When Mr. Franklin said, “Fish and company stink in three days”, he wasn’t speaking about having Marci Donley as the visitor..,And Aunt Bea says she is welcome to return anytime!
We last saw our intrepid duo as they were hastily making their way toward Camp Cheerio – or at least what they assumed would be Camp Cheerio….And for Heaven’s sake who names a camp after a bowl of cereal? – They braved almost everything nature and the internet could throw at them and still they plowed relentlessly onward.
In reality it was one of those great reliefs…rather much like a long-awaited gaseous escape after a too filling meal….when Marci and VB set our weary eyes upon the Camp Cheerio sign indicating a left turn mere feet in front of us.
We turned to each other and laughed – what else could we do? – and headed, at long last, in the proper direction, passing along the way that damned giant locked gate. So, it wasn’t really Google Map’s fault after all. I mean how could they know there was a locked gate there?
Ahead of us stretched a warmly inviting vista of blue-green rolling hills bathed in the golden glow of an afternoon sun not quite ready to give in to the encroaching autumn.
“Oh, how lovely,” Marci exclaimed. She seemed quite pleased with the brimming potential of her retreat and Valet Boy could at last relax, secure in the knowledge that his friend had been safely delivered to her destination and there would be no forthcoming beating from an angry husband or accusations that his wife had been dumped along some godforsaken dirt road to be consumed by hungry vermin or the peckish walking homeless.
A small clutch of Calligraphers gathered on a grassy parking area near the admin building and introductions were made, hugs exchanged during which Valet Boy passed a couple of lurid gazes over the female calligraphers in attendance and then bid Marci and the assemblage adieu hitting the road for his rehearsal.
I reached Greensboro and my rehearsal with a few minutes to spare. The show was called “Piece Work” and detailed life during the days of the textile and fabric mills in North Carolina. I had been working with the company for the past year and we had two more performances remaining under the contract before my term with the group expired.
When Monday rolled around, it was time to get the tire repaired. That turned out to be an impossibility due to the massive damage. I had to kiss that $70.00 goodbye. But, I couldn’t bring myself to replace a brand new tire with another new tire – for some illogical reason it screamed “DEFEAT”. So, after running around for the entire day looking for a bargain, my friend Dan gave me the name of a tire shop where I was lucky enough to get a really good slightly used tire that fit and had similar tread for only $20.00 – about the same as fixing the flat would’ve been. That suited my wallet and Scottish penny-pinching sensibilities just fine. At last I was a moderately happy camper and could put the stress of all that rubber business behind me.
Good thing because I had to travel to Virginia on Tuesday to begin working on a film about the French and Indian War and with a semi-new tire, I felt a bit more at peace.
Marci was having a ball at her retreat and already the seeds were being sewn for a return engagement next year.
I worked on the film for a couple of days. It was still blisteringly hot at the end of September so I spent as much time as I could in my trailer with the A/C on full. I felt so sorry for the guys outside in the heat wearing those heavy wool and leather period wardrobe pieces, but I knew I’d get my chance to sweat it up big time being as how I was playing a British General and wearing just as much wool as they could slap onto me as well. At the end of the second day, I was just about ready to shoot my scenes when a massive storm appeared. Scratch that. Go home, Valet Boy. We’ll try again later.
Marci’s calligraphy retreat wrapped up and she was able to spend a couple more days in North Carolina before hopping her flight back to LA.
It seemed like mere moments after Marci hit the air that old friends Patrick and Lucia O’Connor plopped into the center of Winston-Salem – and I do mean that literally. Lucia is a consummate creator of high-end porcelain dolls and her clientele is a who’s who of Hollywood illuminati. Winston-Salem was playing host to a regional Doll Show and as Lucia and Patrick do this sort of thing around the country, it just made sense that they would land in Valet Boy’s little town.
Patrick, with the exception of graying hair, had changed not one iota and it was wonderful to spend some time with him and lovely Lucia at Sixth & Vine (are we sensing a theme here?). We only had that evening to discuss past, present and future before further Doll Show and Family business called them northward. It was a brief visit but indeed pleasurable.
The result of these combined visitations was a deep home-sickness for Los Angeles and my friends of yesteryear. I hope they know that they are never far from my thoughts.
Thanks for reading!
Next Time: “The Best and Worst Thanksgivings I Ever Had”.