Halfway between the office and my front door, I decided that I badly needed to take a sanity break before I got home.
I was leaving a menagerie of sorts behind—working as a prosecuting attorney guarantees that you’ll never, ever have a dull moment—and I was waiting to walk right into another, REAL one. This would consist of Lucky the dog, and the four “spare” cats, including Meatball, who thinks he’s a dog. They all like attention. Insist on it, in fact.
The drive home was actually quite beautiful and even restful, with rolling hills and blue skies and wildflowers in abundance, and my own digs in the country are very serene as well…if you don’t count Lucky and the Meatball camping on the front stoop, waiting for their nightly walk.
But…given the nearly homicidal short-term thinking I was engaged in as I drove because of several immediate stressors…I needed a seratonin boost of a different ilk as well. Hey, I’d LIKE to have washboard abs. I’d LIKE to have the resting heart rate of a twenty-five year old marathoner. I’d LIKE to have about thirty pounds less avoirdupois on my frame. But what I really craved the most on the drive home was a hot fudge sundae.
And so I turned the car off the path that would take me straight home and made a bee-line for the local Culver’s instead. Culver’s, for the uninitiated, is a burger-and-custard chain that got its start in Wisconsin back in the 1980s. The chain is absolutely world-famous for its classic “butter burgers.” But what makes me a rabid fan is the hot fudge that goes on their sundaes. I’m only half joking when I say that it tastes so good you’d lick it off the sidewalk if it spilled.
One small hot fudge sundae topped with pecans later, I headed for my favorite secluded riverside park nearby and a wooden bench near the water. Turns out that my favorite bench seat was already claimed by a couple of fishermen, so I looked around and spied one further up the shore. I deliberately left both the camera AND the “smart phone” in the car. This was no small departure. I recently bought an iPhone strictly because I needed to be able to process the occasional credit card at a book fair. I was dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century with it…but have since become obnoxiously enthusiastic about the fact that I can take a picture with my phone and immediate post it on Facebook! Who knew?
The path I picked my way along, camera-less, was more than a bit narrow and uneven in spots, and at a few points I wondered whether I, the sundae, and my fluttery dress might end up among the lily pads. But I finally reached the safety of even ground, and settled in.
The sunlight was warm on my arms, and as I savored each bite in the relative stillness, I listened to the occasional thrum of some frogs, and looked at lily pads floating, and saw a white water lily flowering, and a couple of purple irises at water’s edge. It reminded me a lot of a road trip I’d taken to Michigan via side roads a few years ago, leaving my email and computer keyboard tapping behind.
And as I looked to the nearby woods to my left, I saw a tiny fawn, all light brown and white spots, picking his way carefully along a path. I tried to stay quiet, but the ice cream gave me “lung freeze,” and eventually I had to cough.
With the first cough, the fawn stepped into the foliage near the path and folded himself down close to the ground. I still couldn’t keep entirely quiet, though, and after I coughed some more, the fawn burst out of his hiding place and vanished into the forest.
I finished the sundae at about the same time the mosquitos discovered me, and so it was time to beat a retreat to the car. It would have been lovely to have a folder of photos to show off all that I’d seen in my little adventure, but…I liked it better this way!