Stan's Tuesday Walks

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

August 21 , 2001

When I got up this morning at 5, I felt good. Darn good. There were several reasons. One is that it was still dark outside, when just last week at the same time, it was light. I always enjoy the return of autumn—although today’s mild temperature still felt like Santa Fe summer more than fall. Leaving the house in my T-shirt and shorts, I was quite warm enough. And anticipating the hot coffee and fresh pastry that awaited me at the Farmers Market only made me warmer. That was reason number two.

Reason number three was that I was well rested. My wife and I had spent the weekend in Taos, and when we returned on Monday, Linda left immediately to spend the night with her 91-year-old mother, who lives in a small village about 55 miles from Santa Fe. She left behind a load of dirty laundry for me to wash, and rather than tackle it late at night I just decided to turn in early and hit it first thing Tuesday morning. No doubt about it—a good night’s sleep is a fine way to start the day.

But let me tell you the REAL reason I felt so good this morning: I already knew what I was going to write about today!

For those of you who don’t have to write a story every Tuesday, week after week, whether you feel like it or not, maybe knowing ahead of time what my subject will be doesn’t sound like that big a deal. But for those in the know, it’s like a wise man once said: “Writing is easy—you just stare at a blank computer screen until little drops of blood appear on your forehead.”

Well, since starting this column a few months ago, I’ve sweated my share of those little drops. So it was downright exhilarating this morning to know exactly what my story would be. The reason I knew is that I almost told the story in this space last week, right after it happened. But instead I decided to wait until now. That way I had a whole week to feel self-satisfied and smug.

Monday of last week had been very busy, and that evening I came home and started to write some letters that needed to go out. Some years ago, I converted one of my detached garages into a small office. In it is a desk with a laptop computer, along with a lot of junk that has accumulated over the years and never seems to get removed. This is where I try to complete the things that I don’t finish during the day.

On this particular night I was having a hard time concentrating on the letters at hand. So from time to time I would walk out of the office, leaving the door open because the weather was warm, and go in the house until I got inspired. Then I would go back to the office and try to finish one more letter. This procedure went on all through the evening, until I got too tired to continue. Then I turned off my computer and printer, turned off the lights, closed the office door and went into the house for the night.

Tuesday I had a busy schedule again and didn't get home until 6 in the evening. I changed into some shorts and returned to my home office to continue where I had left off the night before. But before tackling the letters again, I decided to write my article for SFAOL, about an incident that had happened some time in the past. So I sat down and started working.

Next to my desk is a closet with a door that’s always open, for two reasons. One is that water from a leak in the roof some time back warped the doorframe. The second reason is that the closet is crammed so full of things like old paintings (and I don't mean Rembrandts, I mean just plain old) that the door couldn't be pushed closed even if I fixed it. Working at my desk the night before, I kept hearing a little scratching, slipping noise, like a beetle trying to walk on paper. I considered getting up and finding the beetle to put him outside, but finally decided that nothing would be damaged by leaving him where he was. I had plenty to do without wasting my time looking for a bug.

Finishing my article on Tuesday night, I heard the little noise again. It seemed to be coming from the closet, so I glanced in that direction—and right on the threshold of the door, not four feet from where I sat, stood a skunk! At first my mind wouldn't register it. I mean, I live in a residential neighborhood with houses all around me. When my mind finally grasped the situation, I practically jumped out of the chair. Or more accurately, I did jump out of the chair! When I did, the skunk immediately took a defensive posture. I don't have to tell you what that is. At that moment all I could think of was if he decided to do his business where he was standing, I would never ever be able to go in that office again.

I ran out of the office and into my house, leaving the office door open in hopes that the skunk would leave things pretty much as he found them, after spending the previous evening, and now this day and evening too, as my guest. Entering the house and closing the kitchen door behind me, I excitedly told Linda about the skunk. She immediately wanted to go see it, but as she charged toward the door I grabbed her arm in a vise-like grip. No way, I told her, was she going out to see the cute skunk and take a chance of getting my office perfumed. I wondered if I had paid my insurance, in case I had to burn the garages down.

After about 20 minutes, a little Pepe-la-Pew came walking out the door with his spindly little tail held high in the air, in case that big old human showed up again. Off he marched into the evening air, leaving things just as he had found them the night before.

Boy, was I happy. For two reasons. I was happy that I had avoided getting stinked out. And I was also happy that I had a story ready and waiting for this week. I hope you enjoyed it.

Have a good day.


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