This past Saturday around 9 in the morning,
the Aughtmon crew loaded up on the California Zephyr
to make the 32 hour train trip from Emeryville, California,
to Denver, Colorado.
Brett and Jenny took off from the San Jose airport at the same.
At 11:00 Brett texted us that they were in Denver saying,
"We're here!" which really meant "Na-na-na-na-na-na,
see you in 30 more hours." or something like that.
We were taking in the scenic view of Sacramento at the time.
But we took the train on purpose.
Because we had to redeem the Train-tastrophe of 2009 when our December trip was marred by a flu bug,
a barf-o-rama and a distinct lack of Christmas joy.
The children were leary. Their memories of the train were grim at best.
But somehow we had to have the adventure we longed for the the first trip.
We had books. We had snacks. We had camoflage fleece blankets to curl
up under at night. We were ready.
The track between California and Colorado is both
breath-takingly beautiful and barren.
As we wound through the Sierras we kept saying, "Look at that!"
to each other as the pines towered over the train and traces
of gold rush ghost towns peeked out from behind bends in the track.
Then there was the vast nothingness of the Nevada desert
with its scrub brush and the jagged skyline of Utah's
high red buttes jutting up into the sky.
But this was nothing compared to the lushness of the Colorado
River, pouring over the crags of mountain rock,
its sparkling rapids rippling over rocks and riverbed,
cutting ravines into the rock and beckoning hordes of rafters.
It was a delight see it unfold as the train snaked along its
bends and followed its lead down the Rockies into Denver.
At least until we had lunch it was a delight.
At lunch we clamored into the dining car with its wide
windows and squeezed into a booth for four.
We can still do that since at least one child is small and bendable.
We were eating our sandwiches and gazing out
at the myriad of rafters and kayakers taking advantage of the river's fun.
When both Will and I caught sight of a young man in a delicate
Back turned towards us and bottom up, I thought he had picked
an unfortunate place to tend to the call of nature.
As he unveiled a very large white behind to us, I yelled out,
"O My Goodness! What is going on?"
I may have scared a few of the diners. And I thought,
"Do people not know to hide behind a tree to do their business?"
Until Will pointed out, "Mom, he's smiling at us!"
And then it dawned on me,"He's not going to the bathromn.
He wants us to see his bottom."
These are the deep thoughts that come to me in moments of crisis.
And thus my sons were mooned for the very first time.
They took it as a high salute. They were thrilled.
They became animated and jovial, almost cheering.
As we passed, they wanted to go back
and see more of this teenager's bottom.
They thought that was the best thing they had witnessed all
Not the vastness of the desert or the winsomeness of the mountain lakes.
Just the full view of a strangers un-ashamed backside in the wilderness.
And when it was announced on the train that mooning the train
is a regular occurrence among river rafters along this piece of track,
the boys were buoyed with hope.
It could happen again! All this greatness and nakedness
could be a thing of the future as well on the ride home.
That is when it all became clear.
In the eyes of my children, redemption was complete.
I won't have to urge or cajole them to get back on the train
when we head home.
The hope of another bare bottom sighting has done that for me.
As for me, I will be trying to keep my head buried in a book.
One moon is enough for me.