My best friend from Georgia, Wendy, came out with her husband and two beautiful girls for a few days and a jolly good time was had by all.
We spent two days in Glacier National Park where we spotted mountain goats and their babes but alas, no bears. Not that they weren't there: the young ranger we spoke with told of a harrowing encounter the previous day with a sow and three cubs which brought her within 10-feet of mama. A little too close for comfort. Luckily, her bear spray got her out of a tough situation with no harm to animal or human as it did with Jack Hanna a day or two later in the same area. He was at Glacier doing a public service announcement for, guess what? Bear spray. Unfortunately, one fellow visiting Yellowstone, as noted in the article, didn't fare so well.
We kayaked Swiftcurrent Lake, did some hiking, picnicking and generally just had a grand ole time. Still, I have to apologize to Abby (far right) - while kayaking her paddle was a little warped, the wind was up, and I think she got pretty frustrated at going around in circles for half an hour. She was a good sport, though and I really have to say that for teenagers, Abby and her sister, Avery (next to Abby in orange t-shirt) were an absolute pleasure to be around. Tommy, Wendy's husband, is an all-around great likeable guy with an adventuresome spirit. Yes, indeed. Very good times.
The third day we drove to the National Bison Range. We saw large herds of bison, the random pronghorn antelope and mule deer and had a nice picnic at the top. And the last day we did this. Oh my god it was so much fun! I was a little nervous about flying through the treetops 100-ft above the ground at speeds of up to 50 mph, but it was nothing but fun. It just didn't last long enough and neither did the Weatherford's visit.
One thing that's lasted almost 50 years now is mine and Wendy's friendship. I'm nine days older than Wendy and we grew up within 1/8 mile of each other. We were virtually inseperable in grade school and if we were little terrors individually, as a team we could be devastating. Luckily, her offspring don't seem to show the same tendencies. Friendships like this are a rare and beautiful gift and I was struck more than usual by what it means to share such a history. It's comforting to be around someone who knows you that well.
I burst into tears when we got in the car to leave the hotel their last day here. They were mostly happy tears: happy we got to spend such quality time together, happy everything went well, happy they are doing so well and the girls are growing up to be such poised and beautiful young women, just happy. Well, maybe some sad, too. Sad because I'm not immune to homesickness for my family and friends in Georgia, sad in a 48-year old we'll never walk this way again sad, bittersweet, happysad.
Meanwhile, in the Gulf the stories from the ground continue to contradict what we're being told by the media and the government and BP. Trust me, there's a reason they don't want us to know the whole story just like there are reasons they don't want us to know stories like the Afghan War Diary. Wake up time. If you're really lucky right now, you'll have lifelong friends who will give you back your hope, or at least let you borrow theirs. Thanks, Wendy. I love you, girl.