Hanging On

In my Sunday hike in the Bluffs (Palmer Park) I noticed a lot of erosion. It’s been a wet winter, but one erosion channel was very disturbing. It was as wide as a one lane road.

I think what happened was a flash flood tore through there, upended a very large dead tree and the space held by the roots of that tree opened up the channel. The roots were amazing.

It doesn’t seem to take a lot for a tree to make it in the semi-arid land of the high plains of Colorado. The juniper that is “my tree” seems to have nothing to grow by, just looking at its roots, yet it’s been hanging on like that as long as I’ve known it and that’s 50 years. The branch that comes out from the top is three times larger than it was when I first met my tree. As a model for how to live life, I cannot imagine anyone better.

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With Dusty T. Dog at my tree, November 2014

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/roots/

The Strange Familiar Place

I was in Colorado Springs for a few days, and yesterday was my friend’s birthday. We celebrated at a German restaurant (he’s Swiss) where there actually have good bratwurst. Not as good as St. Gallen bratwurst or the little weisswurst I ate in Munich, but very good. Nonetheless, I had chicken.

We also took a hike up to my “tree”.

My tree

Pikes Peak in the background, my tree in the foreground

It’s located in a place that was my hiking sanctuary when I was in high school. Now that Colorado Springs has more than doubled in population, and this geologic outcrop is no longer the northern edge of the city, the Bluffs (now known as Palmer Park) is full of people, parking their cars where no cars should be. And there are a ton of mountain bikers. I love mountain biking, but too many mountain bikes cause erosion.

What can I do about this? Zip. Nada. Nothing. Niente. Zero.

So I just enjoyed that I was there, climbing familiar rocks and hanging out with my friends. I was also aware of how nature quietly persists and decided that was a good strategy for me, too.

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Top picture: Sand Lily Above: Astragalus (milk vetch)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/zip/

and THEN…

I spent the last weekend with friends in Colorado Springs. It was good to leave Heaven for a while and do different things. Anyone who’s read Martin of Gfenn knows I’m intrigued by the way pigments are made. Outside Colorado Springs is a place called the Paint Mines where for centuries local Indian tribes got paint for face painting and clay for pots. Some of the people I knew in high school used to go there to get clay but I had never even heard of it until I moved back last fall. My friends and I visited this weekend and it was really beautiful. Here are photos.

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The pink rock is very soft. Unfortunately, it’s now illegal to take pigment out of this place because I’d love to try it!

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Trail into the heart of the Paint Mines

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I had to wonder what put the hole there — weather or people over the ages taking the ochre clay?

But the biggest discovery of all is that I can now walk well enough to keep up with my friends so I decided to put off the knee surgery at least until summer and probably until Medicare can foot (ha ha) some of the bill.

My Tree

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Happy Place.”  …Where do you go when you need to think? What do you do when you need to restore yourself…”

I’ve known this tree since I was fifteen. I happened on it hiking with my friend, Kathleen. We climbed (unnecessarily, as it happens) a rock face and landed right at the base of this tree. It spoke volumes to me. It was old, gnarled, generally messed up but there was, back then, one branch rising from the ancient twisted trunk. I found the tree to be really inspiring; if it could hang on through whatever it had hung on through, I could endure the chaos in my life and the sorrow in my family and all the broken hearts of adolescence.

Nearly fifty years have passed since that first visit and the lovely straight branch isn’t looking so good right now (neither am I, not compared to 15!) but it is still there, though people have cut more bits from it. I can ALWAYS find it, even after decades.

Me and Cody and my tree

Cody O’Dog and me at my tree, July, 2010

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Dusty and me at my tree, November 2014 Pikes Peak in the background.

Root Beer Reprise

Daily Prompt In the Summertime If it’s autumn or winter where you live, what are you most looking forward to doing next summer? If it’s spring or summer where you are, what has been the highlight of the season so far for you?

Last time I wrote this prompt was April 2014. Generally, it’s too early to know what the highlight of this summer/spring will be and so far the highlight has been reconnecting with a friend during the Historical Novel Society Conference, about which I’ve already written. So….

Daily Prompt Reprise: In the Summertime by Krista on April 6, 2014 Theoretically, summer will return to the polar-vortex-battered Northern Hemisphere. What are you looking forward to doing this summer? If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, what are your fondest memories of Summer past?

22646-vtMohammed’s Radio first inhabited a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500. Mungo Jerry’s song blasted out of it pretty often from KSSS (kiss) radio. I was working at the A & W Drive In on North Circle. We still made rootbeer and served it in frosted mugs. We actually had a freezer in which the mugs were kept. No knowledgeable person puts ice in rootbeer, by the way. Yeah, I’d been a car hop, but certain events, well, let’s just say I became a cook. Better job, anyway, even without the tips. My best friend and my neighbor, Glenn, got a job as a cook, too, and we had a blast juggling pickle slices and cleaning the grill. Being a cook — and often the only cook on the shift after the dinner rush — also made it easy for me to give my brother free “Baby Burgers” if he rode by on his bike, hungry. He’d run away from home and was living on the streets of Colorado Springs.

Summer was coming. Prom, senior trip and graduation were all on the horizon, but we had no idea what after that — sure, I had plans. A scholarship to a woman’s college in Denver (my mom’s dream) and Glenn? He had no clue. “Gonna’ work construction.” Glenn had gotten into the rock climbing “groove” which I now know was a phenomenon of my generation in Colorado. I kind of thought he’d be a climbing bum for a while, and he was.

So, the song came out. The boyfriend, David, (first sexual relationship) had not yet dumped me. We were planning great stuff together for the summer. He  (or his parents?) hadn’t yet decided  he would go work as a counselor in a summer camp in Woodland Park. I didn’t yet know my heart would be broken, but so would Glenn’s. Glenn came down to my house in late May with a plum on which he’d cut the words “I love you” with a pin. When I answered the door he said, “Close your eyes and bite.” When I had he said, “There. Now you know.”  I didn’t yet know I’d go rafting on the Green River with my church group and lose my glasses in the current (placid current. I was dozing, holding them and when we hit a rough patch they fell out of my hand — should’ve left them on my face, right?)I didn’t yet know that late in the summer I’d end up dating my junior high crush and that in only two years I’d marry him. I didn’t yet know that summer I’d also become a camp counselor and love it and want to do that forever (what’s teaching English, anyway?). Desperately eager to leave home, I didn’t yet know that leaving my family would be so hard and that I’d worry constantly about my dad and brother.

The months before summer were the hazy honeymoon period before the graduation ceremony walk (which Glenn refused to do) and the end of innocence.

https://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/2691-root-beer/

Gives Me the Willys

Daily Prompt Use It or Lose It Write about anything you’d like, but make sure the post includes this sentence: “I thought we’d never come back from that one.”

Yeah, it was a jeep. A Willys. WW II surplus. It came in a kit. Everything but the tires.  It was bright orange and disassembled when it was delivered to Eddy for his 16th birthday. Delivered to Eddy’s dad’s garage, that is. If Eddy was going to drive, his dad figured Eddy could put the car together first. Sort of like the dad that makes his kid build his first computer or something. Sort of but not quite.

Eddy built the jeep (with his dad’s help) and had big dreams for it. Someday it would be black. Someday it would have a top. He’d make that, too, in time to take his girlfriend to a dance, though, ultimately, his dad let him borrow the car.

When Eddy got a girlfriend it was sort of surprising since Eddy was a shy guy, soft-spoken and absurdly kind. They met on a church mission trip, on the way to Montana. They couldn’t help meeting, or, for that matter, getting close. They sat next to each other on the front seat on the drive up. The girl had already had a bad boyfriend and thought all those attributes of Eddy’s were great. They were better than charm any day.

When Eddy picked her up for their first date, she was thrilled to climb up into the tattered bucket seat of the Willys. On the floor were three gear knobs. The normal four speeds and reverse and two more that put the Jeep into different ranges of four wheel drive.

They had a lot of fun in that jeep. Eddy was happy to learn that his girlfriend liked doing crazy things in wild places. She was happy to learn to shoot a rifle, happy to four-wheel up any hill and happy to cruise around through flooded ditches east of town. With an 18 inch clearance, the jeep could go pretty much everywhere. They even managed to get it stuck in the mud.

Spring had been rainy and the mud in the coulees and ditches east of town had turned to something like quicksand. They were tearing across the country when Eddy decided to try to plow across a ditch. “We can do it,” he said. His girlfriend and her big red dog, Avis, were up for it.

Down they went. Up they…didn’t went.

“We’re stuck.”

“What do we do now?”

“Well, we gotta’ get more weight on the front end to, you know, kind of tip the jeep forward.”

“Avis and I can sit on the hood.”

“That might work.”

She climbed up on the hood of the jeep and called her dog who was all too happy to jump up beside her.

“Go as far forward as you can and hold on,” said Eddy from the driver’s seat.

“OK.”

She held onto her dog, her feet on the bumper. The dog was 80 pounds. She was about 130. It was something combined with the weight of the engine. Eddy put the jeep into gear and slowly the jeep inched forward. The ditch ahead was dry. If they could just get to the dry part they’d be, uh, home and dry?

Slowly, slowly, the jeep moved. The back wheels lifted out of the mud; the front wheels grabbed the ground.

“You can jump down now!” Eddy called out. He was worried that the girl and dog would be thrown off and get hurt.

“Are you sure? We’re fine!”

“Yeah, get down, no, wait.” He decided to be safe rather than sorry and let the jeep go a little further forward, further away from the mud. Slowly, slowly, until the jeep reached dry ground. “OK now. We’re good. We’re out of the mud. I thought we’d never come back from that one. No one’s going to believe we got a jeep stuck in the mud, either. Look at it!”

It was covered in mud. Mud up to the hubs. Mud on the floor boards. Mud all over Eddy, his girlfriend and the dog. “We need to find a hose,” she said.

“Yeah. Let’s go to my house.”

“Mine’s closer.”

“Uh…” Eddy didn’t want the girl’s mom to see the jeep covered in mud. He didn’t want to look like a bad boyfriend.

“It’s OK.”

“How about one of those carwash places?”

“With Avis? I think we need to go home, but maybe your house is better. Can we wash Avis there?” She thought of her mom’s probable reaction to the muddy jeep, two muddy teenagers and a muddy dog. She thought of the likelihood of a lecture. She shuddered.

“Of course.”

They drove through the ditch until they reached a deserted county road. The day had turned hot and dry and the jeep thumped and bumped up slightly whenever it hit a dead rattlesnake. The city lay spread out in front of them like a foreign country and Pikes Peak stood sentinel over all of it. The girl felt that the ditch, the mud, the dog and the snakes were more in line with the mountain than the few tall buildings and the plume of steam rising from the stack of a power plant.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/use-it-or-lose-it/

Freedom

Daily Prompt Happy Happy Joy Joy We cry for lots of reasons: sadness, pain, fear . . . and happiness. When was the last time you shed tears of joy?

I’m pretty easily moved to tears of happiness; tears of sorrow? Not so easy. That’s something to hide, the vulnerable underbelly of our lives, a soft spot. But happiness? I’ve learned that the moments of life’s beauty are fleeting and I want to be fully present when they arrive. Most of the time the moments are bits of the passing parade. My neighbor’s third grade daughter pretending to be Laura in Little House on the Prairie and collecting snow for maple syrup. A little boy running toward our shared fence yelling, “Martha! Martha! Martha!” as if the sun rises and sets with me. The look on a student’s face that says, “I got it!” My friend’s mentally challenged son helping me make Jello. It sounds, maybe, Pollyanna-ish but I think it’s healthy to turn attention to the beautiful moments. Once in a while, though, I’m the central character in a beautiful moment.

That happened last week, Christmas Eve.

I used to be a contender. I mean by that I used to run and hike on hard hills almost every day. If you do that, you’re going to fall and you’re also going to put a lot of wear and tear on your joints. I knew this. I knew that sooner or later (I hoped later) I’d have problems. I’d been told this but no one went farther and said what the problems would be. So, when I was 52, 2004, I started experiencing terrible pain in my hip not just when I was hiking, but all the time. I thought it was a pulled muscle or??? Time passed. I went to the doctor who misdiagnosed it because I was so young — but truth will out and it was advanced osteoarthritis in my right hip. Three YEARS later I had surgery — hip resurfacing — to repair it. By then, other damage had accrued. My knees, both with historical injuries, had been carrying more than their fair share of the burden of me. They were not in good shape, either.

After that, because of that, I was different psychologically. Formerly, the best part of my life was out in nature, challenging my body and seeing what there was to see. Afterward? No. I tried to return to my former pursuits but with the restrictions I had (no running among them) and the knowledge that I could be HURT, it was not the same. It was confusing. All I’d wanted during those three or four painful years was to get back on the trail. When I was able again? There was a core of sadness and fear where there had been nothing before except maybe joy and anticipation — and freedom.

So…move on, right? Other things — good things — found their way into that hollow place and pushed the sad part further and further down. Each age has its beauty, they say.

But…it wasn’t what I wanted. It would be OK. I would make it fine. Great other things existed, right? I could do them — did them. Then, one morning in January I walked out my front door and saw…

A HORSE.

I’d known about him. I’d talked with my neighbor and explained it was OK with me if he used one part of my fence as the horse’s corral. I explained I didn’t mind the smell of horse and I basically liked horses, not with any grand passion. I was never a horse crazy girl, but horses were OK with me.

In fact, in 2005, I’d had an experience with horses related to my arthritis that had made me regard them with respect and affection. The day when my (inept) Dr. had finally made a correct diagnosis, and had his office staff call me, the day I learned I had osteoarthritis in my hip, I was completely bewildered by the information. No one explained what that meant and I was scared. That evening I took my Siberian husky, Lily (then a young dog) for a walk in the pure mountain darkness of Descanso, California. Walking always helped me think.

We just walked down the road — a mile. At the end of the road was a large paddock filled with horses. I never paid any attention to them on my walks, and they never paid attention to me. I knew they were there but? So what. There were more horses than people in my town and, anyway, I’d never related all that well to horses. But that night…in the dark I heard them nicker. I walked over to the fence. In the pitch darkness I couldn’t see them. There were eight or ten, I don’t know, all pressing against the fence asking to be petted. I stroked necks and noses and felt them push each other away to get close to me. I stayed for a while petting them then turned toward home, passing the next paddock, also filled with horses, who did the same thing. That night I must have patted sixteen or twenty horses. It was a strange and intense experience, and I felt I’d been given a gift. Until the next day, I didn’t know the magnitude of the gift.

Grateful to them, I decided to buy a big bag of carrots and visit them in the day time. When I did, I saw that they were all old horses with varying levels of arthritis. All of them returned to the fence, some slowly, each step painful and hard. One had a very hard time reaching me and when she did, I saw her teeth were down to nothing and though she wanted a carrot, she couldn’t easily take it. I chewed it and spit it into my hand and gave it to her. Somehow these immense and alien creatures had KNOWN everything about me the night before. From then on, I have loved horses and wondered about their abilities, their understanding, their empathy.

So, this past January walking out my front door one morning and seeing a horse essentially in my front yard was a real thrill. I’d have done a little dance if I could.

Horse

I got to know Brownie well and I really loved him. My neighbors tried to persuade me to get up on him and ride, but I didn’t think I could. I spent a lot of time with Brownie, though, talking to him, feeding him carrots, giving him his hay when his people were gone for the weekend. Mostly, though, I just liked hanging out with him. Knowing Brownie made me very happy and I missed him a lot when he and his family moved away.

I have known for a while that horses have been trotting into my heart, but what, I wondered, would I do with them if I couldn’t ride them? Could I learn to care for them and train them? Maybe. Could I work at a horse rescue, mucking out stalls? Well, the physical limitations that kept me off a horse also didn’t make it that easy for me to lift heavy shovel-loads of manure, but maybe. Then, last week when I was in Colorado Springs, I went with my friend to her riding/horse knowledge lesson at RCA Equestrian.

I was going to watch. That was OK with me. I liked it a lot, just being outside and being around horses and I am completely behind what my friend, LM, is trying to accomplish. I love it.

My friend’s lessons involve not just getting on a horse, but getting the horse out of the barn (putting the halter on and leading her out), brushing her down, saddling her, leading her to the ring, “talking” to her with body language and a whip (not to strike the horse but to talk to the horse). My friend is learning to tell the horse to walk around the ring to the right, the left, to come to her, to back away from her. My friend is learning to speak “horse as a second language.” Her horse is a good teacher.

When my friend got her horse out of the barn, the teacher, Rebecca, brought another horse out of the barn. She told us about the horse, how he was a lease. She told us about some of his qualities and that she’d only had him out to ride once. She tied him next to LM’s horse.

I watched for an hour or so and enjoyed it very much. Other horses were all around, some in fenced paddocks, a couple of them running free. It was a glorious day on the open prairie and except that I could feel my lips getting sunburned, everything was GREAT! The kind of compromised great I’ve known since my hip surgery. “I can’t ride, but I can be here,” kind of great.

There’s a lot to be said for acquiring that kind of philosophy. It’s the lesson of my experience. In a bizarre way, the pain and suffering and fear and so on led me to a peaceful resignation with each passing moment. Love it or lose it, what it amounts to.

Then, suddenly (it seemed to me) Rebecca told her daughter to saddle the other horse. “Use my saddle,” she said, “With the soft pad.” I imagined the next step in LM’s lesson was going to be “talking” to her horse while another horse was in the ring. I thought it would be cool to watch.

Rebecca’s daughter brought the saddled horse over to the ring and Rebecca called out, “Martha, do you want to ride?” I was stunned.
“I don’t think I can.”
“Do you want to try?”
“I don’t think I can get on the horse. I’ve had this surgery and I can’t swing my leg over the horse. I guess I could try getting on from the wrong side.”
“Do you want to try? I’ll hold him and you can use the steps. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work, OK?”

Oh, I wanted to. I was deeply tired of what I could not do and, anyway, I’ve never been afraid of trying.

“OK. I’m not afraid to ride, Rebecca. I’m not afraid of the horse. It’s getting on. It’s a mechanical problem.”

She uses horses as therapy animals for lots of physically disabled people, people with MS, MD, paraplegics. I KNOW I’m a person with no problems in comparison to that. I was simply afraid of dislocating my femur or cracking the femoral head or shifting the acetabular cup. I had also NEVER attempted to mount a horse from the right.

I climbed the steps. Rebecca held the horse (Spanky). I put my right foot in the stirrup, and awkwardly swung my left leg over the back of the horse. I was on. Rebecca is short like I am and the stirrups were already fine. She let go of Spanky. I felt an intense rush of absolute joy run through my body. I was on the horse. I began to sob. Here was something I could do. This wonderful species who’d shown me — out of no where — so much care and affection, I was ON him. I leaned forward on my saddle and wrapped my arms around his neck, I was so incredibly happy. I was embracing all those old horses and Brownie and this horse who held me standing perfectly still.

After that? I can ride. I rode. I was liberated from everything on Spanky’s back. Liberated from the arthritis in my knees. Liberated from the inability to move across the earth. Here was freedom.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/happy-happy-joy-joy/

Take This Job and…

Daily Prompt Nightmare Job In honor of Labor Day in North America, tell us what’s the one job you could never imagine yourself doing.

 

I’ve had some awful jobs in real life, so I’m not going to imagine more. The worst job — this is WORSE than my temporary job cleaning student dorms at the University of Colorado or clerk in a toy store during Christmas or filing fiber glass tennis racket handles or teaching the worst class I ever taught — was the K-Mart Grill when I was 20.

Sure, it paid well — $1.75/hour — but it was only “part time.” Anyone who’s ever worked part time knows it’s never part time. You NEVER get a whole day off and you NEVER get a weekend off. Your hours can be changed at the whim of your boss and you can work two hours in the morning and three at night. But I was getting married that summer and we needed money. My years of experience as a cook/cashier/front-room person at an A&W drive-in made me very good at this job. I was used to multi-tasking  and working under pressure and dealing with (ugh!) people.

The K-Mart grill at that time put out three full meals a day and used a hot-table like you might see in a cafeteria. We cooked the whole bit from roast beef and mashed potato type stuff to short order breakfasts and burgers and fries, etc. the rest of the day. We sold desserts — notably pies, especially cream pies — and ice cream. I had my little white uniform dress and over it went my K-Mart apron with the acronym “TYFSAK” on the chest. “TYFSAK?” you wonder? Huh? Well it was there so the customer would ask just that question and we could reply, “Thank you for shopping at K-Mart.”

After my second week, I was promoted to assistant manager. This was not an honor. This was so the boss — JoAnn — could spend a weekend in the mountains with “the hubby.” The pay off for which I had agreed to work Thursday, Friday and Saturday double shifts was Sunday off. I did my duty. I ran the grill and supervised one of the most desperate and stupid women I’ve ever known — Vi — who was in charge of the concession in the front of the store that sold popcorn, caramel corn, ham and various other mysteriously combined items. At 7, when the concession closed, she was supposed to come back and help me — and she did. She ran the register while I tried to catch up on cleaning in the back, in the kitchen.

I finished washing up cooking pots and came out to find Vi pilfering change from the register into her apron and funneling it into her purse. “Get out,” I said, powerful 20 year old that I was. “I’ll explain this tomorrow to JoAnn.” At 20 I was far less plagued by dilemmas of ethics and Jean Val-Jean confusion than I was later on in life. I didn’t care that she worked three (equally low-paying and egregious) jobs to keep her family together. Stealing was wrong. Period.

So there I was, alone at the grill until 11 pm by which time everything should be spotless and ready for opening at 7:30 am the next day.

An order of a dozen cream pies arrived — five hours late and way too late to sell that day. I did the only thing I could do and ran a blue-light special on cream pies which was only marginally successful. Customers don’t think of K-Mart as their cream-pie destination and running a special on cream pies at 9 pm implies that the pies are not fresh. OH WELL.

Still, in front of me, the Holy Grail — Sunday off to spend with my fiance.

The grill closed for food service at 10. By 10:15 I was breaking down the hot table and starting to wash pots and pans when the phone rang. “Martha? Hi! Hey, honey, listen, I know I said you could have Sunday off, but you know what? My husband and I are having so much fun we’ve decided to come home tomorrow night, so I need you to open in the morning. Vi can run the grill for lunch. I just talked to her. Why’s she at home, anyway? Shouldn’t she be there helping you break down the hot table?”

“I caught her stealing from the cash register and sent her home.”
“Oh honey, well, if you don’t need help tomorrow….”

A strange burst of energy that was cold and hot at the same time ran through my mind. “I’ll be fine, JoAnn. You two enjoy yourselves.”
“Thank you, honey. I knew I could depend on you!”

I went to the kitchen and took a look at the food encrusted hot table trays. Gravy, beef juice, mashed potatoes, dried up ham. I looked at the cream pies in the pie fridge. I looked at the whole gory mess of the K-Mart grill on a Saturday night. I took off my apron and hung it on a magnet hook on the big fridge, turned around, walked through the store and out the front door.

When they called the next day, I just said, “I don’t care. I’m not coming back. Take it up with JoAnn,” and hung up. I went back to get my pay envelope at the end of the week and was told that I would never be allowed to work in a K-Mart again (just part of a longer lecture) and that I had no chance any more of being sent to K-Mart food manager training school.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/nightmare-job/

Stuck in the Mud

Only Sixteen: Tell us all about the person you were when you were sixteen. If you haven’t yet hit sixteen, tell us about the person you want to be at sixteen.

“Gran?”
“Gran?????”
“Well, kind of like it, right? You’re little and old and have white hair. You’d ‘pass’ for a gran.”
“Oh brother. What?”
“Who was your first boyfriend?”
“Eddy Bayleaf.”
“Was he cute?”
“Cute enough. You know, at sixteen we’re all kind of idiots and at first I was just happy he was blond and looked kind of like a surfer. It was dumb, but that was then. He was very, very nice. He was one of the best boyfriends — maybe the best boyfriend — I ever had. We got along great and he was fun and he loved me.”
“Did you marry him?”
“No. My mom thought Eddy and I were too serious and she made me break up with him. Mistake, I think. But that’s blood under the bridge as your Great-aunt Martha used to say, well, not her, but her friend Allison.”
“How did you meet him?”
“On a mission trip. We went up to Crow Agency Montana to paint the church. It was kind of weird since that’s where my mom was from and the room we used as a dorm was actually her apartment when she was teaching there.”
“Wow. Time kind of bends, doesn’t it?”
“So they say.”
“What else did you do when you were sixteen?”
“I learned to drive, the usual. It was a very classic sixteen for a girl in Colorado, I think. I remember it, but the number, the age, not particularly meaningful particularly as things intensified in the next year or two. Now I see it. The lull before the storm.”
“What did you and Grandpa Eddy do together?”
“Grandpa Eddy? I don’t even know where he is!”
“Yeah, OK whatever, but what did you guys do for fun?”
“He had a little Suzuki motorcycle we rode around on. Your great-gran Helen was always freaking out about helmets so I wore Eddy’s helmet from his soap-box derby days.”
“Not much protection!”
“No, but the bike only weighed about 7 pounds and Eddy was anything but crazy. We liked riding around downtown Colorado Springs on Sunday evenings when the ‘city’ was empty. We also liked going out east of town — where five-hundred million former Californians now live in file-drawers close to their charismatic Christian churches, and kid’s schools and Costco and Lowes. Colofornia.”
“What were you about to say before you went on that rant? Besides, aren’t you going back?”
“Yes, I am, but I’m a Coloradoan. I’ve been in exile for 30 years, that’s all. So, anyways, we used to shoot cans and bottles out at the dump.”
“Wow. That was a date back then?”
“BACK THEN??? That wasn’t all we did. There’s a stream out there — well now it’s all fancified — but back then it was a seasonal stream. We got his jeep stuck. It wasn’t a Jeep, actually. It was a 1948 Willys. Eddy’s dad owned a service station. He bought the kit from the Army surplus. It was shipped out to them and he and Eddy built that Willys. It was great. it’s what I learned to drive, though the my parents did get me driving lessons. Anyway, we got it stuck in that stream. By then I was 17, so that doesn’t count.”
“You got a four wheel drive car stuck in a stream?”
“Not only. We got it out, too.”
“Didn’t you go to proms and stuff?”
“Yeah, we did that. Eddy was a great boyfriend, as I said. He called every evening at 8. He had a job. He was kind, friendly and easy to get along with. He liked me and we had fun. I’d say Eddy is the best memory I have of being sixteen.”

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/only-sixteen/

Root Beer

Daily Prompt: In the Summertime by Krista on April 6, 2014 Theoretically, summer will return to the polar-vortex-battered Northern Hemisphere. What are you looking forward to doing this summer? If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, what are your fondest memories of Summer past?

Wow. Interesting shift from 80s music to the one-hit-wonders of the year I graduated high school. Green-Eyed Woman and now, Mungo Jerry?

22646-vtMohammed’s Radio first inhabited a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500. Mungo Jerry’s song blasted out of it pretty often from KSSS (kiss) radio. I was working at the A & W Drive In on North Circle. We still made rootbeer and served it in frosted mugs. We actually had a freezer in which the mugs were kept. No knowledgeable person puts ice in rootbeer, by the way. Yeah, I’d been a car hop, but certain events, well, let’s just say I became a cook. Better job, anyway, even without the tips. My best friend and my neighbor, Glenn, got a job as a cook, too, and we had a blast juggling pickle slices and cleaning the grill. Being a cook — and often the only cook on the shift after the dinner rush — also made it easy for me to give my brother free “Baby Burgers” if he rode by on his bike, hungry. He’d run away from home and was living on the streets of Colorado Springs.

Summer was coming. Prom, senior trip and graduation were all on the horizon, but we had no idea what after that — sure, I had plans. A scholarship to a woman’s college in Denver (my mom’s dream) and Glenn? He had no clue. “Gonna’ work construction.” Glenn had gotten into the rock climbing “groove” which I now know was a phenomenon of my generation in Colorado. I kind of thought he’d be a climbing bum for a while, and he was.

So, the song came out. The boyfriend, David, (first sexual relationship) had not yet dumped me. We were planning great stuff together for the summer. He  (or his parents?) hadn’t yet decided  he would go work as a counselor in a summer camp in Woodland Park. I didn’t yet know my heart would be broken, but so would Glenn’s. Glenn came down to my house in late May with a plum on which he’d cut the words “I love you” with a pin. When I answered the door he said, “Close your eyes and bite.” When I had he said, “There. Now you know.”  I didn’t yet know I’d go rafting on the Green River with my church group and lose my glasses in the current (placid current. I was dozing, holding them and when we hit a rough patch they fell out of my hand — should’ve left them on my face, right?)I didn’t yet know that late in the summer I’d end up dating my junior high crush and that in only two years I’d marry him. I didn’t yet know that summer I’d also become a camp counselor and love it and want to do that forever (what’s teaching English, anyway?). Desperately eager to leave home, I didn’t yet know that leaving my family would be so hard and that I’d worry constantly about my dad and brother.

The months before summer were the hazy honeymoon period before the graduation ceremony walk (which Glenn refused to do) and the end of innocence.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/daily-prompt-in-the-summertime/

Summery of Other’s Posts:

  1. Summer Dreams | The Mirror Obscura
  2. The Match (Part 6) Oh, Brother | The Jittery Goat
  3. Summertime Sadness | Life Confusions
  4. Dark Wings and Peacock Hope: Daily Prompt | ALIEN AURA’S BLOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
  5. Daily Prompt: In the Summertime | The WordPress C(h)ronicle
  6. DP Daily Prompt: In the Summertime | Sabethville
  7. Daily Prompt: In the Summertime | littlegirlstory
  8. DAILY PROMPT: In The Summertime | Melissa Holden
  9. the party stayed up | y
  10. Daily Prompt: In the Summertime « Mama Bear Musings
  11. Summertime Sadness: I hope not « psychologistmimi
  12. “Kinda” Excited to Have a Baby | A Crohnie’s Classroom
  13. Beyonce Songs That Speak to Me [Part 1] | She Writes
  14. Daily Prompt: In the Summertime | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  15. Daily Prompt: In The Summertime- My Future and Past Summertime | Journeyman
  16. Summer | Kate Murray
  17. Stop, Summer Time ! | Knowledge Addiction
  18. In the Summertime – (Daily Prompt) | Roving Bess
  19. Daily Prompt: In the Summertime, HOT Summer and Reading Summer! | seikaiha’s blah-blah-blah
  20. Fascinating Bird | wisskko’s blog
  21. Daily Prompt: In the Summertime | Nola Roots, Texas Heart
  22. Summertime Hiking|Remind Your Mind | Remind Your Mind
  23. hot fun in the summertime | eastelmhurst.a.go.go
  24. My Fav Season… | FREE BIRD
  25. In the Summertime | Purplesus’ Blog
  26. Daily Prompt:In The Summertime | My Other Blog
  27. Seasons and Lessons of Life and Faith | meanderedwanderings
  28. 7 Reasons Why We Love Summer | Never Stationary
  29. when they told me that | y
  30. Daily Prompt: In the Summertime | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  31. Summertime Truth | Vanessa Elliott
  32. Summertime in Montreal | That Montreal Girl
  33. In a nutshell… | cockatooscreeching
  34. On deck… | Muddy River Muse
  35. When Summer Comes | Triumphant Wings
  36. Past and Now | Flowers and Breezes
  37. In the Summertime | Dragon Droppings
  38. In The Summertime. | emma blogs
  39. Daily Prompt: Remembering Summer | Mama Cormier
  40. Let’s Start a Band | Thinking Diagonally
  41. A Hangover Too Long | Views Splash!
  42. Daily Prompt: In the Summertime | My Atheist Blog
  43. Summerfest Adventures | RECREATION | WANGSGARD
  44. Daily Prompt: In the Summertime | Finding Life