[Guest written by Paul]
Traditions, it is said, annoy the younger generation. So it is with the traditions that I have started. One of these is to go for a walk, as a family, the Friday after Thanksgiving. Really, the kids hate it, but that matters not. This year, we started by driving to the Park and Ride by Christown Mall, and taking the light rail from there. Our first stop was downtown Tempe (and Tempe Town Lake – which is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars). At the lake, we walked around until Ruben needed a bathroom, which is to say about five minutes. After that detour, we decided just to head back into downtown Tempe, since the lake is boring anyway. Once in downtown Tempe, we walked around until Ruben was soooo hungry, that he absolutely couldn’t continue, which is to say about five minutes (see a pattern here?). Happily, there was a Taco Bell nearby (which sadly serves only Pepsi products – absolute swill all of them), and, after permitting an inordinately large charge on my card, they gave us all the food we desired (except for Efrain, who, for some reason, was so angry at the time that he refused all food and drink). Being thus satiated with cheap, greasy food, we headed back to the light rail station, and hopped on a train to downtown Phoenix. Our first stop (after looking at the 30 plaques of bola ties where we got off the train) was the Basilica, where Laurent is employed as a cantor. We wanted to see the inside, because this church is (easily) the most beautiful one in the state. Sadly, our whole army got inside the back door, only to discover that a mass was going on (OOPS!). Fortunately, there are inner doors that were closed that kept that disaster to a minimum. After sneaking out of the Basilica, we fooled around in the grassy courtyard outside, before heading off to the large, ornate courtyard surrounded by old city hall, new city call, court buildings, and the Orpheum Theater (I like to call that the Opium Theater). Goodness, this post is boring, I better wrap this up. After Efrain removed Ruben’s shoes, and after I put them back on, we wandered off to the light rail station near Renaissance Square, hopped on the train, and returned home.