“Nice bike you got there. Ride it a lot?” The man was walking out from the convenience store in Pagosa Springs with a bottle of milk in his hand. I was at the gas pump and pulling out my earplugs.
He was the sort of gentlemanly, silver-haired-but-still-brimming-with-vitality type straight out of central casting that one sometimes meets in the Rockies. Fresh air and constant activity had preserved him in a way — one supposed. He owned his own housepainting business, and towed everything he needed around in a trailer behind his battered Isuzu SUV.
“Used to have a house over close to Durango. Nice big place. Then, my wife died a while back.”
He was wistful, but I could tell he had made his peace. It was part of life.
“When I went to clean out the house I realized I had at least two of everything. Two blenders. Two drills. Two TV’s. Two ladders. Two cages for the dog. Two humidifiers. Two refrigerators. Two of everything. Even things that it made no sense to have two of. Hell, it was only my wife and myself. Some of the second things hadn’t even been opened yet–still in original packaging.” He shook his head. I wondered which had been the heavier burden: His wife’s passing or the realization that they had been drowning in stuff.
“Took me months to get around to going through it all. I finally donated almost everything.”
He pointed back at his travel trailer and the dented truck he used to pull it.
“Got everything I need over there now.” His eyes were glowing with a real gratitude. He was thankful for life itself.
* * * * *
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