Snow on Mt. Graham

There was snow on Mount Graham today

I decided to go old school on the way to visit my parents.
I decided not to put on my playlist or my Pandora station.
I turned on the radio. Yes, the radio. The FM Tuner car radio.
I wasn’t even sure if it still worked. It did.
I mean. As well as any car radio works on a road trip.

Sometimes I do this because I feel like when I let chance determine my playlist, sometimes it includes a message from the universe for me.

It was a Saturday morning. Early for me.
Probably not that early for folks who work the weekend.
I guess the local radio stations are turning to a new business model.
During non-peak hours they just syndicate national DJs.
This DJ was broadcasting from Maryland, or DC or Delaware or something.
A listener emailed her with a request.
She said the world is in need of some forgiveness.
She quoted some lyrics from the song – I can’t remember now which one it was.
The song or the musician sounded familiar – like I probably knew it once.
Something about these troubled times.
It was from the 60s or 70s but it was still relevant today.

Forgiveness

I thought about forgiveness as a concept.
I thought about forgiveness in my life.
I thought about forgiveness as a process.
It’s not something that happens once and you’re done with it.
It’s a journey.
I thought about the people I still need to forgive.
The journey is longer for some than others.
It’s a work in progress.
I try to forgive myself for taking so long to forgive others.

Please stay

Next thing you know I’m out of the city and into the desert.
Approaching Superior, then Globe-Miami, and then the San Carlos reservation.
That song by Jackson Browne comes on.
It starts out slow. Just him and his piano.
He tries to make you believe it’s the end of a concert and everyone has already left.
(Except the roadies of course – they’re the first to come and the last to leave).
And he sits at his piano.
He tells the roadies:
“Just be sure you got it all set to go before you come for my piano.”
And I thought of my mother.
And how her piano has been the one constant thing in her life that has given her joy.
We knew when we moved her to Safford we had to bring the piano with her.
It’s there. Waiting for her to want to play again.
There’s always some excuse these days.
Then Jackson Browne starts in on that famous chorus.
“Oh won’t you stay just a little bit longer.”
It’s not ‘til later that I realize it was another white musician co-opting black music.
Turns out the original songwriters for that famous chorus were a Doo-wop group.
Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs. Never heard of them.
And then he sings it again.
“Oh please, please stay, just a little bit more.”
Somehow I know that’s what my dad is going to say to me before I go.

And now I hit the Gila Valley.
There is snow on Mt. Graham today.

I forgive my dad for his awkward moments today.
Like when he says
“I think she is … what are we supposed to call them? Handicapped?”
Or when he says
“It was like a Mexican stand-off.”
We don’t have time today to unlearn his 81 years of cultural habits.
Or when he hugs me and says “Boy! You’re becoming a woman.”
Yes dad. For a while now.
No, that wasn’t awkward at all.
“You know my son is 22 years old and I’m turning 50 this year.”
“Oh jeez! Don’t scare me like that!”

Memories are loaded.

Driving to see my mother at the assisted living facility, I see the snow on Mt. Graham again.
I meet the husband of my mother’s caregiver, Micky Reyes.
Then I meet Amy, her caregiver. Really nice people. My mom is in good hands.
My dad and Micky joke about wanting to drive my dad’s little golf cart up the mountain to go fishing.
I’m pretty sure they know they won’t ever do it.
But they joke about it nonetheless.
This is my parents’ hometown. They grew up here.
I imagine my mother looking out the window at Mt. Graham as she was a kid washing dishes.
The memories are loaded.

We chat.
They are both over 80.
They are both reminiscing about times before I was alive.
It’s sweet to hear them talk about their fond memories.
I am not really part of those memories. But it’s nice to hear them share them.
Dad put a list on the wall at his front door.
“Here are all the countries Sharon has visited. Ask her about them.”
What a great way to encourage the conversation beyond “how’s the weather.”
When I was younger, that’s all my dad and I ever talked about. The weather.

There is snow on Mt. Graham today.
Sure enough, when I said to my dad, “I’d better get going.”
He said “You know you don’t have to.”
And I can almost hear that squeally voice from the song.
“Oh won’t you stay just a little bit longer. “
But I tell him, “No, I really do have to go. I have a lot of work to do.”

Gone for good

Driving away I see it once again.
There is snow on Mt. Graham today.
I think about stopping to take a photo of it, but I don’t.
I know there is a possibility I might never see snow on Mt. Graham again.
We never know when it’s gone for good.