Friday, August 1, 2008

The Hemingway Fan


By CHRIS MILLSPAUGH

It's the same every year. People from all over the world flock to Sun Valley to learn about Hemingway. It's like Elvis and Graceland. They can't get enough. Take for instance last week as I was manning the gazebo information booth in the Ketchum Town Plaza. A man stealthily edged toward me and said:

Hi.

Hi, how you doin'?

Okay.

Where are you from?

Rhode Island.

Rhode Island? What goes on there?

Nothing. That's why I'm here.

Well, there's a lot to do here. Wha-

I love Hemingway!

Papa?

No, Mary.

Mary?

I've been obsessed with Mary ever since she was a war correspondent for Time Magazine in London in 1944.

Really?

Oh, yes. Then she married Ernest after he split up with that Gellhorn woman. She never loved him like Mary did.

So, you've come to see where Ernest and Mary lived?

No, I don't care about Ernest. I just want to see the places Mary went on her own.

Well, she was pretty much with him all the time.

She was alone some of the time, wasn't she?

Well, I imagine so.

So, where did she go?

I don't know...shopping?

Great. I want to know what shops were here in 1946, 1947 and 1948. And, then, 1958, 1959, 1960 and 1961. That's when she was here that I know about.

Well, of course, she lived here after Papa's death.

Don't want to hear about Papa - just Mary.

Uh, that's going to take a little time to trace back all the stores in those years.

I'll be here three weeks.

Where are you stayin'?

In my car.

Where are you parked?

I don't park, I just drive around.

Little expensive isn't it with the price of gas and all -

Don't care - doing it for Mary.

Uh, do you have a cell phone?

No.

How am I supposed to call you?

I'll call you.

I don't think so.

I can't wait at the house. There's this restraining order. Did she have a post office box here?

I don't know...probably.

That's where I'll be...where she used to get her mail. When you get the list of places she used to frequent alone, come to the post office. I'll be driving around and around the block. Just wave me over.

I'll get right on it. Anything else?

I love Holding!

Earl?

No, Carol.

Gotta' go. Nice talking to you.




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