Friday, March 07, 2008

Proof that SOMEBODY actually skied

Topher at Vail celebrating his pending nuptials.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Why do all good things have to come to an end?

Seriously? Why do all good things have to come to an end while crummy things tend to go on and on and on and on? You ever notice that or is it just me?

Today is the last "Vail day." The only ski's I've touched are the antique pair on the hotel wall. But that's really alright. I knew shortly after we landed in Denver that it was probably going to go this way. If your lungs ache at 5,280 feet you have yourself a solid hint that they aren't going to be any happier at 11,000 feet. So I've been just kicked back and hiking around Vail during the day while the boys ski and enjoying them during the evenings.

Honestly, they amaze me. When they lived in the same house they usually wanted to kill each other. Now that they are grown and living in separate cities they are best friends. I get joy just watching them walk together, laughing and enjoying the time. There is such great satisfaction in that to me. I actually remember a conversation I had with them on a few occasions when they were teenagers and in their "you stink" stage. I told them that my brother and I use to be like that when we were kids. And then one day we got together. We were both married. Life was very different from those high school days. And something just clicked. We've been great friends ever since. We'd each do anything for the other. When I told them that story I really thought the odds of that happening were minimal. But, to my great pleasure, I was right. Nothing could please me more.

So tomorrow morning it's off e-a-r-l-y to Eagle Airport where we drop Jim off. Then we high tail it across the mountains where our jet leaves DIA at 2:15. It's suppose to snow tonight both in the mountains and in Denver. How tragic would it be if we got stuck in the city for an extra day? Not too tragic at all.

And now a side note to God. (He reads my blogs faithfully.) Thanks, Father. Yesterday Christopher text messaged me from the mountain a simple "Thanks." He meant "thanks for the trip." If I had your phone number I would send you the same message. Thanks. The memories will last eternally. I am grateful. More than words can express. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Not quite the way I had envisioned it...

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. Thanks to the extreme cold and wind, lack of oxygen, and a screaming lung in the same place my friend Pneumonia settled a few weeks ago I opted out of the ski platoon this morning. The boys went but got pretty beaten up. They were skiing Loveland on the top of the continental divide and said the wind and falling snow made conditions very treacherous. Scott hung it up first around noon with oxygen problems that were giving him "heart pains." Chris and Jim hung in there a bit longer and just called me to say they've had enough. Tomorrow they are going to try to ski Vail where the weather is a bit friendlier. But a GREAT time is being had. The picture above? That's as close as I've gotten to a ski slope. I did, however, hike across Vail to an awesome pizza place called "The Blue Moose" last night for a late night piece of the pie. Yum! Anytime you can score good pizza ... you are having a great day! Maybe in your 20's - 40's you are meant to ski. Once you reach 50 perhaps you are meant to eat pizza.

I will research that and get back to you.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The "Let Freedom Fling Tour" Part Two

Today it begins. The “Let Freedom Fling Tour” part 2. If you frequent this blog you might recall that last summer Scott and I winged our way eastward to the metropolises of Baltimore and New York. It was late June and his wedding was cast in stone for July 6. Together we caught an Orioles at Camden Yards and a Yankee’s game at Yankee Stadium. We hiked Manhattan with our backpacks tightened securely over our shoulders. By mutual agreement that was all of the luggage we took. One backpack each. It sounded like a great idea at the time. As it turned out we wore wrinkles for four days and were looked over closely by every security agent at every airport. I guess it raises eyebrows when grown men travel with only backpacks. But we had a great trip without blowing anything up.

Today we start from the beginning. Only this time Christopher (aka: Topher) is the man of the hour. To be more accurate, he is the man of the year. His wedding is not until October 11th. But in order to accomplish his dream “guy trip” we had to go a bit early. And so I am writing this from seat “c” in row “18” on a Southwest Airlines Flight from Chicago to Denver. Once we arrive back on Terra Firma we will pick up our rented SUV, bore a hole through Denver and then begin winding our way into the mountains. Our destination? Vail. We will be joined late tonight by my brother-in-law, Jim. He will fly in to Eagle Airport in Summit County and we’ll go get him. Our agenda? Two days of skiing. Our ultimate goal? Have a blast without breaking anything other than a few speed limits and perhaps the law of gravity. At the moment, Jim’s arrival is in question. Actually, his departure is in question. He’s flying out of St. Louis where there is a winter storm warning. (I just love those words. It’s like the weather man is saying, “Hey, here comes a storm that might make the scenery prettier and give you a couple of days off work to boot!” It’s a total no-lose situation.) So hopefully Jim will get airborne and all of the connections will work. I love it when a good plan comes together.

But honestly, my agenda has already been achieved. I am with my boys. I was standing in an odd place about an hour ago. Not really odd. It’s just odd that I would mention it here. But it’s my blog so here goes. I was in the men’s room at Midway Airport in Chicago when a thought flashed through my brain. “What would I have given for a trip like this with my dad before my wedding?”


My dad loved me. He loved my brother. But he was not inclined to be the sentimental “let’s make some memories” kind of guy. He held life in, playing it close to the vest. You never knew for sure what he was thinking. Sometimes you were sure he was pretty selfish and the next thing you knew he was throwing the family into his 1964 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport (complete with black bucket seats, cool chrome trim, and hard to open “monkey box … actually you and I would call it the console but he had trouble opening it so after monkeying around with it for way too long he named it the “Monkey Box” and it stuck to the point where I still call my own console the same thing) and heading west for a family vacation in the Ozarks. But to go away to pre-celebrate a wedding? Not gonna happen. He showed up and I was satisfied with that.

I’m so glad that I caught whatever it was that my dad never had. These are some of the best days I’ll ever spend on this planet. I have relived that trip to New York more times that I can count on boring evenings in a one room apartment when I didn’t know a soul to hang out with. I would not trade those memories or these days for anything.

Kelli, I know you are out there reading this somewhere. You didn’t get your trip, I really feel badly about that. (You did get a $12,000 wedding so don’t be too hurt!) You are one of my favorite people too. And I did take you out of school one day when I had killer tickets to a Cardinal’s game. We made it through nearly four innings before I realized how incredibly bored you were. That’s when I asked you if you wanted to go to the mall. I don’t think I have ever seen you smile as wide as you did at that moment. I hope I bought you something nice.

Colorado. Snow. Vertical. Yesssss…..

Stay tuned.