I thought it was the Pox. No, just pneumonia. I've been in my cave for four weeks. But even in the dark, the laptop glows. So I was able to launch my Web site. The joy of it came with the return of a voice and sand the end of convulsions.
I'm sneaking this in just before wordless Wednesday. If it doesn't make it, watch for it on Thursday.
Here's what I'm offering you tonight, my fellow legacy knights. It's a story from the journey Matt and I live, and it's a piece from our site and the model of my theme on these page: Fathering in partnership with fathers, your own especially. You'll like it.
There we were, laughing so hard Gary’s cigar fell to the floor of the very old but durable little Suzuki Samurai.
That wouldn’t do. It complicated our hilarity with the smell of serious floorboard smoke soon to be a fire, but he couldn’t take his hands off the wildly wrenching wheel. We were already backing down a steep log-dozer road, the kind normal four-wheeled vehicles don’t travel. It was midnight, and we’d dodged through Forest Service roads for two hours to get stuck. We thought we could make it over the ridge we only guessed was up there somewhere. I’d hiked in the dark a half hour up the impassable road to confirm raucous stupidity.
Trees and rocks were so dense we couldn’t turn around. But we could laugh. What a fine fix we’d gotten ourselves in to—again. And we imagined how the girls would react this time…IF we made it home. I think that was when we hit yet another boulder. This time we couldn’t rock ourselves out. A tree branch, heavy grunting, and sanctified cursing freed us, still backward...as was the Suzuki.
Two careless, uninhibited over-adventurous teens we were…NOT! Matt was 34, Gary was 62. It was one of a score of Matt and Pops, beer and cigar rides we’d taken over the years before and since. Most of it has been on horses or hiking, mostly at night. Whether the visit is here or there, we manage a father-son/comrade sortie; It’s like a mission. Kids are prayed and bedded down, wives, mother and daughter, are talking or doing TV. Comfy, but then comes the call of the wild.
This vignette and the dozen others all—every one of them—produce a story worth the retelling. A half dozen have resulted in bruises, limping, and/or blood. We now are ordered to carry our cell phone (never mind there’s no signals where we go). They also produce this story. It is the story of two men in a by-marriage family who have bonded deeply over time. These sorties have been the glue.
We talk. That’s pretty much it. If we set aside our the family connection, it is a story of two men of a deep love for God, and mutual love for the family he provided, and a stream of out-loud wondering how we can best fit our calling as men, as godly men, as husbands and fathers. We talk about a lot of stuff guys don’t get to talk about without a campfire, a seat on a mountain ledge, and a beer and a cigar. It’s the closing scenes of Boston Legal in the rough. “Naw, it don’t get no better than this.” But there is one common denominator; fathering talk. Not “how to” stuff, but the stuff of character. How do we mold, as we must, the future of Taylor--bright, bouncy, responsible—and Colton-- distracted, fierce, but deep—and truly beautiful Brooke—pirouetting, self-affirming, story telling/singing. And then the others as they came along. It was about what their futures held for them and how we could influence it by what we did today—together.
Which brings us to our journey, and our journey is the book. Generational Fathering is about our journey together in to the future we call our legacy; “ours” together. We have many more ridges to ride, even at night, knowing our horses see way better than we do, so we’ll talk more. We’ll say, “Wow!” a lot to simplify our stupification at the wondrous works of God we see, usually in grand vistas by day and stars multiplied in night’s dark skies as amplified by the seven to nine thousand foot mountains trails we venture in. And we’ll always come back smiling our delight that we denied the hesitation to stay back and do our ride some other night.
Into the Sunset?
Yeah, because it is the nature of life and of the trust we have in each other. Matt and Gary will be there for each other in the end, as will the children they delight in fathering-raising together. No good western could wind to a close without some version of riding off in to the sunset of peace-forever land. That’s what we plan, riding off as saddlemates but one at a time as our time to ride the final trail home is called. Gary will probably make sunset ridge first, whistling as he always seems to do. It will be “Happy Trails” with the sun’s setting glinting off a tear or two as he knows of five children and their parents whose lives their following generations to come will have a positive effect on this world he said he was only a visitor to in the first place. With special grace, Gary will swivel back in his saddle and survey the future. He’ll see Matt and the new father, Taylor, or maybe it’ll be Brooke’s husband. They’ll be riding off with a cigar and a beer for their very own journeys together, their legacy for the next and the next generation.