My first day back at work, I was rattletrapping down the trail in my park-green pickup. I was approaching a man and he waved me down so I pulled next to him, window down and killed the radio. Beautiful out, he said, today is my first day out for a walk. I just retired. Congratulations, I replied. He wanted to talk so I put the truck in park. Twenty years as a federal judge and Ive been so busy -- people pulling on me in every way. This is my first day, he paused, I just don't know what its all for. I cut the engine and surveyed the man before me: medium height, solid build, handsome in his Navy sweater. Peppered grey hear and olive skin with only traces of age. Perhaps he was latin american, he was vaguely familiar and had the assurance of a presiding judge, but he was seeking counsel from a man in a pickup. My wife and I are going to Argentina to Buenos Aires. We have been dancing Argentine Tango since we met in high school and we have been married fifty years now. I have danced tango with my daughters and my granddaughters and you know what? My little seven year old grandson, he steps up to my wife, his grandmother and asks her to dance and takes her out to the floor and dances the tango. Maybe thats what its all for, I offer, dancing. But he ignores me. We are going to Sin Rumba where all the stars are , the stars of dancing go to drink: Riverold, Pugliese, DiSarli…You know I just don't know what its all for, he reiterates after a pause. I'm a federal Judge you know. There was this woman in my courtroom and she had to have a translated and she's so ill that she says she wants to kill herself, she wants to end it. I said to the translater, translate this for her: Ma'am, I'm a United States Federal judge and I am using my authority to order you not to kill yourself. The translated kind of looked funny at me but he said it and she just stared at me. (pause) You know, I just don't know what its all for. I suggested he hike up to the crest of our modest hill. Excellent views. It was his first walk after all.
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