Sunday, July 19, 2009

For the Range is His Home......

Day One of the Great Migration West was a success. Me? I tend not to set the bar overly high when I am supposed to be doing something such as relaxing but even against a more stringent standard than I might employ (I have mentioned the existence of Margaret a time or two in this space have I not) it went well.

At the point on the horizon line when the road intersects with the sky - and perhaps only there - does life go according to Hoyle. In the day-to-day that I inhabit, a fair amount of time is spent in the fine art of improvisation. Thus when our rather easy, well-mapped out trip for two morphed into a trio of travelers trekking to the lights of Cheyenne, we had to revise our plan of action on the fly. Not every spontaneous journey culminates in a happy ending. Happily for us - the critical first step - getting the traveling party from Point A to Point B in one piece - went off without a hitch.

While I would never question the ingenuity or staying power of my dad-in-law Joe, I must admit that Margaret seemed so genuinely concerned Saturday morning about his ability to successfully negotiate all of the potential pitfalls that she feared were laying in ambush for him at the airport that I was one part relieved and one part pleasantly surprised when I saw him strolling through the concourse at Denver International Airport - having last seen him hours earlier outside of Terminal C at Newark Airport (sorry, I'm a traditionalist and I simply cannot wrap my mouth around the name "Newark Liberty" Airport. I still refer to the indoor arena in East Rutherford as the Byrne Arena - regardless of how many alligators some clothing company festoons to its exterior). Joe has not done a lot of flying in his seventy-six years and prior to his solo flight to Denver yesterday morning I do not think he had undertaken any of it away from the watchful eye of his beloved Suzy.

And at the end of Day One of our journey was the man himself - our host for the week - Rob. When your children are children and they live under your roof and are wholly dependent upon you for everything, there are days when you wonder if you will live long enough to see them mature to the point where they live under a roof other than yours. And then, hopefully you live long enough to see them outgrow the home in which they were raised and watch them as they map out their own course in the world. When you reach that point as a parent, you are chock full of mixed emotions. For while you take great comfort in the success your child achieves, you still have to walk past that empty room at least once a day - the room that was once theirs but now belongs to no one. It stands as a reminder to steps already walked, not those yet to be taken.

What a treat this week shall be for Margaret and me to see our son not as he was but as he is - in the environment that he has cobbled together to make a home for himself. And as much of a treat as it is for us, the joy that Joe takes from being here in Wyoming, watching the oldest of his three grandsons as the man he has become - a man whose growth was shaped in large part by the lessons learned at his grandfather's knee - is incomparable.

And to be here to see it all is simply extraordinary.


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