Thursday, February 16, 2017

Starring Robert Stack and Alice Walker

Last night's discussion veered from the political and covered an array of topics from sports to Chicago neighborhoods, restaurants, and karioke.

Then today a rather unique adventure awaited us.  We were told that Rosemarie Stack the widow of Robert Stack -aka Eliot Ness of the Untouchables- was selling her house in Cuernavaca along with most of its contents.  Did we want to go over and check it out?  Claro Que Si!!

Five of us took up the offer and we spend a couple of hours gawking at the abundance of things that the Rich and Famous Stacks had accumulated over the years.

... a bit of history...   Robert, Rosemarie and their two children began coming to Cuernavaca in the '70s.  They rented a place and would come down for vacation two or three times a years.  Shortly after Robert died in 2003, Rosemarie bought a house in Cuernavaca and moved down permanently.  She has lived here for almost fifteen years.  She is presently 85 years old and wants to downsize to a smaller place.  It is her idea to sell her belongings.

I love visiting the houses in Cuernavaca because they are hidden gems.  All of the houses have large walls surrounding them, many of them crumbling and worn.  Inside the walls there are wonderful sites.

When we went to her house we were shown to the guest house where tables of jewelry, Hermes bags, candlesticks, dishes, glassware, linens, silver in abundance were displayed.  It was quite amazing.  We also saw racks of clothing and furs and she has a very large collection of art.  To think that she must have brought all of these items from Hollywood is mind boggling.  I wanted to take advantage of this unique experience and buy something so I ended up with six placemats and matching napkins that I plan to use for a Mexican dinner in San Francisco. Others returned with an Hermes bag (which she paid $25.00 for),  three unique and amazing necklaces, a couple of art deco broaches (one of which featured Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers dancing!) a bottle of French perfume that turns out to be very expensive and assorted other items.

After our shopping spree we were taken into the main house where the cook was serving Gorditos- delicious stuffed tortillas with a spicy salsa.    Yum!  Rosemarie has five servant working full time for her.  -She had a lot of silver that needed polishing!  And the grounds were beautiful with lovely sculptures randomly placed.

Tonight we had a lively discussion about an Alice Walker short story that we had been given to read at breakfast.  The Welcome Table gets its title from an old Negro Spiritual.

I'm going to sit at the Welcome table
Shout my troubles over
Walk and talk with Jesus
Tell God how your treat me
One of these days!

An old black woman, "dressed in her Sunday meeting clothes walks down the street alone...toward the big white church...just her and her eyes raised dully to the glittering cross that crowned the sheer silver steeple."  She enters the church and the white preacher says kindly, "Auntie, you know this is not your church?  As if one could choose the wrong one."  But the old woman brushed by him because she was in a hurry.  She sits in the back of the church but is eventually tossed out by a band of burly men being exhorted by their women who knew what had to be done.  

Outside, the woman encounters Christ and walks with him.  She is grinning with giggles of joy when Christ says, "Follow Me."  The people in the church never knew what happened to the old woman and never spoke of her again.  It was rumored that an old woman had fallen dead along the highway.  Some say she had "walked herself to death."

If this short synopsis encourages you to read the whole story, I recommend it. The fun part was in hearing the different interpretations about what Alice Walker might have been saying.  They ranged from "She's just writing a story and it has no hidden meaning," to the Church is hypocritical and Christ can only be found outside of the walls of the church.  A few thought the old woman knew her end was near and she was searching for the Welcome table.  But why did she go to the white church to find God?  Why didn't she go to her own church?  We weren't sure about that.

The dinner conversation was varied.  We covered the Chicago Mafia and the Jewish Mafia and ended the conversation talking about the Red Notice by Bill Browder,  a fascinating book that a couple of people had read about an American investing in Russia and meeting up with some pretty ugly fellows.

Tomorrow is Natalia, the cook's, day off so that means we all take Fred and Kat out for lunch and dinner.  Not sure where we'll go, but I always love exploring other places.  

Hasta Luego.

1 comment:

Haden said...

I love your house rules and I'm envious of your discussions! Regarding this book, which I have not read, wasn't the idea behind the Welcome Table song, that the slaves used to sing, that they would someday sit at the table of their owners and, "tell god how you treat me!"? This could be why she went to the white church. She went to their table. But the true lesson of that song, I believe, is that there is only one table that matters, which all are welcome at, and that is god's. In his eyes there is no such thing as a "white table" not to mention a "white church" which is most likely why Jesus was not found in the church but rather outside where he Welcomes her.

It's humiliating that there are still a lot of people throughout the world who are singing that same sad song today.