Saturday, August 9, 2008

The ride of a lifetime....

My mother-Arlene Turnbull
Grand Canyon
April, 1985
Photo owned by P. Taylor
Vacations are times to take a break from your job, rest and relax, and have fun. Oh, and if you traveled with my mother you always took a ton of pictures. I believe after she retired from her job her camera became a permanent appendage. She took a ton of pictures, mostly slides, most of which I now have in my possession. She loved to travel and especially enjoyed roaming Arizona where she resided for almost twenty years. Before I became a mother myself, I would spend at least two vacations each year with her traveling the USA.
My mother who didn't believe in the words "I can't", was an adventurer! She feared nothing. One of our more daring trips was certainly taking the mule ride to Phantom Ranch in the Grand Canyon. Yep, you read that right. You see that animal my mother is petting, well, that is NOT a horse, nope, that's a MULE. Mules are bigger than horses. Of course, I didn't know that until our trip. We had taken a number of trips to the Grand Canyon but always said we would take the mule ride the next time we visited the Canyon. The next time came in April of 1985. I was really excited too! I thought it would be a blast riding down the trail on a little mule, kind of like a donkey right? Wrong. Really, really wrong.
The trail guide arranged us by our height and because I am a bit height impaired (as my children say!) I was directly behind the guide and my mother was behind me. That worked out great. I kept my focus straight ahead and upwards, for if I looked down I couldn't see the trail that my mule was walking! It was really narrow in many areas and yes, I prayed that "Abe", my mule stayed on the trail. Although the scenery was breath-taking, it was a long way down to the bottom. Oh, did I mention I have a fear of heights?
The picture doesn't show how much she challenged me to try something new, like taking a trip on a MULE. It doesn't show us almost crying in fear, laughing and congratulating each other that we made it to the bottom of the canyon-it had to be easier going up, right? The picture doesn't show us taking in the beauty of the canyon with all of it's life and color and splendor. But, I remember. The memories are there, each and every time I open up a photo album and revisit the trips I took with her. Wow, I am sure glad she was MY MOTHER!


wendy said...

wonderful story! I was only 5 when my family went to the GC & my Dad said there wasn't time to go to the bottom. I think now it's because he wasn't sure of the safety going down that long, steep ride on a mule with a young child! Your mom sounds pretty adventureous!

Taylorstales-Genealogy said...

Wendy, my mom surely was a special lady. Thanks for your post! If you ever get back to Grand Canyon, take Bridal Trail, it is beautiful and you can go as far as you like! It's well worth it.

The Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Genealogy Pox, author unknown


SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expressions, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses.
Has a compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from spouse. Mumbles to self. Has strange, faraway look in eyes.


TREATMENT: Medication is useless. This disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he/she can be alone.

REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is that the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!