Friday, July 24, 2009

They've Killed Rosie!

I remember the call to this day. I remember the horror and devastation in my wife’s voice. “They’ve killed Rosie,” she said combining scream and sob into one. “They were cutting down a tree, and one of the branches…They killed Rosie.”

Rosie, as she became known, was a small bare-root that we’d received from close friends as a wedding gift. She was my first rose bush, and I’d spent hours learning how to trim her, when to trim her, and when to fertilize her. I’d raised her from the initial planting; through rain and drought, aphid attack and rust. With soap sprays and ladybugs, watering and pruning we’d watched her grow into a beautiful rose bush, producing full red blooms throughout the years.

They hadn’t killed her. Rosie was resilient. Smashed, dejected, broken she was, but still clinging to life. Rosie had survived all three of our moves, including the final one to the desert.

When I moved out, Rosie didn’t come with me. I wasn't sure where I was going, or how to move Rosie. Without loving care, Rosie’s certainly died.

I thought of Rosie today, as I looked around at my new plants. Come Spring it will be a good time to honor her resilient spirit by planting anew; a Deep Secret, Chivalry, Imperial Chrysler. Maybe even a Rambling Rosie.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Reno-Things Lost

Hungry and tired, we finally find a place to eat dinner. Finally, we are seated. I set my camera bag down on a chair, which I never do. After a dinner of pulled pork, cornbread, corn and drinks (Ale for me, lemonade for Hailey), we head back up to the room where we get stuck on the life of Kat Von D (consider it cultural research; where I live everybody has a tattoo).

Visiting the bathroom, I notice my camera battery which I’d left charging before going to dinner. “Crumbs,” I scream (this version has been edited for children) and come out of the bathroom in high freaked out mode. Hailey’s up and on her feet, already realizing what I’d realized-I’d left my camera bag and all its contents on the chair in the restaurant!

We are staying at the Silver Legacy, a large casino that is connected to two other large casinos; the El Dorado and Circus Circus. By luck we had originally found our way to a barbeque place for dinner in the first place. We are now forced to find our way back through three casinos at midnight high on adrenaline. The adrenaline helps significantly, the cigarette smoke not-so-much.

Everybody from the restaurant is gone, except the cleaning staff. No, they’ve not seen a camera bag. Had it been found, it would have been turned into security, downstairs. Hole in pit of stomach gets deeper.

Hot on Haileys’ heels we run down the stairs, navigate through the slot-machines, and find the guard in the security booth. The security guard, Juan, searches the data-base. No camera bag has been turned in. Hailey crying and me in the midst of depression, (while hitting myself on the head and saying “Stupid” over and over) we head back up to the hotel room.

“Dad, you said that God always does things for a purpose.”
“Yeah, maybe somebody really needed a camera,” I say, bad attitude showing.

“Dad, we should pray.” So, we pray. Reminding myself that the camera is just a thing. People lose things much worse. Fortunately, I’d traded out the memory card, so we still had all the pictures. Time-12:00 p.m. Hole in pit of stomach feels permanent.

12:20 p.m. We are awakened by the phone ringing; Hailey answers it as I can’t discern what the heck is ringing. It’s Juan, from security. Someone has turned in my camera bag.

Time again for the casino marathon; down the stairs, through the smoke, by the slots, up the stairs, through the corridors, down the stairs. Juan isn’t there, but the other security guard knows the story. My camera bag is returned.

It’s a God thing. I’d not left my name with Juan, but my camera strap has my name on it; and there was an envelope in it addressed to me. The security desk is in Circus-Circus, but we were staying at the Legacy. The bag was turned into the Deli, across the hallway from the restaurant we’d eaten in. Mysteries all. As is the way that God watches out for his children.

Zion National Park-Things Fallen

We’d hiked the trail to Zion’s Weeping Rock; a trail that was short, but not easy as touted. Staring up, we heard a loud clanging noise to our right like a metal pipe falling onto pavement. Sure enough, there was a lady on the ground, and to her right, the pipe-metal guardrail (bottom picture) that had obviously come crashing down.

Dodging tourist traffic, we took our share of pictures and headed back down the trail, catching up to the woman, hobbling down the trail with one hand on her cane, and the other holding her husband. Taking into account her fall, her hobble, and the steep pitch of the trail I offered to go fetch a park ranger. Hailey offered to stay with the couple, Margaret and Richard. I went down the trail to find a bus driver to radio a ranger.

(Little side note here: The new bus system in Zion National Park is awesome. Used to be you had to battle thousands of cars for road space and parking space, often spinning in circles to find parking at the site you desired to visit. The new propane powered, air-conditioned shuttles run every six minutes and make continuous loops through the park. They stop frequently, within walking distance of every destination.)

Catching a bus driver, I told him of the couples plight. He laughed when I described the woman as “older,” maybe in her early sixties, about 250 Lbs.

Soon, the ranger arrived and I led her back up the trail, meeting Hailey half-way up. She had run back down the trail so that she could assure the couple that help was on the way.
We found Margaret some yards from where we’d left her. One leg quickly swelling, the second leg (recently broken) felt as if things “were shifting around” in there. We left Margaret, Richard and the ranger deciding on hospitals and ambulances as we went back down the trail.

At trails’ end, we realized that this was an answer to our prayers-not that Margaret’s leg were broken, but that we’d bless others in our travels.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Celebrating the Fourth of July

"They're having less fireworks displays this year. Good thing. Too noisy, too much traffic. It's all for kids anyway," so spoke one of my elderly customers to my eldest employee (a bit of a stick-in-the-mud himself). I must be a kid then!

Since childhood, I've rarely missed the fireworks. The most recent was after my divorce. Being single, and alone, I decided not to attend any celebration. Oddly, I'd felt more alone staying at home than partaking someplace. Prior to that, my mother had booked travel to Latvia on July Fourth. What was she thinking?

Growing up, we'd drag the dogs along to the local park, and try to hold them down and quiet them during the explosions. Yeah, placing a small childs' hand over a dogs' ear should help. While we grew older, so did the dogs. We left them at home, hoping that they'd feel safe inside the house. One year my mother turned on some classical music---soothing the beasts, she hoped.

When my Hailey was little, we dragged her along. She was worse than the dogs! The first couple of years she would close her eyes and cover her ears, all the while yelling "To loud, to loud!" It took forever (seriously, years) to get her to at least open her eyes.

I've seen fireworks displays at the high school in Prescott, Arizona, the stadium at University of Wyoming, the Chicago waterfront and with the Boston Pops on the Esplanade. Last year I drove out to the Marine Corps Combat Center for my third time. This year, I'll be driving to the local high school with Hailey. I hope I don't have to hold her ears closed all night.

"And I’m proud to be an American,where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,who gave that right to me.
And I gladly stand up,next to you and defend her still today.

‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,God bless the USA."