I spent yesterday as planned, driving about 90 miles to the little town of San Antonio, NM**, where I had lunch with The Guy. Yes, that The Guy. I decided to invite him to lunch since I was going to be at a place sorta close to his home, just to see what happened. Turns out, he was majorly embarrassed by how he had handled things before and was trying to figure out how to mend fences, so welcomed the opportunity to apologize. Over lunch he explained a couple things that had happened, and said he should have called but didn't know quite how to say what he needed to. Without a lot of detail, he had some legitimate disruptions in his life, tried to figure out what to say to me, and as time wore on he found himself in a downward spiral of woulda/coulda/shoulda. He just gave up, thinking he had blown any chance to be friends.
I accepted (all of) his (numerous) apologies, and after that, we had a nice lunch. Actually, better than nice. We lingered with coffee for another hour, talking and laughing. It was really fun. We found several common interests, some being an interest in nature, and a curiosity about Indian ruins, history and culture. I really enjoy his company and think a friendship very possible.
After lunch we went to the tourist center at the wildlife preserve and browsed the books in the gift shop for a while. Then he headed home and I continued to the preserve where I took over a thousand pictures. Yes, you read that right! I got some good shots, but I was disappointed in the sunset colors. The photos are still downloading, so I'll see how they are later on.
While waiting for the descension flight of the cranes at sunset, a man was using a tree limb in attempt to pull something out of the water near the observation deck. I couldn't figure out what it was at first, but realized it was a stuffed toy belonging to his little grandson, about 3 years old. I walked over to ask if he would be interested in using a long handled "grabber" I carry in the car, and he said yes. I wasn't sure it was long enough, but it was. Just barely, but it worked. The little boy was delighted to have his toy back, even though he looked at the sopping thing with suspicion! His mom and I told him it would be OK after it got cleaned and dried, and he accepted it.
I spent about four hours driving around the preserve and at the observations decks. It was a good day, cool but not cold, and nicely sunny for photography. As the sun set behind the mountains, I left the preserve along with dozens of others, and headed home. In the last two of the eight miles back into the little town, I noticed that the truck was handling oddly, kinda mushy feeling, but figured it was the road, a narrow county road. I decided to stop and get a snack at a little store before heading home, and it is good I did. One of my tires was flat!
Fortunately there was a little garage next to the store, and "Salvador" had not left for the evening. He charged just $10 to change the tire, but I handed him a $20 for staying late, making both of us very happy! I could have called AAA, but it was worth the case to not have to wait at that time of evening with an hour and a half drive ahead of me.
I got home later that I planned, of course. After I was greeted (read that "mauled") by The Kids and heard the new winged babies twitter at me, I noticed that I had messages on the phone. The Guy had called about 5:30 to say he enjoyed our lunch and time together very much, and also wanted to make sure I got home alright. He said he knew he might be calling a little early for me to be home, and he would call again later. Then he called again at 7:30, just a few minutes before I walked in. There was a touch concern in his voice as he said the was just checking on my safe arrival, then speculating that I'd stopped somewhere and said he'd call again later. Nice. I called him back, and we talked a few minutes. He apologized for being "pushy' and calling a second time. I assured him that I appreciate it. Then he felt bad that he hadn't stayed, and I told him that I appreciated his thought, but he shouldn't give it another thought; I'm fiercely independent and used to taking care of things for myself. He asked if he could call me frequently to continue getting to know each other. Well, of course.
I'm going to have to sort out the good photos from the others, and I'll pick a few to post later. Stay tuned!
**There are three San Antonios in New Mexico. I guess the Spanish and Mexican settlers really liked St. Anthony. What was he the patron saint of, does anyone know? There are a couple San Miguels, a San Jon and a San Juan. Those last two are the same, aren't they?