A couple of years ago, we went up to Sun Valley, Idaho while buzzing around the countryside. It was known as Ketchum, Idaho until a developer had other ideas and would bring the rich and famous to his newly named ski resort. Ernest Hemingway had a place up there along with a couple of his favorite watering holes. I made sure to have a drink myself in one of them while staring out of an old window there. One of Hemingway’s favorite drinks was whiskey and soda, or so I read somewhere, so I saluted him with one of my own.
While up there, we hiked about the Sun Valley resort area for a bit, got a little sweaty while wearing our well used, outdoor attire and got very thirsty at that high elevation. We went into the main lodge to find a drink of water and instead I found myself in the middle of a wedding party of extremely well groomed and well dressed, sleek, tan, beautiful and undoubtedly very rich people all who seemed to be gathering to get into limousines to head off to a wedding rehearsal dinner down the hill. These were indeed the 1 percenters. Stumbling into the center of this group and being examined by some of its members, I turned to one of the beautiful ones and said, “Well, it looks like I have underdressed once again.” You could see that she thought, “My God, is he actually with us?” She winced and I winked. (Personally, I think the wink should come back into style like in the old detective movies.)
It got me to thinking about people, class structures, death and Ernest Hemingway. I thought about how it is nearly impossible to avoid emotional and psychological and even physical pain as we live our lives, regardless of how rich we might be. And, nobody escapes here alive. Hemingway won the Nobel Prize for literature. Hemingway also died from an apparent suicide using his shotgun in his Ketchum, Idaho home. He drank a lot of alcohol back in the day. He also created an entire new form of American literature. He wrote many popular books, including For Whom the Bells Toll. Earlier in his life, it was reported that he died in a plane crash in Uganda at Murchison Falls. Although he and his wife not only survived that crash, the next day they crashed again. Death seemed to be a constant concern of Hemingway’s and I suppose of mine too.
About the geological opposite of Ketchum, Idaho is the area between Calexico and Indio, California, where the Salton Sea is. Where Ketchum is green and mountainous, that area of California is, well, it is not green. It is… sandy. The telephone poles out there always stand out in my mind. when I think of that area. The trains run through Indio, onto Flagstaff, Arizona, and then beyond to Santa Fe, New Mexico. About halfway between Indio and Santa Fe is the town made famous by the country/folk/rock group, The Eagles. It is Winslow, Arizona.
From all these facts, experiences, and inspirations, I wrote and present here, the final version of my song, Drinking with Hemingway. Bottoms up.