Monday, March 25, 2019

"Streanger Than Fiction"

(Subsection:  Little But Noteworthy)

Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Spa and Resort (in a nearby suburb of Phoenix, Arizona.)

“Wild Horse Pass.”

Sounds like my kind of place, doesn’t it? 

What’s not to like? 

“Southwestern” decor.  Native-American flute music playing on the elevators.  A panoramic picture window, showcasing the expanse of the eponymous “Wild Horse Pass”, with its rugged terrain, breathtaking sunsets, and (imagined) rampaging stallions.  (Plus, you can also get an aromatherapy massage.)

So much for introductory fooferah.

Now, a small but memorable moment having nothing to do with any of that.

Saturday morning, I step into the hotel “Gift Shop”, to ask the “Gift Shop” attendant a lingering question.

“Do you get the Sunday New York Times?” 

(Which we subscribe to at home.  Only the Sunday addition.  I like its “Book Review” section and its political “Week In Review”, while Dr. M frets contentedly with the crossword.  The rest of the week, we live with the lowlier L.A. Times.)

A simple question:

“Do you get the Sunday New York Times?” 

The attendant’s answer is somewhat a curveball.

“We get one,” she responds.

I just stood there, dumbfounded in a “Gift Shop.”

One paper? 

For the whole Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Spa and Resort? 

I immediately wondered if we were required to read it, and then dutifully pass it along.


Sensing the competition would be fierce for that one available Sunday New York Times, I immediately determine to stake out my claim.

“What time do you open?” I strategically inquire. 

“Seven A.M.”

“Okay.  I may not get here that early.  Do you think I could reserve it, and come in, maybe, around eight?”

Making no guarantees, the lady jots down my name on a slip of paper promising to leave it by the cash register.  I accept those tentative terms and exit the “Gift Shop.”

Sunday morning, I come spontaneously awake at 6:30 A.M., unconsciously prompted, I believe, by my fervent desire for that paper.  Making myself marginally presentable, I step out of my hotel room and I head for the “Gift Shop”, hoping to be the first to arrive.  To collect the one paper they have.

And then I remember something.

The day before, I had noticed a stack of complimentary newspapers, topping the “Concierge’s Desk” in the lobby.  It was still ten minutes to seven. 

Why don’t I check out the lobby?

I arrive at the Third Floor lobby – guest accommodations are situated below it, maximizing the elevated “Wild Horse Pass” view – and head directly towards the “Concierge’s Desk.”  And would you believe it?

There they were.

A stack of Sunday New York Times.

All of them, free for the taking. 

Summarizing – for the inveterate “skimmers” in the audience:

They were selling a paper in the “Gift Shop” they gave away free in the lobby.

The Slightly Longer Version (Scanning less flowingly while clarifying the particulars):

They were selling the one paper they were allotted in the “Gift Shop” when there was a stack of free ones, topping the “Concierge’s Desk” in the lobby.

I’m not unhappy about it.  But shouldn’t those two entities be talking?


A wonderful visit with desert-dwelling amigos, a Spring Training excursion – where the opposing team’s first two batters hit towering home runs and then nothing happened the rest of the game – a out-the-window reminder as we traveled the trail that I had once grabbed a cactus with my fingers – that’s in the archives somewhere, don’t ask me where – and then back on the plane.

And there you have it.

A weekend getaway to a place that gets spring before we do. 

Good talk, with good friends. 

Good food.

And a free copy of the Sunday New York Times.

That I could easily have paid for.

(Plus an aromatherapy massage.)

I’d call that a successful trip, wouldn’t you?

1 comment:

JED said...

Earl said:
"...I had once grabbed a cactus with my fingers – that’s in the archives somewhere, don’t ask me where..."

That's why you have loyal readers. Here is the link to the Cactus Story: