Friday, January 28, 2005

Best Laid Plans…

Well, it wasn’t the photography that was the problem last week it was the schedule. I actually did take photographs last week. Well a few at least, it was a beautiful sunrise one early morning as I sat in my office looking at the insurmountable pile of stuff to get through. I took a few moments and shot the pictures that are at the link.

So, Friday night I had a party. An old and dear friend of mine made it back to Colorado after having returned to the south with her family. We got the old gang (or at least a great fraction of them) together to toast the return or our prodigal sister. It was a riot! Saturday morning I started cleaning carpets (it was well past time) and except for a few hours I tool off to go out and have a relaxing cup of coffee with a friend, I was still at it when I finally gave up for the afternoon. Sunday was full of all the things I would have normally done on Saturday but didn’t. I decided that I would get my blog updated on Monday when I got to the office.

Perhaps I will. You see, I have not yet been hack to the office. I was half way to the light rail station when the flu I have been trying to get over for the last five days hit with a vengeance. Yes, I’ve spent about twenty-one of every twenty-four hours for the last five days asleep. I feel like I have been rolled in a barrel with rocks.

Now, you may think that this is an idle simile, but I know that it is apt as I have been rolled down a hill in a barrel with rocks! When I was growing up in Southwest Miami, we had a lot of vacant land that the church owned, it had been cleared for building but nothing was on it. Clearing land for construction in that area of South Florida basically consists of scraping all the vegetation (and about 2” of the topsoil and loose rock) off the entire area to be developed and leaving the spoils in a hill to be disposed of later.

Out church owned a large lot that had, as I said, been cleared but been left undeveloped so the land had started to cover over with the local vegetation. There was always a barrel or two to be had in those days, I am not really sure why. I know that they were used for everything, fire pits, making pontoon docks, and construction junk bins, but if you were a kid and wanted to get one to play with (as the fulcrum for a see-saw, for instance) you could find one that could fit the bill.

The time in question, was after the conclusion of the annual church carnival. My friends and I had had lots of fun on a ride that spun you end-over-end in a disc-shaped car that spun around on a circular track. It was fun and left you just on the verge of not being able to go back to the food tent for Arros con Pollo! So we decided that the spoils hill at the back of the church property and one of the oil barrels could provide the same sensation. With a few old army blankets as padding, and a ramp cleared down the side of the hill, we would have one of us crawl in, sit so that we would roll end-over-end and then have the rest of us give a nice push down the hill.

The problem is that the open end of the barrel (required for the ingress and egress of the rider) also allowed various other things into the barrel as it rolled down the spoils. Things like chunks of coral (the main kind of rock in Miami), masonry, cinderblock, and broken bricks discarded when the surrounding houses had been built tended to enter the hole. For some reason, it seemed once this detritus entered the barrel, it never left until we dumped it out with the rider at the bottom of the hill.

But it wasn’t the ride that did the most damage, it was the sudden stop at the bottom when the barrel invariably hit one of the sapling palmettos or banyans that had started to reclaim the empty lot. But we were far too young (and stupid) to allow a little thing like a few bruises, contusions, and a minor concussion or two stop us from having fun! Remember, the point of all this was to have fun! If looking like we had been beaten was the price of fun, okay!

As a matter of fact, the feverish feeling I get when I am vertical for more than an hour or so while battling this flu also reminds me of having just stepped out of the barrel!

I think I should get horizontal and let someone else have some “fun” for a change.

Have a great day! Stay well!

Don Bergquist – Lakewood, Colorado – 28, December, 2005

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