Out and about: Falling into the forest

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Sep. 3—Darlings,

This is our nation's Labor Day Weekend. The Burning of Zozobra (our own Santa Fe New Year) took place in front of a crowd of thousands on Friday night. All I know is that I'm not gloomy since I burned all my worries with Old Man Gloom. Pumpkins, I thank heavens for these man-made events, the kind that erase all my cares. Just look at all the choices we have this Labor Day Weekend! If I had children, I'd be out at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas celebrating the 20th Annual Santa Fe Fiesta de Los Niños. Oops, Dearest Readers, since I forgot to have children, I'll opt instead for Santa Fe's Margarita Trail, enjoying my choices of up to 50 margaritas as I traverse that trail. Please, Sugar Lumps, take away my car keys right now.

Ahh, but enough about me. (What am I saying, Lollipops, it's never enough about me!) Here are some real estate stories for you. Paul Duran (KW/Santa Fe) and I have been friends since he was the QB for Marion McGuire Realty and I was a beginner at Jay Green Real Estate. Both offices were located on Paseo de Peralta across the street from Mountain Wolf Properties, which was right there at the corner of Paseo and Canyon Road. All of these places and people are now gone ... except for Paul and me (here I go about me again!).

Today, Paul and his business partner, Kelly Allen (the Duran Allen Team at KW/Santa Fe), recently listed and sold the famous Sol y Sombra home at 4018 Old Santa Fe Trail. Twenty-two years ago, Paul, a Realtor with French & French, was on floor duty when he got a call from Paul G. Allen's business manager stating that Paul G. (co-founder of Microsoft) was looking for a property in the $1.5 million range. Never restricted by price, Paul Duran sold Paul G. Allen the Georgia O'Keeffe estate — Sol y Sombra — for 12 million dollars. Fast forward to now. Waiting an appropriate time after Mr. Allen's death, Paul Duran contacted the Allen estate, saying "You may not remember me, but I am the realtor who sold Mr. Allen the property in Santa Fe." A few months later, Paul received the call from Mr. Allen's estate representative. Paul answered the phone with, "I've been waiting for you folks to call me ..."

The Duran Allen team listed Sol y Sombra for $15 million. Then, Paul sold it to one of his clients. The Duran Allen Team double-ended the sale, as we say in the real estate biz, which put them into Keller Williams' Top Producer category.

Doll Babies, I see a few real estate lessons here important enough to mention: (1) Go to the office occasionally and be available for floor duty, (2) stay in touch with past clients, and most importantly, (3) try to outlive your clients.

Here's a lesson that Dan Wright (Santa Fe Properties) learned from his dad. List and sell real estate, but hold on to your investments, and never forget to make a few along the way. A native Santa Fean, Dan got his real estate license the same year he purchased the Zia Self-Service Car Wash at 31 Placita del Oro. Sugars, that was 1988. Out of curiosity — plus the fact that I'm a buttinski, a trait I inherited from my mother and one that I hold dear — I asked Dan if these new carwashes popping up (e.g., Champion Xpress) were competition to him. "Not really," he said. "Zia appeals to the people who want to wash their own cars, those people who baby their cars and don't want to run them through an automated wash and possibly damage the car's finish. I even saw Gary Johnson one time, washing his bicycle in my car wash." There we have it, Popsicles.

John Muir said, "And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul." That's exactly what happened to Jama Fontaine (Keller Williams area director for New Mexico and parts of Texas) when she completed the Camino de Santiago trek, the legendary 500-mile walk from France's border across northern Spain. Five hundred miles! Along the way, she met people of all ages from every part of the world. She said it was truly life changing. Yes, Lady Bugs, she lost her mind and found her soul. Stay tuned for what's next for Ms. Fontaine.

It was this summer that we said good-bye to the Santa Fe Play Readers, a loosely formed group of adults who got together a few times a year to create and put on dinner theater performances to an audience whose purpose was to have fun, all the while enjoying the camaraderie of the other members. It was a lighthearted group that lost one of its founding members, Russ Osterman, when he died following an accident playing tennis. The only consolation was that when he died, he was doing something he dearly loved. That made the group happy, but it took the life out of the Play Readers. The "last supper" was held in Russ's honor in the exquisite gardens of Eddie and Melanie (Peters) Thorne. The weather was perfect, the grounds lovely and the company divine.

So long, Sweetpeas.

Until next time,


Out and about: Falling into the forest