Sunday, September 18, 2022

Canyon Stories

As we wind up our fourth visit to the Grand Canyon in the past three years, I’m faced with three possibilities for my Monday post. One is the obvious, landscapes of the Canyon, the others are more thought provoking and deserve more attention than I can muster Sunday night. I’m running on fumes. So, I’m leaning toward a passel of Canyon shots.

The deeper stories that must be told are, one, about a friend of 60 years and his incredible journey, I visited him for the first time in 20 years last week. Jim’s life is even more stunning than I remembered. If you read his life story as a novel, you’d call it overwrought and implausible. I suggested that he write an autobiography since he has perfect recall of his highs and lows including the dialogue from every juicy encounter. He’s the best storyteller I’ve ever met.  

The second story idea two fits my nascent series Encounters of the First Kind like a glove. These are the profound occasions when you meet, connect, and know a fellow human in a few precious moments.

Peter Larlham is my old friend’s equal as a storyteller. He grew up in Tanzania and South Africa where he met Margaret at Nadal University in Durbin, South Africa. It was during apartheid, and it was apartheid in part that drove them to America. Though white they couldn’t abide the realities of that racist time, especially for their children. Earlier when they honeymooned in New York City they fell in love with the freedom and opportunity they saw in America and swore they would move to the States. Making that happen was a protracted struggle and when they finally made their way to our shores, they were poor and jobless. But once here they created their own American Dream. Peter told me they were lucky. I say they made their own luck. He and I became fast friends over good conversation and beer. He declared that “I don’t usually talk to people like this. It’s really been a pleasure.” The pleasure was mine.

I hope to flesh out these stories but for now here’s a handful of sunsets from the mother of all canyons.


Blacks Crossing said...

Toasted and ragged, you still managed to pull off a great blog, Esteban! I particularly like the beautifully sharp Grand Canyon geology, complete with rainbow. of your last shot. The first sunset is a stunner as well. Now that you have given us a nibble of stories about your friends, Jim, Peter, and Margaret, we wait with bated breath for next week!

Steve Immel said...

The story about my dear old friend is the one I most want to tell but it's full of secrets and tragedy. I don't know how to write about the man without breaching his privacy and opening wounds. What a story it is though.