Monday, April 30, 2012

A Trip to Remember

Anne and Algebra in the Grand Canyon

As you get older, you begin to assemble lists of the things you’d like to do before you… well, before you… You know! You know what I mean! Don’t you?
by Charlie Leck

If you’re up around my age, you know exactly what I mean by the statement above… or at least what I was trying to say in the statement above.

I’ve listed here before a few of the things I want so much to do before… before,… you know!

The Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul
A cruise in a small ship into the Alaska wilderness
A few days in Oklahoma (which, after Alaska, would be the only state in the Union I haven’t visited).
A ball game at Fenway Park

There’s more, but they’re really only personally important… you know!

Last year I was able to take a visit to Prague off my list. I had such a wonderful time there that it made the rest of my list seem ever so much more important to me.

I only discovered recently how important my wife’s trip down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon was to her. She and her daughter attempted the trip down from the South Rim of the canyon. My love came home with over 250 photographs.

“Here, print these for me!”

It wasn’t a stern command – just an impatient one! She was bubbling over about her trip and how exciting it was – and how fulfilling! She wanted to go over the photos again and again.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do – something I’ve only dreamed about.”

She did the trip her way – riding down there on the back of a mule. You have to know her! She loves mules. She’s owned one mule or another (and sometime more than one) from the day I met her. Molly was her faithful mule when I first met her. Oh, my! How Molly loved and trusted my wife – and vice versa!

For a while she owned a pair of matched, pinto mules (Katie and Becky) and they brought us tons and tons of fun (but that’s another whole and long story). A fellow came to our farm and met these two beautiful mules, and simply had to have them. He was such a mule lover that the dear woman thought they’d have a better home with him than us. It was a nice thought, but, I’ll tell you, Becky and Katie lived a life of which mules could only dream while they were with us. We have a photo of them hanging in one of our most used rooms in our house – the toilet room off our master bathroom. My, they were beautiful girls.

Other mules followed them in residence here on our farm. Some, like Strawberry, weren’t quite so successful. Our current family mule member is Reba. She’s a beauty and she and my wife go out exploring together on a pretty regular basis.

When I ran all of her Grand Canyon photos through Light Room and properly exposed them and sharpened them and, eventually, printed them, I was so impressed with the beauty of the flora and fauna, the spectacular colors of the rising sun in the deep, deep canyons, the unusual color of the river running through it, and the spectacular and bright colors of the gigantic rock, that I understood the fascination she had about the adventure. My wife went first to the photos of the mules and wanted to talk about them and describe them and talk of their dexterity and strength and loyalty.

I don’t know how to explain it. You just have to know her. None of it came as a surprise to me.

She enjoyed her voyage so much. She was aglow with excitement when I picked her up at the airport. After she’d gotten in my car at the airport, she virtually bubbled over as she tried to tell me everything in the first five minutes we were together. In fact, it will take weeks for all the excitement to expend itself. I’ll enjoy these moments, watching the fire in her eyes and listening to her descriptions of the canyons and the mules.

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