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“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times,” wrote Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities. He could have been describing my past week. On the good side…

I’m now in my 80th year. Wednesday was my 79th birthday, and my wife Lynn arranged for a birthday party at Rancho Nicasio. What fun!

From left: Maddy Sobel, Austin King, the birthday boy and Lynn. (Photo by Kathy Runnion)


Our lunch was held on a deck under sunny skies, and our  food, which ranged from fish and chips to bacon-lettuce-and-tomato sandwiches, was tasty and plentiful.

The next day would be Thanksgiving, and Lynn would be roasting a turkey, so Lynn and I invited Austin to join us. Austin, who had been living in Point Reyes Station, has now found an attractive apartment in Larkspur. However, since he doesn’t have a car, we suggested he spend the night at Mitchell cabin.

Which he did, along with his loveable dog Gypsy. I’ve seen few dogs more obedient to their master than Gypsy is to Austin. His command, “Stop Gypsy! Come here!” was usually enough to get her to turn around and return to him, even when she was starting to chase deer or raccoons.



Austin and Gypsy on the deck at Mitchell cabin.


But then came Friday. Lynn and I drove Austin and Gypsy back to Larkspur. After admiring his new apartment, we headed home. Within five minutes, I was driving through San Anselmo where we decided to stop for coffee. 

Finding a parking spot on a narrow street was difficult. When we did, Lynn got out to give me directions into it. Unfortunately there was a utility pole immediately next to the curb, and the right-side mirror of my Lexus clipped the pole. With my mangled mirror hanging down, I attempted to drive forward and stop, but my foot missed the brake pedal and hit the accelerator.

The resulting debacle shocked me. My car shot across the narrow street and slammed into an unoccupied parked car. The parked car suffered a badly dented left side behind the driver’s door but remained driveable. My car was not, for my left front tire was pushed back against its wheel well.

Nor would the debacles end there. After a taxi brought Lynn and me home, I felt mighty glum, so I decided to try cheering myself up with an ice cream sandwich.

Unfortunately when I  took a bite out of the sandwich, I heard a dull pop. Feeling something hard in my mouth, I spit out two front teeth.

Could anything else go wrong that day, I worried until I fell asleep.