A Spiritual Journey – Day 2

St. Andrew's Abbey - Day 2 My room has heat but not air conditioning.  It is more luxurious than the cells of my previous visits but still unpainted cinder block.  It has a sliding door to a patio.  I slept last night with the slide open, and awoke this morning at 5:15 reaching for a blanket.  The Mojave had finally shed its heat.  I pulled up the blanket but there was no reason to go back to sleep as the alarm would go off in moments.  So I got up, pulled on a t-shirt and short to be at Vigils at 6:00. After Vigils there was time ... [Read More]

A Spirtual Journey

  St. Andrew's Abbey - Day 1 I arrived just in time for Vespers. The Guest-Master's door was locked which surprised and confused me.  But the church bell rang and I realized he, and all the other monks, had stopped work, for prayers. I walked the few steps to the chapel.  It had not changed in 30 years.  And the Divine Office itself was as mysterious and gentling to this Protestant as it had been then. After Vespers one of the other guest pointed out Father Phillip, the Guest-Master.  He was a small and bent with a grey beard that hung below his neck and fanned across it.  Father Phillip ... [Read More]

A Trip Around the Santa Monica Bay

In the course of my life I've been on the ocean a lot.  I even held a ticket with the Inland Boatman's Union when I was young.  But being a waiter on a boat that runs up and down the British Columbian and Alaskan coast does not a sailor make.  Several times in my life I have been invited to sail by some richer friend who needed extra crew for the Wednesday night "beer-can" races at some yacht club.  I have done this enough to develop a theory about sail boat captains.  Once a friend or business colleague steps behind the wheel of any sloop ... [Read More]

Wild Turkey

  My hosts picked me up at 4:30 in the morning.  The Labyers were a very interesting couple of men.  Hal Labyer is president of the bank in Duncan, Oklahoma.  His son Matt is president of the local "vape" store.  (If you don't know what a vape store is you need to get out more often.)  What they have in common besides genes is a love of hunting taught by the father to the son and now a passion they share.  And this morning they were going to share it with me. We left the Holiday Inn in Duncan, Oklahoma and drove to Foster.  Given that is ... [Read More]

A Day at the Getty – Ashes to Ashes

    Felix was my mother's kid brother.  He was a bit to old to fill the older brother role for me but he was the best uncle a boy ever had.  For starters my father hated him.  He was "a theatrical" and by definition stayed out late and night and ran with the "fast crowd" - all very high recommendations for a teen age boy. Felix was also childless.  He married his college love and for well over 50 years Thelma was the adult in the room.  Felix was my pal and corruptor.  Among other things he did for me, in the 70's he taught me the ... [Read More]

Denali – Day 13

Day 13 – May 31, 1984 I’d asked for an 8:00am wake up and it seemed like it came 15 minutes later.  I don’t remember turning over once and think I left and imprint on the mattress where I’d fallen.  When I got up I went to the front office/kitchen.  Claude and Tom were there as well as Marvin who cooked us breakfast and took us back to K-2. I bought a couple of T-shirts from K-2 and settled up the bill while Claude and Tom repacked the gear, including a ton and a half of very dirty clothes, which were so ripe that I suggested to ... [Read More]

Denali – Day 12

  Day 12 – May 30, 1984 I was supposed to play alarm clock but I didn’t get wake until 8:45.  We proceeded to get ups and break camp and go through our repacking.  I had a number of days of excess food which I chose not to take down the mountain.  John Waterman had given us a large stack of plastic bags.  He requested that to help keep the campground clean we use them to collect our feces and throw the laden bags into one of the deep crevasses on the way out of camp.  He was, however, strongly against us throwing away any of our ... [Read More]

Denali – Day 11

    Day 11 – May 29, 1984 Our third, and last, night at 17,000 was as cold and miserable as the preceding two.  As I rolled over to go to sleep I commented on how exhausted I was, and Claude made a comment to the effect that sometimes he gets so exhausted he can’t sleep.  I said, “Not me”.  Again he was right and I was wrong.  I tossed and turned cold and uncomfortable the entire night. The next morning we all stayed in our bags until well past noon.  By the time we got up, took some nutrition, melted enough water to drink and to carry with ... [Read More]

Denali – Day 10 – Summit Day

  Day 10 – May 28 (Labor Day), 1984 Today, Monday the 28th of May, Labor Day, 1984 was beautiful.  It was our “summit day”.  Everybody felt reasonably well and once we saw the weather was good, our decision was quickly made to proceed while we had the opportunity.  After crossing a short, relatively flat area just outside our camp we preceded up to Denali Pass.  Denali Pass is the major physical obstacle on our approach to the summit.  It is steep enough that it is traversed rather than climbed directly.  Some of the commercial expeditions have place fixed line as an aid, not so much ... [Read More]

Denali – Day 9

  Day 9 – May 27, 1984 The morning of the 27th Claude had a touch of mountain sickness and took a Dimox.  We used the day to acclimatize ourselves to the altitude and generally didn’t go out of the tent.  Tom had brought his copy of “Hawaii” up the hill, but Claude and I had eliminated our books (Miller’s “Ancient Evenings” in my case) in an effort to reduce weight.  So, having nothing to amuse ourselves and it being too cold and hostile outside to venture out frequently, we spent the day hovering and miserable inside our sleeping bags waiting for the time to pass. That evening, ... [Read More]