I was so pleased when Brian and Melanie traveled to Palm Springs to see my latest play ‘Widow’s Waltz’ being performed at the Script2Stage venue in Rancho Mirage. Sharon and I were able to spend precious time with them. As a family, we enjoyed the play, hosted friends at a special brunch and spent quality time just relaxing and talking.
Of course, before they arrived, Sharon felt compelled to remind me that their life style was different than ours and it would show in a myriad of ways. Generational changes, individualistic attitudes (just as Sharon raised them) and less than modest opinions have compelled both my kids to point out their parent’s sometimes odd behavior (in their opinion, of course.)
For example, dishes are meant for the dishwasher not hand-cleaning. Both my kids pile their dishwashers high with dirty dishes before even thinking of cleaning them. I, on the other hand, don’t mind doing the dishes after every meal. And don’t get me started about our habit of getting to the airport at least two hours early…
One of the biggest ‘no-no’s that I seem to commit each time they visit is to reuse plastic utensils. I’m lectured that those red plastic cups were NEVER meant to be cleaned and reused. My car is supposed to be available 24 hours a day and bedtime would vary depending on current activities and if Brian wanted to watch a late night movie. In other words, our comfortable slower paced senior way of living had to make adjustments for a more active lifestyle of both our kids.
Overall, our time spent with the kids was fabulous and changing our lifestyle didn’t hurt in the least. It made for an enjoyable couple of days and created more memories for us to cherish.
But some things never change and for this Sharon and I are eternally grateful. Both Brian and Melanie have proven to be hard workers, very ambitious and marvelous hosts. Sharon had a special brunch for our out-of-town visitors and some of those folks who helped us with the play. Brian and Melanie hosted the event and pulled it off without a hitch.
Almost every morning, Melanie and Brian would go out to run the mountain trails surrounding our neighborhood. Back in Colorado, Brian has climbed all the 49ers (mountains over 49 thousand feet) in the state. Melanie runs every morning, seven days a week. She has completed numerous races including several marathons.
This passing of the torch and generational changes has been fun, interesting and sometimes frustrating to watch and experience. But as the folkies love to sing, it is just part of the ‘circle game.’ Outdoor activities, exemplified for me by trail running, biking, hiking and distance running has always been a big part of my life.
But now even that torch has been passed on to my kids and grandchildren. Brian and Melanie proved that definitively a couple of years ago.
It’s called ‘C2C’ for those in the know, ‘Cactus to Clouds’ for the rest of us. It’s one of the top ten toughest hikes in North America. It is, by far, the hardest and most challenging mountain climb in the Coachella Valley. A couple of years ago, Brian and Melanie completed ‘Cactus to Clouds’ in just 13 hours, which while not a record, still a remarkable time.
There’s a family argument as to who really brought up the whole topic of C2C. I’m convinced that I did and Brian is just as certain that he found it on his own. No matter, they did it after first talking about it for several years. Back in another lifetime, I desperately wanted to do the climb with my kids but a lack to hardcore training, writing commitments and other distractions prevented me from getting in shape.
Now, what was probably the final conquest of my ever-searching imagination, the C2C, is just another missing notch on my belt of ‘hopeful wishes.’ So I’ll have to file away my three marathons, half of a 50 miler, numerous 10k and 5k races and 45 solid years of pounding the ground and call it my running past.
Thankfully, I’ve still got the Garstin trail among others here in town along with the Triple Crown (The Henderson, Shannon and Garstin loop) to satisfy my weekend jaunts. But C2C, the big one, passed me by.
Oh well, I’ve still got my kid’s pictures to ease the pain.
The torch has been passed.