He seemed almost
sorry for me. "You did? Not us. We knew Hary won because we had the perfect
angle.... We're right on the finish line."
There was the
matter of bus departures. We never left anywhere on schedule because at least
one person was late or missing. Every day I was confronted by the Big
Decision—when to tell the driver, "I guess we can't wait any longer. Let's
only part of the reason. One day the Judge walked around the corner for a cigar
and got lost. A Relative on the loose managed to forget completely the name of
his hotel and after a half-day's frustrated wandering cabled back to his office
in San Francisco to find out where he lived.
But I will always
remember Rome most for my introduction to companionate bathing. My wife rang
for the maid and with gestures explained she wanted a bath. The maid said she
would be right back. Then I decided I wanted a bath, too, and I rang the bell.
The same maid appeared. Gestures—bath, rub, scrub. I was led down the hall into
a bathroom where the water had been drawn. I stepped in—too hot, but not
bad—and just then the door that I thought I had closed opened, and my wife
certain words: "What are you doing here?" "Well, she told me to
come in!" "This is my bath, not yours!" "What is this, the
Italian His and Hers?" "Could she have meant both of us?"
My wife went back
to the room. I washed quickly and then departed running; she returned for her
bath. The maid stood transfixed in the hall during the entire episode.
"Crazy Americani," she muttered.
When the Olympics
ended we went to Zurich. We touched down in Switzerland in a rainstorm, and
when we reached our hotel on a narrow side street, for once we found our rooms
were ready for us. It was a tiny hotel with a rollicking bar and a proprietress
who registered the guests, mixed the drinks and cooked Swiss fondue. One of our
travelers, whom we had come to know as Mr. Cognac, said later that he regretted
leaving because he had a tremendous investment in the corner stool at the bar,
from which spot he had directed the group in selected American harmonies.
plan was a trip to Mount Pilatus in the Alps, 6,994 feet up by funicular
railway, and a return to Zurich via Lucerne. The local guide apologized for the
weather. "You should not go to Pilatus," he said. "There is some
walking necessary and your people will get their feet wet."
The men cried
protests. "Why," said Mr. Cognac, "this is Oregon duck hunting
weather! Man, after Rome's heat I'm beginning to live again!"
cried the ladies, "and miss shopping for watches in Lucerne?"