the thrill

The one and only semi-formal party I ever crashed was at the Fenn Gallery with my best friend Anne in 1976. We wanted one last, great girl-adventure together before my quite-brief, post-divorce move back to Iowa and decided a road trip was the way to go.

Leaving Denver at nearly dark, we slowly drove the winding mountain road into Taos the first night, all too aware of the glowing creature eyes along the way. Next day, we journeyed on to Santa Fe. And next night, denimed and booted, we smiled sweetly, lifted flutes of champagne from an antique Southwestern sideboard and began mingling with the invitees of Mr. Forrest Fenn’s private gathering.

Breaking rules wasn’t the objective of the game. We simply wanted to see what was, at that time, one of the foremost collections of Native American art in the nation. This was our one opportunity. And if it included a slight risk-taking thrill for one Catholic-schooled Coloradan and one play-by-the-rules Iowegian, so be it.

We wandered through the beamed, beautiful setting for nearly a half-hour before Mr. Fenn smiled and introduced himself. Immediately, we came clean, apologizing, explaining that it was our only chance to see what he had collected over his lifetime. So much for being devil-may-care party crashers. He laughed, saying we were welcome to browse and enjoy ourselves. Which we did.

Among those who appreciate indigenous art, Forrest Fenn is both revered and reviled. Many say he came by his treasures illegally. Others say he was a collector of his times. Because I’m finding THE truth, these days, is usually a mix of many truths, I’m guessing it’s all this and more.

But I did find it fascinating to see the following clip recently.  Seems Mr. Fenn is challenging others to join in the thrill of living life just a bit more boldly.

That’s something to which I’ll raise another glass of champagne.


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