Monday, December 31, 2018

Too Much

He was laying on his back on the carpeted floor in the bedroom.
I was kneeling beside him.
His eyes were closed.
He was fully dressed but I could see through his clothes.  Through his chest.
And I watched his lungs expand and contract.
Watched the blood flow through each chamber of his heart.
Watched his heart beating strong and regular.
Heard his breathe.   Strong and regular.
Inhale.  Exhale.  Heart beating.  
And then everything began to slow down.
His breathing slowed.
His heart slowed and I continued to kneel beside him, watching it happen.
It beat slower.  And slower.  And slower.
Face unchanged, I calmly whispered his name.
Slower.  And slower.  And slower.
I slowly and calmly extended my hands and reached for his shoulders to shake him awake.
My hands slipped through his body and hit the floor as though he was not even there..
I tried again.
My hands slipped through his body.
I tried again.
My hands slipped through his body.
Slower.  And slower.  And slower.
And then it stopped.
I watched it stop beating.
I watched as his heart stopped beating.
I whispered his name.
But he was gone.
He was gone forever.
I knelt beside him and calmly watched his face.
He was gone.
And then I woke up..........................

Yesterday was his birthday.
He would have been 35.
If he had lived.
If he was alive.
If he had not died.
If he was not dead.
But he didn't.  
He's not.
He did.
He is.

I love you Baby.
I tried hard not to think of you yesterday.
I tried very hard.
Because it hurts and after six and a half years it still hurts.
Too much.
Too much.
It hurts too godamned fucking much...........................

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Early Christmas Present

Buffalo Bill Center of the West is a world class museum located in Cody.
A small town with less than 10,000 people.
A town that receives almost a million tourists a year.
Early in December each year the museum holds a free open house for the public.
There are few if any tourists around at that time of year but the open house is always packed.
A Christmas gift to the locals.
The museum during the open house is always covered with huge trees and endless Christmas decorations, Santa is there to listen to young visitors, there is free hot chocolate and cookies made by museum volunteers, and of course every part of the museum is open to the public.
The first year we went to the open house we spent three hours in the gun museum alone.
Imagine one museum featuring every gun ever made, by every country that ever made a gun, and by every manufacturer that ever manufactured a gun.
The gun museum is huge and interesting and overwhelming and one of a handful of museums under one roof.
There is also a museum dedicated to Bill Cody, one dedicated to western art, one focusing on plains Indians, another on western plant and animal life, a raptor rehab center, endless bronze statuary on the grounds outside and more.
A very special place...................
I was supposed to meet LC at the huge Christmas tree in the front lobby of the museum at 2pm right after my store closed.
At 2pm I called him to tell him that someone had just walked in the door and I would be late.
"I'll call you when I'm on the way".
Five minutes later someone else walked in.
And then someone else.
By the time I finally arrived at the museum it was 3:15 and we were eager and ready to wander.
On one hand I was sorry to be late because free entry to the museum only happens once a year.  But my other hand was gleeful, satisfied, excited that my business was doing well.
It IS doing well.......................

Surprisingly most of the gun museum was closed to the public.
After seeing this extraordinary place the year before we were disappointed that it was closed - but it is being renovated and will reopen again next summer.
Cannot wait to see what they have done with it.....................
The center closed at 5pm, and after a quick snack of hot chocolate and a handful of tasty cookies, we decided to go to a museum that we had not visited before.
The Natural History Museum.................

The visit was fast and furious and wonderful as we both wandered too quickly through a huge maze of animals small and large, and endless billboards and videos describing western plant life also small and large.
By the time we were done it was 20 minutes before closing.
After quickly wandering through the gift store LC had an idea.
We stopped at the desk outside the gift store and asked.
And were surprised to learn that it was only $100 for both of us, for an annual pass to the museum.
Our early Christmas present to each other.
As we walked out of the museum we talked excitedly about all of the times we could visit the museum at our leisure over the coming year.
Of how quiet the museum would be through the winter.
How many special events, lectures and demonstrations we could experience during the busy summer season.
We have already visited twice more since purchasing the annual pass..............

Random picture of an outstandingly interesting wall downtown Cody (in an alleyway across from the Irma Hotel).....................

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Small Things

We have gotten into the comfortable habit of eating brunch at the historic Irma Hotel in downtown Cody every Sunday:
We will be eating brunch there on Tuesday as well.  Sharing a meal on Christmas Day with two other people who also do not have family close by for the holidays.
The food is always good and the decor is always wonderful at the Irma, and it is just a place that we greatly enjoy.
A few weeks ago we ate brunch as always and then took a walk through town with our dog.
The day was grey and damp and very windy.
After a busy summer of endless noise and endless tourists, the silence of downtown was welcome.
We had our town back.
A common feeling among locals, who understand and appreciate the important financial contribution that tourists bring to Cody but who also breathe a sigh of relief when the last of them leave.
We have our town back......................

Because we had Kory with us we did not go into stores.
Instead we walked and wandered and window shopped.
Already a good number of stores downtown were closed for the season - shuttering the front door and heading south the moment that last tourist bid farewell to Cody.
More businesses will close right after Christmas.
A few downtown will stay open and tighten belts over the winter, but not many.
Downtown Cody (even a few weeks ago) was already beginning to shut down.
To fall into hibernation.
And we love Cody when it is like this................
There are still plenty of businesses available through the winter to service the local community.
Restaurants, dry cleaners, grocery stores, banks, garages, liquor stores, laundromats, and all the rest (located at both ends of town) are year round businesses.
On Sheridan Avenue downtown there are jewelry boutiques, portrait studios, photography studios, art galleries, western home decor stores, t-shirt stores, saddlery and high end boot shops, book stores, coffee shops, fly fishing and high end outdoor gear stores, paddling and back country outfitters.................everything that both a moderately financed and well financed tourist could possibly want or need to ensure their trip to Cody, WY is memorable.
All the places that locals (for the most part) avoid like the plague.
The winter business hours of one Sheridan Ave store........................
When we were done with our walk we loaded back into the Tahoe, headed towards the turnoff for the South Fork and on the spur of the moment decided to go through the drive through at Dairy Queen.
A chocolate milkshake (with whipped cream) for LC and a chocolate brownie blizzard for me.
Our neighbor was working at the window and is one of the assistant managers.
Kory received an unexpected surprise during that visit.
DQ is now one of her favorite places.................

It was a quiet trip.
A good brunch in a wonderful place.
A good walk down a quiet downtown street.
The companionship of a beloved man and a beloved dog.
Ice cream all around on the way home.
One more small and quiet adventure in a year of endless small and quiet adventures......................

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies............Mother Theresa