Christmas breakfast at Denny’s may not sound like a jubilant event, but we make it one. They serve us some surprisingly good food. It seems like a long, leisurely, luxurious meal. We talk and talk.
It’s cold and rainy out. Determined to stick to our plan, I set out on the bike and Dad agrees to follow me in a couple of hours. I throw my heavy bags in his car, but with the wind blowing in my face I don’t feel much difference. I manage 36 cold miles before he passes me in a light snow. I’m soaking wet, and I’ve decided I’m a fool to spend time like this when my dad is here. I propose that we try to get my bike in the car. He doesn’t think it can be done, but he doesn’t have my vision (or 70 freezing wet miles on a bike in front of him). He gets my seat and wheels in the back, and I tie the frame in the trunk. Shivering and happy, I climb in the passenger seat and we go. The speed of an automobile looks and feels unearthly. The miles go by so fast, in a blur. Soon the shoulder is encased in snow and ice, and I’m happy with my decision. I’m cold enough as it is in the car in my wet gear, but I happily talk away, like a dream.
We make Sante Fe in time to indulge in a movie, then set out for Dixon in search of my old friend Bill. I haven’t ever been to the house he lives in now, but I remember he said it was near the place Camella used to live in Apodaca, so I go there. I’m surprised I remember the way. The lady there now is surprised to get a visit from two tall white guys on Christmas night, but she’s friendly. She points to an empty house beyond a fence, and tells us Bill has moved. She describes his new whereabouts and I set off, but fail to find it. I knock on a few doors without luck. As a last resort I drive back to Embudo, past the old El Quinto Sol where Bill and I used to sling pasta, to Javier’s house. I haven’t seen Javier in 4 years, and I don’t know his parents except that his dad has a reputation for being hostile to anglos, and I don’t remember their last name. I’m thankful when Javier answers the door. He hasn’t changed a bit – he’ll never leave home. We’ve always treated each other well, though, and he describes Bill’s new pad in more detail. One more exhaustive search and I find it. It’s dark. Dad and I approach and knock, glued to the window. Soon a very tired, hoarse, disheveled Bill appears. He’s alone and has been sick, but perks up fast. Before we know it we are eating delicious fresh food and drinking good beer. The reunion is on.