The moonless night was dark, quiet, and peaceful. The children were tucked in their beds in the trailer, while their parents, my sister, Alena Stevens and her husband, Mike sat outside by the campfire. It had been a beautiful day on vacation. They love camping, and this was the perfect ending to a perfect day. After sitting by the campfire for a while, they decided that it was time to go to bed. They tip toed into the trailer, where the candle in the sink that Alena had left burning for a night light for the kids had burned itself out, leaving the trailer very dark. They climbed into bed, and started to drift off to sleep. Suddenly the quiet was shattered as their ten year old son, Garrett sat up and yelled, “I’m blind!!” To which my sister said, “No you’re not. It’s just dark. Go back to sleep.” I’m sure it was all she could do to hold back the giggles that were bubbling up inside her. I know it would be hard for me.
This was not the first time Garrett would do some goofy thing, nor would it be the last. When Garrett was about three or four, he decided that he wanted to ride a big boy bicycle, so his parents got him a two wheeler and put training wheels on it. Garrett was floating on air. He loved riding around on the bike. That didn’t mean, however, that he was in any hurry to get rid of the training wheels, because he wasn’t. Garrett rode around on that bike with training wheels for quite a while…so long, in fact that eventually, one of the training wheels fell off. Even then, Garrett didn’t feel the need to take off the other training wheel. No, he rode around on three wheels until the other training wheel broke off, probably during a leaning turn that only a kid who doesn’t need training wheels can make. And so it was that Garrett learned that he didn’t need training wheels, and probably hadn’t for some time.
Not all of Garrett’s antics were on his own, of course. His sisters, Michelle and Lacey got in on some of them too. I’m sure you think you know what to do with a sleeping bag, but you would be wrong. A sleeping bag isn’t just for sleeping. No, it makes a perfect sled too. The three kids used to get on the sleeping bags and slide down the stairs in the classic style of the Home Alone movies. The biggest problem was that unlike the Home Alone movie, where McCauley Calkin used the sled and went right out the front door, their stairs ended with a wall a very short distance away. Nevertheless, the fun continued until one of the kids hit the wall a little too hard and ended up crying. Then Alena had to make them stop.
Those days of being a silly little boy are long gone now, but Garrett is still a joker in any way he can think up. I guess some things will never change…or will they. These days Garrett is busy making plans of a different kind. He is ready to take the next big step in his life, as he and his fiancée, Kayla Smiley plan their wedding to take place some time next summer. Their marriage, however, will probably not change Garrett’s funny side. While Garrett is the kind of man who is always ready to help whenever he is needed, he also still loves to pull pranks and other jokes on people whenever he can. I’m quite sure that they will never have a dull moment in their lives together. Today is Garrett’s birthday. Happy birthday Garrett!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
Sometimes, something we want can be almost within our grasp, but still slightly beyond our reach. That is such a frustrating place to be. Yesterday, Bob and I planned to hike Harney Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and we did…in a way. The hike is 3.4 miles each way, and a lot of it takes you up some serious hills. We have not hiked like we used to in a couple of years, because we were very busy taking care of Bob’s parents, my mom, and Bob’s sister. We have been trying to get ready for hiking in the Black Hills this year, but we haven’t really reached a place where we feel like we are ready.
We hiked two really long sections of the Mickelson Trail the first two days of our trip, and yesterday was for Harney Peak. I think we both knew we weren’t really ready, but we thought we could do it…even if it took us a bit longer. Believe me, a bit was not even close to reality. We probably stopped triple the amount of times as normal. And breathing for me was…well, let’s just say I was gasping for air at times. I couldn’t believe I was that out of shape. But, the last time we dared take on Harney Peak was in 2011.
Nevertheless, we headed out…still tired from the day before, but hopeful that the day would bring success our way. It was a really tough go. I knew we were out of shape, but hoped that I was wrong about how bad it really was. As we walked and struggled, the truth was obvious. The one thing I can say, is that it was one of the hottest days here, so far this summer…but that is really the only excuse I have…and the one Bob agreed on and said we should use.
We did technically hike up Harney Peak, but when it came time to go up the 300 stairs, I has no more “up” in me. Bob could have made it, but he would not go without me. I was so hot and so tired that is wasn’t sure, at that moment, that I could make it back to the car, but I had to…there was no other way back, aside from life flight, and I wasn’t going there. We headed back and while it took us a while, we did make it back. We both agreed that we probably shouldn’t have attempted it, but in the end it was a successful failure. We did technically make it, we just didn’t go up the stairs to the very top. Does that make me feel better…no, but it is all I have.