Updated: Nov 6
Here’s part of my story that I’ve never told before but seems appropriate... destiny’s child comes to mind...
It was 1982 and after “being on top of the world” so to speak, I was in not in a great place... for the past decade or more I had the freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted. I was a globe trotting marijuana entrepreneur and enjoying the lifestyle. I had made it: successful business, nice house, married, great life and then busted.
And this wasn’t some piddly-assed bust for possession. It was the real deal. A large-scale, multi-ton marijuana conspiracy with 27 people indicted and I was named nearly at the top of the list, not just alphabetically but as a major player facing serious consequences. At least I hadn’t been arrested and frog-marched out of the house in handcuffs to a waiting squad car embarrassed and humiliated for all the world to see. I still had some dignity and self-surrendered.
Therefore, at that point it wasn’t rocket science to see obviously from my current predicament that my future was going to be much different than I’d perviously been experiencing. So, there I was living in Carmel in our beautiful house on the California coast, that I’d purchased with a minimal down payment when home mortgage interest rates were at an all-time high (somewhere north of 17%), watching my life crumble before my eyes. Legal bills were mounting. My marriage was deteriorating. My Thai connection and dear friend had just died. My business associates had been busted and one of them was singing like a bird and giving the feds everything and everybody he ever knew about, including me... they practically had to beat him to shut him up!
I had a boat and captain that I was supporting waiting in the South Pacific to do another Thai smuggling trip and going broke in the process. And, if that wasn’t enough, I was being told that I was facing a significant prison sentence with huge fines. Meanwhile, I was bouncing back and forth like a yo-yo, from my home in Carmel to my attorney’s office in San Francisco, a three-hour round trip turned into five during rush hour, almost daily preparing my defense. Papi, my beautiful golden retriever who was my sidekick through much of my smuggling adventure had tragically died but we still had his son to ‘kind of’ fill that hole.
We had cats as well... Himalayans. While all of this other stuff was going on in my life, one of our cats suddenly disappeared from our yard. I think he’d found his way to our resident barn owl’s dinner plate. Anyway, with this added to all my other troubles, I was rather distraught, to say the least. I found a local breeder and got another Himalayan kitten. After about four months I saw that the new kitten, named LuLu, looked strangely different from our other cats or any other cat that we’d previously had.
LuLu #1 Himalayan kitten in the nation in The International Cat Association (TICA) 1983/84
She had a very flat face, a gorgeous coat and a strange exotic and different nature about her, like nothing I’d ever seen before. I sought out a local renowned Himalayan cat breeder and brought LuLu to be evaluated. One look at LuLu and the breeder freaked. She told me that LuLu was a top-quality show cat and that I ‘must’ show her. I naively asked: “You mean show her at cat shows?” She said “Yes” and took me under her wing and gave me a quick crash course on showing cats plus all of the accouterments required to show the kitten at cat shows in The International Cat Association.
I took LuLu to several local cat shows and even flew her to other regional shows around the country and cleaned up in each one, winning best in class and best in multiple shows. Ultimately LuLu was awarded Best Himalayan Kitten in the nation. I had ribbons and trophies coming out ‘the ying-yang’. It was amazing because I had come from nowhere and had won the highest possible awards against the most successful cat breeders in the cat breeding business who had spent a lifetime trying to do the same as I’d just done in one showing season with virtually no experience at all and with no previous accolades in the cat world whatsoever.
I was loved and hated at the same time. I was also very lucky... It was a great diversion from everything else that was going on in my life at the time and probably served to help keep my sanity. I see some very similar parallels of my whirlwind experience in showing LuLu and how that turned out; to what I experienced as a marijuana smuggler (at least pre-bust) and to what I am starting to see now, as an author re-telling this story some forty years later. It seems kind of like the foretelling of the future and maybe (hopefully) as a precursor to the destiny of this story.