Monday, February 16, 2009

Life In Laramie

As much as I remember - or at least think I remember, I forget what Laramie is like. I've been here in the summers over the past seven years, which is when the student are gone. Maybe I should go bar hopping on Friday night, just to get a hard core reminder of what life was like here. There is always a festive air during July when we're here for Jubilee Days, but we really don't spend anytime in town beyond a couple of nights. Other than that we're up at the cabin.

This year we came in September, and school was back in session, but we did our usual 'hit and run,' of the town, spending the majority of our time at the cabin. Granted, this trip I haven't spent much time around town yet - I only arrived at 6 and it's now just barely 8. I went direct to the hospital to see my mom. She's why I came this trip. "Pulmonary Hypertension" means the blood pressure in her heart and lungs (and the artery between them) is far too high. Lethally high. They're amazed she didn't die yesterday, the oxygen in her blood was. But, by His Grace she is alive for me to come see.

If she weren't doing as well as she is, I don't think I could be as light hearted about being here. But she is doing well. At least for now. Which brings me back to my initial statement "I forget what Laramie is like." I came into town and went directly to the hospital. I didn't know where to park, which I thought was weird. I figured it out and went inside. As I mentioned, it was about 6, but the front lobby was all closed down, nobody was anywhere to be found. This means I got to find the elevators all by my bitty self (how hard can it be?)

So up to the 3rd floor I go. Off the elevator there is no signage as to which rooms are which direction, and all hallways are deserted. I bravely head left down a dark hall. I'm instantly time warped. Wrrrrp .... wrrrp .... I wish I could spell sound effects as well as I make them Wrrrrp ... I haven't been in this hospital in nearly 22 years (This coming Sunday, Feb 22, will be precisely 22 years since I was here, when my little Joshy was born in 1987). But I remembered the halls. It was as nothing had changed. And then again, wrrrp ... back 14 years before that to 1973. I was in this same hospital, maybe even the same hallway, when I had my tonsils out. There is the library where I got books to take back to my room. wrrrp

I didn't stay long, mom was tired so left her to sleep and I headed to her house. Driving the dark streets, it could be 1982 all over again. Or maybe 1980. The most recent snow hasn't melted yet. There's still a scrape of ice on all the roads, and the curbs and gutters are full of plow remnants. I didn't have the time warp feeling, but I do remember running across campus in the cold of winter, tripping and falling and cutting my noggin open on the ice in the gutter.

I stopped at The Ranger Liquor Mart for some beer. A car pulled through the lot as I was walking to the door. The car didn't slow down or wait for me, so I wisely stopped in my pedestrian tracks and waited for it to pass. Pulling up to the drive-up window (liquor stores have drive up windows in Wyoming) the much rushed driver orders "Give me a half pint bottle of the cheapest vodka you have." (I'm thinking it's a good thing I waited for her to pass in the parking lot, she probably would have ran me down). By then I'd entered the store and heard the clerk tell her "We're all out of half pint vodka." She drove off empty handed, none-too-happy.

2009 --> 1987 --> 1980 --> 1973 Time stands still in Laramie Wyoming. Yet time marches on. My mom ages. One day I won't be able to come here to visit, because she won't be here. But in Laramie time stands still. The names of the people change, and in a paradox time stands still as it marches along.

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