The Grand Canyon could not look any better. The colors of morning shine on the rocks and make purple shadows.
My wife and I stand at the rail and overlook one of the best things ever forged.
A family from Shanghai stands beside us. The Chinese man asks me to take their picture by speaking in fluent hand gestures.
His family poses.
“Say CHEESE!” I shout.
Close enough for American.
I have been to the Canyon a handful of times because this was one of two places my late father loved most.
Years ago, I came here to camp and hike by myself. I had gone through a rough patch and I was here to clear my head. I slept in a tent, I lived on canned food and warm beer. It was great.
One night, I camped beside an older man named Jerry. He was from Oklahoma. Jerry was a Church of Christ deacon. And even though I wanted to be
alone, Jerry started tagging along on my hikes without invitation.
After one full day of walking together, we shared supper. Beans and bacon cooked over a fire. When I cracked open my can of warm beer he got upset.
He said, “You’re not actually going to DRINK that are you?”
“Of course not,” I said. “I prefer to guzzle.”
I took one sip and wished I hadn’t. The next thirty minutes were filled with a bona fide sermon about beer. I started to feel so bad that I emptied my can on the campfire and apologized for offending him.
The next morning, I tried to sneak away from camp before Jerry awoke, but I was not quick enough. Jerry was already up with the chickens.
He was wearing a tucked-in shirt, khakis, and his backpack.
“Hurry up,” he said. “We have…