When I was in the 5th grade my parents and I went on a two-week trip from Florida to Albuquerque, NM, with a short trip over to Flagstaff, Arizona. I don't remember much from that entire trip except the backseat of the Oldsmobile car my parents had at the time. You see, the morning we left they woke me up to leave, I took two steps into the garage to get in the car and threw up. And that was pretty much my entire trip. I spent it sick in the backseat.
I vaguely remember stops in Texas, in New Mexico at the Carlsbad Caverns, the Grand Canyon, and even one day when my dad tried to take me snow skiing at Flagstaff, the mountain for which the city is named. The only thing I remember about that morning is vomiting copious amounts of orange juice. It seemed more than any 9 year old little girl's body could ever possibly hold. My dad turned around and took me back to the hotel to stay with my mother. I don't even remember seeing the mountain, or snow, or anything.
The other morning Allen woke me up with hot coffee and kisses. “Baby time to get up, we're near Flagstaff and I want you to see everything.” There at the truck stop I could see the mountain rising out of the flatland, sitting there like a snow-capped crown on a pillow of brown and green velvet. I took some pictures but it was still so far away.
As we drove, I kept taking pictures. And driving and taking pictures.
And more driving and taking more pictures. Distance is deceiving when you're out in the middle of desert land. We drove for 80 miles with the mountain ever creeping closer yet still out of reach.
When we finally got to the base of Flagstaff it was more breathtaking than I could have imagined.
I tried to remember anything from my childhood, but sadly no images could be recalled. I tried to imagine my dad skiing down the snow covered lanes towering so high above me. I remember dad telling me his ski instructor looked just like John Denver. As we drove around the mountain all I could do was smile and watch in wonder, my heart swelling with love for this man I share my life with. One amazing experience after another, day by day, mile by mile, he is showing me the world. I may not have many childhood memories but I am making uncountable new ones with him. And that is what love, life, and happiness is all about.