Coronavirus has crimped Bone’s wandering ways, and he is not happy about it. If you haven’t met Bone yet, this interview is a good introduction.
Q: Do you really talk? We’re speaking ethics here, Bone. Blogging is about transparency. That means honesty.
A. Are you crazy? Have you ever heard a bone talk? Of course I don’t talk. I just think out loud. Kind of like Trump.
Q: Curt sometimes refers to you as he. Does this mean you are a male bone?
A. No. He makes assumptions, lots of them. He was showing me to a biologist at a writers’ conference and she suggested I have my DNA tested. “Just cut a small chip off of it,” she said nonchalantly. “You can determine its sex and breed.”
“Just cut a small chip off of it!” Outrageous! I am not some it to have chips cut out of. Besides, I lead a rich fantasy life and have no desire to know whether I am male or female. Call me she, he, or Bone, but never it.
Q: You have travelled all over the world and met thousands of people. How do they usually react to you?
A. With befuddlement. You should have seen the look on the face of the customs agent in New Zealand who tried to seize me as ‘animal matter.’ But emotions run the gamut. There was a Japanese man who got off a tour bus at Yellowstone National Park and wanted to hold me for good luck. Soon there were 40 other Japanese handing me around, oohing, and taking photos. I was thrilled. On the opposite side, I know a woman who refuses to touch me, like I have cooties. Her name is Nancy Pape. “I don’t know where Bone has been,” she states primly. Not surprisingly, there is also jealousy. “I want to be you and travel the world,” a good friend in Sacramento told me.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do?
A. Visit graveyards; there are lots of old bones there. My favorite grave is Smokey Bear’s in Capitan, New Mexico. I once stood on his tombstone for ten minutes trying to communicate but all I could get was something about ‘growling and a prowling and a sniffing the air.’ A close second is the grave of Calamity Jane in Deadwood, South Dakota. What a woman! These are difficult choices, though, when you toss in the likes of Hemingway, Daniel Boone and Billy the Kid. On the light side I once visited Ben and Jerry’s graveyard of discarded ice cream flavors in Vermont. My spookiest experience was a visit to the Capela dos Ossos, the Chapel of Bones, in Evora, Portugal. Those folks definitely have a skeleton in their closet, lots of them.
Q: So, what’s your second most favorite?
A. Too hard; I am a dilettante dabbler, but here are a few.
- Wandering, of course, anywhere and everywhere and by all modes: bikes, kayaks, rafts, skis, backpacks, sailboats, planes, helicopters, trains, cars, RVs, etc.
- Visiting wild, remote and beautiful natural areas. I started life wandering the Sierra Nevada Mountains, John Muir’s Range of Light.
- Seeking out the strange such as ghosts and aliens (I’ve been to Roswell four times and Area 51 once.)
- Attending unique events like Burning Man but I also have a fondness for any type of fair.
- Meeting weird people like Tom.
Q: Speaking of Tom, he and Curt ‘discovered’ you in 1977 and you have wandered extensively with both. Which do you like best?
A. Eeyore, the jackass who can’t keep track of his tail. We’re traveling companions and he saved me from being strung up and buried on Boothill in Tombstone, Arizona. I’d robbed a bank, cheated at cards and hung out with women of questionable character. (This is what I mean by having a rich fantasy life. It’s also known as evasion.)
Q: Which of your journeys has been most memorable?
A. I would have to say traveling the length of Africa in the back of a truck from the Sahara Desert in the north to Cape Town in the south with Tom. Almost falling off the back of a riverboat into a piranha infested section of the Amazon River would have to be a close second. I was perched on the back railing doing a photo shoot. And then, of course, there was the 10,000-mile bike trip. Most recently, Curt took me on his 750 mile backpack trek down the Pacific Coast Trail as he celebrated his 75th birthday. Tom’s been ignoring me lately, but he is getting old.
Q: You are often seen scrambling over rocks in remote sections of the Southwestern United States. What’s that all about?
A. I’ve developed a fondness for Native American Rock art. It resonates with my bone-like nature. It’s also another excuse to go wandering around in the outdoors. Plus, some of those places might be haunted and it is a great place to look for UFOs. Some of the petroglyphs look amazingly like aliens. Finally, wandering in the desert is known to be good for the soul. Ask the Prophets of yore.
Q: Ah, being a born-again bone, do you have any insights into the great unknown?
Q: You are often seen running around naked. Does it embarrass you to let it all hang out?
A. What kind of a question is that? Do you think I am uncivilized? For shame. I am the epitome of haute couture! A bow and arrow toting, card-carrying NRA member in Montana has designed and made me two leather vests. What’s more, a 90 plus year old woman in Kansas going on 20 with a crush on Johnny Depp and a room devoted to the Egyptian gods has made me a kilt and several other outfits. Face it, I am hot stuff, clothed or naked, a real sex symbol. I may take up a modeling career.
Q: And finally, the coronavirus has put a serious crimp in your travel plans for this year in South America and Europe. How to you feel about that?
A. #@&(_+^%#$!(?%&&##@(+!&@$%*@)?”^&#!**!!=’; If you would like a translation, it’s the longest swear word in English, or any language. Peggy feels the same way but she doesn’t cuss.