Mary’s prowess as a mountain biker continues to grow. We did a nineteen-miler today to several other “ancestral puebloan” ruins. There was some steep, rocky climbing at several points and she did an admirable job of maneuvering over the rough parts. I had to high five her after one heroic (and successful) effort. While my congratulations may cast her accomplishments as travails, she clearly has been enjoying the rides.

On the way home from today’s ride we came to a cattle guard which Mary, out of caution, slowed down to cross. I hit it at full speed, “jumping” my bike over it, to which Mary’s response was a rolling of eyes and shaking of head.

“You’re like a little kid sometimes” was her expressed analysis of my behavior.

She may have a point there. At the beginning of today’s ride was a steep hill which I attacked by standing on my pedals and going all out. It felt good to cut loose. I usually have that feeling at the beginning of an outing, be it a hike or a bike ride. I think I am not unlike a third-grader let out to recess at times like these. While I don’t actually remember being a third-grader let out to recess, I have often noted the way little kids run with abandon around a playground. How different from even slightly older kids, say fifteen-year-olds, they are. It’s the same with animals. Look at colts, calves, and lambs. They all run and kick up their heels for the sheer joy of exertion.

A case of arrested development? Sometimes Mary wonders. My take is that I’m fortunate at 65 to still feel such impulses.

But then there is also my lack of fashion sense. I was reading aloud from a Park Service handout today as we stood on a cliff looking at some ruins when Mary started chuckling.

“What’s so funny?” I asked.

“Look at you with your dorky helmet” she managed after a lengthy fit of chuckles.

She may have a point there; duct tape is probably not haute couture but it is functional:


Mary has informed me on more than a few occasions that she would never have given me a second look if we had gone to the same high school. Although she denies it, I suspect Mary was one of the cool kids. I’ve seen her high school yearbook photos and she was definitely a looker, which, if you’re a chick, translates into cool.

In any case, I don’t dignify such assaults on my coolness with a reasoned defense. My standard response is: “Hey, you married me” which I think settles the matter. Besides, I think Mary likes my dorkiness. Her derision always seems tinged with affection and I’ve got 35 years of marriage to back me up.