Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Trip

Ummm, it was a good day and a an odd day at the same time.
The new tire I put on the car took care of the vibration problem - a good thing considering a 300 mile round trip.
Caleb and I talked most of the way up there. I knew I wasn't going to see him again for 2 months unless I make a trip up there and I don't even know if he wants that kind of intrusion. It was a nice drive and I was glad I was able to do it instead of someone else doing it for him.

Such as my mother, who wanted to take him up there. No, mom, I'm doing to do it, I WANT to do it, but thanks for the offer. It isn't any kind of inconvenience for me, at all. I hadn't been up that road in quite a while, I had forgotten all the construction that was going on a few years ago - and still is. They are turning a long stretch of 2 lane highway into 4 lanes, divided. I don't really like it, to be honest. My memories are of a small, narrow, 2 lane highway surrounded by the woods. Now it's 4 huge lanes with a huge divider and the woods are well off to the side.

But, that is neither here nor there, just saying.

We got to Heber and went to a steak house for lunch. Not giving him up quite that fast, lol. He had a buffalo chicken wrap, I had a rib eye steak.

We spend some time talking there as well. We also watched a group of bikers pull in. One of them put out the kick stand, got off and started walking away. The bike - a Harley - fell over and smashed the pickup truck next to it. Ouch!!

Then came the time to go to the camp. Just a few miles down the road. We pulled in. I was in awe of the size of the place. Very clean, kempt and very nice layout. 15 buildings I am guessing, anyway. We got out of the car, went to an out door covered area where there was some people sitting at picnic tables with laptops. They were part of the staff who introduced themselves and we introduced ourselves back. Led inside the building where the real management was, apparently. One man was obviously the dude over the entire place.

Very charismatic and definitely in charge of the place. He introduced himself and we all got into a conversation, though I didn't want to interject myself too much, this is Caleb's deal, not mine, he is going to have to figure this one out on his own and this is what life is about.
I do feel he is going to fit right in with that crowd and I believe he is going to do very well, but that, of course, coming from a potentially less-than-objective viewpoint considering I am his father and I am very proud of what he has done and what he is doing with his life. FAR better than what I did at his age.

So, anyway, got done with the paperwork - he can sign for himself now that he's 18, lol, and then he got into a golf cart thingy with that guy and another leader and I got into my car to follow them to his new living quarters for the next week. A LONG drive, too. Passed all kinds of buildings, including a huge mess hall, a large church and numerous smaller buildings that were designated for varying purposes.

We finally pulled up to a grouping of 3 large buildings. "Cabins", if you can call them that, for the girls. The boys and the girls are separated by QUITE the distance in their quarters. One thing that did hold true, though: large rooms filled with bunk beds. Reminded me of when I was a kid. I have to admit, though, my memories of staying in real cabins struck me as better than staying in modernized buildings. I am a true camper at heart, I can stay in a tent, sleeping bag and have all my own stuff and not have ANY of life's modernizations around me besides what I brought with me and be PERFECTLY happy.

The time was rapidly slipping away, I knew I would have to bid him good bye and I didn't want to do it. Call me sappy if you want. I won't see him for 2 months, but it's a taste of things to come, he will be gone soon enough into his own life and I will be a very small part of it. I will always be there for him as long as I am alive, of course, but the natural course of things is for the offspring to depart from their parents. We took his things in there and then back out onto the porch, where I asked the guy in charge to snap a pic of us. He said he would be honored to and snapped off 2 photos.

We then left those buildings, Caleb got back into the car with me and we drove back up front. We got out, I hugged him and said goodbye, as did he. My son is a gift to me, I will always think that way about him. There are certain things in my life that I consider extremely precious, Caleb is one of those. The only thing I can do now is pray for him. My mother is going to go up there and take him out to lunch sometime during his stay - he doesn't have to work 7 days a week, they get free time on odd days and she asked him if it would be okay, of which he said of course.

And that was it. I watched him walk off to the picnic tables where we had started this out with and then walked into the building. He looked back and waved, I waved back, turned the car on and left.

It was a "nest is empty" moment for me. But, I am happy for him, I hope he has a good time up there.

I wasted no time, though, getting out of there when it was time to leave. Sunday afternoon, people heading home from the mountains, popular thing to do when it starts getting warm. The highway was already getting filled up and I didn't want to get stuck in a huge traffic jam. Admittedly, however, that thought hadn't even crossed my mind until I had actually left and saw what was going on out there. It took a bit longer to get home than going up there with the traffic, but it was a nice drive so no biggies.

That's it.

ben

Sunday 6/5/2011

Just a quick note here.
Taking off to Heber/White Mountains in just a few minutes.
Arizona is on fire again, but Heber looks to be at least 70 miles from the flames.
I hope it stays that way.
Just looked it up, much further than that, the fire is threatening the town of Alpine - been through there many times in the past - it's 111 miles from Heber.
Heber already was partially subjected to the largest wild fire in AZ history early last decade when a firefighter that "needed work" intentionally started a blaze at one place and a woman who was lost intentionally started a blaze at another. Eventually, the two came together and burned over 500,000 acres of forest.
I don't think they pressed charges against the woman, though they certainly gave her a hard time about it, the ex-firefighter is in prison.
So, I haven't been up there since that fire and it will be interesting to see how Mother Nature has worked to bring it back. My mother's property was subjected to fire long ago, before she bought it, trees were growing back, brush, it's the way of the wild, I do believe.

Anyway, I think my son is excited about the adventure, I do believe that he is going to find it isn't ALL fun and games, especially dealing with troubled youth. I am going to encourage him to stick with it regardless of how hard it gets. He is getting paid for his time up there, I think a couple of grand for the 2 months. Not great money, but not bad, either, considering room and board/eating. Plus, I am going to take some pics,it's really majestic views.

Later.

ben

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