August 24, 2007

She said, "Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side."

Pepper is in town until Sunday and we have been having the best of times. Quite frankly I had just about given up on the trip happening, what with all the delays she’d encountered while sojourning in Indiana, but eventually an email arrived letting me know she was in town and ready to commence a visit with the DirkStar.

Now, when she told me that her G.P.S. (Global Positioning System) kept getting her lost in neighborhoods with too many boarded up houses I knew I had to think of a target location to meet up at that was so big enough it would be impossible for her gizmo's to miss. So we decided to meet up under the wings of Icarus in the entrance foyer at the Air Force Museum.

Welcome to Dayton, Ohio ladies!

The very first thing I noticed about Pepper was her warm smile. She was clearly excited about our meeting and her eyes twinkled with anticipation the moment she walked through the doors and gave me a hug. She is just a joyful spirit. Now, most of the people I encounter of my age group have become so cynical and have lost every last shred of the childhood innocence that makes every day a miracle and every butterfly a celebration. It always saddens me that growing up seems to imply that seriousness must always override having fun and that if an activity doesn’t put money into a pocket it isn’t worth participating in. Pepper lives in the moment and I loved watching her run around the museum all day snapping pictures and enjoying the planes on display. It was like watching a kid in a candy store.

The second thing I noticed about Pepper was her mother, Jane. Shy at first it wasn’t long however until her dry wit and sharp intellect became clearly apparent. Even at seventy-seven years of age Pepper’s mom is a hoot to hang out with and she was a fun part of the afternoon activities. Be careful around Jane because she knows B.S. when she hears it and she’ll call a spade a spade without batting an eyelash. If she likes you you’ll enjoy good conversation and fine companionship. I’d bet money she’d rip you a new one if you get on bad side. I like her; she’s real, genuine and straight shooting.

After a long day at the museum we met up with Felicia and Micah for dinner at Abuelos and shared lots of laughs over fine Mexican cuisine. It was so nice we were in no hurry to leave and we sat for quite a spell after dinner just talking and enjoying good company. I must compliment Pepper on her ability to snare the check for our dinner before Felicia, who never gets beaten to the punch, could even think about making her move for it. (That’s alright; I’ll be treating them to lunch at Dewey’s tomorrow afternoon before we tour the Woodland Cemetery.)

We were going to tour the Indian archaeological site at Sun Watch Village today but the heat wave quickly killed that idea. It was decided instead that Pepper and Jane would catch up on some laundry, do some shopping and then come over to our house for dinner and a movie. It would be the first I got to meet the third character in the Pepper entourage, Surely Not, the wonder dog. Now, as most of you know from reading the comment sections of Pepper’s posts I’ve voiced my opinion concerning the possible alien lineage of this distinctly non-canine looking creature. If indeed this beast is an extraterrestrial being she has the soul of E.T.

"Surely Not" in the house!

Surely Not won my heart the minute she entered our home. She is kind and gentle and took to us as if she’d known Felicia, Micah and I all of her fourteen years. I still don’t know if I’d describe her as cute but she is definitely one of the sweetest of God’s creatures you’d ever want to meet. Well, we enjoyed a fine meal and then watched The Chronicles of Narnia while eating lemon squares for dessert. It was a wonderful evening and certainly cemented a new and wonderful friendship.

Now it wasn’t easy for Pepper and her mother to work up the courage to trust total strangers in a strange land, especially with her kids warning her about Internet predators, but courage is never easy. It is risky to put your trust in the hands of people you’ve never met in person. And that is precisely why I’ve always enjoyed Pepper’s blog since the evening I first discovered it. Pepper and her mother display such amazing courage each and every day they travel across the country in the R.V. they currently call home.

These two wonderful women don’t let risks paralyze them with fear and keep them prisoners in the isolated prisons of their homes like so many other Americans do today. They step out in faith and more often than not they experience the goodness that so many others miss out on in their daily lives. There are good people in the world and these two brave and courageous women meet them because they willingly take the small risks that are an inescapable fact of life. Let me tell you all something; we are having a great time and I am going to be sad when Sunday comes around and they head back off on their grand adventure.

Profiles in courage.

Pepper reminds me of a truth I’ve believed in for a very long time. I would rather die a horrible death living out in the world than die a lonely death in a house in which I’ve hidden in fear for most of my life. Yes, going out into the unknown is risky, but the rewards are so incredible for those who exercise the courage to journey forth and take a chance on what life may have to offer.

I can hardly wait to go adventuring with Pepper and Jane tomorrow. I’m betting we’ll all have a pretty good time.

August 22, 2007

Wouldn't you like to be a Pepper too!

Its a party tonight!

Pepper is in town with mom and Surely Not in tow! Oh yes, it is a party in Dayton, Ohio this afternoon. We're meeting up at the Air Force Museum and after that the sky is the limit.

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