The waitperson at Souper Salad in Santa Fe, desirous of a tip, a bit of a rarity at a buffet, took our used plates, cleared the table and said, “If you need anything, my name is Kaitlyn.”
The six of us got her drift, and we actually invoked her name a couple of times for soft drink refills, but before we did, a couple of us almost asked the inevitable question: “If we don’t need anything, does that mean your name is something else, like ‘Hortense’ or ‘Brunhilda’?”
But that question brings up another, which smokers of the sixties era may recall: “What do you want, good grammar or good taste?”
It seems as if the bulk of our time at Immaculate Conception School was spent rehearsing. In anticipation of a visit from the Mother Superior, or of high church officials from the archdiocese, we went through the paces. Sister Renata Tabaldi would prime us on questions she told us the Mother Superior was sure to ask. And if we faltered during the actual show time, well, let’s not get into that.
March 15 (yesterday), known as the Ides of March, is a date familiar to anyone who’s read Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” probably in high school. Most also remember that a soothsayer warned Caesar to “beware the Ides of March.” Because of arrogance, stubbornness or partial deafness, the Roman emperor eventually dismissed the warning and was assassinated by Brutus and other conspirators.
The conspirators called themselves “liberators,” the same term Dick Cheney used in rallying support to invade Iraq: “We’ll be welcomed as liberators.” I’d never paid much attention to the derivation of “Ides.” Until now.
When I left high school teaching to take a university job, I expected things to be oh-so lofty. I imagined that every sentence among my colleagues would end with a Socratic allusion. I expected every conversation to be abstruse.
Well, none of this happened. During a three-day faculty meeting at Ghost Ranch, the day I was hired, I called home to tell my wife that after a few beers, my co-workers made sure the same old jokes kept surfacing. I’d heard them 20 years earlier, I told my wife, “except that the joke tellers are using slightly bigger words.”
A few years ago, I bought a razor scooter for my granson and namesake. And because he would be leaving for Albuquerque that same day, I agreed to help him assemble it.
Now this razor scooter, which I bought at Bealls, had become quite popular, needing only foot and leg power to propel it. It’s extremely light and maneuverable, unlike their ‘50s counterparts which weighed more than the rider.