Sunday, October 10, 2004
Yesterday was a very busy day. We got up at 6 oh-my-god-o'clock and got out of the house by 8 after spending part of Friday night (Dad and me) searching the curving road from my cabin to the highway for a half-cord of wood with a sign saying "FREE WOOD" my mother saw when they followed me up to the cabin earlier that evening. She was so insistent Dad and I went on the hunt and didn't find the wood until we passed by the entrance to the Highlands on the way out of town to drive down to Canon City to take the Royal Gorge train ride. Oh, well, no wood. It was gone when we returned home at 9 last night. Long day, but an interesting one.
I mapped the route and had all the directions, but my parents are sticklers for following the rules. Dad drove and the one hour of leeway I figured in was quickly eaten up by Dad driving about 55 and Mom keeping an eagle eye on the speedometer and reminding him (loudly and often) that he was driving too fast and he should "pick a lane," not to mention all the stops for hard candy for Mom, water, and vacation silliness. I'm more of a drive the speed limit, and stop only for gas and bathroom when absolutely necessary, and get there kind of person.
We got to the train station just in time to be told there were no more seats and only passengers holding reservations would be allowed on the train. Okay, I did not come 200 miles to be told we could not get on the train. Mom has had her heart set on this trip for three years and I did not want to disappoint them. So, putting on my best innocent and heartbroken face, I shamelessly talked the ticket agents into allowing us on the train. Quite simply, I told them my parents had come all the way from Ohio to ride the train and this would be our only day in town. The first agent broke quickly, but the head agent said no...at first. I repeated my sad tale and she relented within about 30 seconds. Hey, what can I say? I'm good.
On the train we followed the rest of the crowd searching for a seat and found lots of empty seats with coats, hats, and feet on seats. My parents are in their 70s and my Mom could not stand in the open observation car for 2 hours, so I started asking if the seats were taken and was told over and over they were. Heartless gits.
On the way back through five cars toward the observation car I stopped when I saw the conductor, explained my mother could not stand for 2 hours in the hot sun in the observation car and asked if they couldn't they find her a seat. He gave her his seat and Dad and I went out to the observation car. We hadn't been out there more than 15 minutes when some smiling, impish-eyed little old lady came out and told Dad he was to come back and sit with Mom. They had found him a seat. He left and I stayed among the rest of the tourist cattle.
Now, five years ago I could not have stood for more than 5 minutes, let alone two hours, but I did... Well, I almost did. Looking at endless striated rock passing in front of me brought back an attack of something I had not had since I was a kid right before Mom doped me up on dramamine--motion sickness. The tales of my delicate stomach have crisscrossed continents, oceans, and states, but I'm older now. I'm a driver. I also can't stand watching slow moving rock walls and tracks and water in a swaying open cattle car without getting nauseous. I drank from the water bottles in my bag and tried to find a stationary point to watch, but the nausea won and I went back into the car where my parents sat and the same impish-eyed little lady took a pile of coats and purses off the seat next to her and told me to sit down. I did and spent the last 40 minutes of the ride inside.
She was a very interesting little old lady and I will write more about her later. She deserves a post all to herself.
At any rate, we drove back to Colorado Springs with Mom wailing about stopping at a Denny's. As luck would have it, a Denny's was one exit before the one we wanted, but I relented and we motored on and down into Old Colorado City for a scheduled meeting with my new coven mates and elementalmuse and her children. Parked the car and Dad checked over my directions while I waited for Mom to get out of the car and get situated with her cane and purse. I thought I saw someone I knew, uniqueluddite to be specific, but when I walked toward him he didn't recognize me so it evidently wasn't him. Couldn't have been anyway; he was wearing shorts and an untucked shirt tail. The Luddite is much neater than that.
We strolled across the street and went inside the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, which was much smaller than I envisioned. It did smell wonderful and freshly made caramel apples were on display. It was like shopping in a sensorium with all the best sights, sounds, and smells in the world decorating every available corner. They were not, however, doing any chocolate demos. Maybe some other time.
Old Colorado City is a delight to the eye and the senses and I want to go back and explore more, not for antiques but for all the arts and crafts and picturesque views. Next time when I am not on a tight schedule.
Outside, having around a doorway a couple of doors east of the chocolate shop like a bunch of colorful characters were elementalmuse and some of my coven mates, Autumn and her husband Brian, in particular, among others. I told Mom I recognized some people and went over to them. She sat at a little patio table and I greeted my friends. Autumn is a petite little thing with delicate bones and features and hair the color of dried cherries and a smile that is open and wide. Brian is a preppy looking guy with an easy smile and darting eyes that seem to catalog everything around him.
After a couple of minutes, I introduced them to my mother and told them we had to leave because Mom was hungry (she's always hungry) and we were going to Denny's. The Muse asked if we'd mind if they met us there, but Autumn and her family had other plans. I told them which Denny's we planned to go to and they said they'd meet us after they got their chocolate fix.
One wrong turn later we finally found the Denny's and went inside. Mom was a little uncomfortable at the idea of my friends sitting down with them because she's not quite as friendly as my father and I are, so I told them I'd sit with my friends at the next booth. Worked out fine, especially when the Muse arrived with the kidlets and Desert Frost followed not long after.
Desert Frost looks like a dusky African with an infectious smile and a musical voice who has lots of stories about family and Colorado Springs and I certainly didn't get to hear enough of them. The time was too short and my parents were tired. For that matter, so was I, but I could have gone on at least another ten hours under sheer power and the unquenchable desire to spend time with friends. So, I said my goodbyes and helped Mom out to the car and we got back on the road.
We missed our turn-off to skirt Denver and ended up driving in the swiftly gathering dark thru the middle of mid-town Denver and finally got back on track and into the heights toward home. As much as I enjoy traveling and seeing sights and friends, and people in general, I have to admit that I love driving home to the peace and tranquility of my mountain aerie.
Like a kid yelling, "Are we there yet?" Mom asked, "How much longer?" all the way back. Just past the little waterfall down a spill of rocks on the mountainside before the final hairpin curve, we entered the final track toward home and back into the star studded night thru the deep shadows and night-dark roads back up into the Highlands. I thought I lost my keys, but found them in my jacket pocket, raced for the door, fumbled the key into the lock, hit the outside and inside lights and toiled up the steps to the bathroom right before my bladder exploded with a delicious sigh of relief. I had to battle a big spider who did not want to go back down the drain to wash my hands and shucked my clothes on my way thru the bedroom and into the comfortable wrinkled T-shirt and back out the other door to grab a pickle and head to the loft to drop into the bed and rest. I changed my mind, went back downstairs to wash my face and for some strawberry shortcake and came back upstairs to get really comfortable, dropped my clothes on the chair by the extra bed in the loft and crawled into the covers and settled down with my paper journal and a really good book I'm finishing about Arthur Conan Doyle, possession, and the psychiatric practices in the 20s in England. This one is getting a good review, but that's because it's a really engrossing and fascinating book.
Soon I was reading the same sentence over and over and forgetting what it said, so I turned out the light, pulled up the covers and sought pleasant dreams until this morning.
Today is a day full of the usual chores of washing dishes, running the vacuum, and more laundry, but Mom and Dad have decided to give me my birthday and Xmas early this year with a brand new electric chainsaw (and hopefully a really long extension cord) so I can quit fussing and fretting over the gas-powered job that doesn't want to start. I'll stain the deck in the warm sunshine and drag down more fallen trees and ready them for cutting up with my new chainsaw and enjoy a relaxing day. Tomorrow we buy the chainsaw and take a trek into Wyoming to see if I can find Cheyenne and then back here for another day of time with my parents who have turned out, after all these years, to be pretty cool people.
And, yes, guys, there are girls who do get all excited about power tools as gifts. Like me, for example.
I'll shut up now so you can go enjoy your own Sunday. Make sure you do.