More Grandpa Davey Speaks
A Path with a Heart
A Stop at Willoughby
Can't Captue It
Invest in Yourself
Killing Me Softly
Leave it to Beaver
Lost in the Grand Canyon
Mind Over Temperature
Mother of all Storms
No Sense at All
Not Shadow People
Squirt Gets Run Over
The Cheapest Medicine
The Golden Calf
Ticket to Freedom
Two Types of Girls
Vaya Con Dios
Where's the Beef?
Worst Case Scenario
Often seemingly insignificant decisions can have major influence on
the course of our lives. One of those occurred on the cold morning
of December 22, 1973.
For the Christmas holiday, I had planned an adventure trip to see
the snow peaked mountains of Colorado. As the time to depart drew
near, I had some apprehension concerning degrading weather
conditions. Loading the car for the trip, both plastic shoulder
harness hangers broke due to the cold.
“If plastic parts break like this in Louisiana cold, what would it
be like in real cold,” I thought. For fear of nightmarish travel
conditions, I switched to Plan B. We would cancel our trip out west
and go to the mountains of Arkansas. Little did I know that it would
be twenty-two years before I would venture west. My desire remained,
but one obstacle stood in my way, the Lone Star State. If it were
not for Texas, the West would be next door.
November 1995 presented us with the gift of a second chance. With
the decision to have more children came the opportunity to dream. If
we can do this, we can do whatever we desire. In this new life, we
would be free to take what we learned in the old life and improve
Finally in May of 1996, we would at last see the West. This was the
first of many trips to find where we desired to raise this new
Outside of Dallas, we took the turn north into a drought stricken
Texas panhandle. The dryness, the wind, and the vastness welcomed us
to this strange new land. At a truck stop near Wichita Falls, the
relentless wind blew Sweet Mom’s dress nearly over her head. The
aroma from cattle trucks and feed lots further stimulated our
senses. In my mind I would hear repeatedly, “Land spreading out so
far and wide. Take Manhattan, just give me that countryside.”
Leaving Texas, an ominous blackness loomed on the horizon. So
fearsome was this towering thunderstorm that every single vehicle
pulled off of the interstate into the sanctuary of a rest area.
After sizing up the situation and gathering the courage to proceed,
we would, one by one and in little groups continue on our journeys.
In our case, it was to discover the West.
As was to become our custom, we drove sixteen hours and one thousand
miles to the motel town of Tucumcari, New Mexico. We had conquered
Texas! Waking in Bayou Country, we would sleep in the Desert
Southwest. Energized by the climate and the scenery, we continued on
to Durango, Colorado and then to Mesa Verde National Park. This is
where we experienced our first real mountain hike. In this
eighty-minute walk, we found ourselves woefully inadequate.
On we traveled to face the winds of the Four Corners Monument and
then to the grandeur of the Grand Canyon.
At some point in our adventure, I realized that I was traveling with
a different woman than I had started with. This one complained less,
had limitless energy, and a look I had not seen before. What could
cause such a transformation? Some of the possibilities include:
a. the climate
b. the altitude
c. the natural beauty
d. a trip without children
e. pregnancy (1st in 19 years)
f. all of the above
On we traveled to see the wonders of Meteor Crater, Petrified
Forest, and Carlsbad Caverns. Finally my new wife and I made the
turn to again cross Texas. This time we took the southern route. At
last we returned home to humidity and our normal selves. Our normal
selves with a difference, that is. We had seen a little of the West
and needed to see more.
our travels, Sweet Mom will tell you, she feels like she belongs out
west. Often I have said that I had never seen Sweet Mom happy until
that first trip west. Perhaps she had been happy before, but what I
didn’t recall was seeing her filled with
I can only wonder what a different
path we may have taken except for
that cold morning thirty-five years ago.