Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What a day -- vacation in the Smoky Mt’s. & more...

Today we are celebrating our 21st anniversary! Sure, I thought we would make it twenty-one years, but I’m not sure I believed we would do it this way. Married at twenty-one and twenty-four, we were pretty young, but then again it was 1990. Things have changed a bit in those short decades, and it’s probably for the better that kids want to know a bit about themselves as adults before they decide to get married.

Yesterday was recovering from the stomach flu of Monday, and today was the Jeep overheating as we pulled into the Smoky Mountain National Park visitor center. Three young kids made good water haulers between the restroom and the Jeep’s radiator with 1/2 liter bottles in hand.

While wrestling with how to deal with the Jeep, considering a car rental and wondering how much the local mechanics would appreciate my tourism wealth, I got a call from a guy back home. His son had been signed up for the youth soccer club of which I help organize, but he had dropped out a few weeks back. Earlier I had left a message that we were hoping his son would play for us this year.

Suddenly my two days of stomach flu and my eight year old Jeep dying on the mountainside were simply small glitches in life. The kid who loves soccer couldn't play because mom was in an accident a few months ago. Yesterday her leg was amputated by surgeons. The complexity of life along with a soccer schedule were more than dad wanted to consider.

Walking into the parks visitors center I noted the sign that told much: “Over the past fifty years, the visibility in the park has been reduced by 40% in the winter and 80% in the summer due to pollution.” I was reminded of my congressman stating how cutting the EPA would benefit business a great deal and help stimulate the economy. I wonder if he asked the residents of Gatlinburg how they feel about cutting EPA regulations and how these cuts might stimulate their economy over the next decade?

Later in the day I received word that our well and water project in Karai, Kenya was progressing well... Well. After four months of Living Water International failing to reach depths necessary for water in the Rift Valley, a local contractor took four days to find water at 220 meters. Now the fun of finding funds to distribute and use the water are pressing, but that too seems to be a good pressure. I still have two healthy legs, and I helped another kid get to the soccer fields this fall.

It’s time for a glass of red wine as I ponder these mountains standing, laying, or perhaps sitting around me. While I can’t see them in the darkness of this summer night, I trust we’ll care for them for years to come as they give us majesty and beauty and grandeur beyond our imaginations. Of course, if we can’t see them, we won’t imagine those things either. Perhaps that’s what our politicians really want.

1 comment:

Muskegon Critic said...

Welcome back to the region and this side of health. Sounds like a busy vacation, but well worth the work. Gatlinburg is an beautiful place.

Our congressman's plan to strip power from the EPA or disband it completely would ensure more mountain tops are blown to smithereens to scrape off the near surface coal with heavy metal arsenic laden runoff flowing to the waters people and wildlife need.

The mining companies haven't shown a self motivated tendency toward restraint, surprisingly enough, though the free market is supposed to be the cure for every ill.