Ugh. Hate this.
Ugh. Hate this.
This is supposed to be funny. But it kinda isn’t right now.
I love the feel of great quality sharp scissors in my hand but scissors have always been challenging for me. Most scissors are built for right hand people, and when you use them in the left hand, they don’t cut as well, they pinch your thumb in a strange way, but if you give me a set of left hand scissors it feels so awkward. Regardless, a good quality set of scissors can be a family heirloom. I know. I have a couple I inherited. I love them. Each pair.
Today in 1973 : Dolly Parton recorded the song she also wrote, ’I Will Always Love You’ in RCA’s Studio “B” in Nashville.
The song was written for her one-time partner and mentor, Porter Wagoner whom she was splitting professionally with at the time.
This song has always brought tears to my eyes. It’s no different this morning.
I’ve referred to Cowbird stories before. Sometimes they really strike me. This one did. The odd thing is that it struck me in a way that wasn’t about me necessarily, but about memories. And sheltering those memories in yourself because you want them to be the way you remember them to be, without corruption from someone elses version of that time. Because you need that memory to be a certain way to make that part of you that holds that memory feel ok. You need to hold onto that way of remembering because it has become part of you, a physical part of you and without it existing in exactly that way that part of you is false..or less..or maybe even without it..it leaves a great big hole that caves in in it’s darkness. But the truth is…your truth and my truth are different camera angles on the same thing, neither one is wrong, neither one is exclusively right. The truth is everyone wants to fly, and sometimes we need to believe that we can, or we did. The truth is everyone sometimes needs someone else to catch them when they are falling and wheither its clear or not that they were actually flying or they were just hanging over the edge with their foot in someone elses hand who was trying to prevent them from certain death, everyones truth is exactly what they need it to be. And sometimes that’s really, really, heartbreaking and tragic.
(use the arrows in that box above to actually read the story..it’s not that intuitive..I’m sorry..I didn’t do it.)
I’ve never been afraid of heights. Love it in fact…
Thum! Thum! Thum! The whole tower shook when Billy was coming up to visit/check on me. I was the young Forest Service lookout , or half the team. Jane , my wife , worked the days I was down. Dry Park Lookout tower was 125 feet tall. The highest in the State of Arizona. So high because sitting on the Kaibab plateau at 9,000 foot elevation and all around were not prominences or hills or buttes but flat looking terrain. “Mountain laying down”, the Piutes called it..Kaibab, the north Kaibab sitting just next to the Grand Canyon. Only when it rained and the fog and water dogs delineated the many ravines and washes of this forest could a lookout judge distance. A firefighter needed to know how far away from the tower was the smoke, not just the azimuth; degrees from north.
Eight sets of stairs one needs to ascend to get to the little 8’X8’ box on top. Thum! Thum! Thum!, Billy, in his 50’s needed to rest every second flight.
“God Damn stairs,” he started after grabbing breaths and holding on to the window sill.
“Gotta fix ‘em some time.” The stairs were old wood and painted battleship grey with sand sprinkled on them while the paint dried. There were galvanized steel 2 inch hand railings along the flights and nothing else. Billy Swapp stood over six feet not including his Stetson and cowboy boots. Dark as an Indian he was 3rd or 4th generation Morman of the Arizona Strip; a cowboy with a “Good govment job.”
My wife and I and our daughter ,Maura were up here on the North Rim, summer of ‘71’; our second year employed by the ranger district. Maura was blond and blue eyed and innocently working on 2 years old.. toddling around a bit, crawling and staggering then finding her balance, running then falling down and laughing. Billy loved her. His job was to bring propane tanks for the refrigerator and heater and cookstove. Also he arrived occasionally with a trailer of water for the cistern and candy for Maura. A Jack Morman, ex alcoholic he needed his coffee and Maalox. Gruff and stern and nonforgiving to me—he’s sit and chat for hours down blow the tower in our cabin with Jane, Maura crawling, climbing balancing about.
One day, the constant breeze, the sound of wind thru the adjacent Ponderosa pines’ branches and needles; stopped. I heard a faint vibration and just a little little shaking. I put down the book I was reading; some Carlos Casteneda tome on being a “Man of Power”, and looked out the window and down down to the ground. I saw no green FS pickup, no visitors’s cars, nothing. Thum. Thum. I was sure I felt something in my seat; some small shaking. I raised one of the four windows the tower had for walls and leaned way out holding on to the sill; and down on the 3rd or 4th flight of stairs, coming up, determinedly was a little crawling blond haired girl just chugging along upward. There was no gate below at the ground and no fence under the steel railings over the stairs. Just air.
“Hi, Daddy!” She saw me looking down from above. “I come!”
I swallowed hard my surprise and my fear and called out to my wife who was doing something or other inside the cabin.
“Jane?!” My voice was now under control, barely.
“Jane.” I said not yelled.
“Come out ,please.” I was leaning again out the window looking, talking firmly to my wife to “Come out.”
She opened the screen door and looked up. “Lunch isn’t ready yet, you’ll….” Then she saw Maura headed almost half way up the tower stairs, one knee up, one hand, the other knee up , one hand.
Jane walked to the tower as I began going down through the heavy trap door that was part of the floor.
“Well, hey Maura, coming up for a visit?” I squeaked out.
“Don’t move, honey, wait for Mommy.” Jane was going up the stairs softly so softly and talking, cooing to her daughter now more than 50 feet up the steel tower.
“ Hey baby, going to visit Daddy?” She joked tightly while moving as quick and steadily up as she could. I was moving down talking, chiding the little girl. Both parents kept their tension, the out right panic out of their voices and their minds. Neither of us was going to sound scared or upset or angry to Maura. Total calmness prevailed as we talked to our little 2 year old as we ascended and descended to her.
“Why don’t you just sit down and wait for Mommy, Maura?”
“Daddy will come down and get you.”
Jane was there first. She got her scooped up and held her tight then instead of retreating downward the stairs, she came up to me and inside the tower, trap door shut now.
When Billy heard the story the next day, he looked carefully at us and demanded we repeat it. He picked up Maura on his knee and said so sweetly while anger was in his eyes,
“We’ll just have to do something then won’t we honey?”
Three men arrived the next morning with chicken wire and built a gate at the bottom and fenced in the whole stairway—hand rail to wooden stairs.
I said to Jane, “I guess this is what ‘People of Power’ do when things need to be done.
Always loved this. Been in my archive “inspiration” folder for years. Figured it should live here too. xomg