Most people would have thought we were out for an idyllic walk. I thought we were out for an idyllic walk. We had beautiful weather, not too nippy for the second day of September, not for the middle of the Adirondacks.
My wife and I decided to walk along route 114 in the minuscule resort town of Blue Mountain Lake, NY both for exercise and to see what we could see. We try to make it a point to balance our vacation dissipation with as many walks as we can manage. It’s for health. We figure we’ll last longer that way and the longer we stay healthy, the longer we can dissipate, spend more, and generally help to maintain a level of good health in the national economy. We were doing our part.
Our route took us up a long, wooded incline, the lake set behind a line of trees. Soon we approached a row of houses, old and weather-beaten in some cases, old and in decent shape in others. This famous resort area has been around for a hundred years or more, so nobody can kick about old, not here. It’s all old!
We seem to choose walking routes that have no sidewalks. Kinda like home. The roads’ sides work fine for us. I get to walk on the outside of my wife, the theory being that if anyone is going to get hit by a car, it should be me. I consider that a bit selfish and offer to switch positions now and again, but she is adamant that that is the place for a man, and since I am one, I get to stay out there at the edge of danger. It’s really okay. My active mind and keen eye are totally committed to the protection of my fair maiden.
Houses on the left, across the street, are just places for people to live, but the ones lakeside are also commercial establishments, Blue Mountain Lake style. We walk facing traffic; the sane thing to do. We look across and my wife speculates on what wonders await her peruse. I don’t wonder. I don’t care. I will be dragged along as on most shopping trips, but for now, we walk for health, so crossing the street is not an option. Eventually we find a turning point and head back.
My changeling wife becomes the sharp-eyed hunter now. There is shopping to do. She has her eye on a storefront that looks like a house, like all the rest of them actually. Outside in the sunlight she sees racks of clothing, bright multi-colored little things, long things, short things, interesting things, even flimsies (of marginal interest to me), all hanging there for her.
I have a different perspective. The things leer at me, daring me to approach with that lovely creature by my side, daring me to say no to her fluttering eyelashes.
We manage to get through the exterior attractions and I think we’re going to make it; nothing today and thank you ma’am. I am too soon. The lady lazing in a chair, no doubt proprietress of the lakeside store, suggests that more awaits my mate within. I’m not getting away easy, not today. Suddenly she spies the thing she just can’t go home without.
Rats! There, staring at me malevolently, while at the same time looking comely for my wife, is a Mongolian lamb coat. The coat is a starkly white and massively furry in a stringy sort of way.
“Dick, look at this!” She feels the material and her face lights up. She’s captured.
“I’m looking, I’m looking,” I mutter.
“What did you say?”
“It’s really sumptin’,” I say louder. My smile is self-serving.
Then issue forth the four words all men shudder to hear. “Do you like it?”
"Ah, well…uh. It’s…interesting,” I finish lamely.
“I like it.” There is finality in her voice. I get into my “better try to like it, too,” mode.
“What about that little (cheap) nick-knack over here,” I point.
She glances that way for a spit second and goes back to adoration of the coat. She rubs her hand up and down the hairy exterior and opens up the coat to see the construction of the inside.
“Humph! Looks like leather to me,” I say, trying to please.
I feel it. “Wow, soft.” The words struggle out, but it’s not as hard now. I feel myself feeding into the trap. I look at the coat with real interest. It is nice.
“What do you want for this coat?” My wife looks expectantly at the proprietress, who smiles a knowing smile. I can see the greedy glint in her eye, but the stars in my wife’s eyes prevent her from seeing anything but the object of her attention.
“I’ve got to get one hundred dollars for it. It belongs to my daughter. She said to get a hundred for it.”
My wife takes the price in stride. No problem for her.
I pull her to the side. “Ah…you’re paying for this, right?”
“Sure, but I have no money.”
“We were out for walk. I don’t either.”
She turns to the lady and explains that she’d like the coat, but that she doesn’t have any money with her.
“No problem. Take it with you and come back with the money.”
“Dick, what do you think?”
By this time I’ve had time to study the coat thoroughly and to “turn the corner,” so to speak, and I say, “If you want it and you’ll be happy with it, get it.”
My wife is titillating all over the place. She smiles at the lady while I consider how different are the aspects of trust in a small place like Blue Mountain Lake. Many communities are like that, but as they grow to a certain point, trust diminishes. In a big city, it disappears altogether. Odd that I should be thinking of this in my wife’s hour of happiness. I snap back.
Holly slings the coat over her shoulder. Much too hot to wear it and she’s right about how silly it would look on her in this resort area.
“We’ll be right back.”
“Bye,” the lady says.
We leave and walk back to our cabin at our usual pace. Holly chatters away, a thing she does when she’s happy. I smile and listen and feel good, because, well, when Mama’s happy...you know.
We drive back and pay the lady. Now to figure out how to stuff that in our luggage!
Maybe this will be of interest as a finale. I wrote this more than ten years ago and came across it in June of 2016. The coat is in her moth-proofed closet. It's still perfect. She's worn it several times for the right sort of event and always gets compliments on it. To this day she feels she got a great deal and you know, I have to agree with her.