This Monday evening, I finally met with Toni. She’s my dog trainer. My new book recently arrived, and I wanted her to have one. It had been a long time since we visited.

Last Monday I wandered around the east section of Phoenix for about two hours in frustration trying to find her dog training site.

The reason for last week’s frustration was my failure to have a detailed map. Six years ago, for a solid year, I’d driven the same route. Phoenix was well developed, so there weren’t new streets, and the neighborhood hadn’t been demolished. But, after six years I had forgotten a few route details.

When I stopped any routine for a few months, or longer, I stutter-stepped a bit before the smooth rhythm kicked in. A six-year routine lapse was too long.

I’m reminded of my mom’s ability to plot her route anywhere accurately.

We lived in Rochester, New York and were driving to my uncle’s place about two hours east in Syracuse. Syracuse was an old city with thousands of streets that ran every which way. It’s hodge-podge street network evolved long before community planning was created.

Dad didn’t know the exact address, so Mom navigated. Dad’s sharp tone signaled his frustration when he wanted specific street names, but Mom just said, “keep going straight” or “turn at the next corner.” After about twenty minutes we pulled up to the house.

In his peeved voice Dad asked how in the world Mom was able to know exactly which street to turn when she didn’t know the street name.

Her reply revealed all you need to know about my Mom. “There is a ‘for rent’ sign in the 2nd story window of the house on the corner.”

It had been at least two years since we had been to Syracuse.

Frustrated, Dad threw up his hands, “Geeze!”

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