Our Neighbors Behind the Dune
There is only one other house on our dirt road. We can't see this house from our property because it is behind the dune. Two elderly bachelors live there, on a property similar to ours, from the 30s, surrounded by tamarisk trees and very isolated. We see the gentlemen drive by us occasionally. We've gotten to know them by bringing them a few hot meals, as they subsist mainly on tv dinners, and beer.
The elder man has lived there for 20 years. Now in his 80s, almost blind, he's still digging out his sceptic and chopping wood for the stove. He's planning to move into town soon. He told us his property may have originally been established by nuns who taught native people, and he can see the foundation of some kind of building near his well.
The younger of the two is a self taught sculptor. He finds gnarled wood and makes fantastical creatures: roadrunners, dinosaurs, hippos, seahorses. He paints them if he has paint, or draws on them with sharpies. A glassblower friend is bringing out some beads for him to use as eyes. The sculptor sells his work out of his car, and sometimes just drives around to take the creatures for a ride. We invested in one, and I love it.
We are a bit worried about these guys, as they live very much on the edge. The question is, how much to help?
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Anna does most of the writing. Ted does most of the photos. But sometimes we switch. We are repairing a distressed property in 29 Palms, California, and eventually hope to run an artist residency there.