There is much to recommend in the book "God and Mr. Gomez".The book is based on a true story, and it is humorously and lovingly told. The most fascinating thing for readers is the parallels the author draws between the Mexican and American temperaments. Jack Smith wrote this book twenty six years ago, yet the important cultural differences have changed very little. A highly-respected columnist for the Los Angeles Times, Jack and his wife found themselves becoming bewitched in Mexico, as they agreed to lease a plot of land in Baja California, and entrust the building of their retirement home to a charming, albeit exasperating gent by the name of Gomez. Were the Smiths totally mad to try and build a house with their limited funds, on land that might not have actually belonged to Gomez, on property they could never own outright, in a country of many suspected hazards, all compounded by their extremely limited grasp of Spanish?
During the madcap construction process (whichcost more than twice the original budget), the Smiths ran the gamut of emotions as they slowly came to either ignore, repress or forget much of what they had ever learned about the nature of logic. Especially logic, American-style. But Mr. Gomez remained true to his Mexicanisrn. It was the Smith's who changed, even to seeing God in a new light, as they came to appreciate, admire and even love the Mexican way of doing things.
Smith soon realized that "Our visions and those ofGomez seemed opposed beyond reconciliation. Then later, "... it was the first of many decisions that seemed to be our own, but really belonged to Gomez." Yet it was a slow and at times agonizing process.
After the Smiths had carefully chosen their lot, they discovered that Gomez had abruptly changed their location, and was now constructing their house in the middle of a road. Why? Because, as Gomez pointed out, it had the more beautiful view. Dumbfounded, Smith could only gasp to his wife that the arrogance, of the man was astounding. Still, halfway through the construction process, Smith realized that he had never liked or trusted a man more than he did Gomez. Yet the Mexican would remain mysterious and elusive.
The final result was that Gomez built them what he called a "mansion that will last for 500 years."
I heartily recommend that you read this great book.
Please remember that for us......
"The focus is on the journey, not the destination.
For us, the enjoyment is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it!"
The search begins......................................
After the visit to Jack Smith's home, we traveled North. The road ended at the fishing village of Puerto Santo Tomas.
One last shot of Jack's place as we travel back to Estero Beach where the Bluebird was waiting.
When we got home we did a little additional research regarding the current ownership of Jack's house and found the attached:
Real Estate News
November 18, 1997
Baja home of late Times columnist on the market............
The 1,000 square-foot Baja home built in 1970 by the late Los Angeles Times columnist Jack Smith, his wife, Denny, and their friend, Romulo Gomez, has been placed on the market, furnished, for a modest asking price of $59,000. The two-bedroom, one-bathroom home has been owned for the past nine years by two Santa Barbara couples. Co-owner Nancy Frasco says the home was placed on the market when the other couple decided to divorce. The home, located in the village of La Bocana near Puerto Santa Tomas, sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The house served as the subject of many of Smith's columns, as well as his 1974 book, "God and Mr. Gomez." Smith passed away in January 1996 at age 79.
Time to head on..... Click on the "Next" button to complete this trip......