“the vision must be followed by the venture.
it is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.”
bisbee, arizona, usa – march 2020 (pre-quarantine)
i was in arizona, visiting my sister and her family, and we crossed the border to go bargain shopping at a market in mexico. we saw lots and lots of wonderful things for sale, but there was one item i simply could not resist. i have always been a huge fan of pinatas, and of all of the celebrations and craziness that go with them, and i saw one that topped all the others. it was a giant. life-sized, santa claus piñata. i knew right away it had to be mine. and, in the spirit of being in the open-air market, i knew i would drive a hard bargain for st. nick.
soon after, there were 5 seconds of tough negotiations that went something like this,
‘how much for that santa?’
’10 dollars and 25 cents.’
‘how about 10 dollars?
i knew i had been so clever, and had gotten the bargain of a lifetime. i was so happy, and santa and i kind of walked off with a newfound swagger, as i talked about how clever i had been, how the seller didn’t know how much this gem was worth, and how clever i really was.
we drove to the airport and i checked in, proud to be carrying my new friend santa, ready to show him how we like to celebrate the winter holidays in michigan. we got lots of odd looks, smiles and questioning faces, but no matter. it was so clever, that we had ended up together, and for such a bargain price. it was at the ticket counter, however, that my ‘so clever’ bubble was quickly popped, i was told the following: ‘he’s too big to stow above, you’ll have to buy him his own seat.’ what, my $10.00 clever bargain santa would now cost me hundreds to get home??
and soon after, yet another round of intense negotiations took place:
‘okay, what are my other options?’
‘there is only one.’
we found a compromise. santa could fly with the luggage in the cargo section of the plane, and i had to be willing to accept that he may not look the same upon arrival. we parted ways – him on a conveyer belt, and i walked down a long hallway. i imagined all sorts of terrible things happening to him without his clever mama watching over him, but he would have been an expensive companion to have on board.
when i landed i saw him coming around the luggage carousel, feet first, and with a toe tag on. i thought about how he looked like he was in a morgue, and i knew it had been a very rough flight for him. i picked him up, stood him upright, and as we walked away, he was not quite as jolly, and i, not quite as clever. it had been a good run of clever for both of us though, and how quickly it was over.
The desire to seem clever often keeps us from being so. – Francois de La Rochefoucauld
life experiences, good, bad, and otherwise, during a whirlwind weekend, helping my niece find a house to rent for her upcoming grad school stint in toledo, ohio.
– ‘siri’ on my phone gets testy, and says, ‘i don’t know what you are asking, do you want me to look that up for you?’, and know we will have to sweet-talk her from here on out.
– our day begins in toledo with a stop at a local breakfast spot to meet a kind friend to give us neighborhood advice, and we get to choose between such selections as: ‘uncle moose’s manhandler’ and a ‘bounty of the sea’ breakfast crepe, and you just know it is going to be a wonderful day.
– when my niece, being from sweet, small towns in arizona begins to understand that we are in a city, and can base our ‘good and bad neighborhoods’ decision on how many people are out on the streets and not working, or perhaps making deals on the street, it will be a life-lesson kind of day.
– we see a random sign for a house on a pretty street and are met there by miss lillian, an 86 year old firecracker, dressed in flowered pants and full of life. this house is a jewel on a beautiful street, safe and calm and a bike ride to school. we do a 30 second drive by tour of the campus and it is lovely and the sun is shining.after we take care of 657 other details, like where are we going to get the money, we make a deal and head back to a surprise party that i’ve planned but will now be very late for. it has been a weekend filled many special moments.
where we spent our lovely spring afternoon in toledo, ohio – even the owner is laughing