Pillars of Strength

My posts had been a bit on the emotional side as opposed to the technical side, mainly because this journey has been just about as much an emotional one as it has been a technical one. It’s all part of the journey I suppose. So prepare yourself for a tear jerker.


They have the best smiles, right?

The other morning my grandma gave me a call. When I saw her name come up on the phone I hesitated picking it up. I always look at the I.D. before I pick up the phone mainly because I dislike talking on the phone. This time, however, I mainly hesitated picking up the phone because I didn’t want to cry… and I knew if I heard her voice the water works would be inevitable. Our conversation was brief, but within minutes were were both crying. That’s jus the way the two of us are I guess. I think there is this part of us that is like kindred spirits. Separated by a few decades, but I think had we been the same age we would have been the best of friends. The night before I was leaving to drive out to California, I stopped by her place to say goodbye for now. She was hanging with some of her friends (she is SOOOO popular and always has friends around her, she has an infection personality like that). Our visit was short and bittersweet, and on my way out she handed me some trail mix for the long drive ahead.


Later that night I was at my parents house cleaning up after dinner, and we got a call from grandma. My mom picked up, then handed the phone to me saying “grandma forgot to tell you something.” I held the phone up to my ear and she proceeded to say “I, meant to sing this to you when you were here, but we were both crying too much, so I’ll sing it now… (in her crackling, but oh-so-sweet singing voice, she starts singing that classic Roy Rogers song well all know too well) …Happy trails to you, until we meet again, Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then…” That’s about all she could get out before we were both sobbing again.  There is only one verse of the song, and it goes like this…

Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here’s a happy one for you.

 It’s supper campy, I know. But I think there is also something really important there. We are all given this one life to live – there are parts that are awesome and make us feel great about ourselves and the world around us… but there are also a lot of things that are heavy and can feel like a permeant gray cloud hovering above our head. Life throws us all sorts of curve balls, it’s up to us to decide how to handle them. We can focus on the gloom and gore and forever have our lives tinted with sadness, or, we can make the decision to ride the trail however we want.


One of my favorite mugs – would wouldn’t want to be reminded of this lady with every sip of coffee?

I’m riding this trail, and even though it’s not always easy, I’m going to try my darnedest to make it count. My grandmother is a pillar of strength, and I know this without a shadow of a doubt because she is supporting me from halfway across the country,… and she’s 80-something years old (grandma, I’m not telling everyone your exact age, because I’m trying to be somewhat polite). That’s close not 3 thousand miles – a pillar that that covers that distance has to be strong itself and have a strong foundation. Just try to fathom the engineering you would have to master to create a man-made pillar that strong – I’m pretty sure it’s impossible (after reading this I kind of realize this is kind of a terrible engineering joke/pun, but I’m also deciding to leave it in here – I guess that tells you a lot about how poor my judgment skills can be sometimes).

So thanks grandma for all of your strength, and until we meet agin…happy trails to you!


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