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(Book Selection) - Dulce III

Sailor had accepted Charlie’s invite to stay at his house for a few nights while he checked the area out. By the second day he had engaged the services of a realtor and by the end of the week he had purchased the ’69 Chevy pickup and made an offer on 40 acres of High Desert scrub east of Dulce just off Hwy. 64.  Sailor had grown accustomed to living in small spaces after all those years aboard the Catalina and he liked the simplicity.  Dulce was not exactly sailboat friendly so he decided a recreational vehicle of some type would suit him just fine.  He located a small fifth wheel trailer in Santa Fe at an RV dealer and went down there to look it over the day after he closed on the 40 acres.

2 days later, Sailor pulled in beside the only hangar at the Dulce Airport and unhitched the RV.  Charlie was the manager at the airport and  rented him a spot to park the fifth wheel while he worked out the details on his property.  The small 26′ fifth wheel was remarkably similar to the sailboat in San Diego and Sailor had immediately felt at home in it.  Arrangements were made to get electrical hookups and a septic system installed on the new property;  Charlie would see to the details while Sailor returned to San Diego to wrap up his life in Southern California.

Sailor flew back into Lindbergh Field 29 days after departing for South Florida.  He wanted to wind down his life in Southern Cal and was just itching to get  back to Northern New Mexico.  First order of business was a call to Mexico.  El Jefe in Mexico was relieved to hear Sailor would still be available to work albeit on a reduced schedule.  The Mexican assured him there was plenty of work to be had along the New Mexico – Texas border as they were shifting their business east as Sailor had done and for much the same reason.  Sailor ended the call saying he would be in touch in a few weeks.   Next up was disposing of items that would not be making the trip to Dulce.  The Ford LTD and Catalina were sold quickly through local newspaper ads. The LTD would be easily replaced in New Mexico.  He was pleasantly surprised when he cleaned out the living quarters in the Catalina and found the contents fit easily in 6 boxes.  He knew the cavernous interior of the 206G would hold them no problem.

More problematic were his financial matters; nothing drew the attention of the Feds quicker than sloppy handling of cash assets.  He had bank accounts in Aruba,  the Antilles and Switzerland in addition to a local checking  account and a safe deposit box.  On his last morning in San Diego,  Sailor found himself at a local motel 2 miles from Lindbergh Field.  He placed a Puma gym bag in a Samsonite briefcase and called a cab to take him to the bank.   Walking into the bank, he made a beeline to his account manager’s desk.  30 minutes later,as he finished the final paperwork at the manager’s desk,  the balance in his checking account had been transferred to the Carson State Bank in Dulce and the gym bag was bulging at his feet with the contents of the safe deposit box .

Sailor was at Lindbergh Field by Noon.  He loaded up the 206G and took off to the east without as much as a glance back.

……………..

Life in New Mexico was a good fit for Sailor.  He had improved his property with a double carport for the pickup and the airport car  and a  substantial deck which enclosed the fifth wheel trailer on 3 sides.  He had also built a 20’x40′ metal building outback that served as a shop and a place that attracted junk.  His friendship with Charlie Notsinneh had grown to the point each man felt the other was his brother.  If Sailor was not at home, most likely you would find him at Charlie’s and vice versa.  Charlie was an avid outdoorsman and Sailor found he enjoyed hunting and fishing with Charlie.  Over the years, the two men had thoroughly explored most of Northern New Mexico with Charlie acting as host and mentor.   Sailor had returned the favor; taking Charlie hunting and fishing in Alaska and Canada on numerous occasions. He also appreciated the fact that Charlie did not ask too many questions though he suspicioned Charlie had a good idea of what he did once or twice a month when he told him he had to go ‘make a dollar to pay the rent.’

As he sat there on the Casino patio,  replaying the events since his arrival in Dulce 25 years previously, he thought of Lori Notsinneh.  She was 20 years younger and had been a 20 year old Junior at New Mexico State University when he first landed at the Dulce Airport in 1980.  She had been an attractive coed back then, but long black hair and green eyes were  just a veneer that masked a sharp mind and a quick wit. Charlie bragged she had ‘plenty of walking around sense.’  She had done well at New Mexico State and neither man was surprised when she was awarded a full scholarship to UCLA Law School.   After graduation, she accepted a position at a prestigious San Francisco law firm but Big City life was just not in the cards.   2 years later, she found herself back in Dulce at the ripe old age of 28.   Sitting on Charlie’s front porch after supper, the two men  listened to the beautiful and effervescent young woman.

“The entire time I was in San Francisco I felt like I was a stranger.”  She looked at Charlie.  “I tried Daddy.  I tried SO  hard to like it and fit in but every morning when I woke up I was homesick for you and Dulce.  Are you disappointed I quit and came back home?”  Charlie took a sip of Wild Turkey and said “I guess that would depend on what your plans are baby girl.  You have been gone from home for almost 10 years and you know I missed you.” Charlie looked at Sailor.  “That old man sittin’ there and a pack of lazy hounds are poor substitute for having a woman around the house.  Now if you plan on laying around on the couch until your ass gets as big as a wash tub and drinking my whiskey, we might have a problem.  You and me both know you got more in you than that.”

Lori wrinkled up her nose at the thought of drinking whiskey; she much preferred the long necked Budweiser she had in her hand.  “No way Daddy!  I worked hard and saved my money.  My car is paid for, I paid off my school loans and I have almost $10,000 in my bank account. I think I know what I want to do.”  Charlie arched an eyebrow and waited for her to continue.  “I checked round some before I left San Francisco and I know the old San Juan Hardware building is for sale down on the square.  I went and looked at it this afternoon and it has a good roof still.   They want $60,000 for it and I believe I could fix it up passable for another $15,000.”  Sailor had been silent up to this point, he was enjoying the warm glow of the Wild Turkey in his belly and listening to the unfolding story. He winked at Charlie and watched  Lori  glance from one man to the other.  After several minutes of silence,  she couldn’t stand it any longer “One of y’all say something! ”  Sailor looked at her  “Sweet Lori, you plan on selling hardware do you?” Charlie snorted and pushed back just a little bit knowing full well baiting Lori was not without consequence.   She fixed Sailor with a glare that would blister paint “Dammit Sailor be serious!  Hell no, I am not going in the hardware business.  I want to set up a law practice.  I can have my office on the bottom floor and live above it.”  Sailor figured he was already in the doghouse “And what got you to thinking we need another lawyer in this one horse town little missy?”   It was Charlie’s turn to grin now.  “I’ll have you know I am a damned good lawyer Dave Connell!  There is some money in this ‘little one horse town‘ and I believe I can get my part of it.  The only part I haven’t figured out is where to get the money to buy the building and fix it up.”

Hard to believe that conversation on Charlie’s front porch had occurred over 18 years ago.  With Charlie’s approval and Lori’s acceptance, Sailor had loaned her the $75,000 to get her law practice started.  Lori had been right about the need for an additional lawyer in Dulce. She had done well attending to the general legal needs of a small community and developed quite a reputation as a savvy and honest financial adviser.  Sailor had walked in her new office that still smelled of fresh paint and hollered “Lawyer Lori  — your first client is here!”

……………..

With the sun getting low to the west and the breeze turning cool on the patio, Sailor looked down and said  “What ya say we get outta here and head home Buck?  We still got supper to eat and phone call to make.”   Old bachelors are creatures of habit and Sailor had his nightly routine.  He liked to fix supper, feed Buck a can of Alpo and then settle in his favorite recliner with a Miller Lite and watch the NBC Nightly News as he ate.   He shared a 2/6/1940 birthday with Tom Brokaw and had watched him anchor the news for over 20 years. When Brian Williams had taken his place last year, it wasn’t the same.  Not bad but just not the same.   Tonight’s supper was a slice of fresh onion, several slices of Braunschweiger sausage and a stack of Zesta saltines. ” You can pretty well eat what you want when there is not a meddling woman getting in your way, right Buck?.”   He grinned as he sat down and flipped on the TV.   Buck was ignoring the bowl of Alpo “You are such a silly, silly dog!”   The dog was a fool for the Braunschweiger and crackers and would eat the Alpo only after he was convinced Sailor’s plate was empty.  The news was just going off when Sailor drank the last sup of beer and  got up to put his empty plate in the sink.

Buck was wolfing down the can of Alpo as Sailor returned to his recliner with a generous juice glass of Bulleit whiskey.  Picking up his cell phone he hit the speed dial entry labeled ‘Cowboy’ and listened as the phone rang in Terlingua, Texas.  It went to voicemail and Sailor waited for the tone.  “Cowboy, it’s Sailor.  I am going to have to skip out on pulling the RV down your way the first of the month.  I been dealin’ with some doctors and such up here and it is just too much for me to handle right now.  Don’t ever let anybody tell you getting old is a piece of cake.  Maybe I will see you before the winter is out.   Later!”   Sailor looked at the dozen or so prescription bottles that were arrayed on the table and picked out three.

 

 

 

 

Previous installments of the book are HERE.

Disclaimer:  This is a work of fiction.  None of the characters are real.  The events depicted may or may not be historically true or even remotely factual.  Locations and descriptions may or may not be actual.  This is my original work and you DO NOT have permission to copy more than a short excerpt which must point back to my original document. This work and all work in this series is Copyright © 2013 MyOldRV.com.

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