once upon a horned toad

He’s just standing there on the sidewalk. I’m hoping he’s not lost.

We’re in Rockport, on the block where all the art galleries hang out. It’s Valentino Day and we’re out doin’ the town and doin’ it right.

We’ve been walking along the sidewalk looking in the galleries when we run into him.  He’s old and wrinkled and walks with a limp. I’m not sure he knows where he is. What to do?

Mo, being our ambassador of good will, hangs out with him for a minute. I, being shy, head the other direction and pretend to look at the artwork. Then it hits me: These are Joe’s trophies!

Not really, but close enough. They’re metal sculptures done in the same style as the ones that are used for the beloved trail-running series. I realize that for the cost of a couple of hundred dollars and a magic marker, I could be the most decorated runner in Tejas Trails history. But that would require work, and I’m lazy, so I wander into the store.

Mo eventually comes in too. I worry about the old guy, just standing out there. Is he OK? It’s been a bad week for stray homeless guys. Does he know how to get home? Is there someone around looking out for him? I don’t know. But God forbid I should get involved.

As we look around the store, Mo is smitten with a little horned toad. We have a history of horned toads, Mo and I. So I buy her one as her valentine gift. Yes, I am a hopeless romantic.

I point out that it’s the same horned toad we were giving out last week at the race as age-group awards. I tell her the story of the woman who got a donkey as an overall winner and saw the other trophies and wanted to switch. “Can I trade my ass for a horny toad,” she asked the guys handing out the trophies. The guys tried not to burst out laughing. They failed. I can see Mo is moved by this story.

As she goes to pay the elderly woman at the counter (hey, I gave her the 20 bucks!), I look out to see if the old guy is still there. He is not. I hope he’s OK.

Then I look over. He’s come into the store. He’s with the elderly woman who runs the store. He’s going to be OK.

We take our horned toad, we say goodbye to our new friend, we head out to the coffee shop that closes 10 minutes before we get there. It’s a good day, in a non-caffeinated sort of way.

Because, really, there are no ugly pugs …


About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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