Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Rains are Here!

What makes Arizonans different from other people? When it rains, others go inside—but we go outside!

Rain is a miracle. We love the feel of those huge monsoon raindrops, the sight of mist rising from the streets as cold water hits hot tarmac, the way the desert smells after a rain. And I get a kick out of hearing the splay-toed frogs, who come out only after a monsoon rain. They sound like itsy-bitsy goats bleating.

This year the miracle was late in coming. June 15th was the official beginning of the monsoon season, like June 21st was the first day of summer, but those dates don't mean a lot when the rains don't come until mid-July and the temps have hit triple digits already in May.

I came back to Green Valley July 18th after spending ten days in Idaho for Gary's 50th class reunion and two family reunions, and I was stricken by how horribly dry everything looked. My area of Arizona is in the Sonoran desert, which gets more rain than the Mojave--Green Valley really is green. But we're in a drought that's lasted 10 years now, and every little bit of rain is precious.

So I was hoping that the rains would have come while I was gone, but no luck. When even the cactus start withering, it's bad.

Then Monday afternoon, I could smell rain in the air. Someone was getting blessed moisture, but not my neighborhood. Later in the evening I heard the first splats of rain on my skylights. What a delightful sound! I crossed my fingers, hoping it would continue for more than just a few minutes. It did, for several hours, which is not usual for the monsoon. Those rains are usually localized, hard, and short.

We heard on the morning news that our area had gotten almost an inch and a half. So Gary and I jumped in the car shortly after six to go see if there was water in the Santa Cruz river. It's dry most of the year, so seeing water running is a real thrill.

I'm happy to say that on Tuesday, July 20th, there was water in the Santa Cruz! And you've seen the photo to prove it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday, and the Rally's over

Interesting how life goes. We plan something, anticipate it, enjoy it while it's happening—and then, before we we're ready, it's over and in the past.

Wednesday morning's agenda was short: breakfast and the closing ceremony, including acknowledgements, video presentations of inspiring words, and a fantastic video roundup of the rally. It was a fitting finale to a wonderful time.

Many thanks to the planning committee and others for making the rally so memorable. We were impressed by the organization of events, the quality of the entertainment, and the venue. Our only complaint was that we could never find the hotel elevator until the last day. Too late for the knees by then.

In the end, Nancy and I were most impressed by the members of the TRA. We made many new friends, I got reacquainted with a Bev Cozzens, whom I knew from my one year in Byron, Wyoming, and Nancy saw a side of neighbors Tom and Elaine Kenny she'd never seen before.

There are events in one's life that stand out, that will be remembered with fondness and, perhaps, longing. For Nancy and me, the 2012 Temple Rider's Rally is one such event.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Tuesday at the Rally

Tuesday was packed from early morning until past midnight.

Nancy and I got up early so we could enjoy a leisurely breakfast before going to the temple in time to be part of the 9:00 chapel session. It was a great privilege to be going with these people who were strangers only a few days before, but who were all supporting me with their love and prayers.

The session following and the few moments we spent in the celestial room afterward were made extra sweet because we were in their company.

From the sublime we went to the... Harley-Davidson store for a barbecue lunch. Nancy and I got back to the hotel in time to change before going there. Nancy rode behind Carol Lindsey on her pretty green Gold Wing trike, and I got to ride in Kim's fancy-schmancy red sidecar.

I have to say it tickled me no end to see the folks who didn't have time to change pull up wearing their Sunday clothes--the men in white shirts and ties, the women in skirts and heels. What a hoot. I missed getting the photo I really wanted, one of a clutch of gray-haired ladies admiring the black Harley trike that was in front of the store.

That evening, we went to the Starlight Mountain Theater for supper and a performance of Thoroughly Modern Milly--and got rained out. Not only that, the bus Nancy and I were couldn't get traction on the wet grass, so we had to wait for a big tow truck to get the bus on the road.

Did we mind? Not too much. We were in the best company in the world.

Monday at the Rally

What a day! I got to go on one of the rides, thanks to Dave Harris taking me on his Yamaha (his wife, Jan, rode her Harley).

It was a relatively short ride going through prairie and farmland, from Boise to Mountain Home, then to Nampa and back to Boise, with stops at Emu-Z-Um, a family-owned frontier town with an amazing range of collections, and a pizza place for lunch. I felt very comfortable, even on the freeway. Actually, I loved the trip. I'm thinking I missed my calling as a Motorcycle Mama!

That evening, Nancy and I had a chance to address the group during the Family Home Evening. Nancy spoke about the creative process and had the audience laughing when she went through a series of "What Ifs" using the fictional Big Jim Beattie Bridge as a starting point. (What if Big Jim Beattie was really little?)

I decided to speak on a topic suggested by Mike Simmons when he issued the invitation: What miracles happened during the writing of the book, Leaning into the Curves? When I asked Nancy if she could name one, she said, "That we're still talking!" (More truth to that than you might think.) But for me, the real miracle had to do with temple attendance.

I hadn't been to the temple--hadn't even wanted to go--for a quarter century. But listening to Frank Reece (founder of TRA) and others talk about their love of temple work, I felt--for the first time in a quarter century--a faint urge to attend a session. Other nudges followed, and by the time I told the group this story, I could say that I had a temple recommend in hand and that I would be going with them the next morning!

Following our remarks, Brother and Sister Lundgren of Boise gave a very inspirational presentation on what The One can contribute--a single, small act of service can affect thousands in ways we can't begin to imagine.

All in all, iIt was a wonderful evening, and I'm happy to say that the response to our part of the program was very positive, especially after it was announced that every participant couple and individual would receive a copy of our book.