Friday, December 19, 2014


We turned the corner drawn by the yeasty smell of baking bread. Stepping into the shop cluttered with ovens and flour covered counter tops, I headed for the oak-planked service area where small candies, fudge brownies, and oatmeal cookies surrounded the register.

“May I help you?” asked the tiny clerk whose kerchief covered head barely rose above the

“Small latte, and please don’t make the milk too hot. What do you want, Merrie?”

“Chai, medium. Thanks”

“Do you mind sitting outside? It’s warm in here and besides, no tellin' who’ll pass by.” “You’re permanently on the prowl, woman. Looking for anyone in particular today?” asked

“Yeah, right. Always waiting for some fellow who loves the wilderness as much as I do. I’m
such an introvert. I don’t meet new people very well. Not like you, people collector.”

“You flatter me,” Merrie allowed. “How can you claim to be an introvert? A hundred and
fifty teenagers a day pass through your classroom.”

“Pass through, now that’s the truth. Some of them leave their brains elsewhere, but their
bodies certainly fill the desks. Nonetheless, they all come into the classroom where I set the agenda. Kind of an introvert's version of social nirvana.”

“Control freak, more like it. Introvert. I wonder?” Merrie tagged the screen door with her toe, pushed it open with her shoulder and headed outside.

Distracted by Merrie’s very accurate description of my personality, on our way to our table on the boulevard, I sloshed a too full cup of coffee and stooped to wipe the shop floor where impatient carelessness left a creamy brown puddle.

Rising with a wet napkin in hand, I commented, “By the way, saving money is what the L.A. and New York Times travel sections are about. I hunt for bucket seats, left over reservations big travel companies buy from airlines at the last minute. I can buy a ticket from L.A. to London for $300, but it's non transferable and non refundable. Could we plan to be finished in the Sierra before July 4th?" 

Sierra Sunrise: A Travel Adventure