Angela la Fontaine is a pseudonym, a nom de plume de la guerre.
I met her first in Vietnam. I was operating a mail distribution point when she walked in the back door of the Quonset hut. She was wearing a blue Red Cross uniform, and her hair was red, short for the heat. I fell in love.
Since then, I have had a very healthy respect for Tide and Wheaties boxes. And Iíve been married twice, but I didnít see her again until I was working for a grand national landmark convention hotel in New Orleans, where I began my professional career. After ten years in the United States Army all around the world, I sought a career in hospitality. She was tending bar in the French Quarter.
That was when she told me her name. Still her eyes were blue, but her hair was much more dark. I thought she said Evangeline and later thought it might be more like Magdalene, but still I was in love though Iíd forgotten. Now millennia younger than I, she would have nothing to do with me, but my first three novels were a trilogy about her, and I am not likely to publish them, because they are too near. No separate degrees are in that dream I titled Angels, a Trilogy of Light. Then I moved on alone, again.
I had to become younger than Angela, while she became older than I.
So I gave up that career and wandered the United States homeless, working carnival and day labor construction and landscaping, in cold climates in summer and warm climates in winter, until I decided to test my spirit in one place. I had learned that I could survive well enough economically without friends, but I had not learned whether friends could help me thrive. So I went to Boston, the cradle of liberty and the founding place of our nationís politics and the focal point of the history of religion, as it lives today.
I went to work for a homeless shelter named for Francis of Assisi and found it full of corruption, economic and moral and spiritual. I used money the shelter paid me, to travel to the holy land and find myself alone again, on a rock at the top of the mount of beatitudes, Karn Hattin. Alone, that is, except for birds and bees, and wild flowers and two lizards necking, upon another rock above the sea.
I met Angela in Vietnam and in the depths of the Kabul Gorge, and I found her at cocktail parties with ambassadors to Israeli and Arabian nights. And now, after it all, I see her in a naked child running still back then.
Beyond the myth, I hope sheíll pour her canteen down on us.
Billy Lee Harman
1233 Esplanade Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70116