Sunday, July 19, 2015

BUS STORY # 454 (One Classy Bag Lady)

Downloaded from the Daily Mail

We took the 11 to the ATC where we caught the Rail Runner to Santa Fe. We planned to go to an evening concert, stay the night, then take the early afternoon train back to Albuquerque.

While waiting on the platform, huddled under the shade cast by a kiosk, we got to talking -- or rather, listening -- to a woman who had just overnighted here in Albuquerque.

She was probably in her early seventies. Her face reminded me a lot of my maternal grandmother, although her hair was tailored and we think she had some eye work done. She was dressed simply but elegantly in a sage green sleeveless blouse and above-the-knee loose shorts. Understated silver earrings and bracelet. In short, “classy.” So it was amusingly incongruous that her carry-on was a grocery bag full of clothes and shoes!

While we were waiting, she pulled out a pair of cowboy boot clogs and told us she’d found them in a very nice second-hand shop -- a real bargain, she explained.

We were also amused by her stories, so much so that we invited her to sit with us when the train came. That allowed for enough time to hear her more interesting life story unfold.

She was visiting old friends in Santa Fe, but had come to Albuquerque to visit an old girl friend from school. She’d flown in from Atlanta -- she described the wonderful MARTA train that rockets you directly into the airport -- but she told us she’d lived in Albuquerque before moving to Atlanta.

We asked what she’d done here.

She practiced law. She explained she’d been a bit of a gypsy in her youth, moving around from place to place and job to job until someone suggested she go to law school. She said it was like a little bell going off in her head -- “ding-ding-ding-ding-ding.”

We asked what she specialized in.

Family law. She told us she’d sworn she would never practice family law, but she saw an opportunity to make a real difference in real people’s lives. But it ruined her chances for remarriage. “Once they hear you’re a divorce attorney, they’re gone.”

So was she practicing law in Atlanta?

No, she was not. She’d looked into it, but there were so many little county courthouses she’d have to get to in her everyday practice, she’d be spending more time in her car than in her office or in the courtroom. Here in Albuquerque, there was just the one courthouse, which made so much more sense to her.

What she was doing in Atlanta was teaching math, an early first love. She told us it was the next best thing to a permanent vacation. Her other job in Atlanta was protecting her “good-looking wonderful grandson” from “those gold-digging” southern sorority girls. His choosing to go to college there was why she’d moved.

She explained she’d raised him from early childhood, fallout from the ill-advised marriage of her troubled daughter. She told us it was the best thing she’d ever done, and that raising him has been “a joy.” Watching her expression while she showed my wife his picture on her iPhone, I had no doubt he truly is her pride and joy.

She left us at the South Capitol stop. A fellow attorney who’d “retired” to Santa Fe “but still goes into the office every day” was meeting her. They were joining a group of friends who were heading out for Abiquiú. They are all gourmet cooks, she explained, and they like to drink. She just eats what they cook and does the driving.

It was hard to tell if her heart was still here or back in Atlanta. I think it’s probably wherever her grandson is, wherever that may be.


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