Amidst all the wars, contentions, rumors of wars, and contentious rumors of wars in our last days, my parents dropped by and visited us recently. My parents are good, salt of the earth folk, so we really don’t mind when they come to our house and visit us. I am still grateful they decided I was a keeper way back when in ‘68, despite the inconvenience. But hey, they kept to the plan.
“We will go down . . . , and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell; And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.”
My parents’ visit to our humble town was the last leg of their grand trip. They had originally driven up to Sun Valley and then to Twin Falls to visit my Dad’s, 95 year sister Joy Staples neé Hansen. Legend has it, being 16 years older than my Dad that she helped raise my Dad, during those moments when my Grandma was not feeling well.
From Twin Falls they drove down to our dusty town via I-93. A two-lane road that I’ve never traveled on before, but I know it goes through such hot spots like Hollister, Amsterdam, Rogerson on the Idaho side and Jackpot and Shores on the Nevada side.
Mom and Dad got to our house Thursday afternoon and soon after I got home, the house was full of laughter and merriment-to each a cup of happiness-as we told stories and parodied life’s absurdities over a comforting bowl of my wife’s homemade Chicken Noodle soup and a warm cherry cobbler. As great as it is to see my parents, I knew they weren’t at the house just for our witty conversation or to hear drop Latin phrases into our conversations. We were just incidental to the real purpose of their visit–to see the grandkids on the other side of those formidable Sierra Nevada’s.
With much pleasure, I took some time off work on Friday. In fact, if hadn’t been for the shackles, I would have run out of the office much faster as work keeps piling up because we keep losing employees for health and personal reasons. Seemingly stuck in limbo because of the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993. A wonderful piece of legislation, full of good intentions I am sure, but in reality it kills the family life of the poor staff left behind who now have to do the work of two or three people while their co-workers sit at home watching Judge Judy.
But hey, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. I know I am not supposed to ask why this is happening to me and I know I should be asking what I can learn, but, in the back on my tiny mind, I can’t help wondering why God needs me to make so much lemonade. I am not even good at making real lemonade let alone metaphorical lemonade.
I am trying to be patient because I believe there has to be a silver lining in all of this. Somehow I’ll come out on the other side, a new and improved version of me. Heaven knows, I do have a lot of humbug that I still need to cast off and in the end all of this lemonade making will be good for something—possibly a future promotion to the rank of an Angel first class.
“Genghis Khan/He could not keep All his kings/Supplied with sleep We’ll climb that hill, no matter how steep When we come up to it/Whoo-ee, ride me high Tomorrow’s the day/My bride’s gonna come Oh, oh, are we gonna fly/Down in the easy chair”
So when I got home from work on Friday, quick as a wink, we all jumped into the car and drove off, like a bat out of hell, out of town. I don’t remember too much of what we talked about on the drive, but I am sure it was thought-provoking. Tammy drove the whole trip because she keeps telling everyone she has acute motion sickness (I know, I’ve tried looking up a cute motion sickness and can’t find it, either!) and easily gets car sick when she has to sit in the passenger seat, which is where she really belongs, but being super gullible, I am an easy mark.
When we got to Nevada City, we took a detour to go see Carly, who happened to be still on break when we called her. Holy cow! Was this my Carly? Had I been living with her dopplegänger this whole time? She looked so happy and mature. Great googly moogly! There was a totally different aura about her.
While we were talking to her about her work at the assisted living center, an elderly man came by and politely interrupted our pleasant conversation to say hi to Carly. As I looked favorably upon this elderly gentleman, whose name was the same as mine, I couldn’t help but observe that he was close in age to my parents, but his mental and physical health was not nearly as good as theirs. You would have guessed that my parents were about ten to fifteen years younger than this man, instead of pushing eighty.
In my simple opinion, I empirically believe my parents owe their quality of life in their later years to religiously exercising, good religion (they are of that curious worldwide Mormon faith), a quiver full of wonderful children, spectacular grandchildren, and more recently the addition of some mind-blowing great grandchildren. Also add to that equation, thousands upon thousands of heaping teaspoons of Brewer’s Yeast, many bountiful harvests of that vile plant, Swiss chard, and Carter’s Little Liver Pills.
After trying several attempts of trying to reach my oldest child, Bailey the Brave, by phone, by text, and then telepathically sending her exasperated thoughts, we finally got a hold of her. Bailey excuse for not answering the phone and our texts was that she was out in the backyard singing ever so gentle love ballads to no one in particular. Oh! To be young and in love! I, too, remember singing ballads for hours when I was in young and in love.
After picking up Bailey, we decided to try Lefty’s again but the wait was a ½ hour and we didn’t have that much time to spare if we wanted to get to the football game. So we enlisted the help of Yelp and ended walking up the hill to Bistro 221.
I ordered the Linguini with clams. Not realizing that I would have to work to get the claims out of their shells before I could eat my food. I’ll be honest it was not that good and the waitress, bless her heart, kept forgetting my Coke, which was lamentable. But the hit of the night was their Chicken Pot Pie with a puff pastry. Both Mom and Tammy ordered it. According to one anonymous source: “…it had a good creamy garlic sauce, not over garlicky, mixed with rosemary or sage. The peas were nice and firm, like a firm pea should, and the potatoes were perfectly cooked, inviting a flood of quiet.”
We paid the bill for our fare and scurried off to the game. Someone (Dad) asked about the Bear River mascot and this got us speculating what is a Bruin. Some theorized that the Bruin was a “pregnant female bear”, others speculated it was just a “female bear”, and some of us thought it was just Bear. But before we knew what happened Mom had hijacked the conversation and we were now talking about one of her all-time favorite books, Night of the Grizzlies. Some parents tell their kids stories like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but not Mom she likes to keep it edgy.
She proceeded to once again chronicle how two girls were mauled by two Grizzly Bears in two separate incidents on the same night in Glacier National Park back in the late 1960’s, which essentially put an end to that quaint practice of innocently hand-feeding bears, an apex predator, through your car window as you drove through a National Park.
Like Mom, Grizzly Bears do fascinate me and human encounters with Grizzly Bears fascinate me as well. But there is a time and a place to talk about Grizzly Bear attacks. This is not the stuff of polite conversation, especially with mixed company. The rainbow of gaiety and levity that had existed several minutes ago had been sucked out of the car and was now replaced by unavoidable feelings of sadness and dread, and a foolhardy desire to wrestle a bear just for kicks.
It was somewhat ironic that the Tuesday before last when I was fixing up my ’69 Camaro in between Judo lessons, I just happened to be wondering why Mother was obsessed with Grizzly Bears. I mean I get some of it, Grizzly Bears are both the best and the worst of what Nature has to offer. They are the Monster that goes creeping at night when we sleep in our flimsy tents, neatly packaged for easy consumption in our sleeping bags. Hoping they’ll be satisfied with just the Jet Puffed marshmallows we brought for s’mores and move on. There is something physically humanlike about them and of course there is their cuddly and fluffy appearance, but in the end there is a wild animal behind all the fluff and cuddle. A direct threat to humans when we encounter them. And brothers and sisters, we are no match for them.
“Cast not away . . . your confidence.”
It took about a half-hour to overcome my sadness and terror and get into the game. But once I did, oh boy! The game was great and Andrew got into the game several times and the Bear River Bruins were able to defeat the Colfax Falcons 41-14. And good once again prevailed over evil as it should and the Bear River Bruins were victorious and now had a record of 7-0 heading into their next home game against the 7-0 Placer Hillmen to battle over first place in the Pioneer Valley League.
Note: Bear River lost to Placer 26-14. The game was much closer than what the score shows. It was good game and great effort by Bear River, but Placer had too much size to overcome, including a 6-5 270 offensive lineman who supposedly is going to Oregon next year.