Monday, June 27, 2005

Carrying on...

Many millions of pictures of Yosemite Falls have been taken at this spot, and here are two more, taken 40 years apart. I took the one on the left in July 1963 with my Kodak Brownie camera. The man is my father, the barely visible head on the left is my sister, and the boy on the right is one of my brothers. The other brother was apparently at the campsite with my mother, who wasn’t so athletically inclined. Yosemite – tent camping, mind you, not RV’ing -- was a tradition Dad’s father started, and my dad carried it on. However, I believe this was my last camping trip to Yosemite. We had some serious car trouble on this trip. I suspect that was why subsequent camping trips were at places closer to home. He never got over his love for Yosemite, though. In later years, when that little 4-year-old head on the left grew up and had her own family, she arranged several other camping trips back to Yosemite involving tents and pop-up trailers because she wanted her children to experience Yosemite, too. And then almost exactly 40 years later, in June 2003, I flew to California so I could join my brother and sister and our parents for a long weekend at the park. We stayed at a motel on the banks of the Merced River, right at the park entrance. It was amazing, memorable weekend. The picture on the left is of my father and my sister’s children, who are standing almost at the very same spot. Note of interest: the tall tree on the right in the first picture is still there in the second one.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Happy anniversary to us'uns

This picture was taken on June 26, 1971. So it’s the 34th anniversary of the day we got married. Aren’t we precious? It’s been an interesting 33 years. I think we have had a good marriage. But we are not perfect people and it’s not been a perfect marriage. There were a couple of times when it would have been very easy to throw in the towel and leave the ring – but we didn’t. We’ve stuck it out, we’ve worked at it, and I’m glad. Would I do it again? You betcha. My parents just celebrated their 60th anniversary a few days ago. Sixty years! My parent’s marriage has been an excellent model of how a good marriage is supposed to go. And they have had a very good marriage indeed. I just wish we both weighed now what we weighed then....

Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Old Gray Mare...

ain’t what she used to be... and that’s the truth. I was never an athletic sort, but even for me I can see that my body is slowly breaking down; one knee is shot, my shoulder is shot. I’m stiff. But complaining about aches and pains isn’t what this is about. Last Saturday I went to a garage sale. A woman was there that I had not seen for quite a long time. Her husband, who died 17 months ago, was the auto mechanic who took 6 months to do a simple repair on our car some years back. I spoke to her and said "Hi Carol." I could see in her face that she wasn't sure who I was at first, then recognition. We visited a minute, and then she said, "I didn't recognize you because you've gotten so gray." And then she added, "My hair hasn't changed color at all." She spoke the truth: her hair, indeed, has no gray in it at all although she is a good 10 to 15 year older than me, and she really didn't recognize me because I've gotten so gray. But, OUCH!. Did she have to tell me that?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Happy Father’s Day

By the time the first Father’s Day was made official in 1966, my dad had been a father four times over, beginning with me in 1949. Eventually, three other children came along, but I had dad to myself for about 5 years before my brother was born. For a while, his job situation allowed him to be home during the day, so I hung with him instead of with my mom until he went to work in the afternoon. The smells that trigger warm childhood memories for me are not baking bread and apple pie, but lube grease and solvent for cleaning car parts (dad was an auto mechanic). He used to put me on the handlebars of a bicycle and ride me to school. No horror stories here of child abuse or mistreatment or emotional damage. I could not have asked for a better father... he still is a wonderful father. He did not turn into a cranky old man. At 80 he is still fun and full of life, and I love being with him. Dad loved to fish. The first birthday I can remember was when I was 3 years old and I got a fishing pole. And here we are on the banks of a river in the mountains somewhere in California. This scene was to be repeated many times over while I was growing up. A precious memory of a wonderful man. I love you Dad. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Private Screening...

Last night R and I went to the movies. We saw Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and we were the only people in the theater. We did not behave. We talked loudly about the movie and did all the things polite people are not supposed to do in a movie theater. We did not talk on our cell phone though. I liked the movie. Alan Rickman is the voice of the robot and he is hilarious. It has been many years since I read the book, and I really need to read it again. The public library doesn't have it though, which is really odd because I donated the book to the library some years ago. A bit of advice: The movie credits are very long and take forever to finish, but don’t leave before they are over. There is something very funny almost at the end.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Happy Trails or Go Climb a Tree...

Posted by Hello
In response to my cousin’s comment to an earlier post: A huge California pepper tree grew in the yard of the place where I lived as a kid. Up until I was about 11 or so, I spent many hours in the tree and under it -- that’s where my Roy Rogers tent was pitched -- playing games. It was a glorious tree, with a huge, lacy canopy and large gnarly limbs that grew close to the ground. It was easy to climb into, and no one ever fell out of it. One of the saddest days of my childhood was when my parents decided to have duplex apartments built on the lot and I came home from school to find the tree had been pushed over by a bulldozer.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Tick.... Tick.... Tick...

Naw, this isn’t about time, or a bomb! This is about those flat insects that suck blood--I've even seen them hanging off of birds--and swell up like a grey grape, and occasionally pass on awful diseases while they’re doing it. Then they drop off and lay eggs and more baby ticks are born. Seed tick story: I took a friend birdwatching in an old cemetery out in the woods early one morning. We are having a grand time, and then suddenly I felt this creepy crawly feeling on my legs. I looked town, and I was covered with hundreds of ticks the size of a pinhead who were all marching northward with purpose. We rushed back to her house and I leaped in the shower and scrubbed them off before they could attach. I am not a cruel person. I don’t kill things just for the heck of it. In fact, I go out of my way to save life. I rescue turtles; I pick up the pill bugs that find their way into the office and let them go outside, I fished a writhing earthworm out of a puddle yesterday and put it back on the grass. But there is something immensely satisfying about placing an engorged tick in a pair of pliers and squeezing. It makes a very satisfying pop.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Lost in the Dark

I almost hesitate to tell this story because I don’t want to sound like I’m blowing my own horn (seen on a bumper sticker: “Tithe if you love Jesus, anyone can blow their horn”). You’ll forgive me, I hope. I fail in so many ways to live up to the Christian ideals in the scripture so I feel somewhat relieved that I did actually follow through and do something right for a change.

At about 9:30 on Memorial Day I was in the living room watching TV, and R was in bed watching a different TV program (sometimes we end up watching the same program on separate TVs). Suddenly I heard voices that weren’t connected with the TV and then he was calling me. I went into the bedroom and he gestured at the back door where there was an old woman. She wanted to know if I new where “so and so” lived. No, I didn’t. I didn’t think too much about it at first because this is not the first time a person has showed up at our door looking for someone (the county road dead ends at our house).

I turned the outside light on for her as she walked back down the driveway and then I went to the kitchen window to wait for the car lights in the driveway to come on so I would know when to turn off the outside light. I waited for a few minutes without seeing any car lights, and then it dawned on me that she was on foot. I thought about this for a moment or two and then raced for the car and took out after her.

I couldn’t find her at first, but then I saw her walking across the churchyard next door. I asked her where she lived and if she would like a ride back home. “Oh yes,” she said, “I would like a ride back home.” Home for her was an apartment at the senior housing complex way the heck on the other side of town. It must have been 4 miles at least from her apartment to my back door. As I was driving her home, I wondered how long she had been wandering all over town. Then I worried that she didn’t really remember where she lived and then what was I going to do with her (the police station closes after 5 pm)? Fortunately, she had remembered correctly, and I saw her safely into her apartment. Now what?

Tuesday morning I went by the Senior Center in downtown, which has various activities for seniors and serves a low-cost lunch. I spoke to the director about her and she promised to call the manager of the senior housing to find out what she could about the woman’s kin to see if someone could check up on her. I just got a call back that the woman was confused because of a medication mix-up and not because of Alzheimer disease. So, the story has a happy ending.