Announcer says: Here is the story of how two people met. Even after many takes, Chris was not able to read his essay written in the first person without getting choked up. So here is his sister Margo, telling his story in third person.
Margo: I have one brother, Chris, who at age 52, has been retired for 10 years. He has a heart of gold, is successful, intelligent, articulate, and I love him dearly, but he is different. He lives all alone in the middle of his 1000 acre ranch in the coastal mountains of Northern California. The nearest neighbor is miles away and he does not socialize. Summers are hot up there and he works outside on the ranch in the nude: very rational as fewer clothes means less laundry so more time to work. The house is off the grid: he makes all his power with a hydro-electric generator. His 3 cylinder car was new when gas was under a buck a gallon. It gets 50mpg, but only goes 45 mph up hill and has no air conditioning. These minor inconveniences are a small price for him to pay in order to lesson his foot print on planet Earth. Chris has no tolerance for the conspicuous consumption and profligate waste that is endemic to our Western life style. He has no TV. His wife of 20 years ran off with a younger man and Chris has not had a date in the current millenium. Well, that’s not counting the one young climber chick that he met at Ken’s birthday party. She took a liking to Chris: he is in phenominal shape, no tan line. But after the third day of visiting him at the ranch, she escaped in a screaming cloud of dust as fast as her gas guzzling 4×4 truck could move.
Since he has no internet access, I offered to place a personals ad for him, but the only ad he came up with was one looking for a woman to bicycle the 19,000 mile length of the Americas, from Prutoe Bay to the southern tip of Chile. When pressed to give more details of what qualities this woman should have, his short list essentially boiled down to this. She must be an Olympian Goddess, preferrably the daughter of Aphrodite. She must be able to scale tall mountains in order to ski down the other side, all while carrying on a discussion of the finer points of astrophysics. Anything else I asked? Yes, she must have perfect teeth.
About a year ago, a 45 year old guy called in the Car Talk guys for advise. He drove an old beater car, McDonald food wrappers piled high in the back seat, some dating back to the Clinton era. He had not been on a date in 5 years and had just met a wonderful woman who drove a Lexus. His question was this: Should he be truthful from the start, or should he rent a car for the first date? Click and Clack told him the rent the car and lie, lie through your teeth man. I called Chris immediately. He too had heard the program and knew that I would be thinking of him.
Things changed in August. Chris was returning from 5 days of climbing in the Eastern Sierras with two friends of his. On the way down the pass at 12,000 feet, a solo hiker called out to inform him that Kevin, the third man on the team, was up ahead waiting. She was too far away to see any details except long legs. After exchanging pleasantries, Chris asked her name, and where she was going, then continued down to meet up with Kevin. Chris informed is two friends that he was going back up to meet the girl. They laughed. But by the third time, they realized he was serious. Just the fact that she was at 12,000′, solo and headed toward Thunderbolt Pass meant that she possessed many of the qualities that Chris was looking for. He had to go and find out the rest, else forever wonder if she was the one he had been looking for these many, many years.
As this was the end of the trip, food supplies were very low. At the trail head, the other two donated the rest of their meager rations to Chris,, and at 4am the next morning, he headed back up the 8 mile trail to Thunderbolt. The pass is at 12,500′, and is only a couple hundred feet wide. Anyone going to climb the Palisades will most likely cross over this pass, yet there is so much open country on either side, that you would be unlikely to find them except at the pass. No one was there when Chris arrived. But 10 minutes later, Kathleen came over on her way to climb Mt Sill, a 14,000′ peak. Chris introduced himself, presented Kathleen with a present of chocolate and fresh blueberries and asked if she would like some company on the climb. She said yes and they spent the next three days together in the wilderness, climbing mountains. And the rest, as they say, is history.
So in derference to the generally sage advise that Click and Clack dole out, for this I believe! Be true to yourself. Don’t lie. Don’t sit at home crying in your beer. Get out. Get out and do something that you truly love, and good things will come your way. And by the way Tom and Ray, she drives a Prius.
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