I remember the first time I saw the sun rise over the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. I ran back to the campsite and dragged the friend I was camping with out of bed and down the road 15 minutes. “There. Look” I proclaimed as hawks wheeled overhead in the early morning light just peeking of the canyon wall. It was glorious. But not to everyone it seems. In return I got a tired response.
“That’s great. Can I go back to bed now?”
I consider myself more than just a little fortunate to be able to reminisce about seeing the last remaining members of the famed “Rat Pack” perform live on the stage of the Chicago Theater – Sammy Davis, Dean Martin and the Chairman of the Board Himself, Frank Sinatra. By nothing more than sheer luck, I was also there for the opening night of Paris, Las Vegas (the big casino in the heart of the strip that looks like the Eiffel Tower).
I grew up in a blue collar town, where you got a new pair of shoes when the nickle sized hole in the sole got up to a quarter. When I road in the family car I could watch the street go by through the hole in the floorboard (my dad drove that car until the wheels literally fell off). All that being the case a trip to Disney World was a child’s dream I rarely bothered hoping for – until I was able to afford it myself. It was pouring rain the first day there. I ran inside the first building I came to and there inside was one of my favorite cartoon characters, in the polyester flesh…Tigger. I gave him a big hug and cried happy tears.
But not all memories are good ones.
Some more vivid then others, some with more lasting effects than others.
Last night as I finished early morning prayers and started to drift back to sleep I was awoken by a loud thumping sound. So it was that I wasn’t surprised to see our guard dog come rushing into the room. What surprised me was when he turned around and calmly resumed his position at the end of my bed.
WAM, WAM, WAM
I jumped out of bed and rushed into the next room there to find Fran stomping the floor of her bedroom. Realizing there was little chance she had suddenly taken up nocturnal wine making, and even less chance she was crushing grapes for said wine, I asked her what in the Sam Hill she was doing. The answer was the perfect example of sort of question you shouldn’t ask because you really don’t want to know (even if you didn’t know it at the time)…
At this point I would rather she HAD been crushing grapes. It seems that she too had just finished morning prayers in the wee hours before sunrise. Afterwards the guard dog saw it as the perfect opportunity for a early morning sojourn to the front yard. “I thought my foot had fallen asleep because I was kneeling” Fran explained. Instead the tingling sensation was caused by many little legs that had seen her foot as a barrier to progress. Those legs belonged to ants.
Lots of them.
At Fran’s behest I made my way to the front door to scout for what she thought might have been the stray ant that had made its way inside. I did indeed find a few stragglers which quickly met an untimely end.
Now hind sight, as grandma used to say, is 20-20. I now almost wish I had gone back to bed. Instead I opened the front door to a vivid memory that is bound to make its way into more than a few nightmares. There on the front step was the end result of a raid that would have made a special forces unit proud. The concrete step, which just four scant hours before held nothing more than a welcome mat, was now covered by ants.
Thousands of them.
Not like the Popsicle dropped on a hot sidewalk by an errant child that is later discovered by ants. No. This was different. It was as if ants had discovered they had suddenly hit the lottery and where in a headlong rush to somewhere. And where ever that somewhere was, they had no intention of letting a small obstacle like the front step deter them.
This of course, forced us to call in the artillery – bleach and the garden hose. After the battle raged through sunrise, we finally prevailed. The trick now, of course, is to try and get rid of the memory that I wish wasn’t quite so vivid and hold on to the good ones.
See you online,