Walk up the hill after reaching Funkytown and you’ll find yourself on the patio of Casa Rotunda. Looking east toward the canyons, purple mountains loom across the horizon from Guadalupe Valley. West you’ll have a view of the sea where the spouting of a whale might be visible if you’ve got a pair of binoculars handy, and the pink and golden sunsets take your breath away. Scanning south across the valley of La Mision there’s a rocky mesa on either side of the Free Road leading to Ensenada giving the occupants of Casa Rotunda a 360-degree vista, undeniably one of the most awesome south of Rosarito.
The long-lost daughter of a poet, who lived at the bottom of the hill and escorted me to several ranches when I first arrived, wanted to move here like her father had sixty years ago, bringing with her from Virginia where she grew up her four sons and one daughter. They all were given a K sounding name, even the grandchildren: Kay, Kurt, Kaitlin, Cory, Craig, Chip, he was given the ‘sh’ sound, and Carla christened her daughter Charlotte, another ‘sh’. I could never remember their names… they all sounded the same to me.
The poet was considered a treasure in La Mision for thirty years. He drank brandy all day, sometimes tequila, but mostly he loved brandy. He entertained the local cowboys, weary after a day rounding up cattle. They’d stop at his house on their way home, fascinated by his stories and poems while cooling down enjoying a shot or two of tequila. Toward evening he’d still be able to focus and speak coherently, which always surprised me. The head cowboy, el jefe, showed everyone tricks, sliding down his horse’s tail and climbing round underneath his belly and up into the saddle again. Everyone tried to imitate him.
There was plenty of of liquor and beer, chips, dips, steaks and always a chicken roasting on the barbeque… Enough for everyone.
The family rode on horseback led by a friendly cowboy, rented three wheelers to zoom around the dunes in Cantamar, hunted for rattlesnakes. Returning they’d skin one and get it ready to barbeque. One of the boys wore his grandfather’s giant white cowboy hat and carried his shotgun. “Tastes like chicken to me,” he’d say. I have to admit I never tasted any.
Days were spent sunning, throwing down shooters, playing horseshoes, listening to poems and stories, and gossiping with neighbors. It was a festive time of the year, a continuous happening on the hill at Casa Rotunda…
Leaving Casa Rotunda walking down the dirt road, the next encounter in Funkytown is where the handsome cowboy lived in a trailer in his wooden fenced corral surrounded by Eucalyptus trees. Breaking hearts easily, he lived on the edge… I’ve had several requests to write about him.