In the Yucca Valley, just off the main drag where Joshua Tree bound folk can find a decent almond milk latte, lies a former drive-in theater turned bric a brac paradise called Sky Village Swap Meet. Before noon, when the sun can turn a Styx LP into chocolate fudge, you will find a myriad of wares being hawked. From VHS tapes and nylon replicas of Navy Seal flags, to some possibly authentic silver Taxco jewelry, and as we discovered, a decent amount of Good Juju.
If you make it past the first two aisles of vendors and you haven’t been turned off by discovering the same dog-eared copy of The Cider House Rules three times, you will end up on the back side of SVSM. Here a make shift gold mining town has been erected that looks a bit like a Hollywood back lot. Not only can you find a reprieve from the sun here, but as we found out, the real treasures of Sky Village.
We spotted him right away, or rather HEARD him right away. He was hondeling with two Swiss women over a large piece of blue quartz. His Farsi accent punctuated by a high pitch cackle-laugh and his hands busy producing a sound bath from large bowls that lay before him. He wasn’t putting up much of a fight over their plaintive requests for a lower price, and they seemed not to believe the good fortune of what they would cart back to the land of Cantons in their suitcases.
Then we took him in, top to tail. Willie-esque silver hair braided tight and cascading out of an authentic pith helmet. Wet and squinty blue eyes leading to a long ghost white goatee, ombre’d yellow by countless years of Bali Shag roll ups. Moving down from his neck to his chest, we were stopped in our tracks but what laid around his neck and chest.
Juju. Serious Juju.
His name was Hamid and we must have spent an hour with him. We talked about each piece he wore. Items he wore every day, without fail all with a distinct purpose, an intention. He spoke of losing his most treasured piece in the soil while gardening at his home.
“I was too close to it, it had to leave me,” he said laughing and smiling. We talked about our mission and he nodded approvingly, going on a long diatribe about the after-life. We made plans to see one another that will likely never come to fruition, but it doesn’t matter a lick.
Thank you Hamid, thank you for being our first Good Juju Hero.
Yucca Valley, CA