Craig and I took a ride out to Marin County today to Shell Beach on Tomales Bay. The sun was hot, the tide was very low and the hillsides were turning a beautiful light green. While we were walking down the trail Craig told me a story.
He teaches at a local university and his classes start later in the day so he walks our dog, Gerti, at a park at the San Francisco Bay most mornings at about 9:00. He sees a lot of the same people every day. An elderly couple are faithful morning walkers, too. The man always walks about 10 feet in front of his wife and always looks disgruntled.
She carries a huge, obviously heavy bag full of corn, nuts, bread, whatever, and feeds the multitudes of ground squirrels that populate, or more precisely, overpopulate, the rocks of the breakwater. Craig often exchanges greetings with them, first the man and then a few paces later, the woman. The man clearly disapproves of his wife’s behavior. He is there every morning – but always ahead of her.
This morning Craig was surprised to see them walking side by side and even more surprised to see that the man was carrying the squirrel food bag. He ‘tactfully’ said, “whoa, you two are walking together this morning!”
The woman shyly smiled and said, “It’s our anniversary today. 59 years.” Craig congratulated them and said, “It’s nice to see you together,” and walked on. As he walked past, he heard the man mutter, “once a year, just once a year.”