“So how does it feel to be going back to Hollywood?” I’ve been gently asked of late, by friends (well, hell, when you live in a town of 2,000 pretty much everyone is your friend) and waitresses, the guys at the feed store and fellow protestors at our local demonstration against Duke Energy.
“Whackadoo,” I generally reply, “Surreal.”
I mean, one minute, you’re sitting around in your underwear, as you do on a Friday night (as well as Saturday through Thursday) a beer in one paw and the remote in the other, the phone rings with an 310 area code and it’s been so long since you’ve spoken with your manager that you don’t even recognize her number.
“Are you sitting down?”
“Even better, I’m sprawling. Whatcha got?”
“They want you for the new ‘Coach’ series.”
What did I tell you? Whackadoo. Kept well under wraps until everything was a done deal, word was released and as word spreads in a small town (and morphs into more words and then completely different realities) I found myself replying, “No, I’m not moving away, just flying back and forth to film the pilot and a few episodes,” “Nope, the farm isn’t for sale,” and “No, no, I promise I won’t go all Hollywood on anyone.”
Truth be told, I would love to go, ‘all Hollywood,’ just for the comedic value. I’d love to come back with my lips swollen from collagen like a widemouth bass and my eyes tilted upwards at the edges so that my eyebrows slant vertically like Mr. Spock’s, and proclaim to all who ask, “What are you talking about? I just lost a little weight, I spent time at a spa – I’m just rested!”
But it will be very disconcerting to return – the ground will feel different ... I am used to walking on grass pretty much 95 percent of my day unless I’m standing in a sand arena, teaching a riding lesson. The air will feel different and it’ll be nice to get out of the swampy humidity for awhile and even though California is on fire, it’s a dry heat.
I look forward to hooking up with some dear old friends I haven’t seen in 16 years and share a great bottle of Chianti while having my regular Caesar salad at Dan Tana’s, where the red coated waiters who have been there for decades, crack the egg in the bowl and mix the dressing right next to your table.
And then I will be working quite hard, memorizing my lines and being everywhere I’m supposed to, on time, with a heart full of gratitude, all the while sending endless texts to Paul: ‘Is Bonnie OK?’ ‘Did you do her hydrotherapy this morning?’ ‘Did you refill the horses’ water after dinner?’ ‘Is Forrest eating well?’
But so much to be done this last 24 hours before I leave on this first trip: extra hay purchased and stacked so my student and horse sitter, Edith, won’t run out, running to Fred’s when I realized all my underwear, because I can’t be bothered to separate whites and colored clothing, is dingy grey which will be embarrassing when I’m in wardrobe, changing clothes, and dashing to Smith’s barber shop so Baron can shape up my neglected hair. And all the while receiving kindly pats on the back and cheery, “Congratulations!” rather like Jimmy Stewart in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when he was about to leave for his great adventure before being called back to help back home.
Packed and ready to go, I walked out to the barn to pitchfork out any last minute piles left by the always eating horses, gave Forrest a hug and pulled Bonnie out of the manure pile, after sinking up to her haunches in the fetid mess.
No, I’m not moving back to Hollywood ... not when I have all this to come home to.
Reach PAM STONE at firstname.lastname@example.org.