Today I went to hike the Trinity Trail. As I had on cheap Payless sneakers I got for a quick Spring hike years ago, I first stopped by the new "latte-quality" walking shoe store down the street from us.
The people there were very friendly. They had a really hip-looking hiking boot. They explained to me it was developed by a European fellow based on Masai foot support ideas. I think that every product needs a back story.
I asked "how much?" (it's always a troubling sign when you have to ask for the price), figuring I'd have to pay two or three times the forty dollars I originally intended to pay for the light walkers in the LL Bean catalog. The woman looked up the price, and its cost was nearly the entire rental one pays for landing on Baltic Avenue--when Baltic Avenue has a HOTEL on it! I said "that's more than I wished to pay", and although the people remained very nice, I suddenly felt like Julia Roberts in the first store in Pretty Woman, except for the part about being a hooker, or being attractive, or finding romance in a mercantile transaction with Richard Gere and all.
My life rarely has a Roy Orbison quality, so perhaps this was a good thing.
I stopped by a 450 family church rummage sale at the church we sometimes attend, where the goods seemed about 385 families short of what I expected to see. I bought cheap speakers for a dollar each for a recording project. I stopped by a Dollar Store for throwaway cameras and a low-rent "power bar" in lieu of lunch, and by Big Lots, where I got only a cheap CD called "Faith of Our Fathers", which I thought would be barn-storming Irish folk hymns, but proved instead to be good old fashioned heavy-orchestration church music. I reflected on how much Tin Pan Alley owed to Irish church music,and then drove to Brockdale Park Trailhead.
I intended to hike all the way from Brockdale Trailhead, in Lucas, Texas, to Collin Park's Mulrey Trailhead in St. Paul, Texas, and then hike back again. The entire hike is a bit over nine miles, which is longer than the brief "get warmed up and go home" walks I usually take. Horsefolks were saddling up when I began my walk. Throughout the day, I passed people who took one look at me and said "Where is YOUR HORSE?". Now, granted, Trinity Trail is also a horse trail, and the good works of horsefolks got Trinity Trail going some seven years ago. But it's a horse and hiking trail, so a hiker was not exactly Veronica Mars. I mention Veronica Mars, of course, to quickly digress and note that this is the first new show I have seen this year which has the promise of the old Buffy series, although it is in fact similar only in that it is another "teen gal with pluck" show. I'm so glad this TV season is not all reality shows and Fox News.
I was decked out like a good cowboy without a horse. Perhaps I looked like someone whose steed Lightning had been shot out from under him. I had on my cheap but wide-brimmed ten dollar straw cowboy hat, along with hiking shorts and Payless shoes, which made me look like a member of the cast of "Third Rate Romance, Low Rent Rendezvous--Appalachiola", which is a new reality show concept I'm here pitching for all my LiveJournal friends, based upon nadiric romance amid the roadside citrus-stand motels.
All along the watchtower, or rather, trail,I found myself surrounded by butterflys. I am beginning to have delusions of butterfly grandeur. I do not believe that butterflies really have "whisperers", in the way horses do, but my perspiration-y grandeur does draw the winged ones. Speaking of which, I had a Bergman moment on the drive to Trinity Trail. A huge round bale of hay, one of those things twelve feet high, had a single lamb atop it, eating away. The lamb no doubt had all sorts of Swedish metaphoric value, but I felt too inhibited to stop and take a snap. Imaginary conversation "Luke, what is that guy doing?" "Why, Sue Ann, he's snapping a picture of that idiot lamb on the hay!" "I told you, Luke, that if we lived this close to the city, we'd meet all sorts of crazies." I am only a moderate Democrat, and my heart belongs to people in the country, so I will not add any Deliverance references here.
At one point, a giant hawk circled overhead. He made a "scree, scree" call the way that giant hawks always do in fantasy novels with titles like "Sword of Plenteous Devotion", but never do in real life.
At another point, distant grackles sounded like a party out of hand. The bushes were filled with little scurrying creatures, out of eyesight. The lake had whitecapped water and huge standing herons.
After an hour and forty minutes, I arrived at Collin Park. It's a great little lakeside park, with boat rentals, picnic areas, beach volleyball, a floating restaurant and a "ship shop" store. I bought a bottled water, a bottled Diet Coke, and two Little Debbie oatmeal raisin cream-filled absurdities. They went down good.
I stopped to talk to the fellows welding the picnic table just for a moment just prior to hitting the return trail. They pointed out how a neighbor's shed had blown away in the wind, and they hoped their welds suffered a better fate. I began walking back to my car. It took almost exactly one hour and forty minutes again, although I alternated between trotting and really exhausted slow-poke action. I got to the car at five, just as rain sprinkled on me.
I went home, watched the last five minutes of Arkansas' victory at football over Alabama, and then grabbed a quick bath. Then we went to Macaroni Grill, a workable but chain pasta place, to dine with
my brother's family and another family which included my late nephew's girlfriend. Today is the seventeenth anniversary of my late nephew's birth. We went to Macaroni Grill, his favorite restaurant,
for a quiet commemoration. I had a "simple salmon", in which they just grillled the fish without any condiments or fluff, which, if you ask me, is how I usually want any fish or meat done, outside a Mexican or Indian restaurant. My brother and I listened to pleasant chat from the other "mom" there, about their recent visit to Albania, which did sound fascinating. She made the good point that every American should visit a third world country, and I was polite enough to refrain from pointing out that in Collin County one can drive to a rural area thirty miles away and find third-world-competitive poverty. I always wanted to visit Albania, though, and it's amazing to hear that tourists can travel fairly freely only a few years after the departure of the appalling Enver Hoxha.
We had a great time, all of us, and the camaraderie was warm but not unduly "down". Now that I have an alternative to "chain pasta", one of my least favorite foods, I can thoroughly enjoy the "grill".
This day proved very nice, although my surviving nephew broke my heart by saying he will not be my tournament domino partner. There go my hopes for world domino domination. My wife reminded me that she and I once played dominoes with the Tiddlywinks Champion of the world, during a trip to London year ago.Maybe she can be the Serena to my Venus, or however we word that phrase not to come out so weird sounding.
I like that today I just went and did. There's a lot to be said for not sayhing and just doing. But my legs have that "held together with wire" feeling that make me unsure whether I am Gumby or his trusty steed and friend, Pokey.