After working like a benevolent banshee for four days, Randa headed back home on Thursday afternoon. She’d managed to transform most of the kitchen and the bathroom into places that looked like humans ought to inhabit said space.
When I came home Thursday evening, the house felt dark and empty. My own steps seemed to echo through the empty rooms and hallway. I kept expecting to hear Randa in the next room and to see Layla come trotting through the kitchen. I was wrong on both counts. The dark hours are part of the price of this new adventure and I’m not going to whine. Well, at least no more than usual.
On the bright side, Sam came down for the weekend. He got here right at eight o’clock Friday night. We ate pizza out on the deck, enjoying the cool and quiet of a late meal. On Saturday, we headed over to Winfield. I’d heard there would be lots of yard sales because of the huge crowd already gathering for the Walnut Valley Music Festival. That annual event brings in thousands of people from all over the United States and several folks from some of the un-united ones.
We found several yard sales but no chests, dressers, couches or love seats. Around ten-thirty, we headed on over to Burden to join some other folks for the annual festival and a mud run. Jason is the director of Student Activities at Cowley College. He and his son and some other friends of his invited Sam and me to join their team for the event.
I’ve done about twenty of these things now in the past four years but this one had some of the most unique, interesting and challenging obstacles that I’ve seen. We had to work in teams for such things as flipping huge tractor tires a hundred yards one way and a hundred yards back, climbing a mountain of big round hay bales, filling a big garbage can with water, passing poles through the low forks of high trees and other such stuff. Making your way across a thirty foot I-beam hanging ten feet off the ground was pretty much on your own. So was the one-mile jog around the soybean field, through the woods and back to the fairgrounds.
Sam and I were pretty much in our element though at the end: stacking hay bales up nine courses high. I’d already planned on the strategy of building up a platform for the stackers to stand on as we were building up the stack. Even though a few of our team members were obviously not used to handling wire-tied square bales, we all worked together and got it done in good time. And, our stack didn’t fall over until we pushed it over.
I ended up with more scrapes and bruises than usual this time. I chose a possum crawl (hanging upside down underneath) and shinnied my way across the I-beam, scraping up my lower legs just above the ankle. I also slipped off of the parallel pipe crossing and ended up catching myself by the armpits. Right after spraining my thumb as I lost my grip on one of the pipes. Yes, it felt just as good as you imagined.
But it was still fun: running, jumping, climbing, crawling and sprawling like young kids.
Unlike some young kids, Sam and I cleaned ourselves up at the truck. Then we moseyed back over to the Burden Dayz Festival and soaked up the atmosphere for a while, watching as the later teams built their hay towers. That was fun but we enjoyed our late afternoon lunch at El Maguey’s in Winfield more.
The warm shower and clean sheets were even better.
After our greatest adventures, our longest days and most bruising trials, the sweetness of rest is always a great blessing. Imagine how wonderful that final rest is going to be!