We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What was I thinking...?

        We had this idea...to paint my old mountain bike...affix a tribute to Kimmy to it...and launch it into a tree...in Fantasy Island...!

          The bambini's were into this project, enthusiastically painting the bike...for Mama.  Surprisingly, none of them received any direct spray!
         This morning, we rolled out of bed...and did not eat breakfast, chosing, instead to get on with our quest.  We loaded up all of our bikes (and helmets!) and arrived at Fantasy Island...there were absolutely no cars in the lot.  I affixed Kimmy's plaque, laid down a few ground rules: "Do NOT run into ANY cacti!  This WILL hurt!"...I bellowed, as they began to pedal down the path...."Watch out for snakes!"...shouting, to make sure Tonio could hear me through his full face helmet...."Do not stare at cows!"..."There are cows out here? Seriously?"  Autumn asked fearfully..."You know, my leg is starting to hurt." she said - this was not a good sign.
           As we struck out, down the twisting path, I thought, "What the hell am I doing?"  Kim would have been horrified - this was the first time Autumn and Tonio had ever been to Fantasy Island...my self proclaimed marshmallows...I kept seeing the worst happening over and over in my imagination...There are so many dangers, bad possibilities, not to mention Tonio and Autumn's propensity to fall, get hurt, etc...and yet, they did surprisingly well.
         Except, Tonio hit a tree and bit it!  At least he landed in some soft sand...and I could hear Kimmy asking what I thought I was doing, taking three kids into the desert, with no one around...we saw no one today.
             He was OK, but had a huge piece of cholla cactus stuck through the top of his sneaker.  I had brought along some plyers, and used them to pull the cholla out - crisis averted.  I took the time to tell the kids, that the area Tonio crashed in, was Mama's favorite part of Fantasy Island - a little, tight cluster of mesquites, that had been full and green when we had last ridden through.  Kim thought it was a little oasis, a piece of paradise.
           We saw a huge jack rabbit - "omigosh!  It's as big as Bella!" Tonio squealed!  "Eyes on the road!" I yelled.  And many chipmunks, along the way. 
            And then, we came to the palo verde, where Kimmy had passed the large, black bull, oblivious to it's menacing stare...and we pulled over...

               I had Cody write on the plaque for me...my handwriting is so bad...Kimmy used to always tell me "slow down and remember to connect your letters, and your handwriting could be so nice...".  She taught me many things and was able to improve me to a point, but not in the area of handwriting - oh well, what do they say?  You have to pick and choose your battles.  
              It reads:    Kimberly Conca
                              3/1/1965 - 12/13/2010
                              Loving wife, mother and friend...
                              Who loved the outdoors.
                                     Antonio, Cody, Autumn and Dave
              We said a prayer for Kimmy, there, beneath the palo verde tree and notice how beautiful, the wispy white clouds were today, in contrast to the brilliant, blue sky.  And we talked about how beautiful the sky always is out here, but we did not remember there being so many days with clouds to highlight or accent the sky's beauty - especially at sunset!
               Off we went again...now I was bikeless, having hung my ride in the tree - at that moment, Janene texted me to remind me it was Wednesday, and I had a meeting at the Vail School District office at 4:30 to interview candidates for principal for the new high school opening next year.  I texted her back a quick message to tell her what we had just done - she thought I had crashed into that tree and asked if I was OK - I told her yes.  She texted back that my Angel, Kimmy, must be flying over me - I told her that I was busy trying to keep up with my Angel, and texted her a picture of the bike - then she understood that I hadn't crashed, but had intentionally hung my bike in homage to Kimmy - and now, I was running through the desert, literally, trying to keep the bambini in my sight.
              Cody, was way ahead, as usual...but suddently reappeared - his bike chain off and his rear tire rubbing his frame.  I tried to use the pliers on it to fix it, but the nut was too tight...new plan - the thought ran through my head again...what am I doing in the middle of the desert with these little ones?  We put our heads together, and figured we had only come about two miles - so it was shorter to go back the way we came.
              Cody hopped on Tonio's bike and they rode double back up the path, followed by Autumn and then me - now running AND carrying a bike.
             I soon fell behind...but sweet Autumn, Lil Kim, stopped ahead to wait for me, yelling 'Do you need water Dad?" - I did need water - it was getting hot.  We drank some together and started off again - chosing the wrong path as we went...I could tell, as we neared Valencia, that we were way too far east - Autumn was scared, but I asked her "what mountains are we headed towards?"  "The Santa Rita's" she replied.  "So what direction are we going?"  "South" - she's a good student.  "If we keep heading south, we will come out on Valencia, so we are not really lost.  And what mountains are to our left?"  "The Rincons"  "Right - what direction are they?"  "East".  "Good.  And if you were to head towards them, you'd come across Houghton road eventually, and be near our home."  She was better then...and just in case, I thought to throw in some humor, an ice breaker, if you will.  I removed my shirt and sang in my best Will Ferrell voice "I am running!  Running through the desert with no shirt on!  We are lost!  And I am running!"  Autumn shook her head, but giggled hopelessly..."Dad..." was all she could muster.
             We began to cut our way through the desert to the southwest, and I found the trail we should have been on...started yelling "Tonio!  Cody!" - despite the fact I could have simply texted or called Cody...and then, caught sight of the truck and the two boys, sitting in the back of the bed, relaxing, waiting for us...
             I was pretty proud of this crew.  We had learned more about each other and team work this morning through this experience...and found another way to remember Mama and to honor her memory.
          They had a sense of satisfaction about them...and, we knew Kimmy was near.  After I secured the bike into the palo verde tree, I turned, to gather the bambini for this group shot...inches from my face, hovered a beautiful, black, swallow tailed butterfly with bright, blue markings...it fluttered around my face, and then danced among the bambini, before heading off into the desert, toward the sun....

          After that, our day went quickly...we headed down to Burlington Coat Factory - for flip flops for the boys and shorts for me (as I ran through the desert, carrying a bike, with no shirt on and singing at the top of my lungs, I found it difficult to run, sing, carry a bike and keep my shorts up - time to invest in a smaller size!)...first we hit Costco and stocked up on good stuff and said hi to Mario, who was absolutely buried with customers, but took time to talk to us for awhile!  At Burlington, I found flip flops and shorts!  And, picked up a garment bag for Angie and Mark for their upcoming Alaska trip...we ran to In and Out Burger - hey, after all of that excercise that morning, we needed it!  I had on my Penn State t-shirt, when the coaching staff of the basketball team came in!  We did a lot of high fiving and hand shaking.  Then, we hit Target and headed over to Angie's.
           Angie tried to feed us, but our bellies were all still too heavy with good cheeseburgers and fries to eat anything healthy...the kids played with Lexy and Breanna, and when Andrea swung by to pick them up, she took Autumn with her, too.  I had to get out to the district office!
          Tonio went to Betsey and Brian's - I headed over there after the interviews (best question I asked tonight, of a candidtate who had done her undergrad work at Temple and grad work at Penn State: 'Who do you like in tomorrow's game, Penn State or Temple?'  'Penn State' she shouted!  'Good answer, you get points for that!'...Andrea dropped Aut over at Betsey's for me and Betsey made some great turkey burgers and surved wine with no sulphites in it...I've never heard of sulphites - she told me that is the ingredient that gives you a headache...I was on board for that, but it still seems a little new agey to me.
          Tonight, as we said goodnight to Kimmy, gazing up at yet another star filled night, with a luminous moon and stray strands of clouds, Tonio said "I hope you like your bike, Mama..."
          It was a good day, fast paced...what will tomorrow bring?  I don't know...
        "We must never get into the habit of being preoccupied with the future.  There is no reason to do so.  God is there."
                                                                            - Mother Teresa
           Sounds good to me!


  1. Dave, this is one of my new favorite posts! Forgive me for laughing, but you paint images of the day so well!! Oh the things we do for love, right??

  2. Ditto! This is one of my favorite posts too! Although, Kim would have been saying, "Dave, what were you thinking?", she would have said it with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.

  3. Dave this just warmed my heart and brought tears to my eyes....giggling. I love all the things you are doing for your kids - keeping adventure in their life each day!!! LOVE IT!