Monday, March 17, 2008

Steam Engine

My first moment at Denver International Airport (DIA), I spend trying to turn on my cell phone while still in the plane and before being given permission . . . I wasn’t following the rules, but, I mean, we were on the tarmac and were almost to the gate?! What I forget is that one has to turn it OFF in silent mode first – then when you turn it on hours later, it is STILL in silent mode. Busted; by the familiar signature tone of Verizon powering on. Turns out I don’t need to be in a hurry, Jed’s IM says he is stuck in some Boulder to Denver traffic.

Quickly leaving the plane since I’m in a hurry, as this is my habit; my breath is a ragged steam engine in dire need of a tune-up. The altitude hits me more this time than the last, and I hear my heart beating in my ears. Thirty years ago, driving cross-country with my mother Jocelyn, to Colorado State University, I never even got winded. Perhaps this was due to being young and in shape or the fact that we had driven nearly two days straight to get to Fort Collins and were partially acclimated. The extra effort to breathe in 1977 however was rewarded with the loss rather than gain of the “freshman ten”. In 2008, however, holding my weight steady is my prize.

Jed barrels up to passenger pick-up in what looks to be a gray jeep . . . could be a white jeep, maybe a black jeep? I can’t tell as the detritus of years of travel is still clinging to the frame. The only washing this grad student’s car gets is from the rare rain that buffets the jeep body as it cruises down a mountain pass. The twenty-something girl standing next to me does a double-take as Jed, looking like Jesus incarnate, gives me, the average, middle class American Mom a huge hug that lifts me off my feet.


  1. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Who cares if the weight isn't the same. It is who you are there to see and that they are glad to see you.

  2. Hope you had a great visit. I'm sure the steam-engine effect was due to arriving by plane instead of car!
    xo Moody

  3. Leslie,
    I got altitude sickness when we visited Breckenridge. I got in at 11:30 pm and we left Denver the next morning at 11:30 am. Couldn't breath and felt like I had a terrible case of the flu. Also seemed to hit me in the emotional solar plexus, as well. After a couple of days of suffering and taking ibruprophen, I read the sign attached to the refrigerator in the condo that we had rented. It said that you should stay in Denver for two days before heading up into the higher elevations. We visited Ft. Collins for a day. You wouldn't believe the development. It is solid all the way to Loveland. No open fields anymore! My brother used to live up there before he passed away and the day trip was by way of saying good-bye, for me. Glad you had a good trip. I didn't recognize "J" without all the football weight. We had a great lunch at a Mexican place right downtown. We ate outside and could see the Flatirons. Someone said that Boulder is one square mile surrounded by reality. I thought it to be a neat place.


  4. Loved the metaphor comparing your breathing to a steam engine and the picture you created of Joe lifting you off your feet! Do you really call him Jed? I didn't know that!