We had our mother-daughter teeth-cleanings scheduled yesterday, so off we went to faraway Fort Wayne for a quick visit to the dentist, a Santa run to Kate’s friends and the safe winter stowage of one of the kayaks. This took, of course, too much time, and we ended up having dinner at La Margarita, our Mexican local. Leo, the owner, greeted us, the way he always does.
“You missed our Christmas party last night!” he said, before sketching out the evening’s festivities. It was held for the children of regular customers, family and friends, and featured games, party favors, toys for all, Pancho Claus and Pancho Claus’s magic bag, which was filled with — gulp — $500 in change. (Every kid got to stick their hand in, and pull out all they could hold in one handful.) There were elaborate door prizes — TVs, etc. — and, of course, chow for all.
I was stunned. La Marg is a successful business, but a small one; if there’s more than a handful of modest livings in it, I’d be astonished. And yet Leo, through the generosity of his own big heart, managed to throw a party with a more lavish budget than the last three or four thrown by my own employer (parent company market capitalization: $4 billion). It was probably more fun, too — I’ve never seen a Pancho Claus.
As we were leaving, Alan was doing some last water-pipe flushing in the house and I turned on the laptop to play a quick round of Bugdom. The AirPort sensed a weak signal, and I was able to download my e-mail, courtesy of a neighbor — I’d guessing either Mario or Patrick, but it could be someone else — with a wireless network.
The iMac is still ailing, but I love my laptop. Since I got the cord that allows it to run off the car’s cigarette lighter, Kate can now pass long trips watching movies in the back seat. And I can download my e-mail on Dayton Avenue! Worlds of wonder.