From the RPTimes Archives

Flea Bag and I were up early for a change. The digital clock on the dresser beamed 10:00.  From my bedroom window I could see four shrimp boats swinging on their anchors, as just west of my window is a great holding ground. Thank God the shrimping season was open, since I have a habit of relating many things to food or drink, I decided on garlic shrimp for lunch.

That dog of mine Lucifer (Flea Bag), is one happy puppy.  I believe he thinks the Sea of Cortez was put there solely for his pleasure. You can imagine what a banquet of delicious smelling things wash up onto the beach every morning. When you get to the end of this piece you might remember the sandal he found.

Breakfast to me is always the same; four eggs fried in olive oil with eight or ten crushed kernels of garlic (garlic is good for the heart). This particular morning I also had sausage. Rocky Point rates five stars for its sausage – I like hot and spicy. Lucifer won’t even touch sausage from Los Estados Unidos de America.

No one should ruin a perfectly beautiful day the way I did this one. My condo complex is right next to the Plaza Las Glorias Hotel.  A guy popped out of the hotel’s first unit, dangling a hunk of meat that had probably been a steak.

“For your dog,” he announced.

“Is it all right if I give it to him?”

“NO!,” I said. Not “No, thank you”, or “How  thoughtful of you”, but “NO”.

He was crushed. Without a word he turned and went back inside, steak and all.

That “NO” just came out. People have been making a bum of Lucifer. There are some who would say that is the kindest thing they could say about him. The truth is, I just don’t want everybody feeding him. Bad enough that he knows the back door of every restaurant in Peñasco.

Luckily the Palapa bar was open at the hotel. After several libations for me, and peanuts for Lucifer, we continued on our morning constitutional. I sloshed through the soft sand past the hotels volleyball area, and elegant, ceramic pool.

“Don’t even think of it,” I said to Lucifer. The hotel management and I had an unpleasant scene the last time he plunged into their pool. Just past the pool there are stairs leading down to the beach. From there I’ve watched the Triathlon, Hobie Cat races, and best of all, Holy Friday with its music, and throngs of celebrants.

From here on – this piece is about a matronly woman I wronged. Madam, I’m sorry. If I had to describe her I’d say she looked like someones dear Aunt Mary. Weight Watchers had probably given up on her, or she had reached that age to say the heck with dieting. She was the kind of person you see in a restaurant eating alone, faking interest in a paperback while she tried to hide the sexy cover. Looking north, toward Playa Bonita Resort, there were very few people on the beach. The wind had backed to the south and was raising some white caps. Lucifer dashed into the sea for a swim. A lone sandpiper was looking for his breakfast. Two condos over at the Tennis Club had wood fires going. The faint perfume of smoke plus the heady sea smells reminded me of too many places.

If you think I’m careless about that dog of mine, you’re wrong. He wears a Tri-Tonic collar with three little bottons: two black and one red. I can communicate with him for over one mile. Anyway, on this particular morning he came dripping out of the water and stopped, even before shaking. There was a neat stack of flotsam and jetsam just laying on the beach. WRONG!!! This pile belonged to a lady which I mentioned earlier. From the pile, Flea Bag judiciously chose a blue sandal decorated with a red plastic rose on the thong. He was so pleased with his find he wanted me to see it. It was while he was in route that the lady made herself known. Evidently she’d been out swimming. At first I thought she was in some sort of trouble. For an old gal she could really move.

“That’s mine,” she shrieked.

That mound was not just flotsam. She yelled something else that I couldn’t make out. Lucifer got to me way ahead of the sandal owner. That dog has style. He spun into a heeling position, plunked his fuzzy bottom down and delivered his prize.

“Here, madam,” I said offering her the sandal.

At first she was too out of breath to speak. When finally she could, her opening line was, “That thing of yours should be leashed. You have no business letting it run loose.”

“Madam, I’m sorry” I said holding out the sandal. I added, “See its not damaged.” I brushed off a little sand. “It’s as good as new and may I add that you have very good taste in footwear.”

She looked at it as if I had just proffered feces. When she wouldn’t take it I said, “Well, I admit it does have dog spit on it. Let me wash it off for you.”

She stood there glaring at me, before launching into a tirade about dogs and irresponsible owners.

When I first came Rocky Point a delightful man from the telephone company with the most unlikely name of Moses said to me, “NOW I’M MAD.” This line was delivered with such passion I’ll never forget it, or Moses (that’s another story). It was Moses I was thinking of when I inquired, “Madam, have you no sense of humor?”

If I had left it at that I wouldn’t feel so bad, but once I got going I said some unkind things. Usually on my walks when I get as far as the hotel at Playa Bonita I have another breakfast, but not that day. To use President Clinton’s word, I was in a funk. I can’t help always applying WHAT IF? to the people and events that touch my life.

WHAT IF this lady I had verbally castigated just lost her husband. Maybe they’d been down to Rocky Point years ago on their honeymoon? WHAT IF she had been caring for a sick mother, and this was her first vacation in years? WHAT IF her doctor gave her only six months to live, and she’d always dreamed of returning to Rocky Point?

The next day I was not feeling much better. Lucifer and I took our usual walk. There was the same lone sandpiper. The sea was flat and blue with only a whisper of surf. I was hoping maybe she would be there so I could apologize. From the high tide line Lucifer picked up something. As usual he brought it to me (well, after all he’s a retriever). I took it from him and held it for a long time. It was a blue sandal with a red plastic rose on the thong.