Stan's Tuesday Walks

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

July 30, 2002

Even though summer has passed its peak and the days are now getting shorter, daylight still comes very early. And as soon as daylight hits my eyelids, I am hot to trot.

This morning I was awake by 4:30 and was ready to be up and out by 5. But I had to wait, because my neighbor and walking companion was back in town, and we had agreed to set out at our customary time of 6. Ten minutes before that hour came I was standing in my driveway, anxiously waiting to see if my neighbor would appear. Last week he overslept, and I had walked alone.

Afterward I ragged him about not getting up on time.  He spends much of his life these days in Palm Springs, California, where I don't think he takes early-morning walks. I told him that on the rare occasions when he IS in town, one would think that he somehow could roll out of bed by 6 o'clock just one day a week. He came back with some lame excuse that his clock was still set to West Coast time, and that was why he was late.

He said he had gotten up plenty early last week by West Coast time and missed me by just a few minutes. He said that he then took off looking for me, but fast walker that I am, he couldn't catch up! Now, if that's true, either I've gotten a lot faster than I was just a couple of weeks ago or my neighbor set out a lot later than just a few minutes after I did. I think the latter is true. In fact, I think it was almost an hour later!

Anyway, this morning out he comes right on time, a few minutes before 6, with a sheepish grin on his face. Being the good fellow that I am, I made only a couple of jibes about him missing last week, then let the subject drop.

The day was beautiful, and as we approached the Plaza we encountered a lot of tourists also out for early walks. Warm weather brings out the best in all of us, I suppose; but when the days start getting cold, Santa Fe's early walkers sure do get scarce. I was on the verge of letting myself feel superior to these "fair-weather walkers" when I noticed that almost all of them seemed to be in better shape than I am.

They might not walk in the early morning when it's cold out, I thought, but they're sure doing something right. I finally figured that they must not spend much time at the French Pastry Shop. Yeah, that was probably their secret. But if you can't reap a reward after accomplishing some good cardiovascular task, what's the point anyway? If you're not going to eat, then you don't need to exercise in the first place, because there are no calories to burn!

Beneath this rationalization I guess I was feeling guilty about stopping at the pastry shop. I knew that the stop would just add to the chasm between my body shape and those of other walkers. But I also knew I would stop there anyway.

So I needed a second excuse to justify my wicked ways. And I came up with one. You just never know who you might run into at the French Pastry Shop, I told myself. It's a well-known place, and Santa Fe is a well-known town. Somebody famous might walk in at any time. I remembered going to the Cheese Cake Factory in Chicago three years ago, when in came Muhammad Ali! That was one pastry stop I was glad I made.

After my neighbor and I finished at the pastry shop-he with just a cup of coffee, but I, as usual, unable to resist a peach roll as well-we headed home. He still had spring in his step, but I was by now lugging a full stomach, and was doubly disappointed because I had seen no one famous to make it all worthwhile

The first three blocks from the shop are uphill, and, boy, did I feel it. Then suddenly a little elderly man, who seemed at least 15 years older than I am, zipped right past me. As he did, he cheerily wished me a good morning. I would have done the same to him, but I was breathing so hard I couldn't get the words out. Next week I'll try to be stronger.

Have a great day.


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