Boom Days Dodger

I’m awake at 05:45 without my alarm after having gone to bed a mere four hours earlier—having enjoyed a long evening of side-splitting laughter with the family and friends who are sharing beds and couches while visiting us this Boom Days weekend. The laughter helped me escape my somber mood from earlier yesterday when my sister called to tell me that our Dad was in the hospital.

I make my signature cheesy eggs and sausage for friends who will board a plane to Germany tomorrow for the next two years. We never made it to Abu Dhabi to visit them these last two years—for which I feel a twinge of guilt—and I promise that we will visit them in Ülm. I intend to keep this promise. They leave with hugs and full bellies, and I am just a little jealous of their new adventure.

At 9 o’clock there are people and floats and noisy, pooping animals traveling down our road to line up for the 10 o’clock parade to kick off Leadville’s Boom Days celebration. I haven’t missed a parade in nine years, and often I’ve even walked in the parade. Today, however, I can’t seem to muster a bit of enthusiasm for the spectacle.

My head is fuzzy—I haven’t slept well these past several nights—and as the rest of the house awakens, I can think of nothing but sleep. Two lovely girls descend the stairs in Victorian dresses, one son and another friend threaten to attend the parade in pajamas and Snuggies, my husband and other son leave for a mountain bike ride in preparation for the Leadville Trail 100 race next Saturday, and I’m already thinking about another houseful of early morning racers in 7 more days.

At 9:50 I know I will not attend the parade and holler at them all to get out of the house—and to not come back for two hours. I’ve got to take a nap, but I’ve got to use the bathroom first, and all three bathrooms are in use. I suppress a wave of resentment by remembering that I love the crazy days of summer, and even more, I love that we have friends and family who want to be with us. I want to live in the moment and be a part of the wacky Wild West festivities.

But my dad is in the hospital, his lungs filling with pneumonia, his skin cancer—after nearly a year of torturous radiation and chemo—raising its ugly head once more, and I want to get on a plane and be there right now. I want to run away from the fun and laughter here and bring some to my mom who has slept far less than I this past year, and to two of my sisters who have been carrying the load along with her.

Everyone leaves, and at 10 o’clock I’m in bed laughing at the foolishness of thinking I can sleep with the steam calliope warming up outside my bedroom window and the olde thyme prop planes buzzing the growing crowds along the parade path. Nevertheless, after seeing 10:25 on the clock beside my bed I fall into a bottomless sleep and I’m pretty sure it’s wonderful.

I awake for the second time today, but startled this time, hearing the clip-clip of hooves and the braying of mules—not unusual for Leadville—and wondering why I am in bed looking at 11:30 on my alarm clock. I check my pillow for drool.

Time to get up; we’re hosting a barbecue for 30 people in four hours. Perhaps I’ll attend some of the fun down town tomorrow.