Author: Judd, Brooks

Ten Items or Less

80-year-old Japanese man scales Mt. Everest. (What a show off!)

Item I: My father, born in Texas and one of millions who struggled through the Depression years used the carrot and stick motivator technique with me by saying, “If you get tired of walking walk a bit faster. Not wanting to disappoint my father, I took that to heart and in doing so set into motion a lifetime of “power walking” that would eventually drive my lovely wife, Sheila, and my daughters,Jessica and Rhiannon crazy with frustration and torment whenever we went someplace.

It could be as simple as going to our favorite restaurant.We would make the leisurely drive, and I would be out of the car before the engine stopped, swing open the car door and be at the restaurant door before my family had unbuttoned their safety belts. More than once I would have to rely on my trusty binoculars to slowly scan the horizon looking for my family.I could see their unsmiling faces through the polished lens and for the life of me could not figure out what the problem was.

A couple of years back I developed serious back problems that would eventually require surgery. My walking slowed down to a snail’s pace and those I had criticized for not walking fast had their fun with me.

My oldest daughter Jessica gave me a bit of my own medicine.Our families would visit Ardenwood Farm Union City walking around the beautiful park seeing the animals, the old tractors, etc.I was relying on my recently purchased $11.98 Rite-Aid cane. Jessica would pass me by with her two sons and I would yell out, “Hey JJ, slow down for your old man!” She would give me a grin and say, “Karma dad, get used to it.” Jessica wasn’t being mean. She was just remembering all the times her father raced by her, her sister and her mother every time we went somewhere.

I was a bit too obtuse and overly ornery to even consider this as any sort of problem, even though my family had sent out many verbal and non verbal signals concerning the frenetic walking pace I kept.

Allowing for Karma, enter my sister, Maria. She also received the walking speech from my father and like me she took it straight to her Portuguese heart.

Even though I had no real doubts about my walking abilities Maria gave me a nasty dose of my own medicine not once but twice and then some.

Item 2: Maria does the Double Dog Dare You: Maria and I usually see about two to three SF Giants games a year.I drive to Maria’s home in Hayward, we drive down to the BART station, jump on Bart for the thirty minute ride to the City. We get out at Market Street. AT&T Park is about 1 1/2 to 2 miles away. For a mere $2 one can catch the muni train that is right there waiting to take you to the ball park. My $2 is clutched warmly in my stout hand waving at the conductor. Maria knocks my hand down and proudly tells me that the train is for “Those who do not choose to walk.” She gives me the Judd look and says, “ We don’t take the train we choose to walk. Put your money away.” I meekly put my fresh two dollars away in my pocket. Those two dollars and 50 cents will buy me a tooth pick at AT&T.

I sadly gaze at the packed train as it chugs down the tracks and realize what could have been, a nice easy sit down six minute ride to the park. Maria tightens the laces on her blue and red Keds,and gives the order, “Let’s move out!” We begin our “walk” to AT&T. Maria doesn’t tell me but her aim is to beat the bus.I know that is impossible but you don’t know my sister. The race is on. I hitch up my pants take a deep breath and follow Maria.

Maria is not color blind, but for some deep rooted psychological reason buried in her past, to her, the red, green and yellow lights pulsate the words,“Race like the wind.” So we do,

With horns honking ,motorists shouting and hurling the most noxious obscenities at us (they must have thought we were the dreaded blue meanie fans) we weave our way around buses, taxis, etc. Maria never looks back. By the time we get to the park,the sweat is pouring down my face, the ice that was cooling my diet Pepsi in my little carry on bag has become a warm mist, and my once dry pants and shirt looked like I just climbed out of a warm swimming pool.I think I detected a bead of perspiration beginning to form on Maria’s forehead but on closer viewing it was just some sea salt.

Item 3: You may find the above hard to believe but my best friend, Bill Cross, can back me up on this. The three of us have gone to a few Giants games together and it wasn’t until Bill was with us did I see the futility of trying to keep up a walking pace with my sister.

As usual the three of us caught BART in Hayward and got off in SF. No sooner had the BART doors opened when Maria ejected herself out of her seat, sliding sideways thru the Bart doors as to not waste time and made her way to the up-escalator. I jumped out of my seat in quick pursuit when Bill grabbed my arm and said, “Where are you going?” I replied that we needed to keep up with my sister. Bill just shook his head and said, ”That’s crazy! I can’t and I won’t try to keep up with her.” I thought about that for a long time, maybe even 5 seconds and responded, “You’re right.”

So both of us got out our seats and casually made our way to the escalator. My eyes were still on Maria as I saw her gently nudge folks aside on the escalator, got off, and made her way toward the city streets.She began her power walk and I saw her slow down as she approached a lady in a wheelchair who was slowly motoring down the sidewalk. Maria stopped next to the lady, smiled, bent over and whispered something in the lady’s ear, then for some reason Maria took out her wallet and gave her some money. Bill and I watched this from a distance and couldn’t figure out what was happening.

As we approached the lady in the wheelchair a few minutes later we stopped and I introduced myself and told her that she had just been talking to my sister. The lady said how nice that we were going to the game together. I asked the lady if she would mind telling me what my sister said to her. The lady gave me an embarrassed look and replied, “Your sister told me to get a faster wheel chair or get out of the way and then she gave me $5.”
I smiled at the lady and Bill and I took off. Bill gave me a long look and said ,”Maria wouldn’t do that!” “I know,” I replied. That lady was crazy!” “What makes you think so?” Bill asked. “Well, I replied, my sister may be a lot of things but she is certainly not cheap. She would have given the lady at least a $20.”

Until the first Friday of July:

Read a book, hug a child, pet a dog, stroke a cat, and eat a bar of chocolate.


This column has been edited for content and believability by Maria Nadauld: ( ($100 well spent)

Posted:  6/7/2013

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