Sunday, November 28, 2010

The best intentions...

There are a few things that happen when a kid is just leaving the toddler age. I don't know who thought them up or who would ever think they were a good idea but my brain apparently didn't process things the same as other kids. I didn't understand life any more than the average kid but I asked a lot of questions. And I was always trying to do things myself. Fix things. Break things. Throw things. Just to see what would happen. Naturally overtly curious and I tried to make sense of everything in my world. But sometimes adults throw you a curve ball.

My sister, who is 8 years older than myself, and I would often spend time at my grandparents house. They lived next door so it wasn't a huge ordeal. You just open one door, walk a little ways, and go into another door. Pretty simple. We would sleep over from time to time. I dont know why. Not sure if it was because our grandparents wanted to have us so much or because our parents wanted to go out and party and would come home boozed up. We stayed over on easter once. It was my first memory of the easter bunny. I think I was about 4 yrs old.

As it was told to me, the easter bunny is a human sized rabbit that walks on two legs and comes to your house (just like Santa) and leaves all sorts of sugary candy treats and hides colorful hardboiled eggs for you to find like playing hide and seek. It is a pleasant enough story and is supposed to bring joy and excitement to a youngster. You get a good night's sleep and be a good boy and there is a biiiiiig payoff on the backend. But not for this youngster. I had trouble working out the whole scenario in my head. It just didn't make sense no matter how much I noodled it through.

Easter night we went to bed or were put to bed or whatever they did with us, just like any other night. Only this time my head was armed with this new data about a purported nocturnal bipedal rodent. A rabbit that was given freedom to roam anywhere and everywhere it pleased in pursuit of children's dreams.

That night I am sure I fell fast asleep. I'm sure my RAM and hard drive were working feverishly in the background of my brain trying to put all the pieces of this rabbit puzzle together. I had a dream. A dream as vivid to me now as it seems to have been then. In my dream I was in my bed in my NASA rockets jammies lying as still as possible. I was listening for the faintest noise that could be a sign of the bunny intruder. I wanted to catch this predator red handed. I needed hard evidence, proof positive of this nocturnal being before I could make it right in my mind. I lay there for a long time before I finally heard the first perceptible footfalls. I pulled the covers up over my head slowly and positioned myself for a prime view of the door of the bedroom. I was a ninja. I was stealth. I would not be perceived as anything other than a random rock laying on the bed. Perfectly natural. Perfectly normal. Undetected.

The door to the room slowly swung open revealing a tall white rabbit. All white from head to toe. He had not clothing except for a dark colored patterned suit vest with a gold pocket watch chain hanging from the vest pocket. No hat. No shoes. I just remember the vest and that the rabbit had a giant freaking head. The rabbit cradled a woven basket made of a natural woody material. The rabbit had big dark eyes devoid of human qualities. The pink nose would occasionally move revealing thin whiskers barely perceptible in the substantial moonlight flowing through the windows. My sister was obviously fast asleep and was not moved at all by the sight before me. The easter bunny walked around the room placing items from the basket at various locations. I didn't breathe. I didn't move a muscle. I was transfixed on this specter invading my space.

I was terrified! Mortified! Petrified! I hated everything about this bunny and his cavalier attitude towards one's personal space. My mind raced. The bunny finished his work and left the room just as he had arrived. My brain spun and spun. How could this happen? What kind of grandparents would allow a giant headed vest wearing basket wielding pervert bunny into their house unescorted? How is this allowed to happen in homes all over the world? What happened to the keepers of the young? Where were my protectors? OMFG!!! I spun Dorothy-like back into an uncomfortable slumber and awoke the next day alive, rich in easter treats, and haunted by the real event that I had witnessed the night before.

Even at that age I was fully aware that this bunny episode was a complete loss of trust and safety for me. What the hell are people thinking when they tell kids about the tooth fairy and the easter bunny and santa claus. Lalalalalala. Come on in. Door's always open here. Yep you can kill em and eat em for all we care. Our trusted protectors are actually partners in this crime by allowing it to happen. In one sentence they tell you they will fight to the death to protect you while at the same time they give the keys to your room to any old stranger bearing gifts. Just. Wow.

I never spoke of my encounter on the bus. I never admitted it to any of us. No I did not manage my adult induced paranoia well, Sam I am. I did not swallow this dreadful farce with my green eggs and ham.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Chances are....

I grew up in rural Oklahoma. Small town life. Small town values. Small town way of seeing things. My life barely stretched beyond arms length and what I knew of the world I got from tv, school, newspapers, etc. Weirdly though I really never believed the things I would see outside my little world. I kind of treated everything like it was a sit-com. So I grew to have a very narrow view of the world. Looking back, this made me exceedingly naive and near-sighted. Just call me a simple country boy, minus the hat and boots and horses and cows.

So, here's another story. There may be some significant details missing or incorrect but the event is real and I will do my best to tell it.


My great-aunt L has been in the entertainment industry for years. She worked at famous theaters and shows as a seamstress and a manager and a person who made things happen for the famous performers in the shows. She got to be part of the show biz family and knew many interesting people. She used to go with other women in my family to Las Vegas once a year and she would figure out who was going to be performing and would contact managers to get free tickets and great seats to shows. The shows would usually end up with a meet and greet session backstage and was always good fun. When I lived in San Diego I was able to meet her when she went on her LV trips. She set me and family and friends up with excellent opportunities to mingle with celebrities. One such celebrity was Johnny Mathis, crooner extraordinaire.

Really, the only thing I knew about JM was that he was a singer and that he sang the theme song for the Family Ties tv show. But I would never turn down a show from L. My mother and grandmother were also in attendance. There may have been others but I don't remember. JM was playing in the main theater at Caesar's Palace which is always a treat. We got fantastic front and center seats and the show was very enjoyable.

I think I was 22 at the time, maybe 23. I hadn't expanded my world much since graduating college so I was still that same simple country boy inside. I was doing a lot of sports so I was built pretty well and I had begun growing my hair longer in a classic surfer dude style. My wife says that I was "very pretty" back then. She still says that now but I know she lies. LOL

After the show we were ushered backstage to meet JM. I remember we waited for a while as he managed other business. Eventually we met him in a backstage area. My great-aunt L did introductions with JM and his manager. She started with the ladies first and eventually my greeting was the final in line. I spoke politely and said hello and offered my hand which JM took with ease. I had discovered from previous experiences that performers tend to be very hands-on and huggy and touchy and that was just fine by me. JM was certainly no danger or threat and I had no reason not to trust the instincts of L for taking us to meet celebs. So I accepted my role and JM's normal mannerisms and let the moment flow like it was all normal.

Johnny took my hand with a pleasant grip. Not firm like a business handshake and I knew not to be strong and forward with such things. I returned his dainty hold and he looked straight into my eyes and said all the normal wonderful it is to meet you, you look very handsome, I'm lucky to have met you...just normal celeb stuff. We maintained hand contact during the entire conversation eventually with his free hand gripping my hand allready being held. When the greeting was over I moved beside JM and stood facing the women.

JM still had a hold of my hand in a fully engulfed, fingers around my fingers grip. I thought nothing of it as celebs are often touchy, feely so I gladly stood holding his hand. Small talk ensued with my family and others and I stood mostly listening and trying not to be in the way since we were invading someone else's space. JM moved slightly and stood shoulder to shoulder with me. Well, not exactly since I am several inches taller than him but that is the general picture. After a few minutes JM let my hand go and put his arm around my waist. Again, I don't think anything of this maneuver as it is often the beginning of the "push" that sends you away back to your non-celebrity life. Except there was still significant small talk happening that eventually hit upon a topic of my interest.

JM had mentioned that he was invited and scheduled to play golf at a celebrity charity event the next afternoon at a famous local landmark golf course on the LV strip. I immediately chimed in that I was also an avid golfer and that playing in a celebrity charity tournament must be great fun. He removed his arm from around my waist and held my hand once again. I remember catching a glimpse of my family and they were listening happily and seemed very much in tune with the conversation and were smiling. It seemed normal considering the situation. JM then said that his partner was supposed to be here with him and was to be his partner at the golf outing the next day. However his partner had been delayed in LA and had not been able to make the trip and was unsure if he could catch a flight the next day. My eyes lit up as I seen the opportunity and I pounced. I brought my clubs with me, I lied, and would be more than happy to fill in for your partner if you wanted me. I figured if he said yes that I would just go buy a new set of clubs for the event the next morning. It would be worth it. JM said that it would be lovely to spend the day with me and we exchanged information with him and his handlers. I was beaming and pouring on the charm as best I could. I took both his hands in mine and thanked him sincerely for allowing us to meet and for the possible opportunity to be his partner. He pulled me close and thanked me and we parted and our group started on our way out of the theater.

We got out of the backstage area and worked our way to the exit when I noticed my mom et al were snickering at me. I asked why they were laughing at me but I was sure it was because I had lied about having my golf clubs with me. My mom looked at me and said, you do know that JM is gay don't you. Really. REALLY. My naive bumpkin brain didn't see that at all and apparently I had done a pretty good job at making myself just as gay as him. It never ever crossed my mind that his partner wasn't his GOLF partner, but his cuddle naked in the spoon position watching chick flicks partner. Oh no! Being a small town boy I wasn't afraid of gay folks but I certainly didn't have much knowledge about it. Now the celebrity closeness took on a whole new definition. And I had just batted my eyes and committed to being his partner for the day while his other partner was unavailable. Crap. Crap. crap.

I really really really wanted to play golf in the celebrity tournament. My family continued to laugh at me, not with me. Then I made the decision. If JM needs a partner of some kind, and if being that partner will get me in the golf tournament, then I was willing to do whatever was asked of me. OMG! I was totally gay whoring myself out to a short, middle aged, well tanned singing icon. wow. We really learn about ourselves in such times.

Sadly the story doesn't continue any further. JM called the next day and left a message at my hotel that his partner had been able to get a flight and that his day was back to normal. He thanked me for the offer and that was it. Now, not 12 hours earlier I was feeling bold and empowered...then embarassed and compromised...then uplifted and determined...and now I sort of felt like a prom date that got stood up on prom night when we were supposed to dance the night away and have fun with our friends and then go in my date's family station wagon and lose my virginity like every prom date dreams. Only one glass slipper for me. Dang.

An interesting side note. I learned that JM made like $100,000 for each show he performed. He was a very wealthy man. Later in the evening after seeing the show at Caesar's Palace I seen JM playing a nickel single line slot machine. Playing a nickel at a time. And just giggling to himself and having a jolly gay time. Indeed.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Kill or be killed


After I graduated from college (University of Oklahoma) in 1988 I got the opportunity to move to San Diego for a job (I am a Professional Registered Civil Engineer). Being from Oklahoma my entire life who wouldn't jump at the chance to live in a city you only see in movies. One of the first things I did was try to surf. Surfing is really difficult and I'm not a strong or happy swimmer so I was pretty poor at it. I did, however, get to be part of the surfing scene.

I lived in an apartment only two blocks from the beach and many of my neighbors were true surfers living the surf life. Out at daybreak catching waves then flipping burgers or waiting tables till the evening surf session. Just making enough money to get their board wax, weed and sunblock. Things like utility bills and rent were always second consideration. I got to live the lifestyle as a tourist...meaning I wasn't into drugs, I didn't live and die for surfing and I was a professional with an important job that made me enough money to afford much more than my surfing compadres. But the local dudes took me in an made me one of their own mostly because I reminded them of the main character from a famous surf movie. Everybody had cool names like Blaze or ChiChi or Bongo or Rudder or Freckles. I was labeled Busey. The surfer dudes thought I reminded them of the great surf movie Big Wednesday and a main character was played by Gary Busey. I was honored that the surf dudes thought enough of me to give me a name and Busey was pretty dang cool. It also fit that I was pretty much a foot taller than most of the surfers. They tended to be pretty small and quick. Busey is a big man and my Cherokee blood gives me a thick stature. It didn't take long for my hair to bleach almost white and I had it cut in a typical surfer fashion. I had a wetsuit, a couple of different surfboards in my quiver (lol) and my apartment was full of sand and coconut scented surf board wax.

I had numerous surfer neighbors but one was a red-headed freckle-faced ginger boy (as my lovely red-headed daughter would have called him). He took me surfing for the first time and we were pretty fair friends. His nickname was Freckle and I will refer to him as F from now on. We spent enough time together to have our fair share of $1 drinks at the local art-deco bar (which I took my wife to many years later), surf trips in his rusty old VW van (oh so cliche) and even a few trips south of the border where the laws and rules for drinking and age of consent were much more lenient than in the US. At that time 16 in Mexico was the same as 21 in the US. Sooooo, there were lots of drunk teen girls available and willing to have a date for one night.

At the time I was also interested in sailing and I was going to go to the downtown library in SD and get some books on the subject. F was taking some classes at a local college and needed to do some research and so he came along for the trip. It was winter time and it was dark by 6pm and it was dark when we left. Our route would take us past the navy base and the airport and around the bay and into downtown. As we were driving past the airport on a 2-lane one way city street a car whizzed past us on the left really fast. The roads were a little wet and the car swerved in front of me just narrowly missing my truck and causing me to take some pretty serious evasive maneuvers to avoid light poles and parking meters and other cars before I came to a stop in the right hand lane of the street. The fast car, a mercedes roadster of some type, has spun around backward and was facing my truck probably 40 yards away. I had come to a stop and there were a few cars behind me that were regaining their composure and moving away. The passenger door of the roadster opened up and a woman wearing a stunning short dress and 5" heels got out. Then she faced me and I got out of my truck. She started running toward me as fast as the wet pavement and her heels would allow. It didn't make any sense. I just stood there and watched. She made it about half way to me and the driver door opened up and a gentleman wearing a suit jumped out and spun around and stared momentarily at the woman and then at me. Then the man in the suit started running full speed toward the woman....

This is where I will take a short departure from the story. There are generally two kinds of people in the world when faced with danger. Those that run away and those that fight. Neither is better than the other. They both take care of immediate business. You don't know which you are till an event causes your brain to shut down and your basic instincts to take over. My entire life I have always been a fighter. I don't start fights like a bully or walk around beating my chest. But when faced with danger my instincts put me into immediate action. Your legs move and your adrenaline pumps and you aren't really in charge of what's going on. I've had enough trials where this instinct has taken over to understand my natural tendency and I've come to grips with the notion that it may get me killed some day. There are times when running away is a better plan but you don't really get to make that decision when the chips are down. Now back to the story....

I seen the man running at me and it was very apparent that he was a threat to the woman, or to me, or to both of us. My adrenaline spiked, my legs moved, my arms pumped and I found myself moving full speed toward the man. I played a lot of football in my day and it was just like he was a tailback trying to score from 40 yards out and I was a linebacker making sure he found the ground before the endzone. My head was down and I was a moving freight train. The man's eyes widened when he seen me coming and he immediately put on the brakes and I chased him back to his car where he got in and drove away before I could get there. I stood there all panting with the adrenaline coursing thru my veins. The woman walked over to me and half hugged me and half collapsed into my arms. I looked at her and it was apparent that her face had been on the losing end of an argument with the man. That just made me really really mad. I told F to move the truck to a parking lot and I walked the woman across the street to a local chinese food landmark where we called the police. The woman (W) cried and cried and talked to me while we waited near the entrance of the restaurant. She had been on the way to the airport, being driven there by her "boyfriend". Then on the way she said she had changed her mind about leaving and her man had gotten angry at her and had started to hit her. They were struggling when they had passed my truck and the car had spun out in front of me. She had been scared and was running to me for help when the car had stopped. The police came and took statements and my information and the woman and we all went our separate ways. In the end I was glad to have helped a woman not get a beating even though I knew none of the circumstances. It just felt right.

About a week later I got a phone call from the San Diego police department. They asked me a few more questions and told me what had happened. It turns out that the woman really had been on her way to the airport but she was being forced there by her man and when she balked the man went into a rage. The policeman told me that the man that I had faced was on their 10 most wanted list and that he was the single most powerful and dangerous drug lord in the San Diego area and norther Mexico. He was shipping his woman away to another location away from her home with intent to set up a new base in another city. The policeman told me he had no idea why the dealer hadn't put a bullet between my eyes when I charged at him. He had done it many times before. There was no reason for him not to this time. He was most certainly armed and always shot first and cleaned up later and he was on his way out of the city soon.

But, the man didn't shoot me. He ran away. And nobody knows why. There were probably a lot of ways to get made dead that night with a raging drug lord's woman in my "possession". If I had grabbed her and ran we might have both got bullets in the back. If I had been 5 minutes faster I never would have been part of it. Who knows. Now it's just a story, an adventure in my life. A memory of an event, neither good or bad, just archived away waiting for an interested, patient listener.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

One of many

I have had a full life and continue to do so. My younger years were seemingly insignificant yet when I recall events that have happened to me to others, I come away with a sense of accomplishment in a life well traveled. At least that's how it seems to me.

I'm going to tell some stories. A little at a time. With bad punctuation. And words that don't rhyme. Ha!

My perspective to my life is entirely my own. There are some facts. There are some made up things that have become fact. There are dreams that have mingled with reality and have become fact. There are events with witnesses and every witness will report a different story based on their own perspective of the incident. There are events that I only witnessed that have become part of my fact.

The life we have lived and the life we recall differ proportionally to the significance of the event and to the amount of time that has passed since we lived the event. My perspectives are my fact. Someone that gives me different facts change my perspective which makes new fact. Truth is, we lose so much of our memories from decay that reality is fuzzy at best. Humans have a lot of RAM, inadequate hard drive space and we never defragment our disks. Add that up and you get jumbled data that sometimes crosses boundaries into entirely new adventures.

Here's one.

I was on a roadtrip with Kay (long time ex girlfriend) and Jeff (hischool buddy) to Las Vegas and back. I was about 20 yrs old. Am 45 now so the exact numbers are fuzzy. My mom lived in LV for a while and it made a good excuse to visit her just to be in LV and have a free place to stay. I'm pretty sure it was on the way home from LV to Norman, OK (I was an OU student at the time). I drove a Subaru BRAT. Some of you may know what I'm talking about. The rest of you google images to get the idea. It is a two seater truckish kinda vehicle. I had the prerequesite stereo installed as all good teens were required to have. I put it in myself and I'm sure it was quite the frankenstein contraption but it worked. We had three people. The odd man out would either sit in the middle with the stick shift between their legs or ride in the back with all the luggage piled up on top of them to keep them warm. It was March. It was butt cold at night and going 70mph on the freeway made the wind chill factor well below zero. Strangely enough the back under the luggage and over the exhaust pipe was pretty toasty and comfortable. Where there's a will there's a way.

We decided to visit the Grand Canyon and hang out for a couple of hours on our way home. We had left LV after breakfast and the trip to the GC from LV got us there in the late afternoon. Still daylite for a couple of hours. There was a lot of snow near Flagstaff and the weather was clear and cold. Probably 40 degrees in the sun. We drove to the visitors center and found the necessary evils of moccasins, fry bread and taffy and nothing else of significance. The plan was to see the GC and check it off the list of things to do in a lifetime, not spend any real quality time there. We drove to the nearest overlook where we could park and get out and look over the edge and yell for echoes and all that touristy stuff.

There weren't many cars in the parking lot. A handful at best. We got out all happy and spry and giggly to see the giant hole in the ground. There was a significant amount of snow on the rim of the canyon and the parking lot had patches of ice and snow. We got out of the truck and bundled up. I had a gray coat that was like a ski jacket only without the puffy crap in it and it was a little more dressy looking. It had two pockets on the outside to put your hands in. Normal stuff. I'm sure I had on an OU sweatshirt and jeans. No gloves. No hat. My friends were equally bundled and ready to greet the canyon. I left the truck unlocked since we were only going to be a few feet away. No big deal.

The edge of the canyon here had big steel fences to at least make sure you had to try hard if you intended to hurl yourself over the edge. I could see no intent among those gathered that day. By the time we got to the edge of the canyon there were only a couple of other cars and all of those were beginning to load up and head back to wherever it was from whence they came. We moseyed up to the fence. And made the standard remarks and comments. I'm sure we said something about the Brady Bunch. How could you not. We were pleased with our checkmark and were making our way back to the truck to leave. There was maybe a half hour of daylight left and the temperature had dropped well below freezing. The sky was clear and the sun was a big orange rolling toward the edge of the earth.

On the way to the truck I walked across a small snow drift that sang to me. I was a fairly accomplished baseball player and could toss a ball a looooong ways. Baseballs. Snowballs. Same thing. I bent down and began fashioning a suitable projectile to suit my need to hurl an object into the depths of the GC. Farther than anyone ever in the history of ever. I got a running start and threw the snowball with all my might but the victory was shortlived. I was too far away from the edge to see where the ball was going. My buddies seen my hijinks and joined in. Maybe they just watched the majesty of my throws. I ran to the fence that separated me from the mile long drop off the cliff and began to create the perfect orb. The snowball that would be remembered. I packed it tight and got into an athletic stance and rocked and fired a perfect strike into the heart of the greatest american chasm. It was majestic against the backdrop of the setting sun. Time seemed frozen like everything else around us. Slooowwww motion. It was awesome indeed. I watched the snowy projectile as it sped away on it's perfect 30 degree up launch angle. NASA would have been in awe. A smile swept across my face as I watched the snowball go ever higher and everything seemed right with the world. Except for that stupid bug that just flew into my vision. Way to spoil everything. In slow motion I watched the flying insect as it's flight took it across the line of sight of my heroic snowball offering to the GC god. Stupid bug. Had stupid wings. Looked deformed. Really deformed. The wings and legs went all weird directions and it didn't look capable of flight. I peered closer as it flew away from me. And peered. And looked. And nearly threw up. I stood there agape. Mouth wide open. Eyes unblinking and freeaing in the twilight air. I pointed at the bug. But it was no bug.

I stood and watched as the keys to the truck flew in the most perfect arc over the metal fence. Gaining altitude. Straining for distance. I ran to the fence and watched the little bug soar over the edge of the GC and begin it's long descent to the Colorado River below. The keys flew and flew and just as they were about to disappear in to the canyon forever they came to rest in a snowbank overhanging the very last rock before the precipitous drop to the canyon floor. The made a nice neat little dark blue circle in the snow where they had disappeared from view only a couple of feet from the edge.

I turned to my buds. They didn't notice the keys. I know I started to laugh. Then I gently informed them that I had just thrown the keys to our vehicle over the edge of the GC. Actually I didn't throw them. They flew all by themselves. I had put them in the right hand outside pocket of my coat. I'm right handed and my throwing action when I tossed the snowball and caused my jacket to whip about and eject my keys from their hiding place and send them on their fateful trip over the edge.

The sun was almost over the horizon. There was one other car in the parking lot about to leave. I waved them down and told them my car was broken and to please send a park ranger when they left the park. It was almost dark and we walked back to my truck and, luckily, because I had left the door unlocked, got inside. It was freezing cold. Then I had an epiphany. I installed my own stereo. I have seen the wires to my truck. I have seen movies. I can hotwire the truck and the day will be saved. We will just drive all the way home trying not to ever turn it off and I will get a new key when we got back to OU. Easy enough. I got out and crawled upside down under the steering wheel with my feet and butt on the seat. It was really dark but there was light from the dome lights inside the truck. I found the familiar fuse box with the frankenstein stereo wires attached to it. I found the wires that went to the ignition. I think I chewed them starter wire in half. Eventually I got the wire to a hot terminal and VROOM! Yay Yay Yay. I have ruined the day and then miraculously pulled victory from the jaws of defeat.

I got everything under the dash buttoned back up and cranked up the heater. Oooooh it felt good. We got everything ready to go, put all our outerwear away and set out to make the very best of a near disaster. We went three up in the cab. I pushed in the clutch and tapped on my Kay's legs so she could part them. She pretty much had to play porn star to give me access to the gearshift. The pattern was H with first gear upper left and fourth gear down right. Reverse was farther right of fourth gear. Reverse was the most fun and the least comfortable for Kay's womanly regions. I put it in reverse, let out the clutch and reversed neatly from our parking spot. I then moved the shifter to first and began our journey out of the park.

Except the steering wheel didn't turn. At all. NOOOOOOOOO! Without the key in the ignition the steering is locked in place. We can drive anywhere we want as long as that place is straight forward or straight backward. So. There we are. Stuck again. In the dark. At an unlit parking lot on an overlook at the Grand Canyon. Dammit. At least we had heat and we had lights as long as we had gas in the truck. I had filled up before entering the park so we were aok to idle all night long cramped three up in a two seater truck in 10 degree weather.

We waited. Surely the park ranger will be along soon. I mean, we were stranded. In need of assistance. Those guys love that stuff. We waited. And waited. Then there were lights coming up behind us and the rangers pulled up next to us. They asked all the questions. I answered all the questions. They laughed. Hard. At me for throwing my keys into the Grand Canyon. Ahhh. The sweet taste of humiliation. The rangers got their super duper flashlights and we went to the edge of the canyon and I shined the light on the little shadowed dent in the pristine snow. They laughed some more.

In true gladiator fashion, the rangers decided to rescue my keys. Gallant. They left us idling and came back a couple of hours later with loads of climbing gear. Ropes, pulleys, crampons, parkas. The rangers proceeded to tie off repelling ropes and safety ropes to the metal fence and to the ranger vehicle. One of the rangers went over the edge while I shined the light on the hole my keys had made. The ranger was very careful not to cause a snowslide and make the keys go off the edge. Eventually he was able to retrieve my keys and we helped them pack all their equipment back into their vehicle. It was midnite. We thanked them mightily. They said they were happy to be of service and to please donate to the park fund if we felt the need.

I'm sure I can't be the only person to ever throw the keys to their car into the Grand Canyon but I have to be in some pretty tight company. I do know that the rangers would sit around their campfires for months or years to come and would recount their version of the story of the THE IDIOT WHO THREW HIS KEYS IN TO THE GRAND CANYON. Maybe by now I will have had only one had and the other had a steel hook. Or we were bank robbers. Or I threw my baby over the edge and the rangers saved the day. Or.......................................