It’s strange to not affix a stamp to each of two envelopes. The idea of emailing attachments to the Reidster runs counter to everything I’ve practiced in the past 11 years of knocking out the Monday letters. The U.S. Postal Service is probably planning for the budget shortfall. A rudimentary computation a couple of years ago uncovered that I’d already popped for several hundred dollars in postage alone, and in today’s dollars the out-of-pocket expense has zoomed past $500. That’s a lot of letters from a dad to his children.
The build up these last few weeks before the pilgrimage to see Emma in St. Paul has come and gone. Felicia and I returned last night none the worst for grandparental wear. The little cutie pie is doing well (despite her bumbling gramp’s awkward efforts to hold her). Unlike riding a bike, at least this guy needed to learn Baby Holding 101 all over again. I did, however, escape changing any diapers, as I was always a moment too late. Darn. Felicia stepped up big-time in that role. I pledge to move quicker next time.
This time next week I’ll be huffing and puffing at 10,000 feet, trying to keep up with my boys Tom and Richard. Excitement isn’t the right word for this trek as I have transcended excitement. But like most things long anticipated, what has been too long in the planning will too soon be over. Already, son-in-law Tim has decreed another – and newer – route in 2013 through this part of the Wind River range in his pursuit of trophy size Golden Trout. If he will have me among his troupe of youthful hikers, I am game, game, game for it.
No news from Reid this week. Such is the way of his world. I’d love to hear from the lad before shoving off for Wyoming and the Bridger. If I don’t hear from him, at least he will hear from me.
Here is last week’s letter.
July 9, 2012
Ellen/Reid: About the only thing that benefitted from the near-record heat here was our tomatoes which have come on like gangbusters. Grass, trees and flowers took a pounding with or without water. Nothing can flourish in nature’s oven. And if it weren’t for the heat, it would be the humidity. Reid, you were just the opposite over in London, what with rain, rain, and still more rain. I suppose that’s good in some respects given Briton’s love for gardening. It does get old sweating all the time. You can’t even walk to the postbox without working up a good drenching. Its good your mom got you guys a spare AC unit, Ellen. That’ll help the three of you immensely.
I’ve been doing my daily walk in the midst of all of it, and am thankful for the workout although the pounds aren’t shedding quite as quickly as they used to do in yesteryear. A cold Nalgene has made the treks around the block a little bit more palatable. For some reason I was reminded this weekend of what it felt like to run long distance in the heat, and am glad those days are long, long ago. My old gang of Ironman, Joe, Rand, Beamer, Bob O. and Jetz used to run 20 miles on Saturday mornings at 7 o’clock, and by the time mid morning rolled around as we finished, you could’ve poked us with a fork because we were done. Those were the days, and good riddance. I watch some of the runners around here hobble their way on the pavement, and I just want to pull them aside and tell them to find something else to stay fit. It is tempting to tell them to bicycle except bikers are getting run over by cars all the time. You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
We’re excited to head up to Minneapolis this weekend. It will be great to see how little Emma has grown – from the photos, she’s becoming a chunk-ette. But I say that with all good intentions. She is just such a little sweet pea. Felicia keeps telling me we have to be considerate of your family time so we’ll tastefully bow out and retreat back to the B&B at the appropriate time. ‘Gramps’ is available to do any chores around the house that you and Tim see fit. Betsy has strongly suggested that we take Felicia over to the Big Mall so she can see how Midwesterners spend their idle time, and it would be a good way to get your b-day gift, Ellen. Gramps calls first dibs on pushing Emma in her Rolls Royce of strollers.
Everything is all packed for Wyoming. The excitement is really beginning to build. I’ll be toting much less in the Bridger Wilderness than was done in previous years. I’m gonna guess about 35 lbs. At least two pounds of that is gorp. Food is pretty much pasta and dried sauces, cheese grits and oatmeal for breakfasts, power bars for lunch (plus tin foil for any hapless trout that mistake our store-bought flies for real food). Looks like no fires – too dry out there – so we’ll lug two big bottles of white gas. The only cause for concern is my shoulders. For some reason, both have gone to pot at once over the past few months, and there will be hell to pay to put my pack on. Once it’s on my shoulders, no problem-o but it’s the getting it on my shoulders that will hurt. I literally cannot touch my back or reach up to my shoulders. Not sure why they would both go kaplooey at the same time. This is a reminder to me to call the doc to get his two cents on things. All in all, it’s hell getting old.
Nothing much else to report. Same old, same old. Reid, it was great to get your call. You sound good, and I’m glad the Brits like your work. They are also models of civility and you should fit right in culturally. Let me know of your plans for continental travels. Might as well make travel-hay while the sun shines, as they say. Adieu.