Some vacations are for resting, but a trip to an exotic isle was not for my son, Mike.
He chose to spend his lesiure time competing in a bike race in Colorado. It is a killer race of 100 miles, held in Leadville each year, mostly up and down mountains at elevations from 10,430 feet to 13,000 feet. Anyone with similar madness can check it out on www.leadville100.com.
When he was a father of five, Mike found it difficult to carve out training time. So, whatever his shift, he rode his bike to Timpanogos Hospital from his Orem home. When he could steal time, he traveled the Alpine Loop, a beautiful, scenic, mountainous climb up to Sundance Resort. It worked for him as he came in 12th one year in some pretty stiff competition.
When I talked with Mike about the race, he mentioned the grueling nature of his quest. Every year he participates he swears he will never put himself through it again, but then the event pulls him back, and his kids love the trip and beg to go.
Mike now has seven children and still trains the same way. He will compete again this year. However, Lance Armstrong and some other dedicated riders will also race, so Mike knows he will not finish 12th.
Other vacations are centered on family, and that is how it has been for me. I ignored all the skin cancer advice and spent many days on the Greenwich, Conn., beaches with different batches of visiting grandchildren. One day we took the ferry to Island Beach, where they collected 206 white jellyfish, and another morning we ate breakfast on Todd's Point. Being from the West, the grandkids loved rainy days. With the older kids I went to New York to a play and to shop.
Things were hectic, and my right knee was traumatized from all the twisting, lifting and running that this grandmother's body was not used to. Yet, it was wonderful!
After we moved to Utah, the grandkids came to Provo. It was swimming pools, hiking and marshmallows over a fire. Even with Tom's year-old twins ripping apart the house, it was still wonderful.
At one time our then-college-age son, Jim, spent a summer working as a guide for Anasazi, a program for troubled and drug-involved youth in Arizona. He returned that August when we discovered he had something other than visiting on his mind. His girlfriend arrived from Dallas, and he took her to New York's Central Park to propose.
Shamberlin accepted the ring, later returned it, and then after some trauma, took it back again. They now have two children — and Jim just graduated from medical school.
I read where September is the year's cruelest month, actually termed the evil twin of spring. There is more stress involved as fall approaches than in December. At least in December we have the holiday spirit. In the worst month of the year, there is all that organizing to do, and that tan fades away.
Remember last spring when we all said, "Oh, I'll do that in September."
Well, September is almost here, so we better run in the sun while we can — covered with sunscreen, of course.