Updated: Feb 4
1993 was a life-changing year for me. Having "worked my way up the corporate ladder" for 18 years, I came to grips with how unhappy I was in that environment. The final push was finding out that my current position of Controller for a network of environmental laboratories was being relocated from the NJ/NY area where I'd lived, gone to school, and worked my entire life. It was time to sell our home and move my family to Texas!
Or try something new.
So I quit that job, used my severance package to pay off my mortgage, and started my own business in my home. That's what I did for the next 20+ years, and it worked out pretty well. I was always there to participate as my three young daughters grew into the marvelous women they are today.
But before diving into that new life, I seized a unique opportunity.
A few weeks after resigning, in the Summer of 1993, we bought our first (and one of the first) Mini-Van(s)! Then my wife and three daughters and I hit the road, spending the next six weeks traveling over 8,000 miles, mostly west of the Mississippi.
It's a long story, but ahora mismo (right now) I just want to tell about one afternoon that was very special to me. It was our stop at Mesa Verde. Here in southwest Colorado we stopped at the top of a mesa and spent the afternoon exploring the 1,000-year old Pueblo cliff dwellings preserved by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. Here's a picture I took from the top of that mesa in the summer of 1993:
As you can see from the picture, we were pretty much alone to explore that afternoon. My joyful memory of this time was in part because of the ancient architectural wonder. But mostly it was getting to breathe in my little girls' wonder as they roamed through the ruins. Here's a picture of my four girls (including my wife) that I took that afternoon:
Another reason it was so great for me was that we stayed until the park closed at dusk. The drive out of the park and down the mesa was ethereal for me. We were the only car on the twisting roads, the night sky was magnificent, my tired girls rested in the back, and we listened to a cassette tape of the soundtrack of "Sleepless in Seattle." There's a lot of stuff I have forgotten from that wonderful trip 30 years ago. But not that afternoon!
So, you may be wondering, why I am documenting this all now, thirty years later?
Well, for the last few weeks I have been traveling around our country again. This time I am on my own, seeing sites and making stops in all 50 states. At age 70, I am making this journey in a WWII-era Douglas C-47, one of my favorite aircraft. My journey this time is via Microsoft Flight Simulator, in real-time and real-weather.
On this evening I was flying low over southwest Colorado when I spotted the lights of the national park atop Mesa Verde. And wouldn't you know it - it was the same time of day as when I left the mesa thirty years ago! Although there was snow on the ground today, the night sky and the serene feeling were the same for me. I opened Spotify and put on Jimmy Durante singing "As Time Goes By," just like that night so long ago.