It's All Evanescent

“No! Don’t open that Michelle!” I leap quickly to the curb and push Bella’s back passenger door closed.

“I want to see Bear.”

“I know, but that’s not a good way for her to come out. She’s fastened in there.”

“Never do that, ‘chelle. Don’t mess with other people’s animals,” says Michelle’s and Connor’s mom. Michelle puts her head down, ashamed.

“It’s OK. I’ll get Bear.” I go to the back of Bella, open the door. Michelle is right beside me. “Remember when she ran away that day?” The little girl wearing the rainbow tutu, tights and boots nods. “I fasten her in now.” I loop Bear’s leash around my wrist. “OK, open that carabiner.” Michelle does. 8 year olds like to show their competence at stuff. Bear jumps down. “Can I walk her?”

“Uh, OK.” Mom is standing by and knows how this works. Michelle takes the middle of Bear’s leash and I have it by the loop. I’m walking Bear. Michelle is holding on. Bear lunges toward a patch of untouched snow (talk about evanescence!) “Whoa!” says Michelle, laughing. “Bear’s STRONG!”

“She weighs more than you and more than half of what I do. She’s a powerful beastie. Let go, Michelle. Bear wants to roll around. She LOVES snow more than anything.”

Their mom takes out her phone and photographs all of us, Connor, Michelle, Bear rolling in the snow, and me holding Bear’s leash. I imagine that photo in some dim someday.

Christmas. Elizabeth invites me for dinner with her and her husband. She prepares lamb. We have a lot of fun talking and then Bob tells me he has the seat from Eddie Rickenbacker’s plane. He tells me the back story. I’m amazed. I love those early flyers. He goes down to the basement and brings it up for me to see. I sit in it. I sit in Eddie Rickenbacker’s seat. Here, in Monte Vista, Colorado. Bob tells me how the Smithsonian didn’t want it and shows me the letter. “They have another seat.” Bob shrugs.

Eddie Rickenbacker’s Airplane Seat

Then Bob brings up a couple of photo albums from the early 20th century. There are pictures of Europe. I correctly identify the locations as Italy. Milan. There’s General Pershing. In another couple of photos is the Alamo.

“I have no idea who these people are,” says Bob. “My brother got them from the dump in Durango.”

I carry some dishes out to the kitchen. There’s Elizabeth in the winter sunlight washing dishes. I take a photo with my phone. In the foreground is the mince pie I made. The steam vents in the top are cut exactly the way my grandmother taught me.

An “ordinary” moment.

At the Rio Grande County Museum I spy an old gas stove from the 30s. I had one just like it in a house I rented in Denver. It was great. I comment on it to Louise who runs the museum. She tells me the story of the stove. Then I notice what she’s done. She’s set up a 1930’s kitchen, table with embroidered tablecloth and china, ice-box, cupboard, kids’ play table with a kids tea set beside the grown up table. It’s so pretty. Next to it, behind a temporary partition, a screen, she’s set up a teacher’s desk, slate, old text books. “Oh, a school house!” Louise beams.

“You want my grandfather’s history book? He was born in 1870. I have his math book, too.” She says yes.

The boots in the featured photo were my favorite shoes for nearly a decade. We covered miles and miles together in Montana, Colorado, Oregon, California, Utah, Arizona, Switzerland. They were with me on a journey that turned out — decades later — to have been one of the most important in my life, a journey to Zion, Lake Powell (ick), Kayenta, Monument Valley, Arches. My friend (plaid shirt) and I had no idea at the time that we were on a journey of a lifetime that would define and seal an emotional bond that has lasted for more than 20 years.

You can see my boots in this photo. They had blue laces for a little while.

After being resoled three or four times, there wasn’t enough leather left on my boots for another resoling job. I left them behind in ZĂźrich and got new boots for my birthday, splendid boots. I was sad, though, and my friend Pietro handed me “la macchina” (camera) so I could take a picture. Pietro died of lymphoma the next year.

My daily reminder of the evanescence of things is my morning coffee. I’ve finished, Teddy is cleaning my cup.

Sad Bear of the Muddy Paws

“What Bear? No, I know that’s not three inches. Teddy told you WHAT? You know Fred. Remember last year Fred told us that the beaver by Mr. Martinez’ house was as big as a bear? Fred exaggerates. Anyway, I don’t know what weather forecast he’d heard or seen that said we’d get 12 inches. Maybe for Wolf Creek. No, Bear. Wolf Creek is a real place. No, I didn’t believe Fred, but, you know, I hoped. Yeah, he did say that. He did say ‘Albuquerque low’. I know that can mean we get a LOT of snow, but Bear, there’s never a guarantee.”

“Things have to be just right. We live in a desert valley. What? A desert is a place where there isn’t much rain or snow. Here’s how it works. There’s a VERY HIGH narrow mountain range to our east that has a southward curve there at the pass. That’s the Sangre de Cristos. To the west there is an IMMENSE and high mountain range, the San Juans. The San Juans scrape the precipitation out of the clouds that come west. The Sangres curve to the south down there and scrape the clouds that come up from the south. Storms that come from the north? Yeah, there are a lot of those, well the mountains to the north where all the ski areas are? They scrape the snow out of the clouds heading south. It’s got to be a very wet fast moving storm for us to get anything. I’ve learned that. At first, like you, I was disappointed, but I think, in the long run it might be for the best. I’m not spring chicken and the sun really helps me keep the heat bill down.”

“I know, I know, we want to keep the golf course closed. Listen, Bear, before you were born, we got a HUGE snowfall in May. It was wonderful. Dusty, Mindy and — WAIT! No! You’re right! You were here. Wow. Time flies!!! Bullet still lived on that corner and he got loose. That’s true, Bear. You have to take the good with the bad but I still don’t like those big holes in the yard and vacuuming all the time. I know it’s good for you, but seriously. But what I’m trying to say is we could get more snow. No, sweet Bear, as my mom used to say, “Don’t get your hopes up.” Let’s stay cool, and avoid that circular suffering of the weather forecast, hope, realization, disappointment. I love you, too, Bear. You want this rawhide pencil?”

Cabin Fever? Not Exactly…

I have not been out of the San Luis Valley since September. That’s a record. I love it here, it is Heaven, but damn… I have not talked to a person in the flesh since my birthday 2 1/2 weeks ago. Yeah, I’ve been busy, and I am an introvert, but seriously? In the first place, I don’t have a lot of friends and here in winter people hibernate. I think a lot of people make quilts and do other stuff inside. I’m one of the few people who’s outside everyday.

I’d hoped to do a lot of X-country skiing but discovered the first time out that 1) my quads had shortened from the months of rehabbing the foot meaning NOT walking and just riding the bike-to-nowhere so, 2) I was having problems getting a good kick which requires extending the leg, 3) the foot, while healed, could only stand to ski for about 1/2 mile. I pushed it, but why hurt myself? I’m not going to. When I figured out what was different between this year and last year I realized I had to focus on walking for a while and langlauf if I was lucky. When I started, a mile and a half (in snow) was the limit of a walk before my foot hurt, now I’m going much farther (in snow). BUT the snow is melting. On the other paw, the dogs are happy to be going out again and so am I. I realize how much I like walking them.

We have a month before the golf course will open to golfers. I hope to get the most out of February no matter what it is. And, some property owner out there in the back-of-beyond has put a locked gate across what was once part of our favorite walk. I understand why — lots of kids driving on that “road” — but it’s really too bad. 😦 Plus the incredible amounts of cow manure on what was once a beautiful nearby trail to the river and the damage to everything growing there… I don’t know about people.

The last time we had legitimate snow was December 20. For a while that was fine because temps stayed below freezing, but now? Every day seeks to imitate spring and hits the 40 F/4 C or above.

It’s all worse because the end of 2019 was very exciting with shows, and readings, and radio appearances. 2019 had its problems, but it was an exceedingly productive year for me as a writer. The thing is, I like to write, but I don’t have a story. I’ve often thought that the times Hemingway didn’t have a story were the times that depressed him and he regarded the blank page as the “white bull.” It must have been hard on him with publishers waiting for a manuscript and sitting there with nothing to say. The uninitiated believe that writers are subject to depression because they write. No. It’s NOT writing that’s depressing.

And money. Prices on things go up all the time and I am, right now, trying very hard to pay off debt rather than incurring more.

Anyway, I’m thinking that this coming week I might just take Bella up to Wolf Creek Ski Area where there is a X-country area and ski as long as I can. Wolf Creek ALWAYS has the most snow of any ski area in Colorado. It has a 75 inch base last time I checked and the X-country ski area is groomed. I just hope I can ski long/far enough to make it worth the trip. I’m also a little worried about the “take a friend” warning. I don’t have one. My outdoor friends are four-legged. Bear has to be leashed. I have yet to figure out how to ski with a leashed dog.


I love Federico Fellini’s films. I think if I’d had the opportunity to know him, I might have liked him, too. I first learned of him — his films — when I was a little kid and a then-scandalous “foreign” (OH MY GOD!) film came out. My parents went to see La Dolce Vita. My brother and I had a babysitter that night. All I remember hearing about it the next day was, “I don’t like subtitles.”

I watched Nights of Cabiria in a college film class. Afterward, my teacher explained what Fellini was doing. I listened without being convinced. It’s an incredibly dark film made before Fellini broke from the post-war vision of most Italian directors.

The next Fellini film I heard about was Satyricon. There was a big article about it in Life Magazine that sparked my curiosity. I was in college, and Satyricon was at the Denver art theater, the Flick. A guy from the Colorado School of Mines was trying to date me. He picked me up at the dorm, took me to the theater, and expected me to pay half. THAT wasn’t my idea of a date at all. We didn’t see the movie and I never saw him again.

Eight years later my best friend, her boyfriend and I went to see City of Women at Denver’s Vogue (vague) Theater. It was hilarious, and it beat out all previous films in my experience for quantities of phallus images (to be fair also images of birth canals). As we were leaving the theater, we looked in the window of the nearby Mexican restaurant at all the cocktuses and laughed.

Somewhere in there I had decided that God had abdicated responsibility for guiding my fate and had subcontracted to Federico Fellini. I’d told my friend this one night over dinner. She just laughed at me until one of the songs in City of Women was this disco hit by Gino Soccio that she’d heard ONLY at my house. It convinced her. 😀

Fellini’s semi-autobiographical film about failure, the artistic vision vs. investors, monogamy vs. human nature, the constant pulls on the human heart and the artist’s imagination was my best friend for a long time. Whenever I felt discouraged about teaching, writing, love, life, money, identity, I watched 8 1/2.

In 2004, in the midst of my Felliniesque life, I even gave a paper at a professional conference. The topic was “The Image of the Hero.” My mind went right to Fellini’s corpus. I named the hero of Fellini’s films “Old Half Head,” the nickname given to a statue of Julius Caesar standing in the town square of the movie version of Fellini’s home town, Rimini, in the film Roma. Half of Caesar’s head has broken off. I saw this image over and over and over in Fellini’s films, and over time, realized that it represents what an artist does to himself when he/she gives up, gives in, loses faith. The “Fellini hero”, in many films, “half-heads” “himself.”

The protagonist of La Dolce Vita half-heads himself in the very last scene of the movie. As construction proceeds in a subway in Roma, a Roman villa is discovered and there is a floor mosaic of Fellini with part of his head broken away. In 8 1/2 the hero, Guido, stops short of half-heading himself with a pistol. The half-head is what happens when an artist loses faith. There is also “half-heading” in I Vitelloni, Intervista, and the unfinished Voyage of G. Mastorna.

I haven’t yet lost faith in the journey, even though it often seems dark and desperate. The important thing of man today is to hang on, not to let his head droop but to keep looking up through the tunnel, perhaps even inventing a way of salvation through fantasy or will-power, and especially through faith. For this reason, I think the work of artists is really important today. Fellini on Fellini

P.S. I just learned that yesterday Fellini would have been 100 years old. ❤

Here Come da Judge

Unless you are approaching fossilization, you won’t get the title, but damn, it just popped into my mind as I started to write about what I’m doing.

I agreed to judge a writing contest. I’m not saying which one or what kind of books because a lot of the people who read my blog are writers. I’m judging three categories, none of which are fiction. I don’t think I could be an objective judge in that category. If you’re really curious you can do some research and find out.

This isn’t the first time I’ve judged writing. I was an editor for the Proceedings of the Journal of Association for Business Communications, The International Journal of Business Communication and the African Journal of Business Management and more stuff but I don’t remember it all.

This has turned out to be pretty interesting especially as I’ve entered my own books in some writing contests. I have never won — though Martin of Gfenn won some close calls. Knowing that anything I publish, in spite of everything, will have mistakes, I get it. The first thing a judge does is look through an entry to see if it’s something that could sit on a shelf at Barnes & Noble. Even if I don’t think that’s a 100% legit standard, the first requirement of any book is that it’s readable.

Some of the entrants clearly had money and spent it on getting their book professionally designed. That gives them an advantage it perhaps shouldn’t. Some of the entrants did no research at all into how to put a book together (or, perhaps, have never looked at a book?) and their book is just a giant PDF dump that’s almost impossible to read. Some entrants have no knowledge of the conventions of writing such as why we use paragraphs (in English, anyway. The Italians have no such silly fetish). Some writers don’t consider how a person might USE the information in their book, and while the information is good it would be hard for someone to get to it. There are dozens of ways books don’t “work.”

I’m finding that I’m biased toward an attractive book, and I kind of hate myself for that because I’m never going to be the self-published author who can pay big bucks to have a book designed and printed on expensive deckled edge paper. Some of the books are labors of love and that shines in the writing and appeals to me. Is that a bias? I have no problems seeing fine writing in a book I would never buy. I guess that comes from years and years and years of teaching people to write.

My favorite book so far, though, is not one on which someone spent a year’s salary on professional design and production. It’s an attractive, readable book that tells a sincere and important story.

That’s the whole point, isn’t it?

Concussion Comments

Today I finally feel a little bit like myself. Really three days isn’t a very long time, but it’s amazing how a blow to the head — not even a major one — can knock a person out of the game for a few days. Being on the literal cusp of 68, I can no longer say, “That’s not me” when Dr. Google says, “Recovery from even a minor head injury takes longer for elderly people.” I just accepted the advice of the Mayo Clinic and rested. I didn’t push through anything even though my golf course has been groomed for Langlauf and I really want to go. I also accept that things could still go wrong. The good thing about a black eye is that when one has one, one isn’t all that interested in meeting the public. It’s better, but it’s at the icky brown technicolor stage…

I also had an epiphany while I was riding The Bike to Nowhere. The situation in my country is, to me, sad and scary but no one is listening to me about it. I can push and tweet and post and speak out all I want but the world in which I live is absolutely NOT the world I worked toward all my life. It seems my fellow country-people wanted something else completely. People bitch about the decline of democracy but his egregiousness was elected by a process that is, essentially, democratic (though flawed) and his supporters love him.

I am not “at one” with the “spirit of the age,” and that being the case (not surprising) I can best use the remaining years, months, days whatever of my little life living that little life undistracted. I have paintings to paint. Skis to take out. Dogs to walk. Maybe that’s not much, but it seems to me that one more happy person in the world is not a negligible contribution.

Labyrinthine Trap of Time

Competing versions of Christianity in the early church distilled into Roman Catholicism. The distillation process did not make the faith more pure as the flames beneath the beaker were money and power, lucre and death. An early version of Christianity — Arianism (not to be confused with that Hitlerian perspective about “Aryans” not the same thing at all) — saw Jesus as God’s son. There was none of this abstruse business of the “three in one” (which really does sound more like Twix — chocolate, caramel, cookie — than anything believable). God is God. At some point he had a son who is AWESOME and worthy of lifelong attention, and came here to help and redeem us, but who is NOT God the father.

Think of all the conclaves throughout the history of Christianity that attempted to explain the Trinity, all the blood shed over that (completely made up) question. This alternative view was labeled “heresy,” and as has happened throughout time, the label superseded the reality (“Sleepy Joe”). What IF Arianism had won out. The three Abrahamic religions wouldn’t be so far apart — all three would be worshipping the same Abrahamic God, and two would have their cool prophet, chosen by God, to help them.

I don’t think there is much that is truly spiritual in these religious competitions any more than I think there is much that is truly spiritual in today’s “Christianity.” I’m not saying that Christians are not spiritual people — many are. But no “ity” or “ism,” no conglomeration of people, can ever retain the intense focus of a spiritual life. Their elevated quest for God will always be dragged to a stop by the drogue chute of buildings, bank accounts, internal disputes, competition, interpersonal conflicts, the drive for consensus and approval from others.

Which is why so many of the early Christian saints went into the wilderness; why Jesus went into the wilderness. The elemental imperatives draw the human mind away from petty quotidian disputes.

History — like my own personal life — is full of turnings like that one, turnings where if things had just gone the other way, this moment would be different. Under everything in history (and my life) it seems that the trajectory of actual events resulted from ONE decision, ONE choice at each turning. Much as I dislike Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken,” way does lead on to way. The “temporal” world is the world in which time is boss. The word means “world of time.” That basically means that once a decision is made it is in the past and we are blocked forever from re-doing that decision. Hindsight might reveal what an idiot we were, but it doesn’t matter.

That Was the Year That Was

Recap of 2019 — I bought Nordic skis in January and skied (Langlaufed) maybe 10 times before the snow melted. 

One of the happiest days I can remember is the first day I took them out and found I could still ski, even after 20 years. I got to take Lois out in February and we had a blast. We had SO MUCH SNOW it was a dream come true for me and Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog. Winter also brought Bear and me a small herd of mule deer to watch and kind of hang out with daily — from a distance.

The Tracks of my Deers

In the winter I did some watercolors (of which I’m very proud) of the world in which I now wander and an oil that is, I think, my best so far. All of these are of the Rio Grande and the San Juan Mountains which I watched changing every day I took Bear out for a long ramble. Winter 2019 was a spectacular winter for me.

Storm on Windy Peak

In late June, I lost my Dusty T. Dog after 14 years. I. had adopted a mini-Aussie pup, Teddy Bear T. Dog a few weeks before losing Dusty. 

Because of all the snow we got, the snow melt was record-setting, and I got to see “my” river in flood for the first time. Really, really amazing

Rio Grande in flood at Shriver/Wright

The year brought a few visits to Colorado Springs to see friends, to get my new hip checked, and a pilgrimage to Denver with Lois and lunch with one of my oldest friends, Ron, and his wonderful wife, Joni, in my old hood which had not completely changed. (I was happy). From that came a deep understanding of my life, the changes, the distance I’ve traveled — heart, mind, soul and feet — and the consistencies of which I was unaware, leaving me grateful for old friends, new old friends and my own courage. ❤

At the Narrow Gauge Book Co-op

I had the incredible experience of writing As a Baby Duck Listens to Thunder (and another book, Fledging, with its very tiny audience of three people including me, but a beloved project nonetheless). Reading Baby Duck at the Narrow Gauge Book Co-op was a little scary, but it turned into a very sweet event, supported by my incredible friends. The reading, the newspaper articles, and all that experience ended up entailing was great — including being on the Radio. (Video will NOT kill this radio star, believe me.) 

In November/December I had the opportunity to participate in a group art show at the Rio Grande County Museum with other San Luis Valley artists. I exhibited and sold books (I sold four) and read from Baby Duck again, this time to a different audience. It was wonderful, inspiring to me as a writer. Along with the show, I got to know the women who run that museum and I like them very much.

Some health weirdness, but who, at 67, does not have to deal with some of that? The weirdest was the horse-fly bite in June. 

Adventures with friends — some lunches in various and sundry places .In early spring we went to Creede and wandered around that lovely town. We tried the new restaurant in Del Norte, and went to studio tours in South Fork and Crestone. December brought Christmas lunches, tea parties and dinner with precious friends.

Health Food lunch in Crestone

The year brought only a few good walks with the dogs, not as many as I wish because of an injury I sustained in late September that has taken almost 3 months to heal. But now it’s healed just in time to Langlauf which I’ve done twice already this winter. Karen and I were finally able to ski together after talking about it for 3 years!

There’s much more, but this is long enough already. Thank you again fates for conspiring to bring me here, to Heaven, where I am and have been so incredibly happy. â¤

Millennial and Boomer Communicate with Great Civility on Twitter. Details at 11

Yesterday on Twitter I had a brief and friendly interchange with a Millennial. I didn’t KNOW she was a Millennial until she told me. The dispute was how the Democrats should push a candidate in the upcoming election; who should they choose? Her contention was that, “We can walk and chew gum at the same time” meaning that the candidate can run on something more than just beating Offal. He or she can run on Medicare for All as well.

I contended that I wished this were the case, but to beat Offal, the candidate has to appeal to a very wide range of voters, those who voted for Offal just to get a dig at Hillary, those who held their nose and voted for him because they “always vote Republican,” those who had lost their faith in Offal. I said I thought anyone too far left would not capture those votes.

She replied that she is a Millennial, Millennials want healthcare, and they are the largest block of voters. I was about to reply that I believe healthcare is a right, that I spent most of my working life uninsured (exploitation did not begin with the Millennials) but this is not that election. When I hit “reply” I learned she’d deleted the comment. I was sorry. We were having an uncharacteristically civil conversation on an otherwise often enraged platform.

This young woman had retreated to the arbitrary definition of her herd. Later I thought about me at twenty vs. now. As time passed, I became less “passionate” in a way — maybe that’s what we do, what Hemingway decried in A Farewell to Arms where he sets the young male character up against an older man who says something about patience and the cooling of ardor and says, “That is the wisdom of old men.” This wisdom is criticized by Federic Henry who’s fallen in love with the British nurse who cared for him in the hospital. Frederic is willing to go AWOL to Switzerland to be with her…

As I became older I saw that many of our goals are not reached in one fell swoop, but over time, step-by-step. Sure, I knew that intellectually but what it meant in my own real life? It took a while. The idea for a novel is not a novel. A trail is not trod on a map. There are complications and turning points and hazards we don’t know about until we start out. When I was young — as this woman is — I didn’t KNOW this. And, what my Millennial interlocutor might not know is that Clinton ran on a universal healthcare promise way back in the 90s. We know how that worked out. Americans were upset that he was going to put his wife in charge of that! Nepotism! And Hillary is annoying!

One of the things that put Offal in office is the desire of his base to have it all RIGHT NOW and his willingness to promise that he could deliver it. Their appetite for instant gratification leads them to believe his lies. They know they can’t see the whole iceberg, so if he tells them Ivanka created 14 million jobs when the entire economy added only 6 million, they’re going to believe Offal.

Also my young Twitter friend doesn’t seem to realize that there are Millennials who support Offal. The Millennials alone are not going to fix this mess in the upcoming election. In fact, there’s the danger that — as happened last time when Bernie wasn’t nominated — if they don’t get the candidate they want, they won’t show up at all.

We have a huge mess and, in my opinion, it’s urgent that we get rid of Offal and most of the men and women currently in the Senate. In fact, keeping Offal and transforming the Senate would be a pretty acceptable alternative because it would paralyze him. The most important thing for any voter — whatever generation — to understand is this. None of the more liberal agenda (and I’m only marginally liberal) can take place without one of those two things happening. If both could happen it would be the best outcome. Once the power is restored to the majority of Americans (who either did not vote or voted Democrat in the last presidential election) we’re going to have a big job restoring our position internationally and convincing our allies (if we still have any) that we’re serious about renewing our ties. We’re going to have to come to grips for once and for all with an immigration system that doesn’t work right and we’re going to have to find a way to make things up to the families we’ve destroyed. There’s no reason in the world for this country to have the kind of whacky health care system it has right now and maybe Obamacare can be tweaked to function better as we work toward a more equitable system for everyone. The most important issue to me is climate change — but it’s huge. Maybe we can step back into the Paris Accord.

Offal’s reign has brought up the question of state’s rights, a topic that interests me very much after living in California for 30 years and witnessing the incredible difference between that world and the rural Colorado world in which I live now. How can we support and enhance those things which each state does well and offers to the nation as a whole? Doing that would promote unity in this massively divided nation. We should not be against each other. Being against the government? I get that. Je suis l’anarchie.

Here’s a very funny song for your listening pleasure…

Back to the Future

A week or so after Thanksgiving I was at the BIG STORE in the BIG CITY (City Market in Alamosa). I really wanted to bake a mincemeat pie. Last year I made one for Thanksgiving dinner at my friend’s house and I had a dim idea of where the mincemeat might be — in a random temporary display someplace between the craft beer and the frozen pizza.

I looked everywhere and couldn’t find it.


At the check stand I asked, “Do you know where I would find mincemeat?”

Young checker gives me a blank look and says, “In the meat department.” Her eyes add, “You idiot.”

“It’s not meat. It’s pie filling.”

“Pie filling is on aisle 4.”

“It’s not there. Last year it had it’s own little display in a random place.”

The checker looks at me with that deer in the headlights expression. Meanwhile an elderly Hispanic farmer has taken a spot in line behind me. He’s wearing a black serape over his Carhart jacket and jeans. He is built like a bomb and has two teeth, but even so he has a beautiful smile. He says, in English, “I know what that is.” In Spanish he mentions two New Mexico — one empanadas — holiday pastries that use mincemeat. “I haven’t had that in a long time.”

The bagger, who’s 12, says, “I can find it,” and takes off. My groceries are checked through and I pay for them. The bagger comes back. “Look in the canned meat,” she says to me. I shrug.

As I am leaving, an older stock person says, “We might have it closer to Christmas.”

“Thanks,” I answer, seeing a future in which no one has eaten mincemeat pie.



Today I’m going to “do” some of the Christmas things there are to do here in the “hood.” My friend Lois is here from Colorado Springs to hear my reading, give me moral support and hang out. I sold three little paintings and I have to deliver them to their buyer who will be in South Fork today at an art and craft show, so Lois and I will go up there, deliver the goods, see what there is to see, then go to Del Norte in time for me to help at the museum if I’m needed and then I’ll read from Baby Duck and, I hope, a bit from Martin of Gfenn.

In preparation for Lois visit, I made a mincemeat pie. Lois said as we ate some pie, “I bet most people alive today have never tried this.” I think she’s right.

Take that, future. You won’t know what you’ll be missing.

P.S. In other news, yesterday I took the ankle brace off. I realized IT hurt more than my foot did, meaning, it was hurting my foot. My foot is finally doing better. I’m cautiously happy about this. I’d be jubilant, but that’s too risky.