By Forrest Hershberger
View From The Handlebars 

Fond Memories

 

October 14, 2020

There are some experiences in life that never fully get filed away in the caverns of memory. They have a way of always staying near to the top.

Compare them to the worn-out hiking boots or jeans your wife wants you to throw away. That event is so deep in the past you should be blowing dust off the book cover. Nevertheless, it is a memory that brings back a smile like it happened this morning.

Dads have a way of stockpiling those memories. Some of those memories are reflections of previous stress moments: the developmental stages of early childhood (including the first time Dad has to “go to the store” for his early teen daughter), the heartbreak of teen relationships gone bad and the list goes on.

I was recently taken back to a memory that dates back several years, a couple decades really. It was a time early in newsroom technology when stories were submitted more often typed or hand-written than electronically. At this time I was at a paper where a certain contributor of began leaving handwritten comments about the column I wrote that particular week. After a time, it grew into an anticipated exchange each week or so. What did he think? Is he going to give a theological insight to my musings or just go on his way.


Fast-forward a little, he retired and I moved to a different city. My family spent our time learning what is offered in that part of the state. He continued his curiosity of history and guest preaching and different churches. Then one day I get a call that he’s planning to stop at our new hometown. He stopped in at early afternoon and suggested we check out the local sites. This is where I would later learn of a slight disconnect. His idea of interesting sites and mine were quite different.

We all got in my pick-up, still believing we were all on the same page mentally, and drove to one of my favorite places to hike and bike. Officially, I think it was just some open range, maybe BLM (Bureau of Land Management) area with a former granite mine nearby. I remember finding the mine or whatever it was by accident, nearly a bad accident. I took an afternoon mountain-biking and rolled through some brush to find smooth walls of what might have been a deep basement of a tall building. I learned later some of the granite for nearby buildings, maybe even for the capitol, was mined from that area.

We walked the area for a while, checking out the natural site and me sharing what I had learned about the geography. Meanwhile, my six-year-old daughter was getting tired and I became the transportation while she got the view from on top. It was nice, although after a while I begged mercy so I could drive home. It was then I learned my mature friend was thinking architecture, not peaks and sand dunes. The hike wore him out to the point my wife questioned if I overworked our houseguest.


It wasn’t our only hike at this area. Jill was young enough we did things together, more than some teens and their dads. In this particular community, there was a sandstone cliff that overlooked downtown from the south.

From the north side, it offered little more than a narrow buffer from the wind. From the south, it offered a few trails and hour or so adventures; not exactly a day hike, but more than a leisurely walk by the river. On one adventure we both learned how a dad should pack when hiking away from facilities.

Some days that of all things is what makes me smile. Other days, it is how long she remembered, even relived our “hike up D-Mountain.”

Memories like this are almost spiritual. The hard times are balanced with the assurance we are not walking alone. Sometimes we are carried through the mud and sometimes it is enough to have footsteps to follow.

 

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