The cute blond two-year old was babbling and banging his plastic cup on the table at the restaurant where my friend and I were having brunch this morning. My friend was glaring daggers at the toddler's parents who were sitting unconcernedly next to him.
It's Mother's Day you know. My friend is not a mother.
"It's only a baby," I said to her about the noise machine two tables over. Trying to distract her, I asked her how her blintzes were.
"They could give that baby something soft to play with, or take it outside," she said. "Oh, so you got out of a bad predicament on the river and now you're going to be 'happy' for the rest of your life?"
"Maybe," I answered.
A lot has happened in the past two weeks. Three weekends ago I went to Kansas City on this year's Field of Dreams trip and saw the Kansas City Royals play the Minnesota Twins twice at Kauffman Stadium. It's the thirty-eighth ballpark I've seen a major league baseball game in, leaving six stadiums remaining on my checklist. I sampled some authentic KC barbecue while I was there.
Last week I went to Colorado for my third annual Bucket Trip with my college freshmen dorm mates. The theme of these trips seems to be water.
Two years ago we rafted down the Grand Canyon for seven days and six nights with professional river guides. It was the trip of a lifetime.
Last year we spent a week on three boats sailing the Florida Keys. What a trip.
This year we rafted for five days and four nights on the Dolores River on the western slope, starting in Colorado and finishing in Utah. Ten people went down the river on three boats.
I don't think I'm being overly-dramatic when I say I had a near-death experience on the trip. In an incredibly fast sequence, I suddenly found myself alone in a cold, dark place with maybe a minute to live. Obviously I'm still here; it wasn't my time yet.
But I saw how it could be. It didn't freak me out then but it's become a major head-trip since I got back. I arrived home last night and and I have never been so glad to return from a trip.
Already I'm calling my memory of that stark moment on the river "my cold dark place." It puts life in perspective.
Everyone finished the Dolores River trip safely. Stay tuned.