“I don’t know,” I said. “I have my little bed-sit in LA.”
“You hate LA,” he said.
“I know, I know.”
“Come see my Paradise on the mountain,” he said.
I rolled my eyes. He didn’t see me roll my eyes, of course, but he knew.
“Stop rolling your eyes,” he said, “and come check it out. I have room.”
So I hopped a plane, which he met in San Francisco with flowers from his garden and a bottle of wine from his favorite vineyard, Folie a Deux. I wondered if he was trying to tell me something. It was too late, if he was. He was 80, I was approaching 50, we’d been the best of friends for years. Sampson invariably introduced me as his “little sister.”
Late afternoon sun glittered over the dormant Napa Valley grape vines, turning the bushy little plants of tiny mustard flowers into shmears of buttery yellow. We drove up, up the hill to the property, seven hundred acres of grapes and seven different kinds of trees. The owner, a cheese and washing machine heir, gave Sam carte blanche to design and build him a house on his little man-made lake tucked away in the forest of oaks, pine, madrone, manzanita, fur, cedar and maple.
And so I did.
There’s not much to say about the tiny bedroom/studio on Spring Mountain: a drawing board and a folding table. One of Sam’s architect friends taught me how to make miniature houses to scale.
I made a tea house. I made earrings out of old book papers and created a bunch of largely unsell-able stuff for a couple of local gift shows.