We three gals had written side by side for a solid and lively ten years before Jackie and her husband moved from Tucson to the north of Denver in 2009. Our narratives throughout Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets weave in and out and then grab hold of this departure that ended up being one of the stronger forces to bring this book back together. At Jackie’s departure, we had felt like stagehands, sweeping up after a fabulous run-on Broadway and nowhere to go.
The first year was quiet in figuring out how to continue with our book project. We roughly met via email, Facetime, and bounced long-distance ideas back and forth and continued ‘other’ writing as our writers’ group. When Jackie arrived on the scene in person, we gritted down for hours daily, a large oval table crammed with plans, layouts, choosing of stories, and by end of the day, exhaustion, yet high on fulfillment.
We also required diversions after such deep digging into long tunnels and channels of our writing. We saved a day, or long evening, to do something silly, fun, and restorative to reward ourselves.
On this trip, we chose Tubac, an artsy little village in the Santa Cruz River Valley south of Tucson. We think of Tubac more as a ‘woman’s jaunt,’ (only because some of our husbands considered the best part of Tubac was in the rearview mirror.) We string through the adobe and ivy-covered brick shops like a band of gooselings, our silly chatter permeating the cooler interior rooms. Everything entertains us, and if not, we entertain one another. We loosen our strings and become ourselves together, enjoying one another’s presence as we survey a piece of handmade mesquite furniture, a glass cabinet filled with polished stones set in hand-crafted silver, and oil paintings. We laugh out loud in a stationary shop and pass comical cards back and forth, jutting a chin over each other’s shoulders to read along guffawing without reservation; point and ‘ooooh’ and ‘ahhh’, quip positive critiques about a piece of pottery or metal artwork, and roll our eyes at some of the price tags. We pull on bright-colored hats, wrap fringed scarves around our necks, dance to the high-spirited music drifting through an intercom, hide behind a rack and say “boo” and relentlessly tease one another. We meander together or apart and drift back as one body. Same as our writing.
Late afternoon arrived on that sunny Thursday far too soon. Our legs had given out and we stuffed our packages, sacks, hats, and water bottles in the car. We were full of saucy enchiladas and delicious Tamarindo margaritas from Wisdoms. We drove to Green Valley which is a retirement community between Tubac and Tucson to drop Jackie off at her sister-in-law’s who would take her to the airport early the next morning.
Once unloaded from the car, Jackie’s sister-in-law came out of the shade of her house and joined us on the driveway. Oh, those stupid goodbyes! With tight hugs and tear-rimmed eyes, this was proof and disbelief that Jackie was not an everyday fixture of our lives as before. But being the women we are and the attention we can draw, we had a quick bonus. A large shiny fire truck drove by nice and slowly, loaded with good-looking young men. We immediately stood at attention. They all waved and turned the truck around at the end of the cul-de-sac, came back by, and tooted horns with big handsome smiles. We gals giggled, jiggled our shoulders, and waved back. Jackie says, “Man, they think we are hot mamas!” The truth of it, the nice guys in the glossy red fire truck probably said, “Let’s give these old broads a thrill.”
As noted at the bottom of the page ‘Praise for Our Book’ on our website, this clearly defines who we are.