The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“Truth builds trust.”
Marilyn Suttle

Carl’s Water

Years ago, I had a business deal that I worked on for nearly two years. It looked like we were going to get it, but it was still a bit in question. My partner, on the case, and I met for lunch with our client, Carl, and his partner, Robert, at a nice restaurant.

The restaurant was beautiful and the food was terrific. We were seated at a square table covered with a white tablecloth, with a lovely flower arrangement in the center. My partner sat across from me, and Carl sat to my left, his partner directly across from him.

Things were going well, and I felt good about the meeting, that is, until I noticed that I had been drinking Carl’s water. In my defense, I am left-handed and naturally inclined to reach for a glass with my left hand. Of course, the trouble in doing that is that I repeatedly reached for Carl’s glass.

So, I sat there thinking what to do. I could pretend that I didn’t notice what I was doing and hope that he hadn’t either. The obvious part two to that plan would be to stop drinking his water, or perhaps continue to drink it but move the glass to the right. Or I could tell him and apologize, but, if he hadn’t noticed, then I would be bringing it to his attention needlessly.

I sat there thinking and decided to tell him and apologize, and when I did, I couldn’t tell whether he had noticed or not. But, he forgave me anyway. I did mention my left-handed theory briefly, but kept it short so as not to make it worse by over-explanation.

There are many such challenges being a lefty in a right-handed world. I have told this story to a few friends and learned two methods from my lefty cousin Hawley to avoid this in the future.

Put both of your hands in your lap in the OK gesture and if you look closely, and use your imagination, your left-hand sort of looks like a lower-case b, and your right hand looks like a lower-case d. I must admit that when I have done this, it has sometimes taken me a bit to figure out what I am looking at. This bewilderment can be exacerbated by having a cocktail or two before sitting down at the table. The left-hand b symbolizes the word bread, and the right-hand d symbolizes drink.

Your tablemates may think you have dozed off, as you stare at your lap for no apparent reason. Perhaps easier is to remember the acronym BMW, which of course stands not for Bavarian Motor Works but rather for Bread, Meal, Wine.

I hope this helps you in your own dining experiences; and, if you dine with me, perhaps will help you to overlook my occasionally staring at my lap.

By the way, we got the deal. So honesty clearly is the best policy, regardless of the faux-pas of the moment.

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong.”
Groucho Marx

The Rock Star

My uncle Jack was a contractor, the youngest Eagle Scout in his troop, the mayor of La Canada and one of the finest people I’ve ever known. He built the guesthouse for our family friends around the corner, Dick and Jane Kelsey. Yes, those are their real names. They loved to go out to dinner with my parents, Harry and Mary, and Dan and Cam Gross, also friends from the neighborhood.

Speaking of names, you may have noticed that it seems that nearly everyone in my family is named Mary or John. If you’re keeping score, we have nine Marys, if you count variations, eight Johns, three Harrys and three Sterlings so far. Even Uncle Jack was a John, but because of his gregarious nature all the grownups called him Uncle Chatty.

Anyhow, my cousin John was working for his dad on the guesthouse and came over one day to say hi. When he arrived, I asked him if he knew that that very night was the last of six sold-out nights for Led Zeppelin, at the Forum in Inglewood.

He said he did. And I said, why don’t we go and five minutes later, we were cruising down the 405 in my ’69 Karman Ghia with no tickets but we had a dream.

We got to the concert after it started, and no one else was in the parking lot of 10,000 plus cars, except for one lone scalper with two awesome twenty-dollar tickets. We felt like celebrities, as the ushers led us to the sixth row from the stage, dead center. The concert was terrific, loud and wild!

I need to tell you a little backstory here. You may recall that many of my cousins had Model A Fords that were in various stages of restoration or decay, depending on how you looked at it, and that we took occasional summer trips on back roads in the West, past many farms and ranches, dotted with grazing cattle.

Well, our Model As rolled along at about forty-five miles an hour with no radio, phone or air conditioning. With nothing to do but shoot the breeze, we got a little bored here and there and started looking for diversions. So, we decided to see if we could attract the attention of the cows.

It turns out that is pretty hard to do. Grazing cattle don’t respond to yelling or pounding on the side of the car or the distinctive sound of the Ahooga horn on a Model A Ford. Believe me we tried and nothing worked. Miles and miles of cows just kept chewing the grass and ignoring the monkeys going by in the old cars.

Somehow, I began to think about my friend Todd’s dad, who had been a cameraman at CBS and had a vast collection of old movie shorts. One of these featured Joe E. Brown, a famous comedian who had a distinctive way of saying, “Hey.” He stretched it out, so it was more like, “Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey!”

I decided to give it a try but threw my own twist into it, so it started out quiet and slowly became super loud. “HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYY!!!”

And to our surprise, every cow in that first field stopped chewing, raised its head and looked up at us. Every cow in every field looked up at us after that.

They didn’t stampede or appear frightened. They had more of a, “What the heck was that?” look on their faces as we passed by. Well, we named it “the cradle call” and had a lot of fun with it, until we were so hoarse we couldn’t speak.

Back at the Led Zeppelin concert, the crowd went wild as Robert Plant and Jimmy Page rocked out on stage. And at the end of a song, cousin John suddenly gave a super loud cradle call. Robert Plant turned around and yelled, “Heeeey!” back at John, in response.

So, next time you’re at a concert and want to get the attention of a rock star, or perhaps get thrown out of the venue altogether, or you’re just out driving through the country and see a herd of grazing cows, well, now you know what to do. And I’m sure you’ll have fun doing it, cause we sure did.

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“Adventure is not outside man; its within.”
George Eliot

The Road Trip

In the summer of seventy-six, my close friend, Scott McNatt, and I decided to take a little drive from Los Angeles to the Olympic Games in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, over three thousand miles away. Actually, it turned out to be a lot farther than that, as we took numerous detours along the way, such as Lake Tahoe, the Bonneville Salt Flats, Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore.

But first, we needed a vehicle we could drive and sleep in, because we didn’t have the money to stay in a motel every night and didn’t want to spend a month sleeping on the ground. We had our dads’ credit cards as backup but wanted to take it easy on them.

Our search revealed a 1955 Chevy Step Van that had previously been a UPS truck. As it was in rough shape, we spent several weeks fixing it up and hand painting it red, white and blue in honor of our country’s 200th birthday. We emblazoned thirteen stars across its massive blue front and a map of the United States on one side to show our route as we progressed. We built out the interior to allow for two fold-out bunks and a refrigerator powered by an occasionally replaced block of ice.

So off we went into the wild blue yonder, or at least up the 101.

Our original itinerary was simply to head north, then east and come back in a month, as we were going to Montreal to compete in the Olympic Games. Sorry, spellcheck. We were going to compete with five hundred thousand other spectators for tickets to the Olympic Games. Common knowledge was that none were available. But what’s an extra several thousand miles to find out?

We had quite an adventure, too much to cover in one post, but three things really stand out:

There is something wonderful about being out on the road on a long trip with nowhere you have to be tonight or tomorrow or the next day. The experience of already being where you are going is exhilarating and takes all the pressure out of the usual drive from, say, Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe.

We broke down five times and that provided the opportunity to appreciate the amazing kindness of total strangers we met along the way. The dad in me must say that not all strangers are kind, no, no, no. But the ones who picked me up hitchhiking for a tow-truck and drove me twenty-two miles out of their way in the middle of nowhere were, and so were many others.

After a while on the road, we didn’t like coming into a big town as there was so much to see in the little towns and where there were no towns at all. A trip with no itinerary really makes you appreciate where you are.

When we arrived in Montreal, we needed a new tire, and the French-Canadian mechanic who helped us suggested that we go to the office of the Montreal Matin, the morning newspaper, and ask if we could tag along with a photographer to the Games. Now this was a ridiculous idea even in 1976, but since we had none better we decided to go for it.

To our surprise, the paper welcomed us, took our picture and wrote a story about our sojourn across the continent to see the Games. We think they splashed it up a bit, though we weren’t quite sure, as it was written in French. But from that moment on, their readers donated tickets for us to see the Games every day we were there, another amazing kindness from strangers.

The paper wrote a follow-up article about the success of their campaign and published our picture again, breakfasting with Jacques and Claudine St. Germain, the reporter and his wife, who had written our story.

Jacques gave us each a Canadian dollar and signed it in French. He told us with a twinkle in his eye, “If you keep this dollar in your wallet, you will always have money.”

I have lost and found that wallet with my Canadian dollar in it twice in the forty-one years since that breakfast. The first time was when I lost it in the parking lot of a hardware store, and it turned up months later and miles away. Only the American cash was gone, but that dollar was still tucked inside. Jacques was right, and I will always remember his kindness and generosity. Click here to see the dollar and a few more photos from our trip.

Oh, and a couple of tips, if you decide to make such a trip, be sure the windshield wiper works on your vehicle, ours never did, though having a nearly vertical windshield helps. And I wouldn’t recommend making the return drive from Montreal to Los Angeles in one sixty-nine hour stretch.

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“There was a whole magnificent soul burning brightly under her shy demeanor.”
Atticus

My Date with Marcia Brady

Everyone knew that Maureen McCormick, aka Marcia Brady, went to our high school. Maureen was a year behind me, and I sat next to her every day at lunch. She was just as cute in person as she was on TV, often dressed in a hot pink or green mini-skirt. But you have to understand the culture of the time to really follow what comes next.

The Brady Bunch was one of the top shows on television for those under twenty. The show was on Friday nights on ABC, and everyone watched it, including the majority of kids in our school.

No one wanted to admit that fact, because it wasn’t cool to watch The Brady Bunch in the era of The Who, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.

So, we all pretended not to like the show, though, secretly, every girl wanted to be Marcia Brady and every boy wanted to date her.

The funny thing is that, though Maureen and I sat next to each other, each of us had three friends on either side that sort of blocked us from the rest of the school crowd. And our friends didn’t intermingle.

Maureen was really very quiet, I guess because she was so well known to every kid in school she felt shy about interacting with them. I really saw myself as her protector, though I have no memory of anyone ever bothering her. I believe she appreciated my presence.

I was shy with her too. We were in fact so shy that we never actually spoke with each other, though we may have made eye contact once, or perhaps twice. And so, without the actual interaction of speech, I never had that date with Marcia Brady, or Maureen.

But I did watch her show on TV, every Friday night.

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“The trick is growing up without growing old.”
Casey Stengel

The Last Buzzcut

This is one of the last photos of me with a buzz cut, or what was known back then as a butch. We were up at my aunt and uncle’s cabin, and my cousins Stephen and Rory and I went into Reno for haircuts with Uncle Gordon. I don’t know how Rory missed out. That’s him pictured on the right. As we were coming back up the mountain, we made a detour off the highway to meet up with my aunt and cousin Lynne who were on horseback. We got stuck in the mud and were using the winch on the front of the Travelall to pull ourselves out.

All the boys in our family got a buzz cut at the start of summer, given the expectation that boys of a certain age get dirty. We got filthy, and it was certainly cooler and easier in the summer heat to have a buzz. But the older we got, the more we resisted the seasonal mowing. We realized having a buzz made us look like kids, and that’s the last thing any self-respecting boy wanted to look like, especially in front of a girl.

My mom had one of those haircut kits they advertised on TV, which she used on me during the school year. Mom was wonderful to me and a very talented gardener who could prune a bush like nobody’s business, and our yard was the pride of the neighborhood. So, I guess she figured she could cut hair as well. She cut mine from birth ‘till I was about nine.

I was making some progress by half-talking my mother into letting me go to the barber shop like the rest of the guys. But she wanted someone who measured up to her standards, and the barber shop didn’t. Instead, she chose Leo, a nice Italian guy across the street who had his own shop. As I got into Leo’s chair, the first thing he asked me was, “Who’s been hacking on you?” My mother pleaded guilty, but she loved to tell that story over the years.

Leo was alright, but the name of his shop caused me great embarrassment. It was called The Merry Go Round, but it might as well have been called The Little Kids Haircut Shop. That’s how I felt going in there. I worried that my friends would see me. Luckily, they had a back entrance.

I wanted so badly to get my haircut at the barber shop almost directly across the street, yet Mom was unrelenting. She thought they would do a hack job, ahem, and I guess she wanted her yard, and my head, to be well trimmed.

The photo above was taken just about an hour after my very last buzz cut. When Fall arrived, however, the twelve-year-old me had enough pull to talk Mom into letting me get my hair cut at the barber shop, like the rest of the guys…at last.

Photo credit: Janice MacLean

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Yogi Berra

Lost in the Woods

Mr. Black received the land, nearly eight hundred acres, as partial payment on a real estate deal he made in the thirties. I thought he must not have been too happy about it at the time, as it was just mountains and forest miles from anywhere, with no services whatsoever. Over time, this land would become my favorite place on earth.

It was breathtakingly beautiful, and Mr. Black hit upon a great idea to dam up the stream to make a lake he could fill with rainbow trout. He then went back East and sold shares to rich guys he knew, so they would have a private place to retreat to with their other rich guy pals. It must have worked, because Mr. Black built a clubhouse and decorated it with panel after panel of enlarged photos of parties of the big boys who stayed there over the years.

The clubhouse, caretaker’s cottage and boathouse were the only structures on the land for years, until another couple of cabins were built, one of which was bought by my uncle, who happened to be at the right place at the right time.

The photo above was taken fifteen years later in front of my uncle’s cabin. That’s my cousin Stephen, at about eight, in the white shirt leaning on the rear fender, and that’s me next to him at about seven in the tan shirt. Nearly everyone else is our brother, sister or cousin. And that’s how Stephen and I, now fourteen and thirteen respectively, happened to be driving up the mile-and-a-half dirt road from the lake to the highway late one summer afternoon in the Model A.

As we climbed through the Aspens speckled with pines, we were pretty far along when we saw a midnight blue Cadillac coming towards us. We and the other car slowed to a stop facing each other, our bumpers not twenty feet apart.

The driver of the Cadillac lowered his electric window and waved impatiently for us to back up. We couldn’t see his face through the afternoon glare on his windshield. But we knew it was Earl, the caretaker, and we also knew that he was driving Mr. Black. Everyone knew the rules of this one-lane dirt road, and every other road in America, for that matter.

When two cars meet on a single-lane road, the car going downhill is supposed to back up. But this was Mr. Black and Earl, on the road Mr. Black had built, so I knew we would be backing up.

Stephen rolled down his window, and I assumed he was going to look back and proceed to back up. Instead, he waved his hand for Earl to back up. Shocked, I said, “Let’s just back up,” as Earl waved again, more vehemently. But Stephen waived right back with equal energy.

I began to plead with him just to back up, as all six-foot-five of Earl got out of the Cadillac and came towards Stephen’s side of the Mode A.

Not one to waste words, Earl yelled at Stephen, “You back this damn thing up!” To which Stephen replied forcefully, “You back up!”

Earl snapped, “You back this truck up right now!” And Stephen, perhaps assuming Earl hadn’t heard him the first time, expanded his message, saying, “You back up, you’re the one going downhill!”

Earl glared as he pointed at the Cadillac, demanding, “Do you know who I have in that car?” Stephen replied that he did.

Once more, Earl insisted that Stephen back up–to which my fourteen-year-old cousin replied by reaching down, in full view of Earl, set the hand-operated emergency brake on the Model A and rolled up the window. Grimly, Earl trudged back to the Cadillac to give Mr. Black the news through the now open rear window.

The rear window rolled back up, and as Earl got back in the car, the rear door of the Cadillac opened, and Mr. Black got out and stomped in our direction. When he got to the side of the car, I was sure there was steam coming out of his ears, but maybe it was only the dust from the road.

Mr. Black rapped hard on the closed window with his ring. Stephen rolled it down, and Mr. Black lost no time in asking Stephen, “Do you know who I am?”

Personally, I thought we had covered this point thoroughly in our exchange with Earl, but Stephen confirmed once again that he did know who Mr. Black was.

Mr. Black said, “Then, you damn well back this truck up right now!”

Stephen replied, “You back up, we have the right-of-way.” Mr. Black fumbled in his coat pocket and pulled out the biggest gold and silver badge I had ever seen. Holding it up to Stephen’s face, he asked, “Do you see this badge?” Of course, Stephen could not deny that he did indeed see it. We were making a little progress.

Mr. Black said threateningly, “Then you back this truck up right now!” He left out the obviously implied, “Or else!” Stephen put his hand on the ignition key, and I breathed a sigh of relief that at last he was going to give in and we could get out of there.

Instead, Stephen looked Mr. Black square in the eye, pulled the key out of the ignition, opened his hand and let the key drop through the air to land with impressive clatter on the wooden floor boards.

Mr. Black stared at Stephen for a second with murder in his eyes, made some unintelligible sound, his bluff called, and trudged back to his midnight blue Cadillac, as Earl hopped out to open the rear door for him. They both got in, and, after a moment, they backed up.

Photo Credit: Janice MacLean

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“Good decisions come from experience
and experience comes from making bad decisions.”

Mark Twain

Staying out of Trouble

If the quotation above is not one of the great truisms, I don’t know what is. This is so in nearly every aspect of life and, particularly, in personal relationships and in the game of golf.

My deeper understanding of this truth began one afternoon as I was walking down the fairway with Bill Greene, a keen observer of life and a true gentleman from Virginia. Looking back, I’m inclined to think he had been observing me for a while as he began to tell me this story.

Bill played a round with an old friend and asked him what his best round was so far. His friend told him his score, which I have forgotten. Then Bill asked, “How would you like to beat that score by three strokes?” His friend replied that he sure would. Bill said, “In our next round, let me tell you which club to play and where to hit it, and you will.” They agreed on a date, and when his friend did what Bill asked, he had his new best round by three strokes.

I immediately told Bill I wanted to do the same thing with him, which I think was Bill’s intention all along. He asked me my best score, which I told him, though I needn’t mention it here. So we played another round, and I too had my best round, by more than three strokes.

So how did that happen?

Bill is a master of course management, which I wasn’t. He told me which club to hit and where to hit it. If I chose a six iron, he told me to hit a seven. If I was hoping to fly the bunker, Bill had me hit shorter and to the side to take the bunker completely out of play. And this went on in every shot on every hole, even in putting.

Bill anticipated the result before making the shot and simply avoided trouble, and with his expert guidance so did I. Now you might think that from that moment on, I played every round that way.

I didn’t.

So, why is this so simple to understand and yet so hard to do? I think it’s the same reason we get into silly arguments with others, even though we know better, not that that ever happens to me. Yet when I have patience and presence of mind, my golf game and my life go much better.

So for my next round, I plan to have fun, keep it in play, and stay out of trouble. Might as well try that in my conversations too.

Thanks, Bill, a little shared wisdom has gone a long way.

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“The jello’s jiggling.”
Chick Hearn

A Chick Hearn Moment

Over the last several years, I have watched a lot of volleyball. Both my daughters play in school and on club teams. The games are wonderful to watch, are great for them and for us as a family. We and our girls have made many new friends through this experience.

So, what does this have to do with basketball announcing legend, Chick Hearn? Just this, many times I have witnessed parents sweating it out on the sidelines when we are ahead by, say, 22-13. I guess in an effort to calm them, and perhaps myself as well, I say, “This is a Chick Hearn moment.”

Generally, they look at me blankly for a moment, and then I see the light go on when I recite Chick’s famous words, “This game’s in the refrigerator, the door’s closed, the light’s out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard, and the jello’s jiggling.” Nobody could call a basketball game like Chick, and those of us privileged to have heard him still miss him.

Of course, if the volleyball game score is 13-22 instead, I yell just as loud any other parent, “You can do it girls!”

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“Success means having the courage, the determination and the will
to become the person you believe you were meant to be.”
George A. Sheehan

The Flashlight

On one of our many Model A trips, we went to Monument Valley in Arizona, as described previously in the post, The Leap. Goulding’s Lodge is perched fairly high on the western slope, with a stunning view of all of Monument Valley.

The best feature of Goulding’s is that each room opens onto a common balcony overlooking the valley, a great place to sit and gaze at one of the most beautiful sights on earth and reminisce about the day’s events.

So my cousins, friends and I, all in our late teens, were sitting out on that balcony taking in the view, while our parents were in the lodge having dinner. The sun was down, but there was still enough light to see well. We noticed a very small airport about a mile down the hill, with a single dirt runway and a small square terminal building.

My cousin Mike and friend Scott were trying to guess how long it would take to run down to the airport and back up the hill to where we were sitting on the balcony. Yes, this is the same Mike and Scott from Snipe Hunting and The Haunted House.

Compared to Scott’s estimate, Mike thought the airport was farther away, and with very few other structures in sight, it was hard to tell. Mike bet Scott twenty bucks that he couldn’t run down to the airport and back in fifteen minutes. Scott, always up for a challenge, agreed. But as it was getting dark, they began to wonder how Scott would prove that he had actually reached the airport. The solution: Scott would carry a flashlight with him and shine it on the building to prove he was there.

So twenty or so of us, including some total strangers we had gathered, adjourned to the top of the long, straight road down the hill to the airport. By the time Mike yelled go, it was long past sunset and off went Scott at a fast lope into the darkness.

We resumed our position on the balcony to wait and observe, but to no avail, as even the airport had disappeared. Mike kept his eye on his watch.

Suddenly, there was a short burst of frantic light all over the small terminal building and a lot of laughter from the balcony.

Then we waited some more, and again there was no sight or sound of Scott in his mad dash with destiny. Mike was hoping the fifteen minutes would pass more quickly.

We read journed with our growing pack of enthusiastic strangers to the top of the road. Soon, we heard Scott, gasping his way back up the steep hill in the dark.

When he began to come into view, still a hundred yards or so down the hill, Mike began to call out, “Fourteen minutes and thirty-two seconds, fourteen minutes and thirty-three seconds, thirty-four,” and so on, which caused Scott to yell out in distress, as there was no chance he could cover the ground in twenty-six more uphill seconds.

Actually, Scott had plenty of time, as it was only twelve minutes and ten seconds at the time of Mike’s first announcement. Nobody told Scott, and I guess Mike figured, if he was going to lose twenty bucks, he was going to have a little extra fun doing it.

To his credit, Scott kept coming full force even though he knew, or at least thought he knew, that all was lost. He crossed the line to great cheering from the crowd, as he found out he had actually won!

Mike paid him the twenty bucks alright, thought it took him a few days to actually cough it up.

I’m sure Scott’s record still stands–or who knows, maybe it’s broken each year by young men who love hardly anything more than to compete with each other and shout joyfully into the night.

The Saturday Morning Post© 2017

“When you are the only pea in the pod, your parents
are likely to get you confused with the Hope diamond.”
Russell Baker

She’s got my Baby!

When our firstborn John was seven-months old, I won a ten-day trip to Paris and Monaco based on my production as a life insurance agent. Unfortunately, the trip was a use-it or lose-it opportunity, and we decided not to go.

We couldn’t imagine taking our new baby on such a long trip when we had barely taken him to the grocery store. And we certainly weren’t going to leave him home with anyone else who could not possibly measure up to the gold standard of 24/7 care and security that we had created for our first child. Yes, we were pretty obsessed.

But after a week or so of wailing and gnashing our teeth over this lost opportunity, we decided to go, after all. Others have done such daring deeds, so why not us? And we would be with him the whole time to continue monitoring his every movement, and I do mean movement, so why not?

We planned our trip, which, for the most part, meant signing up and confirming the highest level of qualified babysitters we could find in Paris and Monaco. We knew there would be the occasional required dinner at which our hosts might not enjoy our boy’s company as much as we would. Oh, and there were the clothes and unexpected supplies we bought in seemingly endless trips to Baby’s “R” Us and other such places where doting first-time parents frequent.

All went well on the Atlantic crossing, and we had a wonderful time sauntering through Paris in the springtime with our son. He enjoyed the view from his stroller, when occasionally awake, through the Louvre and Notre Dame, up to Montmartre and down the Champs-Elysees.

On our last day in Paris, we went with a group of old friends to lunch at the Eifel Tower, intending to go to the top to enjoy the view of the city before carrying on to Monaco.

Liz carried John as we approached the elevator with our friends. Diane, a qualified mother of four asked if she could hold John, and Liz, with just a hint of hesitation, handed him over. As it became our turn to enter the elevator, Diane was a foot or two in front of us in line as she stepped into the lift with John in her arms. The elevator doors immediately slammed shut behind her, and the newly installed high-speed elevator rocketed, or so it seemed to us, to the top of the Eifel Tower with our baby, and without us!

Shocked, we could do nothing but wait for the next coach, which seemed an eternity in arriving. We jumped in, sans John, and raced after him. We knew logically that he was safe with Diane, wasn’t he? But we didn’t know exactly where, and it was pretty disconcerting for about fifteen minutes.

At last, mother and child were joyfully reunited, as shown in the photo above, and we took in the breezy and expansive view from the top of the still tallest structure in Paris.

As John got older, he began to ask when we might go to Europe, and I reminded him that he had already been to Paris and even to the top of the Eifel Tower. And eventually, the opportunity did occur to return to Paris and to the site of his first great adventure, or so it seemed as such to us.