Saturday, March 31, 2012

Being A Father...

Tonight I heard a talk about fathers, who they are, who we think they are, who they ought to be... It made me think about what it means to be a father (like nervously holding a nail while your youngest holds the hammer?). The speaker spoke of his father and the influence he had on him. You could tell he had a great influence on the son.

As my boys have grown, I think of what influence I'm having on my I do the things I should be doing? Do I do the things they think I should be doing? Are they watching and listening to me when I get mad because some goober cuts me off while I'm driving? Oh, I'm sure they don't--they don't notice those things... ;)

When I think of my own father, there are only distant memories, and very few ones at that. I hope that, had I the chance to spend more time with him, I would have used and appreciated his wisdom and life experiences to help me be all those things we see in fathers and hope we have in ourselves.

Tonight's talk got me thinking. Tomorrow my oldest turns 17. I've held the title of father for 17 years. I can't believe it's been that long...time does truly fly. One thing about the title,'s a title I'll always have, something I'll always be.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Our $9 Cuisinart...

When the entire world (or as it seems...) is spending their hard-earned cash chasing an elusive lottery number, we scored this!

Back on January 12, 2012 I wrote a blog post about a purchase I made that day at the Deseret Industries, our local thrift store. Here's the link, if you're interested: CUISINART STORY. The motor on the unit didn't gamble did not pay off. I tried taking the Cuisinart apart, but I couldn't figure out why it didn't work. It was shiny enough, but shiny does not always translate to operational. For the past couple of months it's been sitting in a corner of our bedroom waiting for me to get rid of the thing. For some reason, I didn't...I just let it sit.

Fast forward to today. My youngest son and I visited our favorite thrift store and I came across another Cuisinart food processor, but this time, there was only the base motor and the food processor base. It cost me $4. This time I made sure the thing worked before I plopped down my hard-earned plastic. Still, I wasn't sure if the attachments that came with my original Cuisinart  would work. But for 4 bucks, I thought (again...) it was worth the risk.

SCORE! I brought the thing home, plugged it it, and tried it out. The darn things works. So I quickly checked out the Cuisinart website and the suggested retail price for a SmartPower Duet® Blender/Food Processor, Model BFP-03 is $79.95. Looks like, thanks to a little patience and a lack of a desire to clean up and throw away broken appliances, we saved ourselves a whole $70 and .95¢. We purchased no lottery tickets, but we bought this, and for almost 100% of those who did buy a lottery ticket(s), we have something to show for our purchase. All in all, not a bad D.I. day...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Plane In The Pane...

I don't know how many circles the refueling plane flew overhead before I spotted it through my office building window...maybe none. Working just a few miles from Hill Air Force Base, hearing the roar of jet engines is nothing new. But as I left work I saw the four-engine plane coming toward me. I snapped a picture through the window pane. I thought if it turned out and looked kind of cool I could use it for my "Pic Of The Day" but I found a cuter subject and used that picture instead.

I got in my car and drove around to the front of the building to wait for the family. That's when I saw the plane again. I have no experience with planes and/or flying but I thought it odd it was circling. I snapped another picture, this time over the building I was just in.

I waited while sitting in my car listening to an audiobook and the plane had turned east, passed again the Wasatch Mountain range and was about to fly overhead. This time I opened the car door and snapped it as it was directly over my head.


I wondered if the plane would circle again. I had no idea--and I still have no idea--why the plane was circling. Maybe it couldn't land. Maybe. The last picture I took by leaning into the passenger seat and I hoped I caught the plane in the frame. I think I like the one in the tree the best.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012



My wife says (and she's correct in her statement...) that if a man in our community can sing, he can pretty much be in any local theater production. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but generally, this is the case. I'm not the best singer out there, but I can read music and stay on pitch, for the most part so I've been lucky enough to be involved in a lot of productions over the years.

So when I got a call this morning asking me to help out with a production this summer, the conflicts showed up. On the one hand, it is such an honor to be asked to be in a show, it really is. I've been lucky to be a part of some great shows in the past decade plus... And I've met some incredible people from which many lasting friendships have been formed. In addition, being on stage with a great cast is really a rush, a rush I enjoy.

On the other hand, I am trying this writing thing and trying to become a professional novelist. Perhaps my writing skill on these blog posts do not adequately reflect this, but it's a goal of mine. And if someone is going to be serious about this type of goal, certain things must be sacrificed, things like doing plays, for example...

On the other hand, I'm of the opinion that when you have a talent, you should share that talent with others. Doing a show and writing can both accomplish this--one is more immediate than the other. And, or course, community theater provides no monetary compensation (and neither does my writing...yet).

And on the other hand...there is no other hand. No, there is no other hand.

Tonight I had to tell the person who offered that I could not do her show and I do feel so bad about this. If, one day, I can make a living writing, I'd stay home all day and write. Then the evenings would be free for other activities. Conflicts...I guess that's what life is sometimes all about.

All pictures were taken at Rodgers Memorial Theatre by Ron Russell--as good as he is as a photographer and mayor, he's an even better person and friend.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Walk At Dusk...

A Walk At Dusk...

"Daddy?" the young child asked his father as the two walked on the sidewalk at dusk.

"Yeah, little man?"

"Why does the sun play hide-n-seek?" the son said as he pointed to the western sky. The father followed his son's arm and saw the brilliant rays of sunshine escape the clouds and shine on the earth below.

"Well," the father said. "The sun shines all day--from sun up to sun down. Everyone sees it as it crosses the sky."

"I saw it today, daddy!" the five-year old laughed.

"I know you did; I know you did. But sometimes the sun wants to play so he calls the clouds from behind the mountains and they come and play with him."

"They do?"

"Yeah, like right now. See." Both looked up. The sun had dipped further into the west where light flooded the valley floor through cracks in the clouds.

"But, daddy?"

"Yeah, son?"

"I can see the sun poking out below the clouds...the sun's not a good hide-n-seeker, is he?"

"Oh, he's the best," the dad said as he knelt and his face met the small boy's. "He's just letting you win." He winked and stood, then both father and son continued walking home.

"I knew it," the boy said as he swung his father's arm back and forth. "I knew it!"

Monday, March 26, 2012

My Humble Red Backpack...

I don’t like people picking up my backpack…not because I’m worried that they’ll run off with it or anything like that, but because of how heavy it is. We’ve all heard the jokes about women and their purses and how much stuff can be crammed in said purses. I guess my backpack serves the same purpose for me. I carry with me a lot of stuff. I bought the thing the first semester of grad school and it’s still going strong.
Some of what I carry is practical, but I suppose most of it does not need to travel with me. I blame—in part—my parents. Both my parents grew up in the depression, my father being almost 10 when it began. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to talk to him about how things really were before he died. My mother was younger and was still a child in the mid-1930’s. She still remembered it being tough on the family, though.


 What does all this have to do with a backpack? Good question. My parents kept things...not like they were hoarders or anything like that, but you never know when you'll need something. I carry things around just in case. In my backpack I have a eyeglass repair kit with me, a 320 gigabyte external hard drive with me, several business cards to people who, not only have I forgotten, but who probably no longer work for the businesses printed on the cards themselves. I have several medications for headaches and allergies, fingernail clippers, several pairs of headphones, a couple of water bottles, a Leatherman-type tool complete with pliers and screwdrivers, and I think I even have one of those pocket hand warmer things. You just never know.

Needless to say, the thing is heavy (especially with my laptop crammed in there too…) so I hate for anyone to pick up the thing. I can’t imagine what someone might think if they do.

But I carry things with me that have no physical weight. We all do. Memories, thoughts, feelings, emotions…they all accompany me wherever I go. Some are light and others overwhelmingly heavy. I guess I don’t like it when others try to carry those, either. Just imagine what they’ll think…


Sunday, March 25, 2012

A List Of Differences Between Myself And Walt Whitman...


 Differences Between Myself and Walt Whitman

My ancestors are not buried in the Old Whitman and Van Velsor Cemeteries
I am not the poet of women as well as men
I do not continually notate my thoughts in a 3 ½ “ X 5 ½ “ notebook
I am not the poet of little things and of babes
I have never walked alone on the shore of Coney Island
I am not the poet of the body
I have not had a short conversation with either General Lafayette or Edgar Allen Poe
I am not the poet of the soul
I only have 16 gigs of memory on my iPod Touch

* Walt Whitman imaged used without permission from the following website:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

When Plants Fight Back...

We chose the afternoon to stage our offensive. Like the Germans in Russia in 1943, I did not dress properly for the conditions. I should have worn a long-sleeve shirt and long pants. I did not expect so much resistance from the dogwoods.


I attacked using a hedge trimmer, the best D.I. had to offer. The machine is usually up to the challenge. But the dogwoods grew from last year...they were stronger...they were prepared (or so they thought). I rushed the dogwoods, chopping here and there. At first I gained ground, but the thick branches of the dogwoods began to take their toll. Soon, I was fading...


After the front side was done, I moved on the dogwoods rear flank. Here the plants put up a stronger fight, but I held the higher ground and eventually I wore them down, but not without paying a price. As the twigs fell, they scratched and clawed as a last-ditch effort to try and stop me. 

After attacking on each side, I had to put down the hedge trimmer and grabbed the loppers. It was a slow fight but I cut and cut and eventually cleared the upper levels of the plants. The children gathered the fallen twigs--once living, but now lifeless--and we stacked them on the road. They will be picked up soon erasing all memory of their existence. Except those of us who fought the fight--we will not forget.

(what the pile felt like to me...)

(the pile's actual size...)

As the blazing red sunset fires in the western sky, the hedge trimmer is put away and the loppers hang in the garage, each waiting the day when they will be called upon again in an never-ending battle of man vs. plant. Today, as the daffodils silently watched, I won a small battle, but the war rages on...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Another Son's Story...

I've been trying to become a professional writer for some time, long before my children were born. Of course there were times when I was more serious about this goal than other times, but it's been a goal I've strived to achieved.

In the past year I've put more effort into this endeavor and my children have taken notice. My oldest son is currently writing several stories (a couple of times in this blog I've included a portion of his work...). I've also found out my daughter is trying her luck at the craft. But it was my second child's work that caught my eye earlier this month.

And so I'm including this excerpt for your entertainment. It's only the beginning and not edited to any great length. Hope you like it.

 Chapter 1
All Legends Have a Start...

    . . Mine starts in a junkyard. Hi, my name skeletal gadget, S.G. For short, and the first thing you should know about me is that I'm a robot, and while you are reading this book, do not think me as speaking monotone, just think of me as a normal person dressed like a robot, I have copper hair, LED eyes, and a skull-shaped head. Hence the name skeletal gadget My outward appearance is a mix between the dead pirate Roberts and C-3PO, I live in ceder city Utah and I'm home-schooled, let me shine some more light on the subject by telling you how I was built.
     I was only bits and pieces scattered across the way at the time, waiting to be melted into an go-cart or crushed into a toaster or a doorknob maybe. There I was, just laying there when Lyle, me best friend, saw my leg and said, “that looks like an leg!” (He didn't know it was my actual leg at the time,) and so began my construction. He searched high and low for pieces of me, once he found my other leg he said,”WOW a matching set! I wonder what I can make with these?”
    He built me with every formula and elixir he could possibly find, he was welding like the wind, grabbing test tubes, pouring test tubes, throwing test tubes, when I finally was finished, he walked off leaving me alone in a junkyard with welding tools, what do you think I did? I went inside to have a bran muffin.
    That month, he sent me to preschool, and I still remember the finger paint short-circuiting me, and the ABCs over-loading my memory.
    In grade school I took special interest in gym class, what with my servo-motors and whatnot, I wiped the floor with them on every occasion. Oh,excuse me I seem to have gotten carried away, back to the book,
    One day, while I was doing the dishes Lyle walks in.
    “Hey Skelly?” asked Lyle
    “Um, aren't you going to drive us to your mythology class?”
    “No, that's not 'till Thursday”
    “But today's Thursday”
    “Today's Thursday?!?”
    “That's the rumor.”
    “Shoot, we better get going, c'mon Lyle!”

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Midnight Movies...Not In My Day!


I've gone to only one midnight movie in my life...just one. My teenage son and I went to see "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" in the wee hours of the morning, July 15, 2009. We did not dress up as either witches or warlocks (or house elves, or dementors, or anything else...just average people). Tonight the social media networks are abuzz with the opening of "The Hunger Games." Good book--hopefully a great movie.

Back in my day we didn't have no midnight movies...we had about 10 theaters in a 50 mile radius and those 10 theaters showed five movies, and if you didn't like those five movies, we didn't have "The Internet" or Redbox or smartphones with Netflix streaming, or even Cable... If you wanted to watch something, you watched one of three television stations (let's be honest--public television really didn't count...) and that was it. That was all. We didn't have a lot of options, but I don't remember complaining about it.

But things have changed. Now I can order tickets to the exact seat I want to sit in weeks in advance of a new film I want to see. There's no waiting in line--first come; first served style. It's red carpet treatment all the way!

So do I go online and order my ticket for the 12:02 a.m. showing of "The Hunger Games" (or maybe the 12:20 a.m. showing or the 2:35 a.m. showing or perhaps the 2:45 a.m. showing--you get the idea...) or do I stay home with my hundreds of cable channels or watch previously recorded DVR'd programs or even watch about a million things on the computer. Now, we seem to have endless options and all I seem to be able to do is complain...

*Photo used without permission from the following website:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ever Been To Popeye's?

"You coming?" I was asked after our meeting ended. "You got room?" "We do." That's all I needed to hear. We were going to Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits!

I understand for many in this great country going to Popeye's is not a big deal...just go down the street and drop in. But where I live, a regular citizen must drive hundreds of miles to reach this particular eating establishment. 

However, if you're special, you only have to drive a few miles, but you must past armed guards to get there. The only Popeye's in my state is located on an air force base and luckily, we had a soldier with us.

Having never been to a Popeye's before I didn't know what to expect. It was a small restaurant but the place was packed. Why? Because we just happened to drop in on a one-day sale...8 pieces of chicken for only $5.99! And when they say $5.99, they mean $5.99. I paid no sales tax on my chicken today!

Our meetings went late so we didn't pick up our food until after 2pm so I only had one piece. The rest remains at work and will become my lunch tomorrow (and maybe even the day after that...). I do know one thing, I'll keep eating the chicken until the chicken is gone.

I don't know when I'll be getting back to Popeye's. It's only literally a few feet from where millions of cars drive by every year, but without a pass, I cannot enter. Thanks Mike for taking us to Popeye's today.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

An Evening Shooting Hoops...

Tonight I went with my sons to the scout activity. They called it Hot Shots and we had a lot of fun. The point of the activity was to have father/son or mother/daughter work as a team and shoot basketballs. It was a competition thing.


The sons/daughters shot first. They had 40 seconds to shoot from various sports on the court. After that the fathers/mothers had 20 seconds to make as many baskets as possible. When one is shooting the basketball the other retrieves for the shooter. Each son/daughter gets two tries to see how they do.

Since I had two sons participating, I ran, retrieved, and shot four times. It's been a long, long, long time since I shot a basketball at a rim in any form. I did make the lay-ups. My sons, however, did pretty well. We had a fun time.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sunrise In Tibet...

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and it took me a while to fall back asleep. While I was awake I thought of this little short story, so today I wrote it all down. It's a little long--hope you like it.

Sunrise In Tibet

By Scott Taylor

             “Mr. Perkins, I appreciate you coming down to the station,” Detective Carter told me when I met him in his small office. “You don’t know how much time it saves us when people do—you’d be surprised just how much. Please have a seat.” I obeyed. I find it useful to follow the instructions of a man wearing a 9mm pistol and handcuffs on his hip.
            “I’m glad to meet with you in person, but I hope I’m not wasting your time. I really don’t know what else I can tell you that I didn’t already tell you over the phone yesterday.” The detective sat down, his large frame making the obviously overused chair grown in protest. He didn’t answer right away but looked at me with tired eyes.
            “Did you do what I asked?” He said. I gave him a blank look as my palms became sweaty. What did he ask me to do? I thought and nothing came to mind. “We’re you able to think about just why Mr. Hansen would contact you after all these years?”
            The detective’s follow up question bailed me out. “Yeah, I mean…a little,” I said honestly. The question seemed to bother me as much as it did the detective. The only thing more odd than Frank sending me a message completely out-of-the-blue  on Facebook was the message itself. And now Frank was missing and I was sitting across the desk of a police detective trying to figure out what happened to him. “I’m still at a loss as to what the message means or why he sent it to me,” I told Detective Carter. I hoped he believed me because it was the truth.
            “I see,” was all the man said and he opened a file that had before been ignored on a corner of his desk. “If you don’t mind, I need to ask you some questions.”
            “Of course,” I said. “Anything I can do to help.”
            “When was the last time you saw Mr. Hansen in person?”
            “In person? Probably about five…no, it would be closer to 10 years ago.”
            “And what circumstances precipitated that meeting.”
            “Let’s see…I remember a few buddies from college got together and had a little school reunion…I thought it was only about five years ago, but I remember I went by myself because my wife had just had a baby and now Julia is almost 10 years old. I can’t believe it’s been that long.”
            “Uh huh…” Detective Carter grunted as his left hand feverishly scribbled notes in the margin of one of the papers found inside the folder. “Do you remember any other people who attended the reunion from the list of five people you gave me over the phone yesterday?”
“No…I’m pretty sure I got them all.” It was strange. When Detective Carter asked, I not only remembered the faces of who attended, but their names as well.
“At this reunion, did you notice anything strange about Mr. Hansen’s behavior?”
            “Strange? No, not really. He was pretty much the same as when we were in school together. Frank was kind of a quiet guy…didn’t party too much…kept to himself for the most part. When he was around his friends he opened up. I remember at the party he looked happy.”
            “Was he not very happy in school?”
            “I don’t know if he really liked school that much. I remember he told me he wouldn’t miss college after he graduated.”
            “Did you and Mr. Hansen graduate at the same time?” I said we did.
“And when did you graduate?”
“It was maybe six or seven years before the reunion.” The detective kept writing without lifting his head to look at me or anything else.
“Did you and Mr. Hansen stay in touch following graduation?”
I thought back. “I might have seen him twice in that time.” I wasn’t completely sure, but I didn’t think it would have been more than that. I also thought if I had forgotten one or two meetings, it wouldn’t be a big deal. It shouldn’t be a big deal, anyways.
“Were these meetings social calls or random occurrences?”
“What do you mean?”
Detective Carter stopped writing and looked at me. Again my hands felt clammy. Maybe not remembering every little detail was a big deal. “I mean, did you just run into him, or were there other reunions?”
“There weren’t other reunions—nothing organized. I know that,” and I did. “They must have been just times I ran into him. Yes.” I remembered something. “I was shopping once…groceries, I think…and I ran into him in the parking lot. He was coming; I was going. We talked for a few minutes…I asked if he had gotten married. He said no. He asked about my family. I said they were fine. I remember I didn’t have a lot time to chat. I don’t remember why. You know, we promised to e-mail or call, but I never did. I found out where he worked and I told him where I worked so we could have corresponded, but we never did.”
“You were in the same program at school, right?”
“That’s right—mechanical engineering.”
“Didn’t you ever meet in any professional setting after school?”
“No, I never did. He was hired right away at a firm in the city. I ended up working for my father-in-law in his business so I never had a reason to go to any conventions or work on any projects with his firm.”
“I see.” Detective Carter began writing again. We sat in silence for a moment.
“Let’s get back to your Facebook account.”
“Sure,” said and I unconsciously looked at my watch. Only after seeing the time did I think my action could be interpreted as me being bored by the questions. I did, however, wonder just how long our little session would last. I had blocked out the entire morning for the interview and could go longer, if needs be. Hopefully it wouldn’t, but you never know. “What would you like to know about my Facebook account?”
“When did you set up the account?”
“I’ve probably had it for three or four years.”
“Would you consider yourself an active participant in the social network?”
I thought about the question…active participant. Depending on the variables, I could answer either way. Compared to my kids—no way, but compared to what I considered to be active, I most likely was. “I usually check maybe once a day…maybe more on the weekends if I’ve got nothing else to do.”
“And how many Facebook friends do you have?”
“Maybe a couple of hundred…I’m not sure the exact amount.” A thought hit me. The police department probably knew all this information since the message sent to me by Frank last week could be considered evidence. If so, the man sitting across the desk from me writing in a file knew every answer I should be giving.
“Did you send Mr. Hansen a Facebook friend request, or did he send one to you?”
This should be an easy question to answer, but I honestly didn’t know. I wasn’t one of those people from high school that tried and “friend” everyone they’ve ever talked to. But, I would sometimes send a request just to see how somebody was doing. “I honestly can’t say,” I said. “In truth I probably sent it. Maybe I can find out from Facebook.”
“Don’t worry about it,” the detective said waving his non-writing hand. Yeah, I thought. I’m sure they know already all about my Facebook account.
“Let’s focus on the message,” Detective Carter said. I breathed a sigh of relief. This shouldn’t take long. The message didn’t make sense to me when I got it and made even less sense now that Frank was missing. “Okay,” I said.
“You told me yesterday that this was the first time you had ever received a message from Mr. Hansen either on Facebook or any electronic medium, is that correct?”
“Correct,” I said with authority, even though I didn’t mean to sound so authoratative.
“After you received the message, did you respond?”
“I was going to, but I didn’t right then. I thought maybe he’d send something else to explain what he was talking about. After that, to be honest, I kind of forgot about it until I got your call yesterday.” After I received the call from Detective Carter I had thought about the message a lot.
Detective Carter searched in the thin file for a specific piece of paper. I could see from my vantage point that the police officer held in his hand a screenshot of my Facebook message.
“Mr. Perkins, I know I asked about this message yesterday, but I’m going to ask you again, do you have any idea what this means?” I sat up and scooted to the front of my padded chair as the detective tossed the paper to my side of the desk. The black and white picture of someone I once called a good friend appeared before me. Ever since I heard Frank was missing the smile in his picture struck me very different lythan when I first saw his picture on Facebook years earlier. Next to Frank’s picture was the cryptic message: Steve—Long time…You even seen a sunrise in Tibet?
I read and re-read the short message as Detective Carter reclined back in his chair for the first time. “Back in school, did Mr. Hansen every talk about traveling in general or Tibet in particular?”
I had wondered the same thing. “Nope…not that I can recall.”
“What about political leanings…did Mr. Hansen have any political viewpoints that he talked about?”
“No,” I said. “In fact, we were in school during a presidential election and we used to kind of make fun of him because he was so non-political. He said he’d rather talk about anything else.”
“Sunrise mean anything to you?”
“That’s funny too…Frank was not a morning person. He used to schedule afternoon or evening classes because he hated mornings.”
“Well, we’re at a loss,” the detective said and gently tossed his pen on top of the papers in the file. “Yours was the last message he sent to anybody. He sent it on Sunday night and it’s as if he just vanished. No one at his firm knows where he’s at. His parents are dead and he’s got no siblings.” I looked at Detective Carter and wondered why he was telling me this. He didn’t have to, but he looked tired and frustrated, hoping just conversation might help solve the mystery.
For a long time no one spoke. Each of us tried figuring out Frank’s message. I looked over at Detective Carter and something in the way he leaned back in his chair reminded me of something and it had something to do with Frank.
“I just thought of something. I think it might help,” I said. I watched as the detective’s eyes widen at the possibility. “What’s that?”
I searched my mind and details returned. “I think it was our junior year. Frank and I had an afternoon class, Design Methods, I think, but it’s not important. I remember one day Frank came to class and he was in a great mood. If you know Frank, you know what I mean…he was hardly ever in a good mood, let alone a great mood.”
Detective Carter picked up the pen and began to write. I tossed him the screenshot I had been holding in my hand. Once it reached the other side of the desk, the detective waited for me to continue.
“I remember we were in class and he walked in. We could all tell something had changed so we asked him what was up. I might have even asked him if he had finally found a girlfriend. But that wasn’t it. He said he had just woken up from an overnight camping trip. I couldn’t believe it because they guy never did anything like that. Yeah…I remember. I thought it was so strange…Frank and camping did not fit.”
“Did he say where he went camping?”
“It was up one of the canyons near campus, but I don’t know if he ever told us which one.”
“There’s seven canyons near the school. Are you sure he didn’t say which one?”
“If he did, I can’t remember which one, but one thing’s for sure…it couldn’t have been a tough place to get to.”
“What do you mean?” Detective Carter asked as he scribbled notes at a quickened pace.
“Well, he drove a piece of crap Toyota. It barely got to the Health building—it was gutless. If he took that car up a canyon, it would have had to be a tame climb.”
“So what made you think of this? Did he say anything else about camping.”
Finally Frank’s message might be making sense after all. “Yes…he came in and we asked him what had happened. He said he had spent the night up the canyon and then he asked us if any of us had happened to catch the sunrise. I don’t think anyone had…we used to pull all-nighters back then and sleep most mornings—especially in third year. He said it was too bad because it was almost like a religious experience for him…like it was transported somewhere else.”
Detective Carter stopped writing and looked at me. “Mr. Perkins, I want to thank you for your time. I don’t believe I have any further questions at this point, but if you could, please have your cell phone available. We may need to speak with you again concerning this matter.” He offered his big hand to me and I took it as I rose from the increasingly uncomfortable chair.
“Uh,” I said somewhat surprised at the sudden ending of our meeting. “Sure, anything you need, just call me.” We shook hands and I turned to leave the small office. “Would it be inappropriate for me to call you for an update—I mean, if you find anything?”
“Yes, it would, but please call me if you do remember anything of if you receive another message from Frank.”
“Definitely,” I said. Anything I can do to help.”
We said goodbye and I made it to my car. The June sun had warmed the inside to the point where I cranked the a/c and raced the engine in hopes of cooling the leather seats quickly. I remained in the police parking lot until the car reached an acceptable temperature and I thought about Frank. “Funny,” I said to only myself. Detective Carter always called Frank Mr. Hansen, except that last time…I wonder why he changed.
I drove to work and tried putting in a full day even with the morning interruption, but my mind wasn’t in it. I pulled up the Facebook message several times now convinced that Frank was reminding me of that day years and years ago when he was truly happy and it was something about the sunrise that make him so happy.
I drove home thinking about Frank. I even considered taking a drive up one of the canyons to see if he was there, but I thought better of it. It would do no good and I really needed to be home with the family—I needed to get my mind thinking about something else.
Later that night my cell rang and even though I get a lot of calls on that phone, I somehow knew it was Detective Carter calling and I knew he had news about Frank. They found the body in his car. The car had been pulled off the road where it was hard to see. He said a hiker could have been only feet away and missed it. Frank was inside. He chose pills and alcohol as his choice of departure and he left a note. They’d run an autopsy, Detective Carter said, just in case, but he was pretty sure they wouldn’t find anything new. He thanked me again for the help saying if I hadn’t remembered that day back in school, Frank might not have been found for months, maybe even until after next spring when they re-opened the canyon. I said goodbye and hung up the phone.
I told my wife about what happened. Even though she never met Frank, she still felt bad. So did I. That night I couldn’t sleep so I got up, made some coffee, and sat in the front room looking at our mountain view to the east. I decided that—at least for that day—I wasn’t going to miss the sunrise.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sticks In The Street...

In our little community one of the things the city does for us citizens is to help with our yard's spring cleaning.  Of course, they've set down some ground rules... the piles of sticks, twigs, stuff our ancestors used to use as fuel to heat their homes and cook their food, need to be of a specific size or the city will not pick it up. I think they've said that before.

The city picks a day and that's the day the trucks and woodchipers roll into town. For some unknown reason, the city begins cleaning up the piles on our street so that means we're the first ones to have our street cleaned and that also means we have less time to clean up than everyone else.

You drive around the streets of our town and piles are popping up everywhere...some of the piles conform to the city's instructions (see the photographs) but many do not. I have a feeling that when the trucks and woodchipers roll out of town, they'll most likely go against their own rules and end up taking it all. At least, that's what everyone hopes will happen...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A Full-Time House...

This morning the family cleaned the house. My wife had friends over today so we wanted the place to look as good as possible. While I was vacuuming up the things that are found on floors of homes where people live, I realized that I live in a full-time house.

What's a full-time house? That's a fair question. First, some background... We built our house almost 10 years ago (I can't believe it's been that long...). We had an odd shaped building lot so not every house plan would fit on the lot. We found one that did and we've loved the way it turned out.

Except for certain times of the week, our house is always occupied. The house doesn't get a break. Morning, noon, and night we're here. Maybe a house is like a car. When it's used a shows the wear. Maybe our house is showing more wear than normal, but that makes sense, being a full-time house and all...  

A full-time house is hard to clean because we're always home making sure it isn't. A full-time house is always filled with noise--either screams of joy or other types. A full-time house never seems to have the dishes done because the time between meals seems to fly by in an instant. A full-time house is where I spend most of my time and--if I had my way--I'd spend even more time here. A full-time house is where I call home and there's no place I'd rather be than at my full-time house.