early light woke me even earlier than usual this morning, shortly before 5. In
a way, that was unfortunate, because instead of setting out on my walk at once
and getting a nice head start on the day, I had to hang around the house an extra
hour. My next-door neighbor and walking partner, who had been out of town for
several weeks, was now back home, and he had left a recorded telephone message
that he would meet me at 6.
impatiently I killed the extra time. At five minutes to 6, I was waiting for my
neighbor in the driveway. But the agreed-upon hour came and went, with no sign
of him. Peeking through his curtains was his dog, another sign that he had returned
from his travels, which had included driving all the way to Canada this time.
After several more minutes with still no neighbor, I figured that maybe the long
journey had worn him out, and he was still in the rack. So I decided to go it
alone, as usual.
first 10 minutes of the walk I thought about what I would say to my neighbor when
I got back. I'm not past sticking it to him if I get a chance. It goes both ways.
Since getting one-up on him is rare, I decided to take advantage of this golden
on Palm Springs retirement time, I see, I rehearsed in my mind. But
if you want to hang with me, you must learn to soar with the eagles and hoot with
the owls." Yeah, that should do the job. Yet after trying out a couple more
nifty put-downs, I realized that what I should have done was knock on his door
and wake him up. Even more than I wanted to needle him, I wanted his company.
As I've said before, he is a special neighbor.
without my neighbor there to push me into a brisker pace, I found myself walking
at maximum speed, as though he had indeed come along. When I got to the French
Pastry Shop at La Fonda, I yearned to reward myself with coffee and one of the
delicious morsels inside the shop. But then I remembered that the first three
blocks on the way back home were all uphill, and how tough it always was for me
to keep up with my neighbor after we stopped for pastries. So I resisted the temptation.
Proud of myself for being so
noble, I walked taller and continued at warp speed through the three uphill blocks.
I got home a little less than an hour after going out, one of my best times ever.
And I even decided against needling my neighbor, who by now was finally up. Although
he had not accompanied me, he had still been a good influence on the walk. So
I let him off the hookthis time.
a refreshing shower I set out for the town of Las Vegas, New Mexico, where I had
been asked to testify in a trial concerning some real estate problems two parties
were arguing about. By the time I got to Las Vegas, which is about 60 miles from
Santa Fe, I was really hungry. And then I had a very good idea.
There is a mom-and-pop restaurant
there called the Spic & Span, which like the French Pastry Shop does its own
baking. Because I had been such a good boy all morning and had not yet eaten anything,
it was not hard to convince myself that I deserved a reward. That reward turned
out to be the largest cinnamon twist and the largest glazed doughnut on display
at the Spic & Span.
OK, so maybe I didnt come out ahead in my constant battle with the calories
by waiting until I got to Las Vegas and then having TWO pastries instead of one.
But nobody could blame methey were having a special sale that day, two pastries
for a dollar, which is a heck of a lot less than I would have paid at the French
Pastry Shop. See, I said to myself, this is just one more good
reason to live in Santa Fe: I can drive over to Las Vegas and get a deal on pastries."
I wondered what my neighbor might say.
a great day.