Having breakfast with Margo our last day in Cancún, February 28th
In early February 2019, Margo Dean Miller, my daughter, phoned me and asked if I would like to go on a five-day vacation with her to Cancún, Mexico. She would fly from NYC and I would meet her there from Miami. We had found a very good deal for a 5-Star Resort, Villa del Palmar, and we could arrange some reasonable airfare so I said yes. I always jump at the opportunity to spend time with my daughters so this was a wise decision on my part, at a perfect time in my life, to be with my youngest, wonderful, calm, and balanced daughter.
Simply put, the vacation was wonderful. But something special happened on our second night there. We had an amazing Japanese dinner and were sitting on beach recliners underneath a perfect starlit sky – not a cloud in sight. I have an app on my phone, Sky Guide. I thought I saw the constellation Orion and pointed my iPhone at it. Sure enough, there was Orion in all its glory.
It reminded me of my late, great dear friend and author, Christopher Cook Gilmore and a poem he wrote and had sent to me with his first novel The Dreamer back in 1974.
Put my Mother in another matrix
Put my brother in another Jail
Put my sister in a home and kiss her
Put my daddy in the U.S. mail
Don’t need a compass to find Orion
Don’t need a woman to be my slave
Don’t need no one to feed my lion
I shared with Margo that Christopher wrote this poem in jail when he was arrested in Rome with seven and a half kilos of hashish that he had smuggled from the Rif Mountains in Morocco. He was sentenced to thirty-six months in jail. Chris and I had met before he was arrested and he wrote to me from jail. I mailed him back and he sent me a short story which I sold for him and some fifty other stories he wrote whilst he was in jail. He was a terrific writer – loved his work. When he was released from jail, he came to New York City before he returned to his home in Margate, New Jersey, and we were friends forever. He passed fifteen years ago in June 2004.After I told this story to Margo I told her I felt like I was perfectly aligned with the Universe, sitting on the beach with her in Cancún on the beautiful Yucatán Peninsula. Then, silently digging deep in my subconscious, I felt the power and wisdom of the Mayan history. It is truly magical there.I then said Margo let’s look for other constellations to see what was surrounding us up there in the heavens.We looked up, turned to the left, and held up my iPhone. Lo, and behold! The first constellation was Leo Minor.
Christopher Cook Gilmore circa 1998 Shakespeare & Company, Paris, France
Christoper was the writer in residence there. I visited him there many times and stayed there once. It is a literary landmark. In reflecting back on “The Great Gilmore,” I recall he had many one-liners and puns so I am sharing just three that have been part of my life for decades. Enjoy!