There was one thing we did do while we were driving that didn’t involve digging into our past lives and loves. Kate had her laptop, so we did more work on the book (you’ll be hearing that a lot!) Jean had given us feedback on an earlier draft. She is so creative on so many levels, and came up with terrific suggestions, some of which we were able to include in our rewrite after the table reading. Now, on the way to New Mexico, we had several new ideas, and we were figuring out how to work them into the current draft. Of course, Dan’s music filtered through the car’s speakers as inspiration while we worked.
We arrived in Flagstaff and checked into our digs for the night – it was a room the adventurous Kate had found in a sweet house on the edge of the Coconino Forest! The couple who owned the home were delightful – an architect, a designer, and their very friendly dog – and made us feel very much at home. That evening, we hopped in our car and drove into downtown Flagstaff. Kate was there a couple of years ago for a film festival in Sedona and was thrilled to be back. I hadn’t been there in probably ten years, and my memory of it was kind of funky. But the historic center has been charmingly gentrified. We found a great place to eat, Brix Wine Bar & Restaurant, and were able to dine al fresco in the beautiful enclosed patio. It felt great, after the lengthy drive, to have a glass of wine and relax.
In the morning, before we left (wishing, of course, that we could stay longer), we took a long hike through the forest. It felt great, knowing we had another six or seven hours before we reached our destination. We thought that we might end up staying here on the way back from Santa Fe on Monday night.
Somehow (not surprising if you know us) we ended up getting a late start. But we weren’t worried – after all, I said, “The reception doesn’t start until…8pm?” Kate answered “Sure, something like that.” So we spent another day in the car, with Kate grilling me about my deepest, darkest secrets, and me providing all the answers. We may have stopped somewhere for lunch, or we may have simply snacked and yakked our way across another State Line. Just after 5pm, we pulled in to Love’s Truck Stop, outside of Albuquerque, to fill up the tank – a rare event in a Prius. One of us decided it would be a good idea to actually look at the information about Jean’s show so we’d have the address, etc (probably me ;-). We had both brought cute outfits, and wanted to get to the condo in time to take a shower and freshen up. Kate looked at the info and turned pale – the reception was starting at 6pm!!! So all our plans were out the window – we ended up digging our clothes and shoes out of our bags in the trunk, brushing our teeth, and changing into a version of our party duds in the public stalls of the restroom at the station’s mini-mart. We were horrified at the idea of taking this long journey and possibly missing the main event!
We made it to the McClarry Modern Gallery in Santa Fe, only half an hour late, relatively cool, calm and collected. It was a terrific show and Jean looked beautiful, as always. The show primarily featured her newer modern works, and her use of light and shade and color and form are singularly her vision. A couple of Jean’s BFF’s were there to support her as well, and it was so nice to meet her friends and see Jean in her element. We didn’t discuss “Part of the Plan” that night – it was Jean’s evening and we respected that. We knew we were getting together with her the next day before she headed back to the Ranch in Colorado. So Kate and I finally made it to our condo, which was spacious and very South Western, unpacked, and stayed in for the evening. It finally hit us that we were exhausted!
Sunday morning we found our way to the Santa Fe Historic Plaza. We shopped, of course, and did some sightseeing. Kate bought some beautiful Talavera tile pieces for her home. My husband, Bruce, an excellent chef, had asked me to pick him up some spices that were specific to the region, which we managed to find. Then we met Jean at the historic La Fonda Hotel On the Plaza for lunch. Jean told us the whole story of how she and Dan met, right there in Santa Fe! She was singing in a club and performed “Leader of the Band,” without realizing Dan was in the café, watching her. He approached her afterwards and said something like, “Nice song.” Jean responded, “It’s a GREAT song.” Dan then introduced himself, and the rest is history. As many of you know, theirs is a very special love story.
We were able to bring Jean up to date on “Part of the Plan” and the changes we made, as well as our plans moving forward. Jean has always been very respectful of our work, and while we love her comments and ideas, she’s very clear that they are not “notes” in the traditional sense. Whatever we found useful, we should incorporate, she told us. But also, Jean wasn’t the least sensitive if an idea didn’t work for us. It was an indication of her trust in us. One interesting development: Kate and I had made our female lead, Rebecca, an artist – before we even realized the extent of Jean’s talents. Part of our discussion at lunch turned Jean’s offer to use her artwork in the production as Rebecca’s. It’s obviously too soon to put anything in stone, but we all sure fell in love with the idea. We even changed a line in the dialogue to reference Lee Krasner (it had been Isabel Bishop) to align with Jean’s sensibilities as an artist.
The hours flew by and it was time to say goodbye. Jean had a three-hour drive ahead of her, so we wished her a safe journey, and looked forward to our next meeting. It’s hard to believe this was only the second time we’d been face-to-face with this remarkable woman.
Kate and I walked around Santa Fe for the rest of the afternoon, and had a fabulous dinner, and a margarita or two, at El Farol (highly recommended to anyone visiting Santa Fe). We were sitting VERY close to a couple on a first date who felt compelled to reveal tell-alls to one another about every relationship they’d had before tonight. Besides, we weren’t eavesdropping. This couple chose not to keep their voices low ;-) A reminder to all of us – watch what you say in public. There could be a writer or two listening in!
Arriving back at the condo, Kate checked her calendar, and realized she needed to be home for a meeting first thing Tuesday, not Wednesday! Change of plans!! We got up early on Monday and drove the full 12 hours home – 847 miles. We arrived home exhausted, but very satisfied, and glad we’d made the trip. One thing we knew for sure – we were building our own relationship with Jean Fogelberg. It was no longer only about Dan and the musical. We were becoming friends, which would make doing “Part of the Plan” with Jean as our partner, an even greater joy.
* Note, we realized when attaching our photos, that our trip to Santa Fe actually took place a month before Kate’s trip to NY, not after… oops!
- Karen Harris