New Year’s Day has dawned. After the Rose Parade and before the Rose Bowl – what does one do? Have brunch, of course. A very nice brunch, with left-over Stollen and Panettone, scrambled eggs with red pepper, onion, salami, and cheese, accompanied by mango juice. Followed by scrubbing the cassole, mopping cookie crumbs and starting the first load of a small mountain of accumulated laundry.
It was quite different yesterday when we returned home around dusk. We saw several white-tailed deer, a huge red deer buck with a wintery neck rough and a heavy set of antlers. A couple of curves later, we saw the matching doe and a sika buck nearby, as well as several emus, an ostrich, and a fallow buck. A short while later, ten axis does rushed across the road from East to West right in front of us.
Catching glimpses of so many animals, while slowly cruising through vast acreage of the barely disturbed countryside, dressed so softly in muted winter colors, did provoke nostalgia. Do we really want to give all this up? A sharply piercing sense of loss tugged my heartstrings briefly before reality gained the upper hand. Our ranch environment is so beautiful and lively, because of it’s remoteness. Precisely the reason, combined with its extreme summer temperature, why we have to leave. I can’t allow myself to minimize last summer’s exhausting roundtrips to San Antonio for medical care, nor should I romanticize the heat rash developing on my arms and chest, every time I step outside after ten in the morning. Let reason prevail in 2013!
Since we shipped Ruby, our trusted dog transporter, to Costa Rica in April of 2011, we haven’t owned a car in the US. The previous winter we managed through skillful manipulation. Meaning, we encouraged our son to buy a closed cabin vehicle – he had hitherto driven a moped – and then leasing it from him for the four months, we expected to be in Texas for my naturalization. When the projected four turned into eight months of enforced residency at the ranch, I only survived through the kindness of strangers. Well, not exactly strangers. Our neighbors and friends six miles to our East in the ranchlands, Judy and Augustus, kindly loaned me their Camry for the duration. Other friends, Kris and Tom, then carted me and my luggage all the way down to the San Antonio airport, when I was finally allowed to leave the country. Thanks again, guys!!
During the course of 2012, my nonagenarian in-laws in Florida prudently acknowledged their approaching golden years and decided to retire to a senior apartment near their daughter in Wisconsin. We were supposed to first drive their car, loaded to the gills with personal possessions, to Milwaukee and then to take it with us to Texas, to use during the winter months. Actually, we had hoped to unobtrusively and quietly keep the car far away from Milwaukee for good. Driving is no longer an advisable activity for them and their new place has convenient transportation. But those plans came to naught! Scant weeks before the move, my mom-in-law fell and broke her hip. All arrangements had to be postponed till after her recovery and their move was rescheduled for April of 2013. In one fell swoop, we were car-less again. And again our friends pitched in, loaning out their Camry and running down to pick us up from the airport respectively.
After exactly one month of enjoying our loaner, the ax fell once more, putting the kibosh on our vehicle scrounging careers. While happily driving on I-10 toward San Antonio for our 35th wedding anniversary celebration, our friend’s Lil’ old Camry died. We were extremely lucky that Judy and Augustus had just returned from a month long cruise through the South Seas. Just in time to rescue us from doom! Five hours later, after the car was towed to Ed’s Fix-It Shop in Junction and our dinner and hotel reservations were canceled, we set down in front of the computer to finally begin, what we should have done a year ago, search for a used car deal.
The next day we were scheduled to join our children in San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl. But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum to cheer the mighty gladiators of UT. We bought a car. Meet our new, low mileage baby, The Matrix.
So we begin this new year with a loan agreement and monthly payments. Not something we were keen on in our retirement. But our credit rating turned out to be sterling, making for a lower interest rate … besides, neither a shnorrer nor a lender be, for it dulls the edge of friendship!
(very free after Polonius)