Once upon a time, when I was still a paralegal working in a law office, we got invited to do social things with the attorneys. This particular time, one of the attorneys invited us to go to her and her then-husband’s cabin near La Veta, Colorado, maybe an hour’s drive south of here. This was for a 4th of July get together. She had also invited one of the social workers that we did a lot of work with and her four kids. I wasn’t super keen on the four kids thing, but G. really got along well with the husband, S. (oddly, since he’s a cardiologist and a little bit Asperger-ish, and has a hard time with small talk, etc., but the first time they met, they just clicked), so we said, sure we’d go. The cabin was in one of those land development places, and we’d have to follow them to it since it was really out in the middle of nowhere, so we all just agreed to meet at the gate right off the road.
As we drove over the rutted dirt road that wound up and around, up and around, I began to wonder just what we had got ourselves into. Then, S turned off to a fenced property with a gorgeous log cabin estate set at the top of a beautiful up-sloping meadow. There was no driveway, per se, so we just followed him up to a gravel parking lot behind the house. Of course, the grand tour ensued while the kids played in the “yard” out front and the small aspen grove to the right of the front porch. Apparently, they got the house for a steal when the group of friends who bought it together had a falling out. It came with acreage as well, and their main purpose was to make the place a safe, no hunting zone for the many animals that still roam around here in the lesser populated places of Colorado. The view from the front windows down the meadow to the gate where we came in was stunning. The cabin itself was completely modern, sparsely decorated but more than adequate for a great get away from the grinding lives of attorney and heart doctor.
After the tour, we all pitched in for the cookout. The grill was down in the aspen grove, with a picnic table and a great area for horseshoes, frisbee, whatever. The kids were pretty good. The oldest was around 11 or 12, a girl, really precocious, as most 11 year olds are, and wanted to spend most of her time talking to the grownups. Well, who could blame her? We had the usual hot dogs, hamburgers, and other cookout fare, and as we were all enjoying the feast, G asked if we could go for a walk up in the woods behind the house after we got things stowed away from lunch. Of course, all the kids wanted to go, and mom said sure.
Once we got all the food back in the house so we didn’t leave anything for bears, and made sure the fire was out, we headed off on our trek. It was a gorgeous day, bright and sunny, but because of the altitude, it was just warm, not too hot. There was no trail to follow, so we just walked among the trees. G and I told everyone to pay attention to the direction we were going, pointed out tracks (deer, bear and most likely some kind of big cat), and also scat. Then, I made a great find–I stumbled onto one of those pieces of lightening glass, for lack of a better term, a fused lump of what looked like polished obsidian with a funky, curlicue hole through it. It’s when lightening hits the dirt and turns it into glass. I have a couple of pieces that I collected over the years, but this was the first time I had actually found one in its natural state. I called the kids over and explained what it was and they all passed it around and thought it was quite cool, wondered how I knew what it was, etc., etc. We wandered around some more, just looking and listening, trying to identify birds and plants. The kids kept asking us, “What’s this? What’s this?” and most of the time we were able to answer. The oldest girl stuck by our heels pretty much the entire way, while mom wrangled the younger ones.
By the time we got back to the cabin, it was heading into afternoon and time to get ready to head back north to Pueblo. S lead us back to the road, and we all said our good byes. G and I had a nice drive back and enjoyed the rest of our weekend. A couple of days later, D was in the office and got a call from K, the social worker. I put it through and a little while later, she came out to my desk still laughing. Apparently, K’s kids had been able to talk of nothing else but G and me since our picnic and walk in the woods. They kept talking about the tracks, the lightening glass, how I told them to look for plants, what G said, etc. Then, her daughter asked the question that I guess K had been trying to prepare for:
“Are those ladies…” Now, what do you think she asked? Are those ladies gay? Are those ladies girlfriend and girlfriend? Hmmm. That was what K was expecting. But, that is NOT what she asked. What she asked was, “Are those ladies…ADVENTURERS? Do they, like, work for National Geographic or something? They know EVERYTHING!”
I always knew my seven years of Girl Scouting would come in handy one day.