All I've ever known Marfa for is the lights. Never seen them, but always wanted to see for myself what it's all about. So since I was going to be in this part of the world, I put it on the itinerary -- and in fact I hope to go make an attempt to see the lights tonight.
But as I drive into Marfa, there's an irresistible sight. From a bridge on the highway, I see to my right a young couple sitting at a table in an open lot next to a building, drinking wine in the brilliant mid-afternoon sun. What on earth?
Irresistible. So I turn in past the building -- it has a huge blue sign outside saying, simply, "Cu" -- and around the back to where the couple is looking questioningly at me as I drive up. I open my window and say, I was passing and I saw you guys sitting like this and I had to come ask what this is about. Mind if I take a picture?
Big smiles. Her name is Rebecca, and his is Kent. After the picture, she says, well come in and take a look at the building, and have a glass of wine! It's from a local winery I had passed a few miles out of town. Not bad, as far as this not-quite-wine-expert can judge. Just inside the doorway, rock music blares from an extremely stylish portable CD player -- why do I never find ones like this?
Rebecca walks me through the building. It's a property that's been in her family for a while, and her uncle used to run some kind of restaurant here that closed down. Now she has moved here from Key West, Florida -- quite a commute, that -- to remodel this place and try to set up an eatery of sorts here. Coffee, tea, soups, sandwiches.
Really? Here in Marfa? Will she get enough of a clientele?
Kent, who's actually from nearby Alpine, answers that one. Oh yeah, he says. This has become a sort of art destination now. There's the Chinati Foundation Museum that's quite well known, but also lots of other galleries and studios. Why Marfa? One of those imponderables, I suppose. Warmth, desert climate, blue skies, maybe those are reasons enough.
So now Rebecca wants to cater to those arty visitors, and to people like me.
And while she's showing me around, she says she has these copper paintings by her uncle that she will mount on the wall, and this room will be the Copper Kitchen, and that one the Copper Something Else ... I interrupt to tell her of Bombay's well-known "Copper Chimney". She smiles, and points to her own chimney. We got that one, she says.
And then the (copper) penny drops. The blue sign outside. Yes.
Maybe when they get this place off the ground, Rebecca and Kent should spend a judicious couple of hours every day sitting in the sun and drinking wine at a table, in convenient view of the highway.