Friday, April 15, 2016

What Might Have Been

When Evelyn Cly drove onto the gravel parking lot, Steve, Priscilla and I were standing behind the counter having an animated discussion regarding the Kokopelli doors; the entryway to Twin Rocks Trading Post. For the past couple months Steve has been trying to keep them open throughout the day. He explains his diligence by saying, "I like to see the red rock bluffs, and having the doors wide-open is more inviting to customers." Somewhere he read saloon doors were invented so passers-by would hear the music and merry-making going on and be enticed to come inside. Steve believes that if those slatted half-doors were effective, opening our oversized carved doors will prove even more inviting. Priscilla argued that flute music and our misguided jokes are not the same as "merry-making", and that spring breezes allow dust to blow into the store, causing her extra work. Because I am still feeling the effects of a long, cold winter, I am pushing for keeping the doors closed whenever the outside temperature is below 67 degrees.

Priscilla, who is still trying to teach us Navajo, referred to Evelyn's car as a "liba' Chebrolet chidi", which loosely translates into small grey Chevy. As we watched, Evelyn exited her vehicle and strolled up the porch steps. Upon entering the trading post, she produced a red and black basket with a banded hearts motif. Evelyn was unaware that just a few minutes earlier our restaurant manager, Marc, Steve and I were engaged in an impromptu menu planning meeting. As these discussions often do, someone got completely off track, bringing up the cafe's speaker system and how its volume is at times out of control. Going further awry, we moved onto our favorite love songs, and finally, loss-of-love songs. Eventually, we got so far afield the meeting was suspended. That crazy interaction was still on our minds when Evelyn walked in with her weaving.

"Hey", I said, " that looks like a love gone wrong basket." Steve chimed in that it reminded him of a, "Hearts on Fire" basket. Since Priscilla could see we were in a downward spiral, she wisely avoided the conversation. Evelyn stood across the counter and listened to our litany of speculation about just what her basket was based upon and how many love and loss songs we could relate it to. Through experience she knew we would eventually wear ourselves out and get down to business. When we finally did exhaust the bad guesses, Evelyn told us the real story.
Evelyn Cly "What Might Have Been" Basket

"Actually," she said, "you guys are not far off”, and went on to explain that she had received an order for a modified wedding basket. It was meant to have joined hearts in the middle of the weaving with the surname "Tsinajinnie" stitched into the outer edge. The name Tsinajinnie originated from a Navajo clan designation which loosely translates as, "Black-streaked-wood-people". Unfortunately for Evelyn, and the wedding party, the engagement was called off and the basket order cancelled. Fortunately for Evelyn, the cancellation occurred before she wove the name into the piece. Because she thought we could use a heart basket, she cut the weaving process short and brought the restructured basket to us. "Anyway", she said, "I need the money to finish the set you ordered." "No pressure there", I thought.

Since I was not yet finished with my metaphors, I quoted the chorus of the last song I had heard before leaving the restaurant earlier in the day. It was from a Gordon Lightfoot song entitled, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. That tune really has nothing to do with love, or the lack of it, but I thought I had nicely tied in the meaning. "They might have split up or they might have capsized, they may have broke deep and took water." "Enough," Evelyn demanded, "you are making me crazy. Since you are so set on interpreting my basket, why don't you just call it a, 'What might have been basket'"? "Explain", Steve and I said in unison. "Think of the song by Little Texas Evelyn said, the chorus goes like this, "So try not to think about what might have been, cause that was then and we have taken different roads. We can't go back again, there's no use giving in and there's no way to know, what might have been." "That," said Evelyn, "is what this basket means to me."

"Good one!", we agreed and bought her basket without further discussion. As Evelyn turned to leave, she stopped, thought a moment and turned back. "Just thinking", she said, "I know you two are always looking for a story, I wouldn't write this one if I were you. You should probably leave me out of it." "Write!", I replied, misleading Evelyn into thinking we would not involve her, and finished with, "No worries." She looked at me dubiously and departed. I headed to my office and the well worn keyboard. Inspiration is difficult to come by, so we never waste such obvious fodder for feature material. "I see a bad moon arisin'", said Priscilla, shaking her head sadly.

With warm regards Barry Simpson and the team.

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