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
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.
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.