Denver Bar Association
June 2011
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The Road Worrier, Part 7: The Food Chain of the On-the-Go Attorney

by Greg Rawlings

The Road Worrier, Part 7

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ext to the price of gasoline and its myriad tidal fluctuations, the most important thing to an on-the-go criminal defense attorney is what to eat and where, or what not to eat and why.

The lattermost food-related question hit me like a Mike Tyson gut-punch about an hour after leaving a Cañon City eatery called Mr. Ed’s. Okay, I know, only a masochist would eat at a place named after a dead talking horse—or a live talking horse, for that matter. Maybe I am nothing if not a classic self-loathing basket case, but then again, you find a decent place to eat lunch in Cañon City—and Subway doesn’t count. Regardless, you don’t want to be zooming up the back route from Fremont County when your lunch has decided to seek immediate revenge.

Then, there are those little places that surprise you. I once ventured into a family-owned lunch spot in South Park, where I bumped into globetrotting bird hunter E. Alexander “Zandy” DeSalvo, who assured me that I was in for a treat. And I was. You take the good with the bad. I have eaten well in Fort Morgan and poorly in Colorado Springs; I have eaten poorly in Fort Morgan and well in Colorado Springs (where I love La Baguette).

Once, while driving back from Grand Junction, I ran into a big horn sheep outside Eagle, which I immediately field-dressed and grilled on a spit right beside I-70. Well, that’s actually a complete fabrication. I nearly hit one, then stopped in Eagle for a burger at an ersatz ’50s diner near the courthouse.

I sincerely believe that the most important thing that has happened in Colorado (and maybe America) over the past few months—and yes I include the November elections—is that Wendy’s radically upgraded its French fries. I went to law school a few blocks from the first Wendy’s Restaurant. Bad coffee, worse law school. That there were two brewpubs and a classy martini bar even closer made law school almost sufferable.

On a sad trip to Del Norte, where I nearly died in an airplane crash last year, I ate at the second worst Mexican joint in Colorado, the first being a changing target, in that being the worst Mexican joint in Colorado has more to do with the price and potency of margaritas than it does, well, the food.

The great Jim Harrison, gourmand, Zen Buddhist, and literary master, has devoted a large chunk of his career to writing about eating. This makes sense, in that you can’t very well eat about writing. Or can you?

A client just bought in sweet potatoes, tomatoes, mangoes, and a variety of other food stuffs that didn’t end in “-oes” for the attorney across the hall. I am vexed with jealousy, as I write this very sentence. I’m lucky if my clients show up for court, much less bring in bounties of the harvest. Mmm, mangoes.

René Descartes famously remarked “cogito ergo sum”—I think, therefore I am—which I’ve always considered hogwash. I eat, therefore I’m not even crankier than usual, and be glad about that, my friends. That seems more real to me. A hungry lawyer is a bad lawyer. A hungry, drunk lawyer is worse yet. Eat or die.

Tomorrow I visit a prison in Burlington, a private joint named for Kit Carson—a man who ate what he shot and shot what he ate. My gut feeling (and I mean that literally) is that a bag lunch is called for. You don’t want to be driving at high speeds across western Kansas (meaning every place east of metro Denver) and take a chance on the local cuisine. Unless you’re in Rocky Ford; then, eat a melon and bring me one, too. Mmm, melons.

So we drive, we eat, we stop in the occasional courthouse to pay for it all. It is an endless, vicious circle. Now what’s for lunch? D


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