Anyone currently watching Madmen--one of the best shows on television, with season three's finale being one of the greatest episodes of television ever--knows that Don Draper has been on a bit of a downturn lately, which I suppose is part of the reason for my having a fairly odd dream that contradicts his character's already colorful origin. Thus it begins...
Amy and I were driving along the rolling hills of a backcountry that I can only assume was Montectio. Don Draper was sitting in the backseat, staring with vacant recognition ahead at the road, dreading the upcoming visit to see his father. Since the death of his mother, Draper had always questioned whether the man who had raised him was actually his father, and he had somehow gained knowledge that he was not, but he needed to hear the truth straight from the man himself.
Amy and I were good friends of Drapers and agreed to drive him to the remote ranch that rested at the top of the hill. We had been there many times before, absentmindedly passing McMansion after McMansion to finally come to the nondescript wooded driveway, which signaled we had arrived at our destination. Don took in a long breath of air, releasing it in a sigh, steeling himself for the confrontation to come. We drove along the semi-paved road past trees and bushes, until the main house became visible just off to the left side and Amy confirmed with Don that he actually did wish to go through with this. After a long silence, he replied, "Yes. It's now or never...I need to know for certain."
The road eventually opened up to a large area that allowed us to veer towards the left to get to the house, park where we were to head into the walnut groves, or continue one hundred yards to the immense barn, where Draper's father enjoyed tinkering about with old machinery. We opted for the barn, which was much larger than the house itself and we instantly saw Mr. Draper on the oak tree shaded front wooden deck, where the older man was draped over some tools that he was cleaning atop an old door that rested atop two empty wine barrels. He recognized Amy and my car and waved us over to park and to come up, which we did. We had visited plenty of times in the past with Don and Betty--at least we used to visit when things were right between the two.
Hands are shaken and hugs are given and Mr. Draper asks if any of us are hungry or would like a cold one, but he does not wait for a reply, announcing, "I sure could go for one," and he throws a wadded up sheet overtop of the tools and gears that he was tinkering with. Before we head to the house, I peer inside the barn, which has always impressed me. There are no animals in the barn save for Mr. Draper's dog, who wanders about freely. Instead, the ground is covered in wood flooring, more wine barrels are scattered about and there is rustic furniture tastefully arranged throughout the ground level with lights dangling from the very high ceiling down to about seven feet above the ground. I wish that Amy and I could live there.
We walk over to the house and I notice the walnut orchard which provides daylong alternating sun and shade for the multitudes of bistro/bar tables scattered amongst them. Mr. Draper hosts weddings and parties at the property, but today is an off day and all of the barstools and chairs are neatly stashed away at the other end of the barn. I briefly remember the party that Don and Betty threw for the promotion that Don had just received at the ad agency and how much fun Amy and I had; we slept in the barn on the loft that was set up like a bedroom without walls. How we wished we could live there instead of our tiny one bedroom place.
The house was not as large as the barn, but for what it lacked in height, it made up in square footage. We entered through the customer kitchen area, which was a long hallway lined with many small tables for guests of the property to have breakfast or lunch or simply enjoy a cup of coffee while staring out the window past the trees and the road. All of the tables are half-sized picnic tables, covered in real red and white checkered cloth (not the plastic found in lower quality establishments) with napkin dispensers and salt and pepper shakers at our disposal.
Mr. Draper passes Don and I a beer and some items "to nibble on." He also makes a quick turkey sandwich for himself, which he splits with Amy saying that he made it just the way he remembered she likes it. "So, what did you come to ask me?" he says, but before Don can say anything he follows with, "How's Betty."
Don lights a cigarette and take a long pull at his beer, "You know how she is...we're not talking."
"Oh, I see. Okay, what is it then?"
Don looks at Amy and I, and I motion my head to see if he prefers for us to leave, but he raises his hand slightly and shakes his head no.
Then I woke up. Weird.