THE DAY I THOUGHT I KILLED MY DAD

Well, it’s been 60 degrees inside my house for the past couple days.    I feel the cool air more when I move through it.    If I keep moving, of course, I warm up, but my first inclination is to find a nice cozy quilt-cave to wait out this cold spell.    (Was  it just yesterday that I called my goldfish the Sissies?)

So,  me –

ME

It’s fleece jackets, quilts, and books for me for a while.   And thinking.  (If you lived in my head, I think . . .  I really think you’d have a lot of fun.)

The thinking that my mind does comes from many angles, and sometimes the thoughts converge.     Today:  (1)  –  It’s Thursday, and I’m reminded by my common daily prayers that this is the day of the week that the Last Supper occurred;  and Christ told us:  “This is My Body.”   and then (2)   just a week or so ago was the Feast Day of Corpus Christi,  reminding us to think about  what This Is My Body really means.    And (3)   Thursday leads to Friday, the day which Jesus actually gave His “broken” Body in self-sacrifice for us . . .  which leads to Saturday,  Our Lady’s Day, alone with her thoughts,    and then Sunday . . . what it was all for.

Thursday to Friday to Saturday to Sunday . . .

Like climbing a  beautiful mountain,  beginning with Thursday leading all the way up to the summit of Sunday!       (Because we don’t just “remember”  these things;  we’re supposed to internalize them in amazed wonder . . .  and gratitude, if we really understand everything.     I’m running out of years, Dear Readers,  to get this right.)

(4)   So – my Dad?   My poor Dad?

A long, long time ago I enrolled in Arizona State University.  Wa-a-a-a-y   across the country.     My parents,  in a surprising gesture of generosity,  offered to drive me out there — because they needed to see that part of the country too.

LP  station wagon cr

I was 19 years old and the proud  “owner”  of two baby sisters, 2 and 4 years old that year.

We posed them in front of all the interesting scenery during that trip.

LP  sisters i front cr

I put them on top of everything,  so I could take their picture;  rocks, barrels, roadside signs,  touristy objects,   fake mules  :

LP Sisters on Top cr

And we, the whole family,  traveled through strange-looking territory:

LP strange places cr

Funny,  I do actually remember taking all these photos.   Like the proverbial  yesterday.

My Mom was often busy taking care of the little ones,  and that left my Dad and me free to explore the sites more intensely.      We were strong and adventurous.     I was 19, as I said,  and my Dad was an “impossibly” young 38 years old.

I thought he was invincible.

Somewhere along the trip we came to Long’s Peak, Colorado.      14259 ft.

Long's Peak

And there were signs all over about Hiking Trails and Climbing Long’s Peak —  and it sounded like a good adventure.     I don’t know if we went right to the very peak, where the mountain comes to a small point,  but we came pretty close.   I remember seeing signs for  “12,000”  feet and then “13,000”  feet, with arrows pointing onward and upward.

Here,  if you want to do it:

Long's Peak Trail

At about that 12,000 feet sign my Dad said something I thought I’d never hear him say:  “Let’s  stop and rest for a  little while.”

Oh, sure –  a chance for me to take lots of photos!      But my Dad didn’t.

And then, we went farther on,  higher and higher … until my Dad said something again.   Something like “Do you think we’ve gone far enough?”    He  sounded very much out of breath.

(Something I understand now whenever I visit my grandchild who lives  in the high altitudes of the Sierras.)

I said I wanted to take his picture, a photo of his accomplishment, so he put on a smile:

LP  Dad on Peak 400 cr

Right after that photo,  he plopped down hard on the ground – and shook his head in a rather frightening way but he didn’t say anything.   And I looked at him and he looked kind of funny.   The skin on his face was blotchy, white patches and red patches.  I’ll never forget those colors.

We had climbed longer and farther than most of the other people on the mountain that day.     It occurred to me that my Dad was in trouble and there was no way I could get him down the mountain and back to our car by myself.    My mind just went blank at the thought that my hiking enthusiasm  … might … have ….   killed him!

I should have been watching over him!   I should have been aware!

Well, he recovered.   He was young and strong – Viking stock.    We made it downhill and back to my rather concerned young mother . . . .

My Dad and I have talked about this incident occasionally.   He remembers how he felt,   but most of all what he remembers, and what he talks about,  was how glorious it was near the top of Long’s Peak.   What magnificent scenery.   How  beautiful, how lovely —  an amazing, thrilling adventure with no regrets.   And he was glad I had gone with him!

Climbing a mountain –   like  Thursday, Friday,  Saturday, and Sunday.

Honestly –  the thrill is so similar.  So real.   so life-and-death.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Bad Times, Days of the Week, Death, Family, Travel, Vikings

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