Darlings,

One week from today is the big share-your-love day. Yep, Lambykins, Valentine’s Day is no longer limited to significant others and spouses, but the love extends to family, friends and even pets. I don’t know if Hallmark had a hand in this, but it is estimated that money spent on flowers, chocolates, heart embossed underpinnings, heart filled cards, fluffy heart-shaped pet pillows, heart-shaped diamond pendants, and more will hit $25 billion dollars this year. Zowie. On pets alone, spending has grown exponentially from $450 million in 2010 to more than $1.7 billion last year. Back to us humanoids, in 2020 consumers spent an average of $196 on Valentine’s Day with the biggest spenders (35-44 age range) spending, on average, $359. People over 65 were more conservative, spending only around $99.14. Pumpkins, after reading these stats compiled by the National Retail Federation, I lowered my expectations considerably. But my dog did not. So I ordered her a gourmet takeout banquet from Marty’s Meals for only $235.85 (Puppies, I hope she doesn’t think I’m cheap but I am over 65, after all). Next year, after this COVID business (fingers crossed), I’ll find some exotic destination vacation for her. Right now, it’s staycation for both of us.

This year, Jan Vos Hamilton (referral agent at Santa Fe Properties) is planning a romantic Valentine Staycation with her new husband, Charles Padilla. Surprised, Kittens? Not about the Valentine Staycation, but that, yes, after a 14-year honeymoon (how Jan describes it), she and Charles actually got married. Not only once, but TWICE. The first time was on Dec. 26, at a time when all the children and grandchildren were able to witness this miracle. The second was a few days later when Judge Ellington came to the house, married them again and produced a license to make it all neat, tidy, and legal. This darned pandemic complicates everything, doesn’t it, Lemon Drops.

In spite of this darned pandemic, or maybe even because of it, the real estate market in Santa Fe is red hot. Properties are flying off the shelves. No one knows this better than Kevin Bobolsky (the Kevin Bobolsky Group) whose listing, the Cerro Pelon Ranch (better known as the Tom Ford Ranch), made big news because it sold recently. First of all, Cupcakes, I must tell you that no matter how hard I tried (short of truth serum) I could not pry any information out of Kevin other than what had been in the newspaper. And all I really want to know, anyway, is why he calls his company the Kevin Bobolsky Group when it is a one-man operation. Where’s the Group? He explained to me that the Group tag fits his multiple personalities. Hello, Sibyl. Personally, Creampuffs, I’ve really never seen more than two, but then again what do I know. When it comes to his real estate personality, Kevin hopes his one-man operation is an inspiration to those Realtors who don’t need the myriad perks of a large office, but would rather take advantage of the extensive technology available today. When it comes to his fun personality, he’s waiting for a lull in this coronavirus storm, and then Kevin’s planning an A-list gala for all his special Realtor friends who have been in the biz since 1985. Check the date on your licenses, Babies, I don’t want to be dancing all by myself.

A lull in the storm. Dr. Fauci thinks that if enough people get vaccinated, the U.S. has a chance to return to normal by fall. I wonder if I’ll be able to get into any of my ball gowns by then, groan. Right now, Crumbcakes, a normal day for me is eating, drinking and talking on the phone. You may not think that sounds very productive, but listen to what I learned just yesterday. Fran Hill (used to be at Sotheby’s) moved to Phoenix about eight years ago, and she’s moving back to Santa Fe next month. Lee Lowary and Clare Easterwood moved to Bozeman with no plans to move anywhere else, but they get plenty of Santa Fe guests. Clare gets her business fix when her best friend, Nancy Armstrong (senior mortgage loan officer, Bell Bank Mortgage) comes up three or four times a year, and Nancy chills while Clare finds out about the mortgage biz in Santa Fe. Lee gets his fishing fix when friends like Dermot Monks (Santa Fe Properties) come up to Big Sky Country to fly fish, and Lee gets to show off his angling skills by landing a 10-lb trout. Insufferable. The last news of the day, Petals, before cocktails and my mac ‘n cheese appetizers (?!?), Gary Pepin (used to be head of sales, Las Campanas) and his wife, Sally, are moving back to Santa Fe this spring. An unverified rumor is that he’ll be joining his old real-estate partner, Laurie Farber-Condon. Stay tuned, Popsicles.

Butter Beans, if I sound lighthearted and act as if this pandemic has been painless, please don’t misunderstand me. Many lives have been changed. Vicki Wafer (relocation director, SF Props) lost her “protector, provider, best friend and husband” to COVID-19 on January 9. Rusty Wafer (assoc. broker, SF Props) was born and raised in Santa Fe, and probably the only people who didn’t know him were those who moved here last month. He and Vicki both came to work at Santa Fe Properties in 1988, when Wally Sargent (now retired) was an owner/broker and we used to call it Wally’s World. Rusty claimed that everything he needed to know he had learned in 6th grade, the year Wally was his teacher. When I talked with Vicki a few days ago, she said the most heart-wrenching thing about this virus was not being able to be there in the hospital, holding Rusty’s hand, never leaving his side during his last days. But the support she has gotten from her Santa Fe Properties family and her close friends, plus her unwavering faith have carried her through this dark time. Vicki and Rusty were a couple for the ages, and Vicki thanks God that she had him as long as she did. How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard — Winnie the Pooh.

So long, Sweetpeas. Until next time... Oakley

Oakley Talbott can be reached at merrilypierson@me.com

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