Resist Mediocrity, Demand The Truth

“You don’t become someone who is agitating, advocating and outspoken and get hit by a car! He paid attention to what was going on and had opinions.” Anonymous.

A couple of weeks ago, Taos Vortex – a collaborative effort between the Town of Taos and Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, arrived in Kit Carson Park with an entourage of paying guests and happy campers who tripped in and trashed the park, so garbage was still visible a week later, blown by monsoon winds into hidden corners and underneath the trees lining the fences.

US Bank’s Plaza branch had their atm and computer system blown out by the power outage caused by the “festival”, a bank employee told me, and the World Cup Cafe’s espresso machine stopped working.

The Bank and the World Cup Cafe were put out of business by a weekend’s worth of concerts!

The Friends of Kit Carson Park must be elated. Now they have a real platform. 

“Some old timers think Satanic energy was unleashed at that event,” a friend remarked. “They were shocked by the behaviour of some of the attendees,” she explained, referencing the nudity on display. 

It’s easy to forget that we still live in a predominantly Catholic community and a Mestizo version to boot! Where ritual and myth have collided like Manifest Destiny in the Western Hemisphere, in these Americas. Whether one aligns oneself with that concept or not, one thing is clear, the Bank and the ‘Cup should be compensated by the Town of Taos and Meow Wolf. And please keep the Vortex out of our park in future. Maybe Taos Mesa Brewing’s Mothership is a better venue? I was writing about this yesterday when a friend came by.

She couldn’t stay long because she was on a mission. To find Patrick Larkin. Patrick was the enigmatic, well-read (and informed), dry and dour proprietor of the World Cup Cafe. He also loved the outdoors and the mountains – he was a great skier – and stood on the right side of history in his progressive politics and pragmatic point of view.

His business (which he began with his then partner, Molly Hayfield, as Black Diamond Coffee in Taos Ski Valley), in a cart on Bent Street, before occupying its current, corner spot on the Plaza, remains the true visitor’s center in Taos. Everyone who comes here passes through the World Cup Cafe. Here important contacts are made and deals are done. 

About 10 years ago, Patrick met his current partner and wife, Andrea Meyer (formerly both the executive chef at the Love Apple and the Manager of Taos Farmers Market.) Andrea moved here from the Northwest and together they have a beautiful 6 year old daughter, Oona. Andrea’s literary background proved the perfect match for Patrick’s curious and considerable intellect, and many of us watched his dour facade give way to more smiles in the past few years.

When I got there, the cafe was filled with flowers and mourners. On the counter, with the flowers (brought by Anais Rumfelt) and a couple of candles, a photograph of Patrick leaned against one of the vases: “Our fearless leader”, written on it. He was gone.

Of course we’ll be fed a tale or two. Concocted to appease those in the know.  But one thing is clear; foul play is front and center in this mystery.  What I know is hearsay; second-hand, at that, gleaned from overheard snippets of conversation and information delivered by well-meaning friends.

On Tuesday morning during the wee hours, the bleating of one of his goats, drew Patrick outside to investigate the animal’s discomfort (one friend speculates it was a ruse – goat was tortured precisely to lure him into a trap.)

Reported missing that afternoon by his wife, Andrea, flyers were posted around town and yesterday morning, a friend called for a search by local citizens, along the ditches in Patrick’s ‘hood, south of town.

Rumours were rife; a mountain lion on the loose, a disgruntled squatter on his land, a contentious neighbor on meth, bullet shots in the dark… the list grew as the sun rose higher in the sky.

The goat was found dead in its pen. Head caught in a fence. Around noon, Patrick’s  body was found a mile or so away, in a ditch. I’ve been told it was in bad shape, as if dragged, possibly by a car. Someone heard the police are saying it was a hit and run. None of us should settle for that pat response. Patrick and his family deserve so much more. 

It’s a sad day in Taos. An iconic figure gone- the man who brought not only great (world-class), coffee to our little town, but also, and more importantly, coffee/cafe culture. Authentic, Bohemian and provocative; the International currency and political (Left) signage that papered the walls, let people know immediately that this was a safe place to gather and share thoughts, ideas and opinions. And as tiny as it is, they did and do. On the stools inside, on the benches outside, and often, standing room only as a line snakes out the door and into the street.

“Resist Mediocrity” the World Cup’s motto, asks that we resist easy answers at this time. Patrick and the life he lived, were not mediocre, nor should his death be treated as such. In a sense, Patrick Larkin went down like a classic Western hero, which in actuality he was and will be remembered as one – iconic and iconoclastic – a man who epitomized In many ways, the Modern (Wild) West – Frontier spirit still intact – independent, resourceful and committed to excellence and community.

My daughter Genevieve worked for Patrick (and Molly), at the World Cup for a decade. Her standards in her own businesses are set high because of what she learned from him. Her heart is broken. She was one of those holding vigil at the ‘Cup when I arrived yesterday, together with Anais, Suki Dalury and others come to pay their respects, along with Renata who kept the coffee coming.  My other daughter Angelica and I talked last evening; she remembered that last Wednesday after the Vortex blowout, when Patrick got his machine up and running, he was the one making our coffee when we went in. ” He made our last coffee,” she noted sadly. “And it was so good.” She also expressed regret that she’d not spoken to him. I reminded her that the cafe was slammed and he was not in a talkative mood. 

As I walked to my car after leaving the cafe, I ran into my old friend, Ziad Khweis, the owner of Pueblo Collections on the Plaza. Ziad was born on the Mount of Olives, he’s Palestinian and has had some issues in the past  with Immigration. He told me how Patrick had helped him with petitions and signatures and more. Raising both money and awareness that enabled him to stay here, in Taos with his family.

“He was a good man.” Ziad recalled. “A decent, kind man.”
He was, and may his ending be honored with the truth, and may it serve as a reminder that we live in a very troubled and unsafe world, and although it might look like paradise outside our doors, the violence, corruption and spiritual bankruptcy of the greater society, fast encroaches, and in some respects, reemerges from dark, hidden places, where secrets are kept, and dysfunction is nurtured.

“There’s a crack in everything,” the poet wrote, “that’s how the light gets in.”

May Patrick Larkin’s life and death shine a light on the things that remain unresolved and swept under rugs ad infinitum.

And may his memory be blessed.

 

Editor’s Note: I’ve updated the blog with clarification regarding my source for the Vortex causing the blowout. The Taos Vortex event did not in fact cause the blowout at either the bank or the World Cup Cafe. Please see my response to Mitch (Miller), in the Comment section, below this post.

Update: Rumour has it that someone has been arrested. This is please note, only a rumour.  For more on this breaking case, please see the Taos News linked below. I will not continue to update this blog post.

taosnews

 

 

All photographs by Bill Curry (except for top image of Patrick and Oona taken by Zoe Zimmerman.

curryimages

zoezimmerman

 

*Anthem lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC/ Songwriters: Leonard Cohen

 

44 thoughts on “Resist Mediocrity, Demand The Truth

      • Lynne,

        The power outage was an internal transfer station which is in the electric transmission system from the supplier and not in our area. It affected a broad section in northern New Mexico and in our the region. This was verified by KCEC along with the fact that the park activity had nothing to do with the outage. It happend 90 minutes after the end of the show.

        The town staff along with Knowaste of SF (an event recycling and greening organization) had KCP cleaned thoroughly by Tuesday. The campers were clean and trash mindful as were the attendees. Most trash in the park is from Taoseños… not the events.

        Mitch

        • Thank you Mitch for coming on, commenting and clarifying. I am glad to hear that the outage was not due to the music.(I qualified re/my sources.) As you know I am a supporter of these events but I wonder if we need to be a bit more discriminating regarding the fans certain acts attract? As for the trash in the park – I walk there at least once a week and have never seen that much garbage collecting in corners – food and drink containers mostly and in the areas where people were permitted to camp.

          Best wishes for this weekend’s event – I have no doubt the more mature audience will also be more mindful, particularly in regards to Sting’s Tantric Yoga practice and its mellowing effect on his creative output:)

  1. Thanks for this Lynne. Beautifully written. Being a victim of senseless violence myself I feel deep pain and grief today. My heart goes out to his family, to his extended family like Genevieve and other close friends. Thank you again.

  2. Beautifully written, thank you for this piece! You couldn’t be more on point with who Patrick is and what he stands for. He is a dear uncle to me, we are devastated! The mourning and confusion is touching so many corners of the globe beyond Taos.

  3. Thank you for this Lynn. Condolences to a community of spirit and heart. So sad and his courage to live his truth an inspiration .

  4. We are all so saddened. Patrick touched so many lives and was a role model for our daughter Miranda who spent almost 29 years at the counter at World Cup. When she would come home from College her first stop was always World Cup where she loved to see and catch up with Patrick. He created a space for her where she could be whoever she wanted to be. He will forever be missed and never forgotten. We are all grateful for the memories shared.

  5. Beautifully written Lynne.

    Patrick will be remembered in this community as a man who was unapologetic and outspoken in his dedication to social justice, ecological stewardship, and disclosure of truth. I will continue to be inspired by Patrick and Andrea’s love of the land and their devotion to regenerative agriculture and healthy food for all. The mountains, the trees and grass, the soil, the waters you love so dear. May you be in their sweet embrace. For all of us here in Taos, let us continue to speak out and do what’s right for the planet and our community with eyes open and no fear. Thank you Patrick. You are terribly missed and we’ll see you again.

    Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
    and right doing there is a field.
    I’ll meet you there.
    When the soul lies down in that grass
    the world is too full to talk about.

    Rumi

  6. Thank you all for your kind words and outpouring of love for Patrick Larkin. It was my intention as I wrote this post, to attempt to articulate what I knew many of us in this community were feeling. I am so grateful to all of you for reading and commenting.

  7. Thank you Lynne, for such a thoughtful and beautiful reflection on Patrick and what he means to all of us. And thank you for giving a clear and final say on it all. There are lots of questions but I am sure they will be answered in time.

  8. Obviously was a bright spark around which many clustered, the typical dour cafe patron. Wish I’d spoken to him more. A great loss to Taos. Thanks for the biog.

  9. This is just awful. Thank you though for your careful, balanced assessment of the situation as it unfolds so far, Lynne. Troubled world indeed.

  10. Thanks, Lynne. This was the kind of writing I needed right now. A story with history and heart.
    Love to you,
    Catherine Naylor

  11. Why is my comment not going through?
    Where is the moderator?
    Am I holding up all these folks?
    Catherine Naylor

  12. Patrick, “well lets go then” and we would. We all survived and came out smiling whether it was skis or bikes. A true captain in life and an inspiration to everyone in his presence. I had the privilege of him being part of my life and am grateful for all the people he inspired. I am sad and disappointed that it ended this way but we have incredible memories from an exceptional person that made the world a better place.

  13. Lynne Robinson’s elegy for Patrick Larkin touches our hearts and reminds us that Patrick’s place was as a rose among thorns in Taos: a “phenom.” He connected us with the best part of the historic Plaza and today’s generation, who keep notions of spirit and soul alive.

    Just as Genevieve, born a Barista at World Cup, and her Yoga partner Suki have turned Shree into a popular and refined synthesis of East and West, so Jen Hart, encouraged by Patrick and helped by Andrea, started the Love Apple, and then expanded into the Manzanita Market, adjacent to World Cup. So one sees the connections between Patrick’s clan and his spirited legacy, all of whom can be said to “resist mediocrity.”

    During the Horse Fly years, on my way to meetings, I frequently stopped by the Cup and visited with Patrick, who kept me current on Plaza and Ski Valley doings, like an old-fashioned watchman-curmudgeon in the best sense. As my son Fitz said, “He was one of the good guys.”

    The last image I have of Patrick occurred last winter at Taos Ski Valley. My granddaughter Lili and I were approaching the Lift and Patrick was helping Oona put on her skis. He looked up and said, “I hear Lili’s a phenom.” Taken aback by the observation, I thought “soon Oona will be diving down those double diamonds like a Taos Bomber, like a phenom.”

    Patrick is that rare soul of equanimity, a phenom himself, able to balance the spirit of resistance on the one hand with a generous soul on the other, who brought a slice of San Francisco’s North Beach Trieste to the corner of Taos Plaza, a phenom who helped glue lost and found souls together on the World Cup bench into a peculiar community. And he never forgot how to rejuvenate his own rooted sense of self by visiting the mountains and the back country.

    Now Patrick joins my pantheon of souls like Saki Karavas, Paulie Burt, Richard Trujillo, Indian Lou, all of whom represented the daily vagaries of life in Taos but resonate today above the Plaza as permanent spirits. Truly Patrick made a difference as one of “the good guys.”

    Thank you for reminding us, Lynne.

    • Thank you Bill for your kind words and for adding more to the big picture. Your eloquence and acute powers of observation are a gift beyond measure and I could not be more honored to have them here, on the blog. Thank you again, for taking the time to read and comment.

  14. Only knew him from half a dozen short conversations over 17 years but I liked his quick wry smile. He turned a rickety wedge of space smaller than a walk in closet (without a single level joist) & and it’s narrow porch into an important social hub, and gave stable employment to good folk who, as already noted, went on to do good things, like a Kombucha pad sporing more community as it were. One day with an hour to waste in the plaza, I entered an antique shop whose proprietor tried to charge me to browse, then went over to WCup for an unhurried convo with tourists and locals. If everyone had the instinct toward interconnection & creating social space that Patrick evidently had what a different world this would be. I really grieve for his wife and daughter to whom this should never have happened, and i feel this violence as a disorienting blow. Was very baffled by the segue from Kit Karson Park but i guess that was explained above . Thank you Lynn for your eulogy and thanks to all the good people who remind me in moments of shock and crisis why I am glad to live here.

    • Thank you Gabriel for your sensitivity and insight. I’m sorry the Park intro was confusing – I thought (until I was corrected by Mitch), that the power outage that blew out World Cup’s machine had been caused by the festival, and was writing about it when I heard there was a search on for Patrick. Hope that clarifies!

  15. A reminder to those taking issue with some of the information I have posted; this is a blog, not a formal news source, it is my web log/journal, a personal point of view. When information is “rumoured” I’ve clearly prefaced it as such. I have ceased to update this page so please visit the Taos News online (link included at the bottom of post), for breaking news. This post is, as Bill Whaley (my friend and sometime editor), astutely noted, my elegy, my dirge for Patrick. No more, no less.

  16. Thank you Lynne, for succinctly expressing the impact that Patrick and his corner hub had, on so many of us with our hungry intellects and coffee loving spirits. The beautiful soul we have lost cannot be processed. But somehow your words help to calm my mind a little and for that I am grateful. We do need answers and I am persistent in the need to know what they are. I also so appreciate the expression from Bill Whaley. Wonderfully expressed. Thank you so much to both of you. You are helping us heal and we will need a lot of it. My heart breaks with all of you in Taos and as my heart breaks open I find myself missing all of you so much. Big hugs all around as far and wide as the Taos spirit reaches throughout the world. Peace be with you Patrick.

  17. Lynne—— you write what I’ve felt. Here in Michigan, a big chunk of my ❤️Is always in Taos. I’ve caught bits of this online and from a friend. It’s all sooooo sad.

  18. You are a thoughtful writer. Extraordinarily sensitive in this full homage and honor of Patrick…, my heart breaks with so many……so many able to comment in response and love.
    and, too, my heart aches for the taos I fell in love with 50 years ago. This homicide, the three days of vortex noise and sense disruption in the middle of town, and and and!!
    The mountain and air and good souls prevail —— blessings.

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