Sunday, December 23, 2018


This is the rare occasion when I haven’t been building up to my post throughout the week. So, I’m resorting to a stream of consciousness that may lead me somewhere. You’ve heard novelists talk about not knowing where the story is going and that, to some extent, the book writes itself. I should be so lucky. You can take heart, though, to know that next week’s post, the last of the year, will be my ever so lovely look back at the images that are the best of 2018 according to me. Yes, I do recognize that’s a low threshold.

Peggy and I were sitting the high-top communal table, the one nearest the kitchen, at Common Fire on Highway 150 north of Taos Saturday night. We intended dine on leftovers but, as will happen after a couple of gallery visits in the early evening, we declared that we didn’t want to cook, even leftovers, or clean up after. Our first choice was Orlando’s, arguably the best run restaurant in Taos, for authentic Northern New Mexico fare. But to the surprise of absolutely nobody there was a long wait so we defaulted to Andy Lynch’s wood oven emporium where we are ranking members of his foodie brigade and private club.

What transpired was an evening of conviviality, tasty treats and new friends well met. In short, the epitome of good food, wine and kinship. As is so often the case, Andy’s business partner and his wife Ann held sway at the right end of the shared table. They were joined by Ann’s daughter and her daughter’s girlfriend who live in Brooklyn. As if the hipness quotient needed to be higher.

On the other side were a twenty something couple from Chicago drinking champagne. You could tell they loved the place and had the impression they would be back for all the remaining meals of their stay.

It was one of those nights, one of those crazy nights when the right mix of players made the joint come alive. The repartee was sterling and Jewish geography was awhirl. We had met Ann but had only seen her husband at a distance. This time we introduced ourselves. He said his name was Billy Sarokin. I asked, “What do you do?” He answered, “I’m a sound engineer and I’m working on a TV series called Daybreak that’s shooting in Albuquerque.” He described it as a post-apocalyptic series in which the only survivors are high school kids. “Feature Ferris Bueller’s Day Off but with Zombies. In fact, Mathew Broderick plays the high school principal.”

“Wow!” I said. “Our son is in the movie and TV business, too. He’s a special effects makeup artist. Two Emmys. He worked on the mother of zombie apocalypse shows, The Walking Dead, for seven years.

With that Billy IMDb’d Garrett and told us, “That's really cool. We have all kinds of friends in common.” File that in the small world file. Sarokin’s IMDb says that he was nominated for an Academy Award for the movie Salt in 2010 and an Emmy for Mr. Robot in 2015.

Owner Andy sat between our parties and it was there that I overheard a real conversation led by a real conversationalist. Andy asked probing questions of the young women, one of whom hailed from a North Dakota town “three minutes below the Canadian border.” “What was life like in a small town in the hell of the north” Andy asked. The young lady that we’ll call Sarah said, “Well my mother was food writer for the local paper. She loved Anthony Bourdain. We had a movie theatre that played the featured film three times a week, one showing Friday and Saturday nights and a Sunday matinee. That’s it, three showings. That’s what it was like in Crosby.”

“How did you get out of Crosby?” asked Andy.

“Well, I went away to college at Minot State University. Minot has something like 40,000 people so it was like a real city to me.”

Pursuing Sara’s life story Andy asked what she majored in and what she did with it.

“I kind of followed my mother’s path so I majored in Journalism and was a beat reporter for the Minot Daily News. Then I decided to become a lawyer, so I could make a difference. I met Sarah in law school in Brooklyn.” Yes, both women are named Sarah.

“We spent last summer in south Texas providing legal aid to migrants seeking asylum. It was difficult and really slow work. They only process half a dozen applicants a day. The backlog is months long because immigration is so understaffed.”

“Maybe that’s intentional” Andy offered.

“Probably” both Sarah’s answered in unison.

IMDb is the database of movies and television.


Blacks Crossing said...

Your stream of consciousness in this morning's blog is absolutely divine, Steve! What a wonderful chance meeting and sublime conversation that made what you thought would be appetizers and a drink, into a most memorable evening. This is what life and the holidays are all about. Good people, good food, good conversation, good travel. A well-deserved gift from the world!

John Ellsworth said...

Well, from your oldest best friend, a million seller novelist in 2018, it is the world's loss--and maybe a bit your own--if you don't go ahead and get down that novel that's been plaguing you forever. I work hard to get my words, old friend; yours just flow from above the waistline and below the hairline - everything you've experienced is at your fingertips. It's all there, waiting.

Please let's accept and acknowledge our responsibility to steward all of our gifts. I promise to continue to leave my camera untouched if you will start with the novel at long last. There.

Lutfi Kurniawan said...

Wow add enthusiasm in writing articles, about enthusiasm,,so that I will get more enthusiasm.

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