Today after eating a bowl of granola, yogurt, milk, and blueberries I worked most of the day on the water case, the hotel closing, and the estate case and one other case. I found time to go to lunch with Peter. We had discussed lunch in rather vague terms in the morning and then at 11:40 he turned up at my door, just as I completed reviewing a document. I drove us to Padilla’s and luckily there were only five persons ahead of us waiting for a table, a new record.
Also luckily we were seated at a table on the far side of the large room away from the line where no one would stand or even walk by us, like being seated in heaven. Here is a picture.
Peter ordered Beef Enchiladas with red Chile and a egg on top and I ordered the same with double beans and extra onions.
Then Peter told me a story he has never mentioned before of how he was separated from his mother for thirteen years at a young age after his father was imprisoned and executed. Peter was born in Dresden and lived through the Allied bombing of Dresden, which lies within what became East Germany. He told me his mother and he were trying to escape to West Germany to avoid living in the Russian Zone, but were captured by the East Germans and Russians, Peter did not mention his age but he must have been no more than eight or nine years old. He said he was interrogated by a nice Russian officer and then a few hours later his mother passed him through a bathroom window to a pre-arranged coyote who took him to a friendly family who kept him a few days and then he was taken to an aunt’s home in West Germany. His mother made her way to America by way of Switzerland and Canada 13 years later. I did not inquire further into how Peter came to America, but I believe Peter resided in upstate N.Y. and obtained a college education at SUNY Purchase.
So we talked about refugees a bit but he is resolutely a conservative republican. As we talked Peter made it clear that his world view that things are really bad and can only get worse in the long run is the opposite of my view which is a disposition toward seeing things as potentially positive that enlivens one to make plans for a better future.
Finally, the food was served and we ceased talking and started eating. Here are pictures of our respective plates. Peter’s is the one with the sunny side up egg.
After the meal I ordered a box and my two sopapillas, which were served steaming hot. After lunch I drove us home and after Peter left I worked until 5:00 when Suzette came home. I ate six chocolate covered pecans and almonds and walked to the Country Club and back. Then I watched the news while peeling and dicing a papaya and pineapple until 6:15, when I left for meditation.
When I returned at 7:45 8 ate three small bowls of cassoulet and several small glasses of Paton Spanish Tempranillo Crianza ($4.99 at a Trader Joe’s).
Suzette had already eaten, but she drank a glass of wine.
After dinner I ate a few more chocolates and some ice cream and watched the news until 11:00, so I could get Rachel’s take on the news of the day.
I then went to bed and read Chapter Five of Goodbye to a River by John Graves, in which he paddles past the Boy Scout camp I used to go to near Kyle Mountain on the Brazos. When I was in high school I was in a troop that canoed the same waters described in the book from the spillway of Possum Kingdom Dam to Worth Ranch Boy Scout Camp and sometimes further to Dark Valley Bridge or Hwy 180 at Mineral Wells. During the period when Graves and I canoed the Brazos from 1960 to 1964 it was a wild river and the four places mentioned above were the only public access points from the dam to Mineral Wells. My favorite memory of those days was slipping downstream in a strong flow of relatively deep water which in the Brazos was about four feet deep and, because the water was crystal clear, being able to see clearly to the bottom, when beside and below the 17 foot aluminum canoe a five or six foot long alligator gar was swimming along the side of the canoe looking at us from two or three feet below the water. This impressive fish that was as long as we were tall and probably weighed as much as we did was clearly unafraid of us and I had the distinct feeling we were passing through its domain. I love that stretch of the Brazos just like John Graves did.
I have several connections to John Graves. His sister, Nancy, was the head Librarian at the Amon Carter Museum where my wife, Amy, worked for her and her assistant, Milan Hughston. We were socially active with the small group of Museum staff and I recall meeting John Graves at picnics hosted by Nancy at Hard Scrabble, his farm near Glen Rose.
To complete the connections to Graves, my mother knew him when she studied creative writing at TCU during the period she was writing that preceded the opening of her cooking school.
As Elaine, my sister -in-law said last weekend, “You Simons are all writers.” Perhaps she is right.