Friday, March 21, 2008

Walking with Avery

I met Avery sometime before I turned 30. I know this because the night I met her I was in my roller skates, the new, space-age kind with fancy, bright yellow wheels. It was the pre-inline-skate era. As my 30th birthday approached, I bought myself skates in order to recapture what I thought was rapidly becoming my lost youth. I'd skate around town, grabbing onto trash cans, mailboxes, light poles, parked cars, whatever, in order to stop. Occasionally I'd end up, laughing hysterically, flat on my back in the street. Remember when you could fall down and not break something? And get back up?

A man asked me out on a date. I thought he was going to be ultra-serious, maybe boring. I accepted the date but in order to make it more interesting I said I'd be on roller skates. Without missing a beat he said great, he'd bring his skateboard. So there we were in Old Town on a Saturday night faced with the challenge of where to go with me on skates. Solution - the outdoor bar at the Holiday Inn. The bartender - Avery. Not being much of a drinker, I asked her what kind of exotic frozen drink she could make me. She fumbled around behind the bar and finally held up a kiwi. Great. A kiwi daiquiri sounded just fine. I watched as she dumped the whole thing, fuzzy, gritty kiwi skin included, into the blender. It was the beginning of a long friendship.

Now Avery and I have started walking together. We actually were thinking that walking across the country was a good idea, but that's for another post. I figured if we were going to walk 3,000 miles we'd better practice a bit first. Certainly Granny D did that. Not only did she walk a bunch in order to prove to herself and her doubting son that she could walk 10 or so miles a day, she slept outside on the cold, hard New Hampshire ground outside her home in preparation for her trek. When Granny D arrived in Washington, Julia, nine at the time, and I, joined the others to walk to the Capitol with her. She held Julia's hand and talked with us. Wow.

Just as Dan Quayle was no Jack Kennedy, Avery and I are no Granny D. But we have walked together, twice now. You know those old ladies you see walking in pairs, talking? That's us. On our second walk, I brought my camera and on the few miles from her house to her restaurant we saw, among other things, gloves. Sometimes in pairs, like the ones pictured above, other times all alone.

We also saw construction, lots of it. A new building is going up a block away from Avery's restaurant. It's typical construction. Conventional construction. Is that thing environmentally friendly, I asked. How can builders keep putting up the same, non-ecologically sustainable structures? I don't know. I just don't know.

P.S. I just checked Elder's Meditation of the Day - March 21
"The manner with which we walk through life is each man's most important responsibility, and we should remember this with every new sunrise."
--Thomas Yellowtail, CROW

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