When I first met her, she was wearing nothing but her panties and high heels. It happened to be in a topless bar, and she was on stage. The song she had just danced to, was from a movie I loved. When she got through with her set, I invited her over for a drink. We started on the song, moved to authors, existentialism and the meaning of life. In the midst of this intellectual conversation in the strangest of places to start one, I suddenly realized she wasn’t hustling me for drinks or dances.
Needless to say, we became friends and watched each others learning process through life. Her stage career was a very short one. She turned into an entrepreneur, and collected the nickname that followed her through life. She was the “rose lady”. She made a deal with a number of bars and would come in walk around, sell roses singularly to the men trying to impress the women. Then she would give the bar its cut of the sales. Over time, she built up the number of bars to where she had to have three or four women working for her.
That was around the time I broke free from working for other people and started my own computer business. So we had lots of entrepreneurial things to share. I would come by in the early evenings and help her get the roses ready for that evening. I confess to having more than a little bit of a crush on her. Aside from being drop dead gorgeous, she was one of the most down to earth people I had met. She had a tendency to fall for the drop dead handsome guys, that turned out to be real jerks and was aware that she kept making the same mistake. My romantic daydreams never came to pass, but she would sidetrack me without making me feel embarrassed or foolish. Somewhere along the road of life, we diverged, but still remained friends. She chose a path that was diametrically opposed to the materialistic goals of owning our own businesses.
She started living light along with becoming a non-member of a disorganization. She became one of the “Rainbow People.” They are known sometimes as the Rainbow Nation, Family or Tribe, and in many ways are the living descendants of the hippies of the sixties. In fact it started back around 1969 in California. The term “living lightly” refers to living with little impact on the environment. There was a Rainbow Gathering here in Florida that she attended, and was obviously taken with it. She started her life shift gradually and over the years became more and more involved.
It isn’t a religion, or a cult, or a political group. It doesn’t even have any leader or president or grand poobah, or anything like that. It is just a way of living. As with many who are concerned about ecology, and the resources of Mother Earth, they take these concerns to heart. It is also about music and sharing. Each year they have a gathering at some national park, which draws from 10,000 to 25,000 people. The music isn’t any particular type or genre other than the instruments have to be carried into the gatherings. So there are lots of acoustic guitars and percussion instruments. The music is available for download on the Web, for free. The music is just an expression of joy and entertainment at these gatherings. They pray for peace. Not associated with any particular church or religion, but whatever God or religion you are a part of.
In later years she visited a Rainbow community and was taken back at how easily people came and went. People pitched in and shared the work, they shared the results with all who would ask, and they didn’t “charge” for anything. She said you hear the term, “Someone who would give you the shirt off their back, but these people really lived it.” She stayed for around six months the first time, but came back to care for mother, when she got sick. I could tell she was anxious to get back to that lifestyle. This idyllic way of life isn’t for everybody and probably wouldn’t work if it was. They have problems and struggles as any group of people. It is just a nice alternative to the pressures of the lifestyle that most of us live. It harms no one, and is considerate of the Earth’s resources.
She had a daughter, who she name Rose (of course), who must be a teenager by now. Though I haven’t seen her for many years now, I bet that she still wears her trademark, rose colored glasses.