Sunday, June 13, 2010

Triggered Memories

10/07/09: The last few days have been hard but not as hard as I thought they would be. (I haven't taken a hammer to any china)! Cleaning out Clint's chest was bittersweet in that I hated to give away his things, but at the same time, I knew it was the right thing to do, and he would have wanted his things to go to someone in need. On Saturday, Derek, my all purpose helper, loaded the baskets into the trunk of my car and went with me to Goodwill to unload them all. Since then, on Monday, I started taking storage boxes from the top shelves of his closet. I had little idea of what was in them, even though it was I, 2-1/2 years ago, who packed them and put them away. I found more sweats and sweaters, fishing clothes, his fly fishing vest.

And I remembered us, in Bishop California, in 1994, standing at the edge of a stream, all geared up in our fly fishing regalia, neither one of us doing worth a damn. No one would have called us a "natural." We would both have loved to catch a fish, but we were happy just standing there, looking like we knew what we were doing, talking and occasionally having a beer out of our cooler. I have never been happier. I loved him so. My God, I loved him so much it hurt.

We were on a 5 week trip across the south and southwestern states and on up to California and Oregon, eventually spending a few nights with Clint's Aunt Millie and her husband, Gordon in Corvallis. They had a Winnebego, and for 3 days, they drove us all over Oregon and into Washington. We saw Crater Lake and the lava fields and Mount Washington, ending up following the Columbia River south back to Oregon. I was most fascinated with the lava fields, a product of Mt. St. Helens' eruptions through the centuries. American frontiersmen and women, crossed those fields in wagons, negotiating miles of piles of that looked like giant chunks of coal. These are the people who settled the West, and for me to understand how they did it, where they got the courage and toughness and just plain guts to do it, is impossible. Imagine someone doing that today!

Clint was a tall fellow, and his feet and lower legs spilled over the bed assigned to him in the camper. It didn't matter. He could sleep anywhere. I, however, who have never been a good sleeper, was relegated to the space above the cab. There was a small mattress up there, and while clinging to my pillow and blanket and standing on a small ladder, Clint shoved me up into the space. I can hear him laughing, really laughing hard and making remarks about the size of my rear end. He virtually howled when he got me down in the morning. During both the climb up and on the way down, he took great liberties with my ass. I could hear Millie and Gordon trying to suppress their own laughter. I slept enough to recharge my batteries, but turning over was almost impossible. Hell, it was great trade off for all Millie an Gordon did for us.

I want to dig out my journal from that trip, but I have only a vague idea where to look. I'm stalling. I have to get back there in Clint's closet and arrange shoes and other things for donation.

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