Charm Tour de Force

By Mark Crantz
By Mark Crantz

Opposites attract, right? It certainly explains why my wife and I get along. She exudes charm, optimism, intelligence, empathy and goodwill to all creatures large and small. Enough said about her. Let’s talk about me. Without me she wouldn’t look so good. Remember behind every great woman is an inconsequential husband she drags along. I’m proud to be that ball and chain.


My wife has the energy of a 2 year old. I have the energy of a 62 year old. I consider opening my eyes in the morning to be my daily workout. That’s why on most given days I only have one eye open. It’s rare for me to do two workouts. My wife tells me to open my eyes and smell the roses. This advice makes no sense. I told her once that my eyes had nothing to do with smelling roses. She flicked me in the nose and darn, if I didn’t smell the roses. So when my wife tells me to do something I do it because I’ve developed a seventh sense to our six senses: survival. I want to live long enough to smell my grandchildren growing up. Right now they’re very stinky. I believe I can see it. It will be a relief when they smell like roses.

I’ve learned to keep both eyes open to appear like I’m not letting life slip by. However, the real reason is that I don’t want to get flicked off again. My wife announced the other day that we were going on the Charm Tour. Maybe you heard from your wife about this event. Several Sundays ago, Village Laguna hosted a tour of Laguna homes that have been deemed significant and charming. Unfortunately, ours was not amongst them, which meant I had to go to another event to demonstrate that I wasn’t letting my life slip by. I read about the homes ahead of time to ascertain how miserable I thought I’d be not watching the HP Byron Nelson golf event that was charmingly conflicted.

I surprised myself. On the tour and shown to the public for the first time was the Pyne Castle. My wife loves real estate and this was a gargantuan charmer. It boasts 62 rooms and 18,300 square feet. The house was built in 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, and 1934. I was impressed. My 950 square feet took an additional year. I have to admit it’s a beauty. Hide and seek must have been a blast in this house compared to mine. “I’m closing my eyes and counting to 10. Go hide,” I said to the grandkids during a recent visit to my house. “And 10. Where are you, you rascals?” “Right here,” the smallest announced. “You forgot to hide,” I said. “There are no hiding places Pop-Pop.” “Okay then, who wants to go to the beach?” and hideout from Grandma.

While my wife was awed by the structure, I was overwhelmed with the man who built it. His name was Walter Estel Pyne. He was a loner. I thought, now here’s a guy I can relate to. Pyne owned a piano company. He loved music, but didn’t like to deal with musicians and bands, so he sold player pianos. These pianos played by themselves and enabled Pyne to avoid the cost of a wedding band, money he didn’t have because he was house poor. The marriage lasted three months and I can tell you he has the unblemished nose that shows it in old pictures scattered around the house. “Honey, count to 10. I’ll go hide.”


Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago. He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.” His recently deceased Border Collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.

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