THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.
In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.
Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.
by Larry Brody
Recently I’ve been getting e-mail asking for closure about various people, places, and things I’ve written about over the last two and a half years. In my experience, life is filled with mysteries, large and small, that never get solved, so in my writing I try not to deliberately leave loose ends. Nevertheless, due to popular demand, here are some Live! From Paradise! updates:
The Not-So-Good Ole Boy in the Black Pickup Driving Around Shooting Dogs. Turns out there was no such person. Something else was happening, and the Black Pickup was a diversion. What was that something else? Can’t say, not yet. But the Paradise dog population seems safe for now.
The Ghost Dog. As long as we’re on the subject of canines, this just in: The Cloud Creek Ghost Dog probably isn’t Gwen the Beautiful’s and my lost dog Draco. Nor is it Emmy the Bold’s short-lived puppy. How do I know this? My source is Delly the Interstate Trucker. She came forward the other day with the news that the original owners of our property also saw a ghost dog. And, no, they didn’t have a clue as to its identity either.
Youngest Daughter Amber. In her relentless pursuit of life on the edge, Amber spent a year studying art in Florence, Italy, and then returned to the good ole U.S.A. and fell in love with a guy Gwen and I think is The Best. However, there’s a catch. Amber’s twin flame is an adventurer by both vocation and avocation, and as I write this they’re living on a 40 foot wood sailing yacht, outfitting it for a trip around the world. How do I feel about this? Umm…how would you?
Burl Jr. the New Groundskeeper. Burl Jr. recently played to a packed house on Beale Street in Memphis. And only half the audience was comprised of old friends who drove out from Paradise to see him. Gwen and I sat and beamed during two sets. If Burl Jr. doesn’t make it as a blues man, it’s not going to be because of anything he’s done…or hasn’t done. It’ll be because the music industry is in transition—and no one in it understands what to do with new talent of his type.
Bob the Very Careful Cat. The bad news for Bob, our cat who lived behind the oven for years, is that his loyal friend and protector, Baggy, died last summer, suffering a heart attack walking around the outside of the main house from the back door to the front in 100-degree heat. The good news, though, is that without his bodyguard, Bob has become more sociable. Instead of running off whenever he sees me, he stays where he is—usually on the bedroom window sill—and glares at me until I move off. Hey, at least now I know we’ve got a cat!
Buck the Ex-Navy Seal. I haven’t written about Buck lately because he and I had one of those falling outs where you never really get in each other’s face you just sort of avoid that face instead. I think it’s been my problem more than Buck’s. He and Delly bought themselves six horses when the horse market bottomed out a year and a half ago, and instead of wishing them well I became envious…and looked for things they were doing wrong with the horses instead of helping them do everything right.
My criticism wasn’t exactly welcomed. As, I realize, it shouldn’t have been. And, no, we still haven’t talked about the situation. But maybe now that I’ve made myself write this I’ll be able to knock on their door and say what I need to: And maybe then we’ll be in each other’s lives again.
The Wind and other Voices of the Universe. I haven’t been writing about them much recently either, but our conversations continue. The problem is that the more I learn about life, death, and everything in between, the more I realize how much I don’t know.
Or, as the Wind mentioned to me just the other day:
“Closure? Ha! Want to know the real meaning of life? It’s two words.