Blue Heron in flight

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Logan's Run

I am back from New Mexico. 

The show was decent, I sold everyday, but certainly not enough to get the boot off my throat and give me the opportunity to breathe oxygen like most normal people get to do. 

Paying for a misspent adult hood, I am sure. 

I feel pretty raw right now, probably should stay away from the keyboard. But I won't.

The miles are getting longer and harder and the returns steadily dwindling. Had about a twelve hour drive the first day, with various stops en route to buy and procure inventory. 

Ended up at the same crappy hotel I stayed in last time in Holbrook, the one that lost power while I was there. No issues this time, fortunately.

Made my way to Albuquerque around noon and got a call from an 86 year old cancer survivor who had some Utah paintings for sale.  Friend gave me her number, said she might have some other stuff too. I just happened to be on her Rio Grande offramp to her house in Rio Rancho and figured it was a message from the heavens.

The house was full of Thomas Kincaids, bad cut glass, hummels and the like, lady was very nice and wanted to talk to me about Jesus's miracle and great plans for me but it wasn't really the best or right time for me to chat about such lofty things and I gratefully took my exit. I bought a painting from her, a snow scene.

She had a very small country style vest in her garage and insisted on giving it to me before I left. Don't know anyone that small.

I headed up to Santa Fe, picked up some paintings for Steve at a consignment shop and met Millard at his workshop.

He had a frame that would work with my new painting.

I went over to the show and picked up my packet. 

Have no idea where I ate that night or with who? 

Things are starting to blur.

Oh ya, Jambo with Saylor. Goat and lamb stew and peanut chicken curry. 

Wanted to get out to the BobKat Bite but couldn't make it happen.

Was a long week. Never took my camera out of the bag, never felt the need.

The weather was nice, topped out at about 87° every day but the nice breezes were very pleasant.

I always liked the early shows better than the August shows, people are nicer, more local, weather is better.

The show was difficult to set up, a one day set up with buyers there from the gitgo.

Makes it hard for a one man show like me to get the paintings up and the merch in the case, even with a booth a third the size of what I am used to.

The promoters were super nice to me. Sold a lot of silver, not a lot of art. Got real close with a few buyers. 

Some people did better than I did, some people did worse. As usual. Couple poor dealers came down with covid, after an ill fated dinner together. One never showed up, other left after set up. Sad, very nice guy, had traveled a long way.

I met an older lady there working security who had a rather diminutive frame. 

For some reason I do not think life has been too kind to her. 

I gave her the vest I had been recently gifted and she was ecstatic. Carry it forward...

Probably had not received a present in a long time. 

Never took it off for the next three days, far as I could tell. Made me feel good to make her happy.

I enjoyed doing the show would go back in a heartbeat. 

Getting priced out of the other Southwest shows, need to keep my foot in the neighborhood. 

Probably not going back in August, unless I get a deal on a booth and that is not going to happen. 

Caught up with some old friends at the show. 

Many are dealing with their own personal issues. 

Great to touch base with people I love. We have all shared a lot over the years.

And there was the normal cast of characters around as well, they add a lot of color to the local landscape.

One of the highlights of my show was having the wonderful country star and mandolin player Marty Stuart walk past the booth. 
He was a very down to earth and easy guy to talk to and laugh with. We talked guitars and music and it was a gas.

Had a great meal with Ben at Julias Restaurant at the La Posada. 

Place was high rent, interesting to see how the other half lives. 

Tremendous osso bucco.

Horsley and Ross Traut and I went to Harry's the second night. Turkey enchiladas always do the trick.  That was a very nice time. 

Hit the Pantry on my way out of town. Berry and cream cheese stuffed french toast was pretty intense.

Saturday was good at the show, Sunday started at a crawl and went out with a whimper. Show ended and the pack out was tough. Post immunotherapy treatment, which just happened the previous Friday, along with the high altitude, not to mention the intense chore of getting so much stuff out of there I started getting really dizzy. Kim Martindale saw me and said my color was weird and made me sit down. Found me a porter which I am grateful for.

I went to Los Potrillos after the grueling three hour pack out and had cabrito which was more like a birria stew than I had expected and it was probably not the smartest thing to put in my system. But I am still alive. Place has been open since 1947 and I think my goat was killed at the inception.

I had originally planned to leave Sunday night and get back on the road but wanted to see my friend John Morris who is in hospice care and who couldn't see me until 10:30 the next day. So I called the hotel and booked an extra night.

He is in a gate guarded community way the hell out of town and nobody picked up the phone when I called from the gate to ring me in. So I just sort of sat back in the truck until a delivery guy buzzed in and piggybacked my way to John's door. Laying down in a hospital bed, on oxygen.

I am not exactly sure what is wrong with my long time friend, we didn't get into it. He will probably outlive me. My mom did seven months or so in hospice.

He said he has to finish his autobiography before he checks out and the longtime music impresario told me that they were only at Chapter 10, had just finished Woodstock and the Fillmore East. Rainbow Theater next, I suppose.

So they have a hell of a long way to go. Music tours and antique show production. I offered to help but he says that they have it under control. Great to see my longtime bud, one day the world will be quite different without him. Terry S reminded me that John and I were at each other's throats for a year or two. So what? We mended our fences and forgot about it. Because that is what families do. We have way too much history together. Will love the guy forever.

I drove to Phoenix, by way of Holbrook and Payson, a beautiful drive down the rim. 
It was a chill 107° on the valley floor. 

I met Steve at one of my favorite Korean restaurants, Hodori, in Mesa. He had their specialty, the bubbling tofu soon soup with pork. I had kalbi, quite delicious.

I spent the night at his house and after seeing Barry for breakfast at Oink in the morning, finally hit the road. While I paid $3.18 for gas at Santo Domingo in New Mexico, Arizona is now close to California prices.

I unloaded today. I am completely exhausted, haven't had a break in weeks.

Have another treatment scheduled Friday, the first of four. Last time it got worse towards the end, the effects being somewhat cumulative. I will continue to try to grind out a living, have no other choice but to carry on. Another show beckons at the end of July.

A friend asked me about my retirement plans, if I had any iras sitting around? I laughed. I got nothin except what I got and it is all on the line, always. 
A commercial building with a sizable mortgage and questionable future value in a world where brick and mortar will soon follow the dodo bird into oblivion. Where in the hell would I put all my crap if I sold the building anyway? All this artwork that the younger generation couldn't give a shit about?

Getting cancer at 28, I honestly thought I would be dead by 52 or so, never gave the matter of a future much thought. If I had known I would have lived this long I probably would have planned better. Found a dull corporate job.

I made millions at one point in my life, gave it away, had it stolen and pissed it away. All part of Robbie's grand adventure. I was brought up living on the chaotic edge with a crazy mom and her alcoholic and sick partners, guess I got a little too comfortable with disaster, always close enough for an ankle nip, to this day. You need a high wire act, you need to see my resume.

So what does the future hold for me? I would bet on total collapse if I was a gambling man. Entropy supercharged and squared and maybe they haul me out of some godforsaken hall or shitty state fairgrounds with my boots on and a tag on my toe trying to complete one last sale for I take the final lap in the gurney to the great abyss cross the river Helayid. Who the hell knows? 

That's what my nightmares look like anyway, always an old cowboy show and I am either naked or have had all my stuff stolen or the worst stuff there and am definitely camped out on the end of the line with my teeth kicked in.

I played the game and won my share and it worked entirely perfectly until it didn't. Sorry son, you done used up all your free credits and it ain't ever gonna be easy agin...

Saw a lot of homeless folk on the trip of course, they are everywhere. And it would be easy to think that they are all drunk or stoned or mentally ill. But I think many of them are just old and can no longer make the system work. As the Beatles said, it's all too much. And they simply get spit out.

I read about a 94 year old man getting evicted this morning from his home of 77 years. Sad how disposable we humans are when our due date has passed. Move along, expire quickly, nothing to see here...

Anyway back to the homeless. They are everywhere, Santa Barbara, Portland, Fallbrook, Seattle, New York, San Diego, where the hell aren't they? But the ones that have to live and die in a hundred degree weather in places like Albuquerque and Palm Springs look especially bad and beaten down. Life starts the tumble and the sun finishes it. 

Saw quite a lot people pulling food out of trash cans, at least I am not there yet. It can happen to most of us, in shorter time than you think but I guess it beats a Russian rocket on your front porch.

I have four sets of friends that have gone to Scotland in the last two months, Italy, Spain, Portugal. Wales, Croatia. I am happy for them. They earned their good travels and played the game right, are now sampling the just deserved fruits of their good fortune.

Would be nice to think about getting away again one day with my wife but I don't see it happening any time soon. Need a good run and who knows if you ever get it? Living on road dust and dirt. Eating gravel. My time to lose? Oh, shit, now I'm getting sorry for myself. Had a hell of a run and have no other choice but to keep fighting. But I knew that it would be a tough summer. Losing the Del Mar Show was like a domino that crashed the whole damn jenga tower.

Barry asked me why I didn't write a book? The answer is that the work isn't good enough yet, I don't have the time or financial security to write the book I think I am capable of. Haven't written any decent fiction in years. Will be interesting to see if I get to it before my own ticket is punched.

I told you I was in a bad mood.


Scrota said...

I believe that was George and not the Fab Four.

Just after you left (maybe a coincidence) they found a chalked cross on the alphabet rainbow flag on the plaza, put there for pride month, with Jesus Saves as an addition. It is being investigated as 'vandalism' and a 'hate crime'. Jesus is now considered a terrorist and I'm sure will be on the SPLC's next hit list. At least they aren't feeding the 'terrorists' to the lions and brahmas at the rodeo grounds...yet.

The protected class of vagiphobes have certainly turned the tables on the 98% of the rest of the citizenry, but I can't help but feel things will turn around and remind
everyone just who has the phobia.

Henry Hyde

Ken Seals said...

I really enjoyed seeing the photos and hearing about your trip. Got to make note of the Santa Fe restaurants in case I ever get back there. Hoping things look up for you my friend!!

Blue Heron said...

Millard - From Yellow Submarine, thank you. They all played on that one, 1969. Not their greatest effort but still had some gems.

Liz said...

I have always loved Marty Stuart. Right now I find it interesting that my daughter and goddaughter both are loving some of my favorite music. Stuff I never expected people in their late thirties to like so much. Jason Isbell for example.

You need to visit while you still can. I have been out of the hospital for two weeks now

Blue Heron said...

Liz, I don't have the money to get away. I hope that changes, I would love to see you one day. Johnny is in Pittsburgh. Maybe he can get away.

Jon Harwood said...

I suspect that the struggle of working is helping you stay alive on our rather questionable planet. If you had a surprise 5 million bucks, the life of leisure would probably finish you off. We humans are odd in the way that we are hard wired for struggle and in the way adversity can have a strengthening effect. On the other hand we have some limits as to how much we can take. If the whole damn shebang caves in I suspect that you will surprise people by your creative methods of living on a social security pittance. You are really a unique tough and creative individual. If all else fails I can clear out a pod in the pigeon loft as a crash pad for you.

Horrid childhood experiences either make us homeless by 25 years old or push us into creative survival. So far, and I think also in the future. you will surprise us.

Diane O said...

It's easy to be down these days. It's been a long stretch of bad news, bad people, bad medicine. Thanks for sharing the pain, it makes mine a bit more bearable knowing I'm not the only person getting tired of bailing out the leaky boat. ~ Diane O