Last night I watched the award winning movie, “Capote” for a while, trying to rally to watch the football game. I’d seen it before but Philip Seymour Hoffman’s portrayal of the diminutive author is addictive. I reminisced on how the man for whom the movie was centered around and I shared two geographical intersections, one of which included time too.
In the late spring of 1972 I was hitchhiking across America on the way to Alaska to potentially work the oil pipeline being built near Fairbanks with a former high school pal. We got a bit tired of the road in Colorado traveling, as we were, with his 100 pound Malamute and struggling for rides. A man approached us from the window of a white Cadillac convertible in a Sambo’s Pancake House parking lot in the town of Greeley. We had just spent some of our disappearing traveling funds on a stack of hot cakes and milkshakes. The road can take it out of you. He asked if we wanted to make some money doing a concrete job. I said ‘yes’. My friend said ‘no’. Two days later I was staying in a Holiday Inn located in Garden City, Kansas. Each day I went to work joining with a gang of Mexican laborers and a buddy I convinced to join me who zipped west from Illinois building pit silos for cattle feed lots on the outskirts of a town called Holcomb. In 1966 Truman Capote wrote about a family who lived in that town and the awful multiple murders that took place at their quiet Holcomb home in his classic ‘non-fiction novel’ “In Cold Blood”.
Not long after, but in some ways a seeming century in my cooking life, I was working at ‘The Pier House’ in Key West. The resort’s developer and owner, David Wolkowsky, brought many of the New York City Literati/Glitterati down to Key West to bask in the bawdy tropical Island playground of a town. Truman and he were walking along the palm dense pathway by the pool area as I parked my bicycle for work at the employee bike rack one morning. I will never forget the two men’s voices. Such contrast. I put on my cook’s shirt in the alley of the kitchen and walked in to prep for lunch. An hour or so later I heard the two mean leaving down the same hallway I entered in. Other voices, same room.