Summer doesn’t officially start until June 21st, but the Memorial Day weekend seems to be the kickoff for summer activities. There is so much outdoor fun to be had in Utah. Before the accident, we enjoyed camping, horseback riding, bicycling, hiking, boating and waterskiing. We love being outdoors, but since the accident left Mark wheelchair dependent and epileptic– those activities are next to impossible, so now we find summer enjoyment in different ways. With Mark in his power chair, we take a stroll along the Jordan River trail. We love the mountains, lakes and the ocean, but adore them from our van, taking long drives to and around them whenever possible.
One of our favorite events is outdoor summer concerts and plays. For several years now we’ve gotten season tickets to the Sandy Amphitheater. The location is close and with the backdrop of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains it makes the perfect venue spot. We enjoy the season’s entertainment with my brother, Steve, and friend, Susan. Their company adds pleasure to every event. Last night was the first for the year and Hotel California, a tribute Eagles band, played. Their sound was great and we appreciated their talent. What a wonderful start for a fun summer.
We are blessed with friends that make sure we get some kind of adventure every year. Last year we were surprised with a Mercedes Benz convertible ride. The sports car was low to the ground and the door opening was small, which made transferring Mark into the passenger seat difficult. It took two men to lift Mark up and slide him into the seat. You know they are true friends when they go to that much effort for a short ride. We took a drive around the neighborhood hoping someone would see us in this first class vehicle. The ride made us feel like a million dollars.
Later that summer we enjoyed our first Razor ride in the mountains. Again, it took two men to get Mark in the passenger seat, but their efforts were well worth it. We had an adventurous afternoon exploring trials which wouldn’t have been possible in our van. Gorgeous mountains and scenery along with wonderful company were the makings for a terrific day and memory.
A few summers ago, I took regular early morning bike rides with my friend, Michelle. One ride particularly stands out as a humorous memory. Michelle is several years younger than I and in perfect shape, but I didn’t let that stop me from going with her. I’m sure I had to peddle twice as hard just to keep up. On those rare occasions when I stayed in the lead, we ended up in crazy places because I was laboring too hard to notice the “No Trespassing” signs. One morning I thought I’d found the perfect shortcut home. Michelle reluctantly followed hollering, “I think we‘re on a golf course.” I looked around and thought, maybe she’s right, but it’s early in the morning with no golfers in sight.
As you might guess, I have never golfed or been on a golf course. Impressed with the acres of beauty and paved trail, I wanted to see more! Forging further into the scenic golf course as fast as I could, I reasoned that golfing isn’t an energetic sport, so surely we’d be able to dodge any wayward balls if they happened to fly. Besides, no golfer would be out this early, I foolishly thought.
It was the perfect bike ride, surrounded by rich green and freshly mowed lawn with a blacktop trail meandering over the hills. The landscape was gorgeous and the atmosphere was peaceful, much more groomed than the dirty, rough trail we’d left behind on the other side of the river. In my bliss it didn’t occur to me how two speeding bikers might be appalling as well as a distraction for the golfers. I felt proud of my lead to this heaven on earth until we were chased down and stopped by a big man in a golf cart. He glared at me in disgust and whispered, “You’re riding on a golf course.”
Noticing the “Security” sign on his cart and the appearance of steam coming out of his ears, I thought it best to look astonished. “Oh really, we were just riding along the Jordan River trail and thought we’d take this shortcut back home.” As I said it, it sounded as insane as it was. My pride instantly turned to embarrassment as the security guard pointed to where we came from. He spoke quietly and didn’t mince words, while his actions spoke loud and clear. “You have to go back,” he said under his breath, while moving his cart towards us. I knew he meant what he said and realized he just might be tempted to run right over us. Immediately we peddled as fast as we could while he chased us right back to where we came from. We crossed over the bridge to the natural, untamed side of the river and I looked back at the security guard watching us from the beautifully groomed side of the bridge. No further words were needed, but the nod of his head and scowl of his face said, Don’t you dare come back this way.
We don’t take many vacations anymore, but these activities are a great diversion from the regular routine of life. Even when I find myself on the wrong side of the bridge, it’s always a good time when I’m with family and friends.