Stan's Tuesday Walks

A Weekly Feature
by Stan Evans,
President, Santa Fe Always Online

July 24
, 2001

This morning I got up at 5 a.m., with great anticipation of my Tuesday walk. I was so eager, in fact, that I was hot to trot by 5:20. This was one of those rare days that found me busting at the seams to get out and get going, and keep a fast stride all day long.

But maybe I started a little too fast. When I went outside to join my neighbor for the walk, he wasn't there-and no wonder, since we weren't supposed to go until 6. Idling my engine, I retreated back inside to read the paper. When all the bad news on the front page began to get me down, I switched to the sports section, to rev myself up again.

A couple of minutes before 6, my neighbor emerged. But his news was not good. Instead of walking today he would be leaving for California. His girlfriend's father was quite ill, and my neighbor wanted to go and help in any way he could. I could only wish him well.

So my walk would be a solitary one. As I was setting out, however, the skies began to sprinkle. My hot-to-trot day just kept cooling down. The rain looked like it could get serious, so I decided to drive to the Plaza instead of hiking there, and to not stroll too far from my car.

Walking along downtown sidewalks, under portals that shielded me from the drizzle, I missed my neighbor. This was the first walk in a long time without my friend, a strapping ex-Marine who sets a brisk pace that lets me earn at least a small portion of the pastry I usually consume at the end of the trail, so to speak. Not only is he fun to walk with, he's also a kind and thoughtful man, as indicated by his unexpected trip to California.

Wandering around at a lesser pace, peering into not-yet-open stores housed in the Plaza's historic old buildings, I found my thoughts drifting, and merging. Santa Fe, I mused, is made up of both wonderful architecture and wonderful people. And of the two, the people are every bit as interesting as the grand old structures, and even more important.

How nice it would be if the people could last as long as the buildings. And I don't just mean the famous people, although Santa Fe certainly has its share of those. Many of our quiet and modest residents are or were extremely accomplished in their chosen fields. Others are just colorful characters, adding flavor to our town.

I could spend the rest of my life telling you things about the people I know in Santa Fe, and still not get the job half done. Whether friends or just acquaintances, these people make life worth living. And then one day when they are no longer around, for whatever reason, we wish we had done more with them and for them, and wonder why we didn't.

Since I cannot possibly tell you all the memories that ran through my mind on this damp and reflective morning, let me tell just one, about an extremely memorable Santa Fean. His name was John E. Miles, and he served as governor of New Mexico from 1939 to 1942. My mother served in the House of Representatives at the state Legislature during that time, and she is the one who told me the story.

Gov. Miles was visited at the Capitol one day by a friend he had not seen since high school. They started talking about old times, and the visitor asked the governor if he knew anything about a mutual friend of theirs. The governor sighed, then said in his high-pitched, raspy voice: "Well, you know, he died at 40. And then they buried him at 60."

How many people do we know who might fit that description? Let's make sure that you and I never do.

Have a great day, and live your life to the fullest.


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