And She Wore Purple Cowboy Boots… (character interview with Deadwood’s Violet Parker)
WOW what a week! Recipes, Reviews, Giveaways, kind of has a theme going huh? Well St. Patrick’s is coming up this weekend so everyone should be lucky this week! Take a chance with these giveaways I believe in the Luck O’ the Irish, and maybe JUST maybe on Saturday I will be making a traditional boiled dinner, if I can get my hands on some decent cabbage and a good ham..
Remember to grab her first two books for free right now over on Amazon which will also give you two FREE entries in her contest (see below)
ANYWAY I was lucky enough to eavesdrop on a certain purple cowboy boot wearing Real Estate agent from Deadwood, SD before she earned some of her infamous nicknames (Thank you Ann!). Saturday I will be posting Violet’s favorite ice cream recipe, Peanut Butter Fudge as promised!
COFFEE WITH VIOLET
Setting: Main Street Espresso in Deadwood, SD. The morning sunshine has just crested the tree-covered hills overlooking Main Street, lighting the red brick road in an orange glow, creeping through the coffee shop’s front door. The air drifting through the open door still holds a breath of coolness, the sun’s rays haven’t heated the sidewalk to a boil yet. From the radio perched on the shelf over the bottles of flavored coffee syrups, Eric Clapton is singing Willie & the Hand Jive on the local station, KSKY 95.1.
The smell of steamed coffee beans makes my mouth water. Unfortunately, they don’t have any soy milk on hand, so I’m SOL when it comes to a flavored latte. My Coke can wobbles on the small, round table I’m sitting at as a full-hipped lady waddles by me on the way to the counter. The old, scuffed wood floor creaks under her feet. I shift in the hard, wrought-iron seat again, sip some Coke, and check my cell phone for the time—Violet is ten minutes late. She wanted to be at the office by 9 a.m., so our scheduled meeting time of 8 a.m. should have given us just enough time to get acquainted. I glance out the window. Not many tourists line the sidewalks yet, mostly retirees who are up early to gamble away some of their pensions and fast-walking, uniformed folk obviously on their way to work. The espresso maker steams loudly,hissing over Clapton’s swanky tale about Way-Out Willie.
A curly-haired blonde appears in the doorway, pausing to scan the room. I recognize Violet’s face from her picture on Calamity Jane Realty’s website and wave at her. Her tight smile and wrinkled brow show a mixture of frustration and tension as she approaches. Then I notice the child-sized blue hand-print on the shoulder of her pale pink blouse and I can’t help but chuckle.
Me: Is that paint?
Violet: (She drops into the chair opposite of me with a sigh.) Is what paint?
Me: The blue hand-print on your shoulder.
Violet: (She looks down at her shoulder and the furrows in her brow deepen.) Oh, shit (she says under her breath as she tries brushes at the blue print, which merely spreads further across her shoulder). Nope, it’s chalk, compliments of my son.
Me: Let me buy you a coffee.
Violet: (Still smudging the chalk around on her shoulder) I would love a caramel latte, but you don’t have to buy it for me.
Me: I owe you one for letting me interview you. I’ll be right back. (By the time I return to the table with her steaming latte, she’s given up on the blue smudge and is holding her cell phone up in the air.) Here you go (I set it down in front of her).
Violet: I need a new provider. (She snaps her phone closed.) What good is a Realtor whose phone gets a signal only when she’s standing on top of Terry Peak?
Me: How’s the realty business treating you these days?
Violet: (Her grin twists at the corners.) I’d be better off selling encyclopedias. Thanks for the coffee (she sips at the steaming liquid).
Me: How many houses have you sold so far?
Violet: A big, fat zero.
Me: How long have you been working for Calamity Jane Realty?
Violet: Two and a half months. And in that time, I haven’t had a single bite. I’ve showed a handful of clients a vacation house or two, but nobody has signed any offer letters. And if I don’t land a deal soon, I’m going to be out on my ass.
Me: What do you mean?
Violet: Jane, the owner, took me on as a favor to Aunt Zoe with the deal that I had to make a sale within the first three months or she’d have to let me go. She can’t afford to carry me if I’m not bringing in any money.
Me: What will you do if she lets you go?
Violet: I don’t know. I could try to get my old job back, but I don’t want to work with those jerks at the car dealer any more. And I hate being tied to that place from 8 to 5 for five days a week, plus every other weekend. Being a Realtor has been so much more freeing. I can have lunch with my kids in the park, or take them to doctor’s appointments in the middle of the day. They seem so much happier since we moved out of Rapid City.
Me: You’re living with your Aunt currently, right?
Me: Don’t you get along with her?
Violet: Oh, yes, Aunt Zoe is wonderful. She’s happy to share her house with me and the kids—at least that’s what she keeps telling me. It’s just that I hate mooching off her so much. She lets us stay in her house for free. She won’t even take money for a portion of the bills. The most I can do to repay her is keep the cupboards full, which is getting harder and harder with Layne’s ever growing stomach.
Me: Is Zoe retired?
Violet: No, she owns and runs the art gallery just up the street. She creates her own glass designs and sells them for an insanely cheap price. She could get four times as much if she wanted, but she insists that her art is for the average American pocketbook. She says there is more money in selling to the masses than the elite, especially in Deadwood. Although she does have this deal going right now with an art gallery in Denver. The gallery’s owner visited Deadwood last year and stopped in at Zoe’s place. He was so impressed with her work that he wants to display and sell it in his gallery. She hard pressed right now to finish the last four pieces of the twenty he requested by the end of this month.
Me: I’ll have to go check out her gallery while I’m in town.
So, tell me about your kids.
Violet: (She smiles and grabs her purse, pulling a couple of pictures from her wallet.) This is Adelynn—but she insists on being called Addy. (She shows me a picture of an adorable little blonde holding up what looks like a long, green ribbon toward the camera).
Me: She likes ribbons?
Violet: Ribbon? (She looks down at the picture.) Oh no, that’s a dead snake.
Violet: Yeah, I know. She’s really into animals—alive and dead. She wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. Aunt Zoe thinks Addy should be a taxidermist, the way she has no problem handling dead things. (She holds another picture out for me to look at). And this is Layne, Addy’s twin brother.
Me: Twins, huh? (I stare down at the picture of another cute face surrounded by dark blond hair. The boy has Violet’s hazel eyes.)
Violet: Yep, born about fifteen minutes apart. Addy came first, so she considers herself Layne’s “older” sister. Shetakes care of Layne, from picking out his clothes every day to making his lunch for school every morning. Not that Layne likes her choice in clothes.
Me: And what does Layne like to do when he’s not in school?
Violet: (She stuffs the pictures back into her purse.) This summer, he’s learning Spanish with Mona.
Violet: Yes. He wants to be an archeologist, and he’s set his sites on South America.
Me: Wow. How old is he?
Violet: They both turned nine last month.
Me: That’s ambitious for a nine year old.
Violet: He’s watched Raiders of the Lost Arc too many times. My dad loves that movie, and Layne and he watch one of the three from the Indiana Jones series every time hey are together.
Me: Who is Mona?
Violet: She’s another Realtor at the office. She wants to retire in Mexico in a few years—her sister lives down there and runs a property management company for vacation homes on the beach. Mona bought some learn-Spanish software, and she and Layne are practicing together. She adores my kids, the crazy woman.
Me: Where do your parents live?
Violet: Down in Rapid City.
Me: Was it hard to move away from them?
Violet: Not really. My mom has been pressuring me to date their neighbor for the last few years. He’s about seven years older than me and is pretty good looking, but he’s about as exciting as a snail race. Every time I would go over there with the kids, Ed was always “joining us for dinner.” I actually folded to Mom’s will this last winter and went on a date with Ed. Biggest mistake I could have made. Mom started talking about wedding dressesand reception halls. I could feel the world closing in around me. That’s when I saw a billboard for a realtor school and decided to get out of the rut in which I’d been spinning my tires and take a chance on something new and exciting. The kids were game in spite of having to leave their school and friends behind. They have always loved visiting Aunt Zoe and the idea of living up here in the hills seemed pretty romantic to them.
Me: And here you are.
Violet: Yep, here we are. (She swallowed a gulp of coffee, and then her lips curled into a smirk.) And if I don’t make a sale in the next couple of weeks, we’ll be on our way up shit creek.
Me: Do you like working at Calamity Jane Realty?
Violet: For the most part. Mona is great, and even Jane is nice, but then there is Ray.
Me: What’s wrong with Ray?
Violet: If there was an award for the World’s Biggest Horse’s Ass, Ray’s walls would be lined with first-place plaques. He’s an egotist, drowning in “old-boy” mentality. And he has it in for me.
Violet: Because his nephew is going to school to be a realtor and Ray wants him to get the job that Jane gave to me. He is counting the days until the end of the month and the end of my job.
Me: Sounds like a fun guy to work with.
Violet: One week with him and you’d be ready to stab a number 2 pencil in his eye and pray he dies a slow death from lead—well graphite—poisoning. Natalie wants me to spike his coffee with arsenic, but I don’t know where you can buy arsenic these days.
Me: Who’s Natalie?
Violet: She’s a good friend of mine. She grew up here in Deadwood. I’d hang out with her every summer when I came to stay with Aunt Zoe for a month while I was growing up.
Me: What does Natalie do?
Violet: Natalie does a lot of things—she’s a dabbler. She dabbles in photography, carpentry, astrology, and the male sex. For money, she is the caretaker for a private campground and lodge just outside of town. She’s a jack-of-all-trades.
Me: Sounds like someone else I know named Claire Morgan—especially the campground caretaking bit.
Violet: I know a girl named Claire Morgan. Her family lived a few houses down from my parent’s place. She was in the grade below me. I played kick-the-can with Claire and her younger sister, Kate, all of the time. Their older sister, Veronica, always insisted we wear reflective vests when we played. (She chuckles and swallows the last of her coffee.) How are you supposed to sneak up and kick the can when you stand out like a freaking runway beacon?
Me: Yep, that’s Claire and her sisters. It’s a small world.
Violet: Especially in the Black Hills. Do you have the time?
Me: (I look down at my cell phone.) It’s eight-forty.
Violet: (She grabs her purse and stands.) I’m sorry to cut this short, but I should head to the office. I want to get in before Ray brews a pot of coffee this morning.
Me: You found a place that sells arsenic?
Violet: (She winks.) Something like that. Thanks for the latte.
Me: You’re welcome.
Violet: (She pauses at the door and smiles back at me.) Don’t be a stranger.
Me: Oh, I won’t.
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