The fast, and the feast

Top o’ the world, ma!

“When out of sorts, walk a hundred miles,” wrote Jim Harrison.

I only managed a hair over six miles, but then I’m not a lionized poet, author, and screenwriter describing the perambulations of Doug Peacock in “The Fast,” written for Smart magazine and collected in “Just Before Dark.” I’m just a retired free-range rumormonger who felt a tad frazzled after a week of backwash from the abrupt departure of Herself the Elder.

She was not my mother, and I am spastic in financial matters weightier than a crisp Jackson in the wallet, so with sister-in-law Beth in town to backstop Herself I felt my place was in the kitchen, feeding the women to keep their strength up as they rassled various fiscal and familial alligators. I think Jimbo would’ve approved.

I baked, sliced, toasted, and buttered bread; scrambled eggs and cooked oatmeal; sliced apples and assembled sandwiches; and made turkey chili with red kidney beans, a more substantial chicken posole verde, pasta with a mildly spicy sauce of tomatoes, garlic, onion, chile, and black olives, and spread the leftover sauce onto prefab shells for pizza.

Not exactly the labors of Heracles. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. I’d have done most of this cookery anyway, just over a longer period of time. But with Herself fetching a head cold home from her visit to Maryland, and Beth occupying the spare room we use to confine Miss Mia Sopaipilla at night, what sleep I’ve been able to scrape together between cookery, cleanup, coughs, and meows has been less than restful.

When yesterday proved to be a beautiful day, I decided to get outdoors for a while. But with the brain firing erratically trail running seemed iffy and cycling positively suicidal.

Looking west from the corner of trails 365 and 365A.

So instead I grabbed my hickory stick and took a two-and-a-half-hour skull-flushing stroll along the hem of the Sandias to the edge of the Cibola wilderness and back again.

The universe mostly accommodated my desire for relaxation, solitude, peace, and quiet, perhaps with an assist from the Albuquerque Police Department.

The APD is disbanding its Open Space Unit, dispersing its four officers and one sergeant to the mean streets of The Duck! City, and giving police service aides the responsibility for locking and unlocking trailhead gates.

This changing of the guard isn’t supposed to happen until February 2023. But maybe someone missed the memo, because the three parking lots I passed on my hike were locked up tight and as a consequence the foothills trails were mostly empty. I took a small water bottle and my own sweet time and thought not at all about food.

This afternoon the sisters are taking a break from estate management and eBaying to whip up a raspberry cobbler. Once that’s squared away Beth will prepare lobster tails, I’ll tackle the salmon, spuds, and asparagus, and Herself may or may not do a small green salad. It’s been a long week, and she’s still not 100 percent. We’re all tired. So it goes.

If you observe the holiday, or even if you don’t, give your loved ones a little more gravy on their taters, maybe a bigger slice of pie. A little sugar, don’t you know. Don’t forget to raise a glass to any empty seats around the table.

“Salmon? Did someone mention salmon?”

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3 Responses to “The fast, and the feast”

  1. Shawn Says:

    May everybody’s God bless you and all those around you sharing some common space. That includes Miss felis sopaipillas and said earlier comment regarding tasty fish.

    Have a Great Thanksgiving everybody !

  2. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Amen brother Patrick. Nothing like a little dirt time to soothe the soul and ease the mind. And, I will say it before Khal does, there is nothing like a good piece of hickory.

    PS: This post was some seriously good word wrangling!

  3. khal spencer Says:

    Excellent post, as Pat O’B notes. Hope all had a good day.

    We had the usual get together at David and Maureen’s place up in Bombtowne. That Tk’giving get together has been going on for well over a dozen years, ever since David and I found ourselves doing the Walk and Talk with our dogs around the neighborhood streets up there. Dog walking always seems to break the ice among people. Unless it doesn’t, I suppose.

    Turns out one of those in attendance also just lost a parent unexpectedly to the Grim Reaper, so some common bonding, which seems uncommon in the Age of the Bug, was in keeping with the situation.

    Dinner was of course multicourse, with Meena and I bringing up the mock turkey, stuffing, and besam flour based “turkey gravy” along with pie, home made cranberry sauce, and a pink French pinot noir and a big red Argentine bonarda. Maureen provided the more traditional fare, including the dead bird, so there was plenty to go around regardless of whether one was a carnivore, omnivore, or vegetarian. Our dog Annie and cat Maile were happy beneficiaries of actually having real meat in the house afterwards!

    Hey, Pat. I was making a lot more walking sticks when we lived in Los Alamos. The woods up there never failed to provide me with more long, strong, and undamaged raw materials, which I brought back to the garage, stripped, sanded, drilled for leather hand straps, and then sealed with a good outdoor wood sealant. Often I left some of the inner bark on them to provide for some interesting colors and textures. Many of those staffs I gave away to friends. Still have a few left and I think it is time to make some more.

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