Posts Tagged ‘sports’

I’ve been going to Flagstaff Hill most of my life.  When we were kids we’d go on summer nights, covered in city dirt after running and playing all day long, and watch the free movies projected on the outdoor screen.  Troops of people carrying blankets and children, pulling dogs along on leashes and toting anything that would carry the drinks, headed along the curved sidewalk towards the hill.  Before dusk college boys played Frisbee and the music of the late ’70’s blasted through the amps.  When the sun settled, so did the people.  Groups of friends and families shared blanket seating in the grass.  When the darkness came and the movie started, an herbal aroma wafted past our noses.  Whoa.  We saw Rollerball there.

Flagstaff Hill evokes memories that are part of the essence of who I’ve become.  The memories of going there with people who knew more than I did and were smart and funny with their words, and seeing young people who were older than me and watching them laugh, play, and love, wearing their clothes and hair in a way that was so ‘now’, then.  The memories of going there and feeling exciting but safe, romantic, fun.  It was cool, because of the crowd it attracted, and still so familiar it felt like my own backyard.

It is the backyard of two universities.  During any semester when the weather is good, the hill is crowded with dorm-dwelling co-eds.  They use the hill for outdoor studying, picnic lunches, or sunbathing on their days off.  I’d read a text or two on the hill when I was a student.

Flagstaff Hill is across the street from Phipps Conservatory, and from it’s mount you can see “the cloud factory” that Michael Chabon made legendary.  Just beyond that you can see the Carnegie Library and the Cathedral of Learning.  This is a cultural landmark.  Lovers can lie on their backs at night and gaze at the stars and the lighted skyline and feel smart!

In the summer when I was ten years old, I rolled down the great hill, over it’s green grass flocked with white clover, my arms stretched over my head, making like a log.  I was stung twice in the armpit by honeybees.

Any winter that graced us with heavy snowfall warranted a trip to the hill with our sleds.  This winter was one of those, and I shared my love of Flagstaff with Yim and his boys.  Another beautiful day on the hill.


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OOOOPS!!! Sorry about that! So, as I was saying, there was something in Alliance that I had to see……CARHENGE!!!!

My mom has been finding money on the ground almost everywhere we go. A quarter here, a dime there. I think that is a fortuitous sign. I, on the other hand, have been finding things along the way that remind me of the people I know, and I’ve tried to gather them up to post here. Like the spawning salmon I saw at Carhenge for the folks at the Fish Market. Here’s something else I found at Carhenge. Christine, this one’s for you!!!!

His name is Tom and he’s from Missouri. He’s on his way to his first Sturgis. We’ve been traveling along side bikers from all over the country on their way to Bike Week. I wish we were going! But Mycol is sooo anxious to get to San Diego. He mentions it all the time. Sometimes he gets so frustrated with me he could throw something.

So we headed on to Scott’s Bluff. The college my mom went to her freshman year was called Hiram Scott. It doesn’t exist anymore and she hasn’t been back to Nebraska since. There wasn’t much left in the town that she recognized, but she thought this looked familiar:

We drove into Colorado (we’ve been on Mountain Time since Ogallala, Nebraska) and encountered a crazy lightening storm that opened up on us in a split second. We’d been watching the lightening burst out in the distance and when the wind started blowing tumbleweeds across the road I said maybe I’d like to pull over and just watch it play out. No sooner had I said that than we were nearly blown off the road ourselves and the thunder was blasting right over our heads and the rain was driving faster than I was. There wuz even sideways rain. My heart jumped into my throat when I realized that a tornado could kill us all in a minute. But I traveled onward. The storm broke just as we approached Brush, Colorado. Tired and weary, we pulled into the Tomahawk truck stop for gas and fuel. We stopped into the truckstop eatery, Digger’s Diner. I started feeling pretty good when I saw this on the wall:

The owner of Digger’s showed us to our seat, right in front of the TV so we could watch the Steelers/Saints pre-season game. The menu had the “Three Rivers Omelette”. Hmmmm. Hey, does anybody recognize this guy?

It’s Jeff Marcus, Gateway Highschool (Monroeville) Class of ’88!!! He’s out here in Brush, Co. running Digger’s Diner and coaching cross-country at the local school. He was real nice to us and gave us 2 Digger’s Diner ball caps. (the Digger is the mascot for the beet farmer – they make sugar out here)
And speaking of Pittsburgh and the Steelers…..this one’s for you, Rocky. After we pulled out of Brush we drove to Limon, Colorado and stayed at the “Travel On Inn”. As I said, there were bikers headed for Sturgis everywhere. When we pulled into the Inn, there they were, all sitting out front with their Harley’s. When I went back out from our room to smoke a cigarette I said hello and struck up a conversation. I said that we’d traveled from Pittsburgh and one of the guys says, “My son played for Pittsburgh.” I ran upstairs and got Mycol to come down and say hello to Mr. Ernie Mills, Sr.

Day 3 was a long day, filled with so much cool stuff that I was too tired to post that night at the Travel On Inn. But there you have it. In a nutshell.
Stay tuned for Day 4 when we will depart Limon, Co. for……? Can you guess where in the world I might be?

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