Bones

o'keefe

I love bones. There’s something exceptionally pleasing about the way they feel in your hand, their smooth surfaces and occasionally jagged edges, their curves and swirls. I love their blankness, their lightness, their simultaneous earthiness and ethereality.

When I visited my old home in Colorado in April, my partner asked me to bring him something that could only be found there (“not a rock”).

I brought him some heirloom beans from the Adobe Milling Co. and a smudge stick made from sage I harvested on my grandparents’ property. I also gathered bones. On a walk around the old settlers’ road with my friend and her three kids, we happened upon what I guessed was a scattered rabbit skeleton. As I squatted to collect the bones, the kids helped, picking up tiny vertebrae and placing them gently in my hands.

“It’s a bunny skeleton,” I said.

A moment passed, and Preston, age 3, asked, “Are you making a bunny?”

I swooned.

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After I returned home, the bones languished in a wooden box for a couple of months before I felt sufficiently creatively energized to make the mobile I’d imagined. Per my partner’s request, I wanted to make something really special, crafted as an emblem of my love, and as a testament to the enduring magic of the fragrant, sky-suffused high desert landscape that’s one of my favorite places on earth.

As well as Southwest bones and rocks, I incorporated Northwest moss and driftwood, in a union between desert and sea, dry and wet, here and there.

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Lunch at JT’s

On a sunny Tuesday, I’d cleaned my house, gone for a walk, and was wondering what to do with the rest of my day.

The phone rang. It was my friend, and she desperately needed a cheeseburger. Did I want to accompany her to the diner? I did.

We hopped in her truck and drove to town, where we discovered that the diner wasn’t serving hamburgers – the grill was out of commission.

“Of all days!” My friend exclaimed, simultaneously amused at the irony and totally crestfallen. I suggested that we continue ten miles down the highway to Cahone to eat at the new place, JT’s.

Winsome decor

In stark contrast to the bland generic ambiance of the diner in our town, JT’s was cozy, inviting, and charmingly decorated to resemble the home of a warmly industrious and exceptionally cheerful grandma. And it smelled really good.

That’s right – 75 cents for a pound of peaches!

As well as a diner, JT’s is a store, offering basic groceries (including locally grown beans and peaches for an unbelievable 75 cents per pound), candy, jam, assorted tchotchkes, beaded necklaces, books, purses made from old cowboy boots, carefully handmade aprons and quilts.

Crafty
Ellen was on the TV

It was a delight to browse the store’s offerings (I couldn’t contain my excitement when I found the most beautiful apron in the world), but the greatest pleasure came with the food.

Simple, honest, satisfying – iced tea and lemonade, onion rings, fries and the platonic ideal of a cheeseburger. Perfectly cooked, locally raised beef, all the fixins, American cheese, and a toasted bun. Dessert was peach cobbler, apple cake with caramel frosting and butter-pecan ice-cream (all made in-house, naturally).

My friend was still raving about her cheeseburger hours – and days – later.

Peach cobbler, good coffee
Biscuits and gravy: cheaper than a bagel and cream cheese!
Real food.