The woman in colorful clothing walked in through the Kokopelli doors, stopped in the center of the trading post, carefully surveyed the situation, and said, “What is your guiding principle?”
“Hum,” I said, trying to buy a little time. “Mine or the shop’s?”
“Probably the same,” she correctly surmised.
“Yep,” I said. “Like many things these days, the answer is complicated.”
The woman obviously wanted to weigh our values before deciding whether to support the operation. It was apparent she was a person of conviction who was unwilling to allocate her resources to any organization not at least trying to do the right thing. Consequently, I had to carefully consider my response.
Over the years I have had countless opportunities to visit, revisit, evaluate, reevaluate, assess and reassess that issue, but was still surprised to have the question so directly put to me from an Eastern European.
Not that Eastern Europeans aren’t interested in such matters, it’s just that they typically have other concerns, like, “Where’s the bathroom, are your dogs friendly, is the café next door open or what the heck will Vladimir Putin do next?”
Fortunately, being a child of the 1970s and a fan of Rock n’ Roll bands from that era, I had been watching a Fleetwood Mac documentary the prior evening and, after pondering whether I could get away with “borrowing” Mick Fleetwood’s theory for his band’s success, replied, “Creative Chaos.”
That seemed more thoughtful and interesting than, “Well, we are just trying to make a buck, or after Covid we are merely trying to survive.”
Had she pressed me, I would have admitted it has become difficult to maintain strict ethical standards in an environment where there are no workers, supply chains are broken, inflation is high, and truth is a variable standard.
The Wall Street Journal estimates the 2020 pandemic has caused approximately 200,000 American small businesses to fail.
The good news is that many experts predicted over 400,000 would succumb. The even better news is that Twin Rocks is among the survivors.
Like many other small business owners, our success is likely attributable to not having anywhere else to go. Priscilla, Frances and I simply would not know what to do with ourselves if we couldn’t come to the trading post and café every day.
Without Twin Rocks, I am sure we would all become geriatric delinquents and find ourselves forever incarcerated.
“Creative Chaos?” the woman repeated.
“Sure,” I said. “Although I have been told Nietzsche believed order comes from chaos, my experience with this place leads me to conclude chaos breeds more chaos. There is, however, a certain beauty in that, right?”
Fortunately, she had not seen the Fleetwood Mac documentary, so she was seriously considering my explanation original thought.
As she looked around the shop at the Elsie Holiday baskets, John Huntress turquoise beads and Selena Jodie rugs, I could tell I was getting through.
Luckily it was Priscilla’s day off, and I was in the shop by myself, or I would have had to explain that, although Priscilla is good at masking it, when it comes to chaos there is always more than she can manage.
“There is very nice art in this shop,” so it must be working, she said approvingly.
“Well, I have been told God looks out for fools and babies,” I said. “You can guess which category we fall into.
“If Nietzsche was right, at some point we should have a great deal of order in this shop, but not right now.
“In the meantime we will settle for beautiful baskets, stunning silver and wonderful weavings. There is a lot of creativity coming out of our chaos.”
She nodded. “Like Fleetwood Mac,” I said, tipping my hand.