Of all things …
So there we were at Abner’s, a watering hole in a speck of a town called Arroyo Seco outside of Taos, N.M.
Is noon. High noon to be almost exact.
Is when the tavern becomes more of a meeting place than a bar. People tend to cluster near the front, close to the coffee and the newspapers and magazines. Also close to where Aggie (short for Agnes) leans on the mahogany bar top chatting up the local folk.
Cluster. In Arroyo Seco that would be, what … maybe three, four people? Tiny speck of a town: the coffee/ice cream place, Abner’s, a general store, a small clothing store, a gas station and two shops for tourists to buy their Navajo trinkets.
A town where the winter people from Taos stop before and après ski in this section of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range.
The front door to Abner’s opens and two tots come in looking remarkably alike. Twins. Then the mommy comes in, looking a bit morning-harried and out of breath. All that thin mountain air, you know.
The mommy goes, “Morning, Aggie.”
Aggie smiles and says, “Hi yourself. Hi, kids.”
Whoa. Doesn’t mommy look a whole lot like …?
Well, Julia Roberts.
Not as pretty, of course. The face a bit too pale, the hair too nondescript and morning-tousled, the mouth a bit too …
But it is. It’s Pretty Woman herself. Those lips, those eyes. Also, we hear one of the townies actually call her Julia.
Later, we find out at the coffee/ice cream shop down the road that, indeed, Arroyo Seco is where Julia Roberts lives.
(Later, we pass her and Phinneas and Hazel, who are about 3, on the street. We smile at them. Julia smiles back. She knows that we know that …)
OK, let’s get the questions out of the way.
The first goes like this:
“Did you hear the Julia Roberts laugh? You know the one — like that time in ‘Pretty Woman’ when Richard Gere snaps the jewelry box shut on her hand?”
The second goes this way:
“Does she look at all like Tess In ‘Ocean’s Eleven’? You know, like in the red dress coming down the stairs at the casino and Matt Damon’s jaw hits the floor at the sight of her?”
Answer: No. Nothing like.
She had on jeans and tennis shoes and a green T-shirt and no lipstick. She looked like the pretty mommy you see at the mall on a Tuesday afternoon.
Well, almost pretty.
Would be if you put a great red dress on her and lipstick and do something with her hair. If she did that, you’d say she cleans up well.
End of story. I just had to tell someone. It’s sort of like the joke about the little old lady who, when she was 20, had sex for the only time in her life. Anyway, she goes to confession and confesses her sin to the priest.
The priest says, “And when did this happen, ma’am?”
Little old lady answers: “Oh, about 60 years ago.”
Priest: “And why are you confessing this now?”
Old lady: “Well … I just wanted to talk about it a little bit.”
So sue me. I saw Julia Roberts in a tiny speck of a town called Arroyo Seco out Taos way and you didn’t. But I did bring the tale back to the Mideast.
Ain’t life grand?
Some stuff happened behind my back that I couldn’t believe …
• The Browns’ offense scoring 51 points and the second-string quarterback (oops, first string) throws five TD passes. I figure that come Week 17 and the Browns are confessing all that went wrong this season, they will be wanting to confess, er … talk … about that week they scored 51. Just a little bit though.
• The Indians, closing in on the division title, play a big home game and draw 28.000 and change at The Jake. This is slightly more than the Colorado Rockies and the Washington Nationals drew on the same night. Was in the box scores in the Santa Fe paper.
• The Jake will be losing its name as the Indians sell out, putting the naming rights for Jacobs Field up for bidding. Let’s hope it’s not a tie between Quicken Loans and RotoRooter. (Presumably, this will help the nickel-rubbing Dolans obtain some high-priced free agents. Or not.)
• Average temperature in Cleveland last week was around 79 degrees. Give or take. Average temp in Santa Fe last week was around 79 degrees. Give or take. No humidity and no pollen, though. Also no baseball (not even minor league), no Professional Tackle Football and no hoops. Loads of skiing and hiking, though. Also way too many well-heeled women with tans and turquoise jewelry who take spas every day.
• The U.S. women’s soccer team keeps winning and getting mentioned on SportsCenter, thus cutting into the time of the important stuff. (Ladies: Send e-mails to sports editor Kevin Aprile. He will forward them on to me. Promise.)
• Notre Dame keeps losing and getting away with it. (It still gets to have all their games aired on national TV.) Not only has big-time football passed them by, but so has Boston College. Never fear, though, Domers: You still get to play Army, Navy, Air Force and Stanford. Is life grand or what?
• Of all the airports in the world, Albuquerque’s is the coolest.
• Say … did I mention I saw Julia Roberts out West …?
• Seacrest, Out. No, wait … that’s not my name. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn one time. (It wasn’t the time I saw Julia Roberts in Arroyo Seco, though. Was another time.)
Contact Doug Clarke at email@example.com.