Sitting Pretty

“Sitting pretty” is not so much a video as it is a snapshot, a moment of satisfaction, success or honor after a significant accomplishment. It is the County Fair Queen parading in the convertible, catching the big frog for the jumping contest, the robin preening on the branch, the sailboat tethered to the buoy at sunset, having a fresh box of Rise ‘n Roll donuts arrive unexpectedly at the office, the light bulb moment in math class, or graduation from dental school.

“Getting pretty,” on the other hand takes a lot of time and hard work, as seen in the mirror of a teenage girl preparing for school, studying for the Oral Pathology test, high school football preseason, designing a house, or working your way through college.

In July, our family went to Colorado to the YMCA of the Rockies, near Estes Park. It was full of “sitting pretty” moments like the family picture against the backdrop of Rocky Mountain National Park, riding horses along the mountain ridge, church under God’s cathedral, and cresting a wave on the raft trip.

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But the most anticipated event was the repeat climb up Long’s Peak. Austin and I had climbed the mountain 20 years before, when he was 12. We set out at 6:00 am up on the 15 mile round trip trail. Below is the crew soon after starting: Jeff and son Clayton, Audra, Amanda, LT, Danny and Austin.

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We hiked awhile to a rest stop where Jeff challenged us invite God to be part of the journey and to listen for His purpose. Then Audra prayed for our day, for encouragement and blessing. After a couple hours of hiking, we made it to tree line, and continued on through the alpine meadows with wild flowers like the Columbine, Colorado’s state flower.

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In a couple more hours, we were making our way across the Boulder Field on the way to the Keyhole.

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Beyond the Keyhole was another 1.5 miles of ledges, big rocks and steep inclines where the route was marked only by periodic bulls eyes. This was vertical scrambling that tested the edges of our concentration and endurance. Yes, it had elements of danger, a lot like every day living. One wrong decision and the consequences can be dire. Sitting pretty was seriously earned here.

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Austin and I did some casual reminiscing about our previous trip 20 years earlier and were surprised that we did not remember how tough it was. We did not forget the beauty around us though.

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We eventually split up into two groups, and around noon, we climbed across the rim of the summit. At 14,265 feet, it seemed like the top of the world.

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We signed the ledger and looked around a bit. There we felt the combined sense of euphoria from the beautiful distant views of snow capped mountain peaks, and the danger of exposure to the elements, the steep descent and thin air. We marveled at God’s creation for a short time and started back down.

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Currently, the boat is in the long, hard preparation stage for “sitting pretty.” At this point, I am working on the frame and support parts for the seats.

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Below are the base supports for the front seats. They wouldn’t have to be curved, but then it looks so sweet that way, and it is a boat…

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As usual, the next step is figuring out something, this time it’s the front seat shapes. Drawings on paper followed by full size patterns usually give the best design guidance.

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I am not on top of this boat building mountain yet, but the long view of the seats is starting to come into view. As Austin said during the climb, “Determination still counts for something.”

P.S. The old scooter that I abandoned at the beginning of my second “annual scooter trip,” stayed the week with the man who was mowing in his front yards. He turned out to be trustworthy, and I went back the next week to pick it up. It had moments of play, mostly in the yard over the next couple of years and then it disappeared…

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