Sunday, October 24, 2010

O' Daughter My Daughter

As far as daughters go mine has got to be the best. I know that one might find my opinion somewhat biased in this but I can tell you that it is not. I conducted a scientific study which did indeed find that my daughter is the best. If I were not her father, I would want to be.

So that being said and my own objectivity being beyond reproach I give to you a brief recap of the 1st (and best so far)father and daughter campout a somewhat substandard father and his A#1 daughter attended recently.

Soon after moving back to Mesa an announcement was made at church regarding a father/daughter campout. Curiosities were peaked and nerves were set on edge as my employment at that time required working the weekends. The fates intervened and pushed the outing back a bit, while also granting me a new job that didn't require weekend work.

So this weekend G-mama and I headed out to the White Mountains to camp out with the other dads and daughters. After a brief detour to Wally World (because what campout doesn't start out there?) and a ruggedly cooked meal (at McDonald's, her choice)we took the back roads past Saguaro Lake. Gracie said that she loved the road because it felt like a roller coaster and asked if we could revisit it on the way home in the daylight. We hit the spot after a quick roadside potty break (I'm not saying who had to go!) and a long discussion as to the merits (or lack thereof) of vault toilets. The aroma of broiling steak could do nothing to touch the satisfaction I felt with a tummy full of McNuggets.

We walked around and decided it was a little too cold, and a little too wet, and a little too wet to set up the tent. Gracie hatched a plan: let's sleep in the sub. So we did it. And were rewarded by a nice warm night's sleep. But I get a head of myself. First we braved the cold, had some hot chocolate, made a s'more, and tested the above mentioned (and thankfully lighted) vault toilets. Then we slept.

Morning arrived and with it some cool (no pun intended) fog, awesome breakfast, and the promise of a hike to the creek. While at the creek Brother Musgrave of the Bishopric asked if we wanted to try fishing for crawdads. Grace was all over it. She turned out to be pretty darn good at it as you can see below. After fishing, we headed back to the camp, packed up, and headed home. On the way home we absolutely did not stop at DQ in Payson and partake of a cookie dough and strawberry cheesequake blizzard.

A scene or two Gracie liked

The fisher woman

And her catch!

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Break (In the weather)

After two months of punishing heat, heat that seems to make your whole body cry as sweat beads drench your clothes, a storm with a bad attitude and admirable perseverance broke the will of the heat and washed away a long Summer's worth of torridness. As I sat in the comfort of my chair in my air conditioned room and listened to the wind begin to whip up leaves and dust outside excitement began to whip up inside me. It had been a while since we have been able to enjoy a decent storm. This one started up like a typical monsoon, although it was really too late in the season to be considered a monsoon. The rough and tumble winds. The intermittent rain drops falling fatly with a splat on the hot concrete like the flirtatious lover's kiss, the tease of more to come. Then finally the literal calm before the storm. Darkness in the late afternoon, swirling heavy clouds in the final throes of labor. A weird quiet, probably owing to the saturation of the air. It was sultry, to steal a movie line...
Finally, the heat rolled over like a beaten dog submitting to its master. The clouds broke over the Valley of the Sun and drowned out the warmth. Seemingly in an instant the temperature dropped. Children ran out to play in the cooling rains no matter how hard the plummeting drops fell upon them. Unlike the heat, these little hooligans had no intentions of bowing to the will of the storm. They laughed in the face of Zeus and his lightning bolts as he hurled them down from Olympus. They laughed at their parents' for scolding about soaking clothes and ruined umbrellas. Playing in the yards while giants drops imitate jumping beans hitting the ground and bounding back towards the sky. The rain was cleansing them like a baptism. Washing away, as it were, the Summer sins of dust and salt and granting them a new beginning.
After a night filled with Mother Nature's sound and fury, the dog days tried to give one last little bite as they turned tail to run. The morning sun was warm again and the humidity was wilting, but quickly, like a mail man with his pepper spray the rain clouds came again and finally chased that mangy mutt away. To emphasize its point the rains flooded out freeways bringing traffic to a stand still. Nature showing Man's creations again who was boss. The storm, as I said, had attitude even casting down some of nature's own proud trees, perhaps for the audacity of trying to reach the cloud's own domain of the sky. Roads littered with debris, pebble strewn yards washed out, and the basins formerly filled with children's games now filled with the remnants of the storm's own offspring.
We were left with cleaning up to do, but were excited by the prospects of the outdoors being cooler than indoors. With a spring in our steps we ventured out to enjoy the break.