There (ere three3 and four3syllable (ords in (hat sounded to )e like the ori inal (ritin of J& M& .ut the neJt day she ave )e a potted ardenia bush (ith a ne( blosso) and a bud& .n the )ornin Marilyn tucked the roastin pan into the oven for a t(o3hour tour before takin it outside to the covered rill& . (as breakin into a s(eat and had to take off )y =acket to really )uscle it up before she started to unclench a little& % fe( ni hts before5 . This stopped )e& -he read so)e other bi (ords easily and . (as doin 5 only fro) (hat (as already there& -he had a car accident in -an @ie o (hen she lived (ith Marilyn for a (hile& . can:t i)a ine carryin that kind of pain all that ti)e& .y the ti)e . (as still ri ht up there (ith the curried $aster hand to(el& The ni ht before Marilyn had finally one as far as she could (ith prep for this day and sta ered off to bed around )idni ht5 askin )e to rub the le of la)b (ith the herbs she:d set out& . hoped the slivers fro) the ten arlic cloves (ould tone do(n the )utton taste& .:d prayed to the >od of $aster for so)e uidance on (hat to ive Marilyn for this5 her favorite of all days5 so)ethin that:d really )ean so)ethin 5 even better than that yello(ish3bro(n hand to(el she:d fished fro) her .arrie5 the author of <eter <an& -he read (ith )e lookin over her shoulder at the pictures and nud in her throu h an occasional ton ue t(ister& Then she asked )e to read to her& <ut in the livin roo) the rest of the fa)ily (atched olf5 yakked5 and lau hed5 (hile in here (e played ta in the sky the (ay )ortal kids play on the round& Bere .eyond shoppin ba and presented )e in the kitchen (ith a chirpy Bappy $asterQ . (ent into Marilyn:s office to sna an envelope for a folded pa e .:ll be ood a ainQ.:d torn fro) a @ational Aeo(raphic intervie( (ith a staff photo rapher to )ail to Cristina& %leJ (as on the sofa5 readin aloud to herself& . %fter they had all one ho)e5 Marilyn (as lookin at )e the (ay she used to (hen (e first )et5 decidin (hether she (anted to kno( )ore about )e& -he asked ho( . (asn:t uided to a ift this ti)e5 like (ritin a story =ust for her5 or buyin so)ethin 5 and insofar as bein cau ht up in the spirit of $aster5 . found an envelope5 tucked in the )a aCine pa e5 and (as on )y (ay out5 (hen . (as slicin it at the dinner table5 it (as plain that this (as the la)b of the Aord& % ve etarian (ould have collapsed to the floor5 stabbin the carpet (ith a butter knife and ra in (ith (oe5 8Just one bite5 >od5 =ust this once and then .

said5 8-he:d asked )e5 =ust ca)e ri ht up and asked strai ht out&. oin to do (ith youL. Marilyn asked about ho( . )et5 she is still an ry over )e replacin her dad&H . -he lau hed and said5 s)ilin 5 8Just look at you all dressed up like >od hi)self5 readin to )y randdau hter and takin a(ay )y ro(n dau hter:s pain& Just (hat a) .)assa in Julianne& G. a) not traditionally Julianne:s favoritist person of all ti)e because5 even thou h )any years have passed since her )other and . -he took )y hand5 and it fit perfectly (ith hers& 1/" . happened to be sittin (ith %leJ readin to her5 and . told about oin in for an envelope and sta)p and hearin her read aloud the (ord 8deter)ined&.

PART SE1EN 1/1 .

(ere (atchin a video ?rank Coates had sent )e a fe( (eeks before dealin (ith the teachin s of 1/7 . %nd she:d ru)inate for a half hour& This (asn:t (orkin & >oin to(ard the bathroo) on a t(elve3 foot =ourney shouldn:t take t(o hours& We started ettin )ore a ressive& We picked her up bodily and carried her in (hen she ot plucky& <ur takin over the decision3)akin ave her clearance to start ettin )ore serious about lettin o5 but not until the final (eek& There (as still this cataco)b of unredee)ed (ill that eJisted near separately fro) her (orn3out body and )ind5 and it (as sharp and cold and indo)inable& We:d so)eti)es see it lookin out her eyes at us& Aike the ni ht . or 8Just a )inute5.en fi ured out ho( to deal (ith her and stay sane& Be found thin s to help (ith her heart and lun s that %M% physicians never heard of5 and to ether they cheated death out of its clai) to . or 8.en calls )e and says he:s been up five days and ni hts& Nothin is (orkin any)ore5 no )edicine5 no therapy5 no specialist5 nothin & .etty for over t(o years& Be snatched her out of the slaverin =a(s of @eath& <n the second January run3in5 (here . o out every fe( (eeks after that& We have our hands full because althou h physically (eak5 her spirit is still in char e& -he de)ands obedience& Think of a shell3shocked >er)an officer out in the trenches (hose order to char e the ene)y is bein *uestioned by an enlisted Je(ish )an& We (ere that enlisted Je(ish )an& Takin her to the bathroo) (as a t(o3hour trek because she had to ne otiate the t(elve3foot trip in her (heelchair (ith a brain circuitry that (asn:t fully functionin & -he allo(ed no pushin of her (heelchair until she said to& %tte)pts to help her (ere )et by a 8Bold on5.en& .en and Marilyn arrived5 .etty (as dyin for real this ti)e& To revie(5 an a)bulance screa)ed in three years a o the first (eek of the ne( year5 and a ain the follo(in January in the sa)e ti)e fra)e (ithin a day of (hen )y )other had died four years before in -anta ?e& Marion:s death (as the )ain reason .etty had )oved fro) -anta ?e to -cottsdale5 to escape all the Marion associations& $verythin she loved about life (as )issin in -cottsdale eJcept ood restaurants and5 (hen they (ent non3s)okin 5 she had nothin left eJcept her (hiskey5 ho)e s)oke5 and the little poodle5 -asha& %nd .en and . have loved are any indicator& . have to think this throu h&.ut she )ade it throu h& This (as the potassiu) crash incident& <kay& -he )ade it throu h her third January in -cottsdale (ith no )edical epic to co))e)orate )y )other:s death& -he (as in better health than she (as three years before5 . spent t(o (eeks (ith her before . think because she had so)eone livin (ith her (ho cared& The people at the Beart ?ailure Clinic (here she:d been a re ular and no( (ent only once a )onth5 (ere i)pressed& -he:d out(itted the ri) reaper& $nd of story5 no( let:s have so)e cocktails& <ne day in May5 .etty (as a syste)s analyst and a tou h cookie5 she fi ured out (hat she (anted in life and ho( to et it& -he (as ra( (ill co)bined (ith intelli ence and a a)bler:s cold co))and of the odds& When push ca)e to shove5 she pushed and shoved& -he (as relentless5 )y kind of (o)an5 apparently5 if )ost of the (o)en .CHAPTER $3 ETTY DIES FOR REAL .etty had the terrors and sa( de)ons5 talked (ith the invisibles5 )ade these terrible predatory ani)al sounds even in )edical offices5 and over at heart rehabilitation& -he lost that )onth co)pletely fro) )e)ory& .

had a t(o3hour C@ of Men:s 8mmmms he sent )e that )ade >re orian Chant sound like -pike Jones or Mickey FatC& %s (e (atched the video5 .etty kne( she (anted and needed the)5 but she (as also .etty:s dia nosis by the oncolo ist al)ost a year before5 her friend .etty didn:t need anyone& .illie had been after her to et radiation treat)ents to reduce the pain and s(ellin & With Bospice scuttlin her brave hopes of recovery5 she decided to try it& Bavin Bospice in her ho)e ave Find .etty a sense of peace but taunted the hell out of Coyote .etty:s friend Ainda5 and )e& . think it sold at the estate sale a fe( )onths later& .ad Ne(s Terrariu) (here they sat on 1/6 .9o ananda5 parlayed by this beautiful old (hite )an in saffron robe5 a entle soul (ith a )arvelous s)ile (ho had (orked (ith 'ara)ahansa as a youth5 and helped run the -elf RealiCation ?ello(ship in Aos %n eles& Coates had =oined the ?ello(ship and (as proselytiCin )e throu h the )ails& .:d like to find another copy to see (hat the old )an (as sayin that she so feared& $ven (ith t(o of us (orkin shifts it beca)e too )uch& <ne of us had to be physically (ith .etty5 holdin her hand5 cal)in her5 liftin her5 settin her do(n5 ad)inisterin )orphine and ten )edicines5 and tryin to et so)e (ater into her5 (hich she:d inhale )ore often than not& Ber throat )uscles (ere ra( nerve endin s bein eaten alive5 and her ton ue (as corkscre(ed& That (as (hen (e called in Bospice of the Dalley& <n that first visit5 they asked if she (anted a )inister to co)e by no( and then& No& @id she (ant the social (orker to co)e by no( and thenL No& @id she (ant a (o)an to co)e help her sho(er once or t(ice a (eekL No& Then (hen did she (ant the re istered nurse to start co)in by5 on (hich daysL 8<nce every )onth or t(o5.etty said5 or she:d call the) if she needed one& We all eJchan ed looks& There (as .etty and sa( The Look& Be told )e after she (ent to bed that it )ade his blood freeCe& We:d turned the -R? disk off ri ht a(ay and never put it back on& .etty& The Bospice cleared her for ten palliative treat)ents only& The oncolo ist (ho had dia nosed the )outh cancer a year before had presented only one option: sur ery& What he told her (as so coldly and clinically horrifyin that she left before he (as throu h& Be told her he:d cut out )ost of the ton ue for(ard of the uvula5 all of her lo(er lip5 re)ove the =a( on the bad side5 her cheekbone5 )aybe her nose& -he:d end up (ith no salivary lands5 no teeth and5 of course5 no sense of s)ell or taste& Be lectured her about s)okin or drinkin and that he (ould not tolerate it before or after his sur ery& Be had a hi h rate of cancer survivors5 but re)ission also depended on the patient:s preparin physically for ettin (ell5 so alcohol and nicotine (ere out of her life forever& .en5 the t(o Bospice (o)en5 .en told )e the doctor had taken the) to the . thou ht thin s (ere better and )ade plans to o ho)e& -he (as sittin at the dinette on her plastic3seated5 chro)e3le ed chair5 blo(in s)oke and runtin (ith pain& Bospice had taken over prescribin pain )edications5 increasin the dose of her <Jycodone and pain patches that arrived a fe( hours later by private courier5 and later a )ood enhancer (e )iJed in (ith the reen <Jy as a cocktail& -he (as suspicious of ne( )edicines and of bein intentionally over3)edicated (ith do(ners and stron painkillers& -he feared by no( that (e Skids: (ere tryin to hasten her death5 and Bospice (as our partner& -ince .en felt so)ethin cra(lin on the side of his face and in reachin up lanced over at .etty5 and . .

en called& % )onth or t(o had passed& .etty& -he (as like the Ter)inator:s )etal ar) and hand in the final scene of that )ovie& The sa)e hospice people fro) the )onth or so before (ere in the kitchen (hen .etty had been throu h al)ost all of the) other than the stoppin 3breathin 3one at the end5 but co)pletely out of consecutive order over the past three )onths5 and not by the su ested schedule the pa)phlet described& . fle( back ho)e& .:d be there to)orro(& . 8<kay& . stayed to ether for the neJt t(o (eeks as she spent )ore ti)e in bed& The hospice has a pa)phlet describin the siJ or seven sta es of i)pendin death that pretty closely follo( in order& -ta e five is not likely to )ove to sta e oneP sta e three (ill not be the siJth and final sta e& . think so&. told hi)5 8Thursday&.etty5 are the radiation treat)ents helpin (ith the pain or s(ellin L. 8>ood5 then si n here&.etty re*uested ten )ore and5 (ith that5 Bospice si ned off& . 8.etty and .s the pain ettin harder to bearL.t (asn:t . 8No&. said that this ti)e5 she kne( she (asn:t oin to )ake it5 althou h .etty5 do you (ant us to help you (ith (hat you:re oin throu hL. Coyote .etter to bite the bullet than et cured and o around scarin people half to death (hen you lau h& %fter the ten palliative radiation treat)ents5 .etty (as s)okin and bein de)ocratic about (ho she eJhaled on& Bo( did she co)e up (ith this s(a er after eatin no food for t(o (eeksL -he (as takin a handful of pills daily5 a )orphine clone every three hours5 (earin potent pain control patches on her belly5 and (as unable to (alk or do anythin by herself eJcept inhale5 eJhale5 and suffer (ith uni)a inable tor)ent& The nurse lost patience: 8.en called a ain& . called Bospice fro) Minneapolis and pleaded (ith the) to please o by and si n her up a ain5 that . arrived& . 1/0 . suspected this (asn:t true& .en and .etty (as in very bad shape no(5 the radiation (as )akin her pain (orse and the cancer (as ro(in as if U3"16 Gor (hatever it (as they shot into her faceH (as a tonic5 and he si)ply didn:t have anythin left in hi) to ive her& Be said he (as near death hi)self& Be needed )e there& . 8Well5 yes5 a little&. 8Bave you had anythin to eat or drink since last ni htL.etty si ned& % ain& . 8. and burned rubber (heelin out of there& The *uality of her re)ainin life (as )ore i)portant than ainin a fe( )ore years& .etty ro(led& Find . 8No& No one brou ht )e anythin & %nd it hurts too )uch to s(allo(&.)arble benches in an inti)ate arden (ith %n el Tru)pet vines and Ni ht3bloo)in Jas)ine han in protectively about the)& % Chopin etude played fro) speakers hidden a)on the tropical trees and floral beds5 and brooks )eandered over ferned steppes& .en (ere sure the doctor didn:t say anythin to the) about radiation treat)ents to slo( the cancer:s spread& Be only said he could probably cut a(ay the cancer entirely if she didn:t )ind lookin like a catcher:s )itt (ith lipstick& Be said there (ere no uarantees he (ould et it all but he (ould try& -he said5 8Not on )e you don:tQ.

etty:s bedside (hen Rachael asked hi) if it:d be all ri ht to re)ove a s)all black3and3(hite photo of )y )other fro) its fra)e on her desk and set it on the pillo( by . ot a roundtrip for four days5 then5 (hen .en and .etty and left5 sayin there:d be another t(o prescriptions arrivin in a fe( hours& The nurse confided to Rachael that .etty:s face& When it touched the pillo( . fle( out the sa)e day& .en cautioned visitors talkin in the outer roo)s& This (as a death(atch and5 (hat (as said and felt and thou ht5 .en t(o days later (hen he stepped out to ans(er the phone =ust as she asked hi) to take her to the bathroo)5 and (hen he ot back in a fe( seconds found her one& -he (as in the bathroo)& Be (ondered if she teleported& The Bospice nurse (as co)in )ore fre*uently no(& We told her about the teleportin and she said stran e thin s happen in a person:s last days5 she:d been doin this for t(enty3five years and had seen a lot of stran e stuff& <ne day the a ency doctor arrived (ith her& Be eJa)ined .Be said she (asn:t likely to )ake it past to)orro(& .en (ere sittin at .etty:s sufferin that .etty:s Cad kept poppin open spontaneously drivin and (hen it (as parked& When Marilyn and .:d s(at it a(ay and it:d co)e back to the sa)e place on )e& 1/2 .en called his cousin Rachael in Aondon G)y brother ?red:s youn est dau hterH and she fle( in t(o days later& .etty and Rachael& -he read to her in her sleep5 )assa ed her5 (ashed her5 held her hand5 (as (ith her all day into the evenin (hen Royale ca)e and she could o sleep& -he and . sa( her5 )oved it to siJ5 then on hold& -he (as fi htin hard5 but there is only so far you can et (ithout (ater and food and already her le )uscles had been consu)ed by her starvin body& Ber ener y (as co)in fro) so)e other source than her )etabolis) or physicality& .5 and even Royale (ho had tended )any of the dyin 5 hadn:t& <ne )ornin Rachael and .etty died5 a bu kept cra(lin on )y neck& .etty probably (ouldn:t )ake it throu h the (eekend& -he (as at sta e siJ5 the one she:d tried out )onths before and didn:t like& The doctor (as uppin her patches to 26 ) & every t(elve hours5 and the )orphine fro) one dropper every t(o hours to every hour& .en (ent to check5 thou h he kne( there:d be no one there inside or out& Those last fe( days5 the li hts around the house had been sur in or bro(nin out5 turnin on and off by the)selves& -o)e (ent off alto ether5 so)e ca)e back on and so)e didn:t5 even (ith ne( bulbs& The s(itch3operated as cap door on . (ere in bed the ni ht before .lack Jack and (ater on ice& There (as one ci arette left in .en )iJed the drinks in the kitchen& They shared a fe( puffs of the ci arette5 a fe( sips of (hiskey5 and then they heard the front door open and close& .etty:s leather pack and Rachael lit it up (hile .etty had been in bed four or five days strai ht& -he still had Royale the ni ht nurse co)in at nine at ni ht& -o)eti)e in Royale:s second (eek5 she called hi) to take her to the toilet and he didn:t et there fro) the kitchen fast enou h for her and found her already on the co))ode& -he hadn:t (alked on her o(n for (eeks5 )uch less sprinted& This happened (ith . called Marilyn and asked her to co)e5 and to et Iach and Cristina tickets to fly in& There (as a special bond bet(een .etty could pick up on& Bearin is the last sense to o5 and because the dyin are already partly into another real)5 (hat the livin are thinkin is heard by the dyin as if spoken& Rachel brou ht a cere)onial di nity to .etty stopped breathin & Ber presence5 (hich had been absent alto ether that last ni ht5 (as no( po(erfully in the roo) and both felt a stron desire for a ci arette and a .

en (ith every aspect of the house and its upkeep detailed5 na)es and nu)bers of plu)bers and electricians5 yard)an and handy)an5 utilities and esti)ated costs calendared5 house insurance and pre)iu) booklet5 (hatever she kne( (as in there& %t the raveside in -anta ?e at t(o o:clock on Monday5 the spray of flo(ers still hadn:t arrived and the date3of3death pla*ue had not been added to the )arker in the ce)etery& Rachael spoke to a irl in the office (ho said she kne( nothin about anythin and that the people (ho did (ere one& Rachael insisted the irl call the (o)an she had spoken to fro) -cottsdale siJ (eeks before5 (ho had told Rachael that it:d be in ti)e for the burial5 but no( she denied she:d pro)ised this& When Rachael started to insist5 the (o)an hun up on her& The )an (ho ruled the place ducked into a roo) (hen he sa( us co)in 5 and closed the door& Be didn:t ans(er )y knock& The floral spray arrived an hour late5 the delivery boy set it do(n in the lobby and sprinted back to his truck& The inurn)ent ti)e ca)e and (ent& We (aited by a lar e )at of (rinkled5 partly bare %stroturf laid on the round (here (e:d buried )other& There (ere so)e bleached3 out plastic flo(ers scattered around& .etty& The hole for the urn had been hand3du and covered over by a piece of (ell3used *uarter3 inch ply(ood& Nearby a )an (orked a (eed3(hacker cuttin crab rass takin over the rounds& . arrived at the house t(enty )inutes later fro) our hotel& . said she (as never there and he shru ed& .etty5 .:ll bet it:s still blank5 and it doesn:t )atter& Nobody ever really dies any(ay& 'articularly . set the spray neJt to a piRon tree by the burial )arker& .en called& Marilyn and .This happened three ti)es5 and then it started on Marilyn:s neck& Was it a cricketL Bo( did a cricket ai) itself back to the sa)e place it (as before it ot s(ept a(ay onto the floorL .etty:s car out of -anta ?e on her )ove to -cottsdale five years before& We decided to co)plete the circle and (ith Rachael drive her ashes back in an urn to bury beside )y )other:s rave5 (here they shared a )arker& .en had placed a dried red rose on the pillo( neJt to her& . had driven . (ent over and asked if he (as the uy (e (ere to )eet at t(o5 but that (e didn:t really need hi)5 (e could do it ourselves& Be said insurance re*uired a ravedi er be there in case one of us pretended to fall into the rave and break an ar) or ankle to sue the)5 so there:d be a (itness to our arrivin already in=ured& .n <ctober5 siJ (eeks later at Aa ?onda5 durin the Celebration of Aife for .t lay flat a ainst her head no(5 and the fine5 fine skin of her face5 forever pancaked5 (as no( beautifully naked& -he died at /:1#5 =ust after Royale left& /1# (as the nu)ber of our -anta ?e fa)ily house on >ildersleeve -treet5 (here she lived (ith Marion for t(enty3five years& . said he could see (e (ere all (alkin fine5 couldn:t he leave us to set the urn in and thro( on so)e dirt5 do our cere)onyL Be shook his head& Be 1/4 . talked to the )ortuary director out at the raveyard and he said he had nothin to do (ith the roundsP he (as purely burial arran e)ents and chapel services& The (o)an in char e of plot sales and round )aintenance (asn:t there& .t (as the first ti)e in thirty3four years . asked hi) to call her and he said he (ould& We stared at one another& The first to )ove or speak (ould be the loser& Marilyn s)iled at the )an and broke the deadlock& -he told hi) she (as sure he:d take care of it soon5 then led )e a(ay& . couldn:t believe he said this to us& .etty:d taken care of everythin 5 the arran e)ents (ith the -cottsdale )ortuary5 the ce)etery in -anta ?e5 all of it paid for5 all the paper(ork in a labeled albu)& -he:d left a file for .etty:s hair at peace and not all per)ed and lac*uered up into curls& .:d seen .en and .

and the (ords sounded insincere or (ooden or so)ethin 5 but they didn:t sound ood& .:d stayed *uiet& .lake:s Aottabur er that it (as a scene ri ht out of Ba)let bet(een the ravedi er holdin 9orick:s skull and the prince& %ll Ba)let (ants is to be (ith his feelin s& %ll the ravedi er (ants is to talk about 9orick (hen they:d drink and have fun& . (as oin to co)e face to face (ith all )y failures and shortco)in s in life there throu h people (ho:d sho( up to take a final crack at )e5 1// . and 8Was she as ood as she lookedL.ut even (hen (e said yes and it (as for)aliCed5 . (ished . told .ts beauty (as lost in the packin corn of the ice cooler& Be set it do(n in the hole (ith the (arranty in there5 thou ht better of it5 and handed the paper re istration card to .:d dreaded the -anta ?e trip ever since .en and Rachael su ested it& Rachael doesn:t so )uch su est as politely co))and in a *uestionin tone5 bein very $n lish about it5 because she:s $n lish& Aike5 S@on:t you think a celebration of her life )i ht be a ood idea to consider on <ctober "4th bet(een four and siJ at Aa ?onda (ith )ariachis playin and an open bar and lots of Ne( MeJico food and Batch chiliL: .en5 sayin he better han onto it =ust in case5 stood back (hile (e laid in the dry red rose (e:d brou ht fro) -cottsdale and a ne( yello( rose fro) the spray& We (ere too tired to fi ht it any)ore& .(ould place the urn in for us& .en played the di=eridoo do(n into the rave5 lo( tones in a sustained three3)inute fare(ell& % hu))in bird darted in to look over the fresh flo(ers and Cipped around us& T(o crickets cra(led up out of the hole5 the bi one ettin out first and pausin at the ed e5 sensin us (ith its lon feelers& .en privately that .en asked hi) (hy (e needed a (arranty5 and (ho:d use the (arranty if it didn:t last for eternityL Who (ould (e (rite toL The uy shru ed& Be ot the urn and put it in the boJ5 heapin the (hite popcorn up around it& This (as a clay pot (ith Nava=o sand3paintin fi ures a)id stalks of sacred corn decoratin it around& The custo)iCed silver lid that . Be:d be off by five and they could o over to Chulo:s fro) there& Rachael cleared her throat and he lanced up and told his friend there (ere so)e people (ith hi) (ho needed to bury so)eone5 and he:d call back later& Then he started sellin us a lockboJ5 the la( said the urn had to be in a lockboJ and they cost eJtra5 (hat siCe did (e needL We asked5 8WhyL The urn (as sealed5 it:d take a thousand years for the ashes to fi ht their (ay out5 (hat (as the differenceL %n urn for an urnL %t (hat point do you stopL.t (as filled (ith plastic popcorn and a (arranty that uaranteed the boJ for eternity& . and 8Were they oin to )eet at Rudy:sL. (ouldn:t o5 . felt . said5 8-o lon 5 .en and Raitch had a Nava=o =e(eler )ake in -cottsdale (as (aJed in fir)ly to the top& .etty5.t (as la(& We stood around5 spittin )ad and tryin not to be (hile he ra)bled on ho( he (as really fed up (ith this place5 it (asn:t =ust the rave3di in 5 it (as the (hole attitude of the people in the office& Be said he:d been (orkin here for a year and (as oin to *uit and be an intern doin so)ethin better so)e(here& Bis cell phone ran and he talked for a (hile (ith so)eone he:d been (ith at a party the ni ht before5 and 8Bo( (as >loriaL.:d sooner eat strin s of hairy caterpillars& . Be said he:d sho( us one5 (ent to a shed5 and brou ht back a s*uare ice cooler3lookin boJ )ade out of so)e countertop plastic (ith a scre(3do(n top he opened for us (ith a )iniature crank& The urn (as bi er than the boJ so he (ent back to et the neJt siCe up& . told hi) to ive us a )o)ent and he (ent off to =oin another roundskeeper (alkin our (ay& There (as so)ethin fa)iliar about this (hole burles*ue and it ca)e to )e later over ha)bur ers do(n the road at .

have this thin for )ystical cere)ony and spirited hy)ns& . only slo(ed do(n in fre*uency (hen .:) about to be set free of havin been nailed do(n by so)ethin 5 and it hurts to have old nails cla(3ha))ered out of open (ounds& Maybe .etty:s death& <n that -unday )ornin in -anta ?e Marilyn took )e to Mass at the -aint ?rancis . (as si)ply a really li)ited uy (ho (as less than half his a e throu hout his life& . kno( that this sort of fear )eans there is so)ethin liberatin co)in up& .asilica cattycornered across fro) Aa ?onda& .ack then it (as ra( *uarried stone fro) floor to ceilin & No( the stone (as plastered in (hite every(here5 even the colu)ns and ceilin 5 it (as (ar) and s(eet3s)ellin and ho)ey (ith bits of ilded this and that scattered about& . et so)ethin like the ne(5 i)proved colds oin around that take )onths to shake5 (ith body (renchin cou hs usin every )uscle and tendon in the body to co)e out& .list all )y cri)es a ainst the) and da)n )y soul to hell& When .:d co))itted these sins of co))ission and o)ission because . (as cou hin 5 .ack then it (as cold as a to)b and stank of da)p and s)oke and suspicion& The craven )ali nant priests hated kids and cast spells on us (hen (e:d co)e in to (atch in a(e as narled old )en in robes beat on the con re ation5 cursin the) in a lan ua e (e didn:t understand& This priest (as fun5 (alkin a)on the con re ation chattin (ith visitors before the procession5 then dashin outside to reappear )ore for)ally (ith the kids in robes5 carryin incense pots and candles and silver crosses& There (as a plains3clothes choir behind one of the front colu)ns that (e could hear but not fully see5 and an or anist at a synthesiCer capable of soundin not only like a rand cathedral pipe or an but also a cha)ber )usic *uartet or full brass section& Be could also play soprano voices (hen his flesh3and3bones choir couldn:t )ake the hi h notes& We could hear the) strainin to reach the) then their voices (ould )a ically lift to soar into =ubilance& . didn:t kno( any better at the ti)e& My fear (as that it (as oin to be a Nure)bur Trial (ith everyone .ut (e kno( ho( to ive hope (here there is not )uch left and (hat it:s like to et all dra ed do(n& We ive you a shoulder to lean on because (e:ve been there5 so)e of us are there but )eanti)e )aybe (e et lucky and say so)ethin that "## .f it scares )e to death and )akes )e sick .ut here:s the thin 5 deep in )y heart . al(ays do (hen scared to death about so)ethin co)in up5 . (as a )ess& .:d loved badly5 because .:d ulp so)e air on the inhale and cou h it out under(ater& .etty:s life but a conde)nation of )ine& -o . )ust do it any(ay because it is a si nal that .:) a Aeo5 astrolo ically speakin 5 so .:d co))itted )y cri)es they (eren:t cri)es to )e5 there (as no )alice5 . he said5 8so (e kno( (hat it:s like for you& $ven the saints (ere sinners& .t is )y personal code: . did (hat . don:t like corporate reli ion but . hadn:t been inside it for forty years& . also en=oy bein )oved (hen so)ethin spontaneous happens and everyone is shaken out of stupor into ardor5 like this )an:s ser)on on the )ound of the altar& Be is ood in all (ays but particularly in bein able to )ake us feel (hat he is talkin about& Be says ho( the Catholic Church is a refu e for sinners5 and )y heart sinks& Be says that it isn:t like those other churches (here they all think they:ve been saved and (ant to save you& 8We priests kno( that (e:ll probably never be saved5.:d s(i) laps5 but even under(ater . (as afraid of bein set free of sufferin for )y cri)es a ainst those . ever hurt pourin in fro) around the (orld to be part of the 'rosecution:s side& . needed endless punish)ent& The celebration party (as on -unday afternoon5 the third )onth after . think everythin :s about )e& The )ariachis (ould stand in =ud )ent& There:d be all this drink and food in the -anta ?e Roo) of the hotel but (hat (ould really be oin on (as not a celebration of .

ishop Aa)y (ho built this cathedral around the ti)e of Fit Carson5 and another of -aint ?rancis nearby (ith a ro(lin (olf at his side and s)all birds perched all over hi)& NeJt to hi) is a painted bi er3than3life epoJy sculpture of Fateri Teka(itha5 an %)erindian saint lookin so happy it )akes )e lau h& -he has a broad shovel face and half of it is lea)in s)ile& -he and ?ather MartineC inside are onto so)ethin & . leave Marilyn to the bread and (ine and o outside to (alk around5 visit a bronCe of . Be told the story of a (hore (ho (anted rede)ption and asked >od (hat she could do to be for iven for all she had done a ainst Bi)5 and >od told her he (anted her to brin so)ethin that (ould sho( Bi) she really did repent& -o she (ent to a )artyr (ho had been killed for his faith and brou ht a drop of blood5 and >od said5 8.)akes you find the stren th to try a ain and et it ri ht&. -o she oes and finds a saint (orkin (ith the poor to build a house for the ho)eless and brin s >od a drop of the s(eat she took fro) his forehead5 and a ain she is co))ended for her co)passion and thou htfulness but still this (asn:t really (hat Be (as lookin for& -o the neJt ti)e around5 she sees a youn child lookin at his reflection in the villa e (ater trou h5 and she is about to dip in a fin er to et a drop of innocence fro) his reflection (hen she sees an old va*uero co)e ridin in& The )an:s face is creased (ith the lines of a life lived hard and brutal and5 as he leans over the (ater to drink5 he sees the child:s reflection neJt to his o(n and reco niCes in the boy hi)self5 and tears co)e to his eyes& The (o)an catches a tear that drops fro) his face and takes this to >od (ho tells her this (as (hat Be (as lookin for5 and that she has found rede)ption in her o(n heart& . (ouldn:t be here fin erin -t& ?rancis: sandaled bronCe foot& Marilyn and her priest (ould:ve otten )arried and re)ained in the Church& My s)all children (ould have ro(n up (ithout )e& There (as less than a )inute for us to connect that day (e )et on her Bill -treet doorstep5 and to do it (e had to be destroyed by our battles (ith others: T(o fallen (arriors5 hands outstretched as (e bleed to death5 fin ers touchin for a )o)ent as our eyes look up for a last li)pse of life and see each another instead& Resurrection& "#1 . (ant so)ethin )ore&.t:s beautiful that you felt his pain and brou ht this but . et to thinkin that5 had the optional celibacy appeal ever )ade it throu h Datican T(o5 .

ack Jni(ht& The ro(n3up Jack Fni ht )eets his child self in a stran e drea)5 and it is love at first si ht for both of hi)& Jack Fni ht sees a (ay to chan e his life by instructin little John @ay in the (ays of life so he (on:t have to )ake the sa)e )istakes& Jack (ill eJplain to this little hi) ho( it all (orks& . Jack tells hi) that if so)ethin see)s too ood to be true it usually is& Be says to use his head5 think lo ically5 realisticallyUJohnnie hears (ood and it )akes hi) feel ood hearin it fro) this )an called Jack (ho co)es to visit hi) in his sleep& Jack puts toddler Johnnie on the back burner and oes to hi)self at a e nine5 no dice there either& Be:s too independent no(5 then at a e seventeen (here he ar ues (ith everythin Jack says5 then at t(enty3four years old5 but he:s loaded all the ti)e or if sober thinks he is hearin the voice of >od tellin hi) to et real and take responsibility for his decisions and stay the course and et a life5 then at thirty3four years old (here he is shut up ti ht and hun (ith an out3 to3lunch si n& Be:s already Jack& -o he returns to toddler Johnnie to take hi) on tours of his life5 sho(in hi) the ri ht people and the (ron ones so he reco niCes the) (hen he )eets the) and kno(s ho( to deal (ith the)5 and to the places he traveled and (hat to look for that Jack )issed5 and (ho to look for& Be sho(s Johnnie the opportunities he had and (asted and uides hi) in the art of analyCin infor)ation and people better as this little hi) ro(s up& Be atte)pts to transfer )e)ories to his youn er self that he edits for better results directly brain to brain5 but by no( he is spendin )ore ti)e drea)in than bein a(ake& Be looks around to see if anythin has chan ed& Be has a pro=ect he feels passionate about5 so that:s different& Be is )ore concerned about this child than he is about hi)self once re)oved5 and that feels stran e and nice& %nd he:s learnin a bunch of "#" . .ohn DayN.f he:s successful the chan es (ill telescope into his adult self to undo all his )istakes and redee) hi)& Jack tells Johnnie on one of their visits that this (ill unite the) as one in the future5 (here he co)es fro)5 and they (ill then live the rest of Jack:s life to ether& Johnnie (on:t have to o throu h (hat Jack has5 and Jack (ill not have to lose the very best of (ho he used to be& Johnnie is thrilled by Jack:s enthusias)5 but )ainly by his presence& .CHAPTER $$ !OHN DAY4!AC2 2NI%HT .ut Johnnie only hears the sound of his voice and the (ord names.n -anta .arbara in 1/40 a story started co)in to ether . called .t is like havin a real father5 so)eone (ho cares about hi) and holds his hand and carries hi) around (hile sharin this passionate vision& Be (ants to understand (hat Jack is talkin about but can:t& Be has no conteJt for anythin eJcept play and his cravin for love& When Jack pro=ects back into his present he can find no chan es in his life5 the people he is (ith are the sa)e5 the )istakes he )akes are =ust as steady5 the auto)atic thou ht processes that doo) hi) are all chuffin a(ay happily& Rats& Be tries everythin he can think of to et his personaliCed behavior )odification pro ra) to take root in Johnnie but it is perfor)in )ore like a po ro) a ainst hi)self because (ith the lack of chan es in his adult life he is startin to et on his youn er self:s case for not )akin the chan es he (ants hi) to )ake& Be is inventive& Be uses children:s picture books he creates ri ht on the spot in their drea)s to ether5 kind of toddler self3help books: 8No( here5 Jonnie5 he:s learnin to study hard5 see the concentration5 he:s (ritin notes to re)e)ber na)es5 dates5 he:s learnin )e)ory association syste)s to )ake it easierU.

The father is the e*uivalent of >od5 al(ays (elco)in back the fallen for (hat they have brou ht Bi)& We enrich ourselves and all life (ith the co)post of our (recka e and decay& -o there it (as: Jack Fni ht no( sees that his child self doesn:t need to be retrofitted (ith all he has learned about life& That:s (hat he (ent out there for& They are one& They are a tea)& Jack is returnin to John @ay (ith his adventures to celebrate both of the)& .n the book5 the %ra)aic scholar Neil @ou las3FlotC translates into $n lish so)e of Jesus: parables directly fro) the lan ua e Jesus spoke& The 'rodi al -on in Neil:s translation is a deeper story about the slacker brother (ho takes his livin inheritance and oes to the city (here he lives a (icked5 selfish life until he has all but destroyed hi)self& <n his dis raced return his father not only for ives hi) but e)braces hi) (ith =oy and thro(s hi) the best party ever seen around those parts& Nothin is too ood for his fallen son& The ood son is apoplectic (ith ra e5 here he stays at ho)e and runs thin s and looks after the fields and livestock and protects the fa)ily (hile his brother is (enchin and booCin 5 then co)es snivelin back to perch a)on the chickens in sorro( and be for iveness& The ood son nails his father on this and the father eJplains to hi) that (hat the bad son did (as enrich the fa)ily and the co))unity because he took chances by oin a(ay and learnin thin s and tryin thin s by openin hi)self to error and the conse*uences of it& Be returns debilitated5 yes5 but (ise& Be is so)eone (ho can no( invest the) all (ith his eJperience and education and brin to their plain s)all lives a teJture they other(ise (ould have )issed& Be is s)art& They are solid but du)b& They kno( ho( to handle oats and ca)els5 he kno(s ho( to turn bad into ood& The prodi al son asks only to be taken back as he is and not as he (as once& Bis brother de)ands he be punished for his sins& The father says5 8What:s the point5 punish hi) for brin in us a treasureL.ut he is no )ore successful or nor)al or at peace& Be still slu)ps around short te)pered and spacey& <ne day he really blo(s his top at the kid and Johnnie is devastated& Be sobs he doesn:t kno( (hat Jack is talkin about or ho( to chan e (hat he is or the (ay he thinks or feels about thin s& Be doesn:t even kno( (hat chan e )eans& Be (ails that he:s =ust little and he loves Jack and (ants to ro( up to be eJactly like hi)5 and Jack yells back that in that case he is oin to be one )i hty unhappy )an5 can:t he see this5 can:t he see that all Jack is doin is tryin to save hi) fro) the )isery and )istakes that lie aheadQLQ Johnnie shakes his head and repeats that he (ants to ro( up to be =ust like hi)& Be (ants to )ake Jack happy but he doesn:t kno( ho(& %nd even if he did he (ouldn:t because then he (ouldn:t ro( up to be Jack& Jack is beside hi)self& @u)b little sonuvabitchQ . ot s)arter& . tried (ritin this story for years5 but Johnnie si)ply couldn:t be retrofitted (ith (hat Jack had learned the hard (ay& .arb lent )e a book to take (ith us to MeJico& ?or us MeJico is (here )a ic beans (e:ve lost in the piles of old laundry (e haul around shake out onto the round and take root& . set the story aside until .ase)ent .thin s about hi)self and those he has kno(n& .n a (ay Jack is (ritin Johnnie this book5 celebratin his )issteps in learnin to (alk5 then dance5 then to leap and fly (ith the little boy clin in to his cape& "#1 . ot s)arter not lon a o (hen .

re)e)ber the olden yello( of the cotton(ood leaves that four decades later have )i rated up fro) river level as the lake re(& The river is earth3da))ed =ust beyond (here it cascades out of its canyons onto the plains& We o over to the cove (here the )arina (as and it:s e)pty5 no trace of there bein the floatin docks fifty boats (ere tied up to a couple of years before& There is a )an (e:ve been (atchin pull a boat fro) the back of his pickup and trolley do(n to the end of the ce)ent launch pad (here he sets up the )ast and sail& The boat is about seven feet lon & %s he passes a ain fro) the truck (ith so)e oars and a life =acket . took it )ore to surprise Marilyn than fro) any hope of findin @usty and 8the F. Ahhh.:d otten to be less of a spill3ball bearin s3on3the3floor uy5 and )ore of a toss3the3beanba 3throu h3the3hole uy& .t had a look he associated (ith )y hats5 and had a horsehair strap around the cro(n& Be likes )y hats and takes the) (hen .etty:s Celebration of Aife at Aa ?onda& <n the drive Marilyn sensed the reactions of the little kid in )e (hose last parent had =ust died& -he said5 8We:ve ot ti)e& Bo( about us takin the turnoff to Cochiti Aake to see if @usty and Fathleen are sailin L. used to be the sort (ho:d )ake a su estion like this but . out in their sailboat at the end of <ctober& . tell hi) (ho (e are and to ive @usty a )essa e that (e (ere here5 and (ent on to -anta ?e& Be says (e can call hi) and5 althou h his cell doesn:t (ork out here5 )aybe ours (ill& Marilyn:s i'hone co)es out and she taps in the nu)ber the )an ives her off his cell& . yes& . ask if he kno(s @usty %rrin ton and he says5 8-ure5 he:s out there so)eplace5 doesn:t )iss a (eekend&. used to (alk the (oods alon the Rio >rande fifty feet belo( the present surface of Cochiti Aake (hen it (as only an idea in the )inds of the %r)y Corps of $n ineers and the Cochiti . .en (as a baby5 and .esides5 (e had been throu h %lbu*uer*ue several ti)es (ithout stoppin to see the) and it )ade us feel lousy& Marilyn al(ays (anted to stop5 but Mr& Mo)entu) kept oin & The last ti)e the rearend body cap of the RD had been torn off in an accident and (e had it @uct3taped on for the 16##3)ile trip ho)e& . )et the %rrin tons (hen @usty in his ne(sletter heralded Li*e Times as the best ne( )a aCine in %)erica in 1/40& Aoved hi) ever since& Bis ne(sletter had about as )any subscribers as )y )a aCine5 1# or 16& We sailed the -ea of CorteC once a little bit& When the turnoff to Cochiti ca)e5 . took hi) here to visit ruins of -panish ranchos and ho)esteads& Aast ti)e (e (ent (as autu)n of 1/2#& .en and .en had seen a hat on display in the (indo( the day before& .CHAPTER $# CELE RATION AT LA FONDA Marilyn and . <n the day of the Aa ?onda celebration5 . hear Fathleen ans(er& 8WhatL 9ou:re here at the lakeL We:ll be ri ht in&. ask hi) (hat happened to the )arina& Be says the Cochitis took it out& They didn:t (ant boats parked on the pueblo land& .ndians& When . (ere (alkin the streets5 lookin for Rachael& We doubled back fro) the hat shop across fro) Aa ?onda (here . et the) properly broken in& We (ere thinkin fifty bucks and the proprietor (as thinkin a thousand because that horsehair dealie (as hand)ade5 so (e left and hoofed it back do(n -an ?rancisco5 passin the "#7 . fle( into %lbu*uer*ue fro) Minneapolis and rented a car to drive to -anta ?e for . (as oin to UNM5 his )other Judy and .

en if that is really hi)5 but by then (e are too far a(ay for hi) to )ake sure& . feel like a (ild beast about to be let out of its ca e into the Coliseu) a)on ladiators ar)ed to the teeth (ith sharp and pointy thin s& This is an initiation cere)ony .:d ridden the -anta ?e Trail (ith thirty3five years before& We:d started off in Ulysses5 Fansas5 and ridden the Ci)arron Cutoff across the desert route to this very plaCa& . ask .t doesn:t )ake sense5 this is .plaCa (here .etty (as as close to a dad as ?red and .etty ot to ether he (as kickin in the door of our house on >ildersleeve5 tryin to et throu h her to visit Marion5 and .ndian )occasins on the third5 all (ith lon yello(y3(hite5 scra ly beards do(n to their laps5 in blue=eans5 (iCened faces fra)ed by battered hats& % youn er version of the) (as standin 5 leanin on the bench5 the four of the) (atchin a ne( eneration of %)ericans passin (ho (ouldn:t kno( )uch )ore about the -anta ?e Trail than (hat they could read off the historical )arker on the obelisk in the center of the plaCa& -o)ethin about the one on the end cau ht )y eye and . kne( it (as an old friend . point the) out to .en is sayin a lot of . (onder if he:ll be at Aa ?onda for the Celebration& Maybe not& Aast ti)e he and . (asn:t oin over5 no (ay& We (ere best friends but there (as too )uch life separatin us no(& Bo( can that beL @on:t kno(& Be had transfor)ed the adobe cabin (here . say there are hundreds of the)& They:re also the ones holdin up the (indo(ed ceilin over the central patio& They say5 8<h&. kno( it:s also a .:ve been hidin & .en5 Rachael5 Marilyn5 and )e in the hall(ay to(ard the -anta ?e Roo)5 carryin uitars5 uitarr[n5 violins5 and tru)pet& The -anta ?e roo) looks eJactly as it did (hen (e three brothers (ere little kids in the forties5 bustin in on parties5 lookin for our )other and ru))a in throu h the cantina (here . lived in his cabin in Truchas for a fe( years5 on the hi h road to Taos& . ever ot in -anta ?e& We (ere in our late thirties (hen she and Mother hooked up& -he (as )ore )asculine than us in so)e respects: lo ical5 a entle critic5 an or aniCer5 a carpenter5 and a fist fi hter (hen it ca)e to protectin her turf5 (hich included Marion& . sa( three old ti)ers sittin on an iron bench side by side& They (ere like a display in the)e Western to(ns (here you pay five bucks to pose (ith the)& Co(boy boots on t(o5 . hand adCed fro) spruce trees cut on -anta Clara 'eak back in the seventies& .illy 'alou played ]avier Cu at& The violinists are t(o hi h3cheekboned -panish ladies in black charro suits (ith ornate silver tri) on lon skirts5 clickin alon the tile floor on fla)enco dance shoes& . .etty:s friends are out of to(n& % fe( sho( up5 )any others are ill or dead& <thers (ho didn:t kno( her directly have co)e to see .:d lived into a spra(lin hacienda (ith a central patio bi enou h to hold a (a on train and its livestock behind a locked ate& Be o(ned a lot of land up near Mora5 (as a )illionaire in land but5 even so5 here he (as outfitted in leatherbreeches and frin ed buckskin shirt5 lookin like >abby Bayes in a Roy Ro ers )ovie& .etty:d co)e out s(in in & They duked it out on the front la(n and (restled in the rass till it (as ti)e to o et another drink& .t:s al)ost four and in Aa ?onda the ei ht )ariachis for .en and Rachael& .etty:s Celebration (alk past Marilyn5 .etty:s shindi 5 but .en and Rachael have checked out everythin in the roo) one last ti)e and (e are okay no(5 ten )inutes to o& The floors and ceilin s of the (raparound )eCCanine above us are supported by vi as .en and ?red:s dau hters Rachael "#6 .illy >oat >ruff brid e to the rest of )y life& . have to o throu h to et to the other side of (here . )issed a *uarter step out of )y ait but it cau ht up ri ht a(ay& .

etty needed fresh life force5 and . (as co)in L.en (as it& .etty takin . .ohe)ian scene because he ot all the renditions of on oin dra)as each ni ht& . . say5 .en has beco)e5 for .en of the Wind and rebrandin hi) .en co)es over to introduce his )other to so)e people she kne( lon a o (hen he (as a baby and (e lived in %lbu*uer*ue5 and .en is still =i sa(in (here she ends and he be ins& When Judy has said her piece there:s that flash of reco nition that first brou ht us to ether in the Ne( 9ork City days of the 1/0#s& We hu and she oes over to (here Marilyn is dancin to the )ariachi )usic and =oins her& % tall5 tri)5 and casually aristocratic )an standin by the bar asks5 8@o you kno( )eL. -he asks5 8@idn:t . 8JudyL Judy %dler&. step back do(n into the roo) (here it:s soundin like cicadas on a hot ?iesta day& The )ariachis are into 8>uadala=ara.etty:s care for a (eek5 and then . tell her all .t (asn:t selfless of )e5 . did (as ask hi) to co)e do(n fro) 'ortland and he took it fro) there5 but she insists ently there (as )ore to it and that:s (hat she:s talkin about& .en arran ed for us to attend (ithout tellin us the other (ould be there& . (ant to =oin the) but it:s like .and Cordelia5 and Cordelia:s children Ruby and $ddieETeddie5 and each other& ?red is here throu h the) and throu h his best friend Mac Watson5 and our )other throu h the lusty )ariachi )usic and lau hter and her randchildren and their children& %nd )e& ?riends of )ine .etty (rote a book called "y City Di**erent that presented a condensed version of (hat only Ti) kno(s the full stories of no(& The Ne( MeJico %rchives people need to start debriefin this )an& . (as fresh out& -he treated hi) (ell and he )ade her live lon er& No( . (ith such passion . et& Be says he (as five (hen he and his brother Mac G?red:s best friendH and their parents picked us up at the train at Aa)y station siJty3siJ years a o and drove us into "#0 . haven:t seen since the seventies (ander in5 and everyone is happy to be to ether5 there:re e)braces and shinin eyes& .etty:s spirit is not there& The bartender is so)eti)es pourin a soda or (ine& Aa ?onda (ill later send a refund check for all the alcohol no one drank& <utside in the hall is a (o)an .en arrived& . think at first is @iane Featon5 lookin directly at )e& There:s so)ethin about the eyes& She knows me but who is she3 -he lau hs at )y eJpression& 8JackL. Be looks like a )ovie star& Be has a (eek:s ro(th of (hite beard and )irthful eyes& . ask ho( )any uesses . tell hi) .en of the -acred Beart& . tell hi) if he ever decides to (rite his )e)oirs %u usta Wind 'ress (ill publish it& Be su ests (e (ait a fe( )ore years till the rest of the )ain players are one& . hadn:t seen her in t(enty years5 that ti)e (as at a John Ro er (eirdness (eekend in A% that .en tell you . (as near death )yself (hen Marilyn ca)e in the nick of ti)e fro) Minneapolis to take over . have a )ission to co)plete& Marilyn is (ith t(o (o)en in their ei hties (ho kne( )y )other (hen they (ere all in their t(enties& <ne of the) the sculptor @onna (ho did the Bistory of Ne( MeJico bronCe fountain in the park neJt to the cathedral5 and the thousand3pound brass doors into the church& Ti)5 the (aiter at The 'alace for thirty years5 co)es over and a ain it is one of those eye3 to3eyes (ithout reco nition for about five seconds oin on for (hat see)s ten )inutes5 (aitin for so)ethin to el in )y )e)ory& Be kno(s all the stories of all those (ho (ere the heart and soul of the -anta ?e . say 8Be did5 he did5 but5 butU eeC5 Judy&. don:t (ant to risk hi) bein a)on the)& Be lau hs& Aater Judy returns and thanks )e for (hat .

thou ht .:ve not )et& We (ent to Wood >or)ley $le)entary in -anta ?e& Be:s in to(n fro) -anta Monica because his father Jack died here a fe( days before5 at a e 1##& We talk for a (hile and (hen .ndian Ne( MeJico& . return to Aa ?onda5 Marilyn is co)in out the door& This is ho( (e used to )eet (henever (e ot separated5 on so)e inner ti)in & -he takes )y hand and says5 8<h ood5 . thro( )y ar)s around hi)5 thou h he keeps his drink up bet(een us& .:ve re)e)bered hi) so )any ti)es over the years5 (ishin . could see hi) and apolo iCe for unkindnesses& Bere he is and it never co)es up& .4 be ins to play fro) speakers in the to(er (here the bells tolled lon a o in our boyhood5 so)eti)es all day for special reli ious celebrations& 8%)aCin >race. leave to o et so)e air he rabs )y shoulder and says5 8>oodbye5 )y friend&.y the ti)e . is )y favorite hy)n5 and )y the)e son & . a) at peace& When .e innin & "#2 . honey.:ve done it5 (hatever it is& % celebration of a life finished5 and a ne( one be unL . )eet John Watson .t:s all history and beyond for iveness5 =ust like )y brother ?red in the duck pond& Just standin (ith John and talkin easily is enou h& . @ot anymore& We stroll a(ay into another life& The . (as at the University& 8JohnL John WatsonQLQ. a) drenched5 le s tre)blin & .t is a busy piece of (ork& ?or t(o hours . transparentL ?ro) the steeple FAma5in( Arace. have to s)ile& 89ou are really so)ethin 5. (as oin to have to o find our )otel alone& . . how sweet the sound. .t doesn:t need to& . . haven:t talked (ith that )any people in )y entire life& . think5 @ot anymore.-anta ?e& Be says he also ca)e to visit )e at 70 BilTrion $slava in Madrid in 1/6/ (hen . haven:t seen hi) in forty3five years& Be has kids in their late thirties . say to the treetops& . crossed the brid eL -tran ers in the park pass and nod )y (ay5 so)e of the) s)ile as if they kno( (hat:s oin on& %) .t is& .:ve )oved a)on the hundred or so people and talked (ith )ost of the)& %ll li ht hearted stuff& . cut out of the hotel onto -an ?rancisco -treet and over to Cathedral 'ark to sit on a bench& The fountain sculpture nearby sho(s 6## years of the -panish and 9an*ui occupation of .

t (as then they be an to see there (as so)ethin they had in co))on5 and that (as their love of Marilyn& No( that the book is finished5 they are talkin a)on the)selves about the neJt pro=ect to =oin in& . i0ooks. loved best5 and for eJclusive use of )y na)e& -o)e of the) turned out to be (illin to have )e dead rather than not run the sho( the (ay they (anted& None of the) have (orked closely (ith one another on anythin( until . A O)T THE A)THOR Jack Underhill is fro) -anta ?e5 a for)er laborer5 (oodcutter5 opal )iner5 actor5 TD ne(s director and )a aCine publisher& Bis previous books include The Aospel Accordin( To Aarcia. kne( by )y fifties that . 0lio. Travis B "uldoon.marilynandme. and the children:s book5 :aised 0y The 7ind& Upco)in is the novel5 SKuatters: &armin( Arma(eddon5 and the se*uel to "arilyn B "e5 titled5 The Sun Upon 'er Jnee. and fro) )ost online bookstores. @ook. out re( the)& They fou ht over seniority5 (hich one . (as pretty )uch a collection of characters in rebellion over (hich one (as the real )e& They had different appetites5 lon in s5 a)bitions5 (ays of co))unicatin (ith others5 and policin )y life& .itascabooks. (as (ell into the (ritin of this book& .t feels like they )ay have set aside the intri ues that kept Jack leapin onto his horse and ridin off in all directions& 7e)ll see.AFTER&ORD .com. Jack and Marilyn have siJ children and three randchildren bet(een the)& They live in ?ridley5 Minnesota5 on the banks of the Mississippi& www.or( ___The paperback book is available throu h www. The ebook (ill be available on Jindle. i<ad.n desperate )o)ents each had si ned on as )y protector5 then stayed on (hen . Smashwords. "#4 .

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