July 3, 2011
What a restless night I had last night. Alex and I are in Idaho at our usual place in Sandpoint. Our pals Ray and Jeannie Lucia and Joe and Susan Lucia are visiting us. We went up to Priest Lake yesterday afternoon and, with the guidance of our pal, Tim Farmin, made our way up a very choppy Lower Priest Lake to the top, where there is a “Thoroughfare” that winds twistily (not a word) through complete wilderness to Upper Priest Lake. I mean, this place is truly uncharted territory. Immense fallen trees, waterfowl, forest so dense you cannot see into it more than a few feet. This is wilderness.
I had only been up there once before, with Craig Hill. On that trip, there was only one other person at Upper Priest, a windsurfer who had hiked in. There are no roads in or even well trodden paths.
However, yesterday there were about a dozen little boats and kayaks and maybe a dozen people to be seen making camp on the edge of the forest. Imagine that most of this nation was once forest like that. Pave paradise, put up a parking lot.
No, let me be honest. I find the forest frightening. I like parking lots. Especially if there are Chik-Fil-A shops nearby.
Anyway, we sped around the upper lake and then headed back to Hill’s Resort, where my boat is docked for the summer. There were hundreds of college age boys and girls calling my name and then shouting “Clear Eyes” and “Bueller, Bueller.”
A pretty girl with an amazing tan and tattoos on her side just below her bikini top came up to me and whispered urgently, “I think you are sooo sexy. Can we hang out later tonight?”
“You’re kidding,” I said. “I’m a fat old man.”
“No. I think you’re really sexy,” she hissed and hugged me while someone took a photo of her and me. “Can we hang out?”
“Not really,” I said. “I’m having dinner with these people,” and pointed at the Lucias and Tim. She winked and walked away. Then she came back and asked if she could text me. Then she walked away.
Still, I do love Hill’s.
Then, back to Sandpoint. I stopped at the Dairy Depot to pick up a huckleberry milkshake for my wife, whose throat is bothering her. After the counterman made my shake and took my tip, he asked, “Would you prefer I call you ‘Ben’ or ‘Mr. Stiller?’.”
“‘Mr. Stiller’ is fine,” I said.
Back to where my ailing wife was lying in bed waiting for the milkshake. Some nice chatter with the Lucias and then to bed. Strange, premonitory dreams of war. Of civil war.
When I awakened this morning, my wife was already on the phone.
Big, big news. Our son and his wife, the staggeringly beautiful Kitty, have had their baby. She is a spectacularly lovely 7 pound girl whom we are to call “Coco,” which is short for her real name, Alexis Cora Stein.
I am just overwhelmed by this birth. We were not expecting it until Wednesday, when we will (if all is well) be home. Now, we have her as our grandchild.
I can so well recall when I was the grandchild. It seems yesterday that Tommy was the child. I guess he will always be our child. My head was swimming all day.
At about three, we took out the Cobalt and went over to Bottle Bay with Tim Farmin and Ray and Jeannie Lucia. We had amazingly good Bottle Bay Burgers, salmon tacos, and other delicacies. As we slowly ate, an elderly couple listened to 1950s music and danced on the dock. It was like a scene from a Fellini movie. Sad and uplifting at the same time. The music was coming from a boom box on their modest boat. I think it was Time Life Fifties Classics. I own it and love it.
We took the boat back to the marina, just as I was about to pull into my space, a kayaker in a tiny little kayak pulled out from a dock and paddled right in front of me. He was oblivious to his impending death. I had to ram the boat in reverse and drift down the marina for a while to avoid killing him, which totally threw off my parking and made me extremely upset. I am not a good boat parker anyway, and this near catastrophe really frazzled me.
Luckily, Tim took the reins and parked the boat perfectly. That was a close call. That Cobalt may be too much boat for a duffer like me.
I feel so worried about Coco, She is only a tiny infant with eyes barely open. What do I want Coco to know? To do her best. To love her parents. To forgive. To be a lot more prudent about money than I am. To be grateful for this, our America, the best place in the universe. To turn her will and her life over to God and turn to Him for help in every situation.
But I wish my parents and Alex’s parents were here to help. And I wish my sister lived closer so she could help. And that Mr. Nixon were still alive to give the leaders of this nation some clue about how to lead a nation. I am excited about Coco, but I am scared.