“The Colorado Rocky Mountain high… I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky… Talk to God and listen to the casual reply… Rocky Mountain High…” I blasted that song from my iPod and sang those words at the top of my lungs as Tim and I explored the little mountain towns around Denver for the first time. I did feel high in a way, from the inspiring beauty of the mountains surrounding me. I wanted to soak in every sight, every taste, every smell, every sound, on this, my last day in the Wild Wild West.
(Sorry for the year-long delay in completing my posts about the Wild Wild West. I got side-tracked publishing a book.)
After breathtaking trips to New England in the fall of 2009 and the fall of 2010, I couldn’t imagine that the West would ever compare. But by Day 7 of our Wild Wild West trip, I had completely changed my mind. I loved the West… just as much… maybe even more.
1. The University of AL football team won the National Championship for the third time in four years on January 7, 2013. As it is fun to be a fan of a winning team, I have become one. Tim and I went to our first game at the 100,000-seat Bryant-Denny Stadium in September. What a crazy wonderful experience. Roll Tide!
It always seemed so creepy to me for a person to get their grave headstone carved in advance—name, birthdate, a dash, and a blank spot for the death date. However, after a visit to the cemetery with Aunt Treva, I felt differently.
I asked my great-aunt if she would be my guide on a historical tour through the Germantown Cemetery in Germantown, Ohio. I knew many of my ancestors were buried there. I was especially interested in locating the grave of Isaac Selby, my great-great-grandfather. I had chosen the name Isaac for my own son from the family tree and wanted a picture of Isaac Selby’s grave for his baby book.
“Do you realize where we are, Beck?” Tim asked, looking warily from one side of the street to the other as he drove.
“No,” I answered. “I got this dentist’s name from our insurance website. He was the only one on our preferred provider list for Cincinnati. Where are we?”
“We are in Over-the-Rhine,” Tim announced slowly.
I had noticed that the neighborhoods appeared rougher and rougher as we followed our directions, but I had no idea. Over-the-Rhine had been in the news a lot lately, and not for the best of reasons. It boasted 606 violent crimes and 350 robberies in the past twelve months. One website had deemed it The Most Dangerous Neighborhood in the United States. The police had even created an elite sixty-man crime-fighting unit, code-named “Vortex,” to work the Over-the-Rhine area. And here I was in the middle of it with my husband and two kids, going to get our teeth cleaned!
My definition of a road trip is a mini-adventure. The final destination is pre-determined, but the stops along the way are spontaneous and wide open with possibility.
My husband Tim, my sixteen-year-old son Isaac, and I were on one such road trip. Our final destination was Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where we would meet friends from Kentucky for a few fun-filled days in the mountains. En route we decided to stop near Chattanooga and tour Ruby Falls. Ruby Falls is a spectacular 145-foot waterfall. But what makes it most spectacular is that it is 1120 feet under the ground!
The tour began by entering a large elevator. An elevator operator cheerfully greeted us and encouraged us to pack in tightly so that everybody on our tour could fit in the elevator on one trip. Tim, Isaac, and I stood with our backs against the right wall. The glass elevator door shut and we started to drop quickly.
I spotted him, just twenty feet away on the mountain trail. There we were, so far from home. To be exact, we were 1446 miles from Sweet Home Alabama. We were standing atop Cadillac Mountain, the spot where you can see the sunrise first in the United States. The view was magnificent in every direction. To the east, I could see Sheep Porcupine Island and Bald Porcupine Island. To the north, I could see the town of Bar Harbor, Maine. To the west, I could see Eagle Lake and Blue Hill Mountain. To the south, I could see Southwest Harbor, Maine. And right in front of me, I could see the man wearing a “War Eagle” sweatshirt.
The dark room was suddenly illuminated with magnificent light. I sat straight up in bed, disoriented from being sound asleep. The room went black again. Then the glass in my bedroom windows began to vibrate. I leapt to my feet in confusion, but before I could take a step, BA-BOOM! Something exploded outside, shaking the entire house.
Isaac! I screamed on the inside. I bolted toward the steps that led upstairs to where my teenage son slept. When I reached the first step, he was already barreling down them. We yelled simultaneously, “What was that?”
“Something is wrong with Dad’s printer,” Cassie stated as she entered my office. She laid a paper in front of me on the desk. “I’m trying to print pictures of several paintings to share with my art class. Look how distorted the colors are.”
“Wow, that’s really bad. I don’t understand why it’s doing that. The printer is brand new,” I replied.
“We can freeze that wart and it will be gone in no time!” the doctor told ten-year-old Cassie as he examined her leg.
She looked frightened. “Will it hurt?”
“You will feel a little sting. It’s not bad at all,” he assured her.
When the doctor left the room to get his tools, Cassie grabbed my hand. “I’m scared, Mom,” she whimpered.