Thursday, August 13, 2009

Rocky Mountain High

Talk to God and listen to the casual reply.      John Denver, “Rocky Mountain High”, 1970


If all goes as planned I will be on an airplane from Austin to Denver tomorrow at this time   (“Oh it’s a long way from Austin to Denver”)heading for our partner’s retreat at Pike’s Peak. In the entire world, only Mt. Fuji in Japan is a more visited mountain than Pikes Peak , and I have never seen it. I have hung around Denver from time to time and was looking forward to this trip, until I noticed we had picked about the only summer week where Denver is almost as hot as Austin. Well, maybe it’s a dry heat.


As I have written before, nothing good ever happens at these partner retreats. Over the years I have been to about 20 of them.  Chief Justice Greenhill used to say, “I wish I could take three licks and stay home”. Greenhill was (is) a wise man. I think that this whole retreat concept got started in the church and was adapted for corporate types thirty years ago or so. The larger ones quite often have team building exercises which I have found can be duplicated by drinking tequila in a bar with all of your partners. As long as it is drunk  to excess. Why else would you drink tequila ? It takes three shots to make you forget the taste. The only hangover I ever had in my life was a result of tequila shots at a firm retreat back in the 80s. I don’t think that you can drink as much at 11,000 feet as you can at sea level, so I am going to pace myself, as well as take an oxygen canister.


Pike’s peak, despite its name, never really belonged to Pike. We bought it from the French with the rest of the Louisiana Purchase. At the time it was known as Jacque’s  Peak and subsisted mostly on escargot and Bordeaux. Since that time only  Coors has been consumed there. The explorer Pike, who went by the somewhat suspect name of Zebulon, mapped the area in 1806, in an expedition that was overshadowed by Lewis and Clark, the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of American history. You can’t really say that Pike discovered it, it had been there for a long time and a lot of Indians and explorers knew about it. It’s hard to hide a mountain for very long They tend to be among the first things discovered on any given expedition..There are ten counties in America named for Pike. I don’t know which one is the famous Pike County which Ike and Betsy traveled from along with their yellow dog, red rooster and one spotted hog (too ra lee, too ra lay, singing to ral e to ral e to ral e eh). Oh don’t you remember them ?  That Pike county must have been one sorry place considering all the trouble Ike and Betsy had with the landscape after they left.


But as John Denver (actually John Deutschendorf-he changed it because it was hard to spell ) from Lubbock, Texas tells us, God not only converse with you in the Rockies, he does so in a casual manner. This  as opposed to other mountains where you run into God, Sinai springs to mind. God tends toward the pedantic in most recorded mountain situations. I think in the Rockies he lets you keep  your shoes on which actually sounds less casual, but is much less intimidating. I’m not really sure how casual the conversation is going to be, I think cursing is still frowned upon. But it should give me good fodder for my next blog. “Area  Man Casually Talks to God”. I have got a list of questions prepared for God, most of them about the Health Care Plan now being debated.


So it’s off to the high country to commune with God and my partners. I’ll see you when I get back closer  to sea level.


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