(1998 reprint)

Earlier in the day Flea Bag and I were outraged, hurt, you might say. We had a cow. Such an emotion in Peñasco is as rare as ten pound shrimp. This suffering began when we entered our elevator. For a change it was working or we would have been spared this pain.

As I have mentioned before I live on the fourth floor. When tons of my lodge pole furniture arrived, this is the same elevator that refused to run. There is a duplicate elevator right next to the one I’m writing about, but I have never seen it work. Taped to the back wall of this elevator was a crude sign. The words literally shrieked out as me: (NO PETS ALLOWED IN THE ELEVATOR). It was written in English. I though of the dear little lady that lived on the fifth floor who can hardly walk and has two poodles. Flea Bag is a sharp dog, but he can’t read, and I’m not about to tell him about this injustice. There has been many times we used the stairs for exercise, but no more, as the lift is now working.

After our ride down in the elevator, a good walk on the beach is what I needed, especially with a nice lunch and a couple bottles of wine. We were laying on the warm sand feeling at peace with the world. If there’s anything that dog of mine is good a,t its snoozing. Yes, the sky was blue, and the sea birds were doing their thing. In such a position the philosopher in me is ignited, well at least a low flame. “Flea Bag,” I said, “Did you know that God made the earth round so that dogs would not slide off?” I heard a rustle in the sand followed by a nuzzling black nose. Tell the truth, I’m not the first one to say that. The greatest outdoor writer who ever lived mentioned that in a book titled “PASSING TIME”. His name was Gene Hill. To me and thousands, he’s been a great teacher. There’s a point where we stop seeing things with that gasp of pleasure we once had. Hilly gave us, NEW EYES. Lots of times I try to look at things the way a child would, seeing it for the first time. As I drift lazily through my Rocky Point days, I keep thinking of what Hill could show me that I’m not seeing. In his self-deprecating way he’d comment, “I’m just passing a good time.” When a guy has lived long enough to remember when he could get into the movies for ten cents, there’s bound to be some big changes. There are things I cherish, and I bring them back like turning the pages of a treasured book. People can somehow live with the changes, but what is missed most of all is HOW THEY FELT at that particular point in time.

A cocktail happy hour or so in Rocky Point is a sure as the sunset. Yesterday I had a drink with a young couple in throws of new love: Happiness was spilling all over the room. If you were to ask them, “Have you seen Lui? They would answer, “Lui who?” Ah, that magical, electric thing that happens once or twice in a lifetime when the chemistry is right. The euphoria of estrogen and testosterone beating like a brass hand – how sweet it is. A little voice whispers, “Lui, do you remember? Can you relate? Are you envious?“ Turning those memory pages can be bitter and sweet. While on the subject of first love: I’m twenty-one and she’s the same. This is our first trip to Mexico. We whip past a sign indicating a right turn to Palm Springs. Its getting dark. We’ve been on the road for ten hours.

Without looking I knew she’s crying. “Whats the matter?”, I ask. “Lui, you promised,” she sobbed“. “If we stop there, we’ll never get to Mexico,” We got to Mexico. There was another time, long, long ago, I was sipping a Tanqueray gin martini at popular place in San Francisco called DiMaggio’s. When my eyes told my brain what they were seeing was love at first sight. You’ve read about two people seeing each other across a crowded room (She didn’t see me). The room had a big coin-fed domed-jute-box, blazing with all those pretty colors. Elvis was singing a love song. Most of the space was for dining, except for a huge mahogany bar that ran the full length of the room. It was there that she was standing. Her hair was cut short in a boyish style, but that’s where the boyish ended. She wore very high heels, and she kept lifting one foot and balancing on the other. Those legs just didn’t seem to end. Her tailored skirt fit her like the skin on a grape. She wore a matching tweed jacket with white cashmere sweater. At that point in time girls really dressed in San Francisco. I probably would call it an I Magnim look. Two guys I did not know were hanging on her every word. Now if I could relate the above bar scene to Rocky Point, I’d embellish it further. All I can say is I know I saw that same girl this morning.

Then the distant drone of diesel engines took me from my memories and got me to a sitting position. Three shrimp boats headed northwest to open water. Their winged booms make them look like some kind of flying bug. My reaction is always to wish I was on board.