My wife recently blogged about her Mt. Washington climb with my step-daughters and her cousin Kellie. She completely ignored the one she left behind to defend the fortress and care for the critters – me.
Their trip was originally planned for a few years ago, but got postponed for reasons beyond her control. As she related in her blog, the girls finally got her moving. Once the trip was planned, she got into it heart and soul, as she does with everything. She bought hiking boots, wore them on her daily walks, and found the steepest and longest hills in our neighborhood to climb. When we went on a week’s vacation in the Berkshires, she found a hiking trail straight up a steep hill, attacking it with a vengeance several times. She and her friend tackled the mountains in Catoctin State Park.
As the trip got closer, plans became more intense, with much texting, messaging, and yes, even old-fashioned telephone calls, about what essentials to pack for the climb. Daughter Steph and cousin Kellie made their way to our house, and they shoved off first thing Sunday morning, picking up daughter Laura outside Philly on their way.
I was left behind, to remember to feed the dog and cat, clean litter boxes, and – yes – fend for myself for 5 days. Clearly, no thought was given for my coming hardships. I’d like to say that I made the most of my time, living la vita loca, but hey, at my age that could kill me! Alas, I just went about my normal routines, reading a lot, watching noisy action movies, and – here’s where I went crazy – staying up late, not cleaning up after myself entirely, and making a mess (which was quickly cleaned up when Michelle called telling me they were on their way home from Philly – hey, I may be a wild guy, but I’m not stupid!) I did make myself my famous (in my mind) Chicken Piccata, and lots of hot dogs, which I love.
On the day the gang climbed the mountain, it started to get dark, and I hadn’t heard from them, and, as I do, I got worried, imagining them stuck on the mountain in the dark. Michelle finally called, telling me that they had been off the mountain for a while, but had no cell coverage, and oh, by the way, we’re on the way to the ER – I think I broke my wrist. Ironically, the day before they left I had gotten 2 light, collapsible hiking sticks, and I urged them to take them along to use on the climb, and was scornfully told, we don’t need no hiking sticks!
The irony – Michelle lost her balance and fell; gee, I wonder if a hiking stick could have prevented that? I was later told that she was rushing down the mountain when she fell. Anyone who knows Michelle will find that hard to believe! Everyone got back in one piece, or in Michelle’s case one extra piece (her radius was now in 2 pieces), and they all had a special time together, and say that, all things considered, they would do it again – this time with hiking sticks!
William H. Poole, Jr. – Attorney Bellomo & Associates