Saturday, April 5, 2008

Candace, a Portrait of a Friend

I know this:

She used to work at Laura Ashley, long ago.

That doesn't seem quite right. The lace pillow cases and organza, yes. (I'm not quite sure what organza is, but I think it has something to do with her.) The clanging cash register and sweaty upturned palms of customers, no.

I know this:

She lives in a 1950's home tucked into a fold of Colorado's Rist Cayon.
She has an antique wooden wardrobe she bought in Scotland before antiques were chic.
She collects ink wells and sea glass. I love this about her.
She hates that Colorado's ranchland is disappearing. It just makes her sick.

She is an editor. Senior editor, my dear. She would be an editor. She has that necessary love of precision, deep reason, and spot of spitfire.
She hates it when people say "crispy" when "crisp" would do just fine.

She's married to a cowboy poet. Business men pay him to be the local color at their man-bonding retreats on ranches in places like Cimarron Canyon, New Mexico.
He looks like he just climbed out of a painting of a ranch hand hunched by the fire, blowing cool his tin cup of coffee.
He yodels on their answering machine.
He tells jokes about big-bottomed women, and says words like "dadgum" and "dagnabit."

On the backdrop of Candace's home in a fold of the Rist Canyon, sits Candace's cottage.

Candace would have a cottage. A lace white and sky blue place.
I enter it like a doll's home. My hands feel bulbous turning the little knob, my head feels like it might bump the top of this little dream house.

I want to call it a play house or a fairy house. But that's all wrong. She's too dignified for that. Then what?

A storybook. That's it. It's a storybook.

I settle back into my pillows and crack open the spine. I turn the first page and see the little 50's home with a curl of smoke from the chimney. The little garden behind the home and the stream running down the back. Her cowboy husband doing something handy on the backporch while his galoot of a German Shepherd, Jack, watches. I see her little cottage set apart from the house, and can just see from the window her feet propped up on the end of her white couch as she reads in the airy sunshine.

Not a lot happens in this storybook. It's one of those books you take out when you want to go someplace kind and quirky and homey. One time, the cowboy husband got a call that Garth Brooks wanted to record his song. Another time, she had a little garden party by the stream at which she served cantaloupe sorbet. The characters are warm and funny and interesting and and gracious, and you read contentedly, waiting to find out what they do in the next chapter.

1 comment:

Pam Shoup said...

Oh Amber, this is beautiful and perfectly describes Candace and her home. I'm so glad we share this wonderful friend! There is no one else like her!