Let us be lovers
we’ll marry our fortunes together.
I’ve got some real
estate here in my bag.
So we bought a pack of cigarettes
and Mrs. Wagner's pies
And we walked off to look for America …
- Paul Simon
The wild west of America is a vast canvas of dizzying contradictions, enormous waste, awesome beauty and an increasingly skewed distribution of wealth. In just ten days I visited four states in a grand
tour—from the gliltz, extravagance and frivolity of Las Vegas, where every hotel imitates someplace other than America, to the humble pedestrian offerings of Barstow.
OK, so I skipped the pack of
cigarettes…and I drove...but I definitely had the pie! (more later).
The life of the self employed may have many advantages—freedom to set your own hours and schedule, and the satisfaction of
choosing the work you do being high on the list. But the life of those who basically create their own jobs, using whatever know-how, skill, and energy they have to make a living, also comes with a few other
liabilities. No one is paying you a salary, or contributing to your retirement, or providing you with health insurance. There is little certainty in your life. And those nice two and three week paid vacations are
just not a part of the scene. When you are self-employed, and take a vacation, you are basically “closed for business” forsaking any income you might make during the time off in addition to any expense
you might have on your getaway. So you work each day, often on weekends and evenings as well, and you never really know where your next dollar is coming from. Yet, to those with an entrepreneurial mindset and a
desire to make their own way in the world, self employment is the only way they could ever really thrive and be who they truly are.
I’ve been one of those intrepid self-employed writer/designers for
most of my adult life. While our society lavishes income and lucrative multi-million dollar ad contracts on those who can manage to nudge a small ball into a hole in a nicely manicured field of grass, it
doesn’t pay its teachers, writers, artists or designers much at all. Let’s just write this off as par for the course in this bizarre world, where truth is seldom recognized and deception and denial
become official policies of the government itself.
As 2009 came to a close, I decided I could squeak in a long deserved break during the normally slow holiday season between Christmas and New Year’s.
The calendar cooperated by landing both holidays on a Friday, creating two long weekends, and so, after sitting faithfully at my desk for 18 odd years, I took a vacation! I jumped in a car with a companion and
took off to look for America in a few of its most exciting and awesomely beautiful locations here in the West. Living in a bit of a paradise here in Monterey, CA, (a vacation destination for millions of other people
each year), we decided to forsake the sublime serenity and beauty of our marine environment and head to the high desert country of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, a realm of sere grey sand, red stone and sage brush,
scored by awesome canyons, sheer ravines, and guarded by towering fortresses of sculpted rock and stone. Seeing these places in winter, the “off” season, we hoped to avoid both the searing heat and
summer crowds, and also to view some of the great national parks of the wild west by car instead of the mandatory shuttle busses and trams that haul people around in the busy months.
The itinerary was to
sneak away on Christmas eve and head for Las Vegas as a launching point. Then Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon would be visited in a whirlwind 10 day grand tour. But like all
plans, we had to factor in the possibility of bad weather in a month like December, particularly in the higher elevations. And, as it turned out, “General Winter” ended up dictating much of the
agenda in the long run. We made our first reservation for a 4 star hotel in Vegas and wisely decided to play the rest as they came.
The photos opening this essay were our first stop on the tour. I have never really had any desire to go to Las Vegas, thinking it little more than a strip of gaudy hotels and casinos, where horrendous
entertainers like Barry Manilow hold forth, over…and over…and over again. But after seeing the newly revamped Vegas I can certainly testify to its appeal. Crossing the western Mojave desert you enter
Nevada and pass through some of the most forbidding and barren terrain imaginable. It’s hard to believe that a major city could exist in such a place, and indeed, a place like Vegas would not be possible
without the engineering wonder of the Hoover Dam and the waters of Lake Meade conveniently at hand. Entering the city on I-15 you are immediately struck by the sleek, glitzy parapets of all the theme based hotels.
Amazingly, Las Vegas has 15 of the top 20 largest hotels in the world…and 21 of the 30 largest make their home there!
Arriving on Christmas Eve, we found them all decked out in full Christmas regalia.
And the streets were simply packed with tourists, mostly Asian. In fact, I was surprised to learn that Las Vegas had its very own Chinatown, which was our first destination after shaking off the 8 hour drive, for a
nice dinner at Sam Woo’s. Traffic on the strip was reduced to a bare crawl, and at one point, foolishly coaxed by our GPS navigator to return to our hotel via that route, it looked as though it would
take us all of an hour to get just one mile! Afterwards, we left our accommodations at the Monte Carlo, forsook the car altogether, and joined the thousands of other tourists out just walking the strip, an
exhilarating experience, as all the casinos and hotels were glowing with color and life. Vegas literally offers a photo opportunity every three feet along the strip. So we wandered from the Monte Carlo, to the newly
built Aria, and then down past Bellagio and Caesars Palace, crossing the street on one of the many pedestrian flyovers to check out the Imperial Palace and a few other hotels before calling it a night. The next day
would allow us more time to actually go into the lobbies and public areas of these amazing hotels and collect photos to our heart’s content.
The best on the strip, from my perspective, were the
Bellagio and Caesar’s Palace. The former simply had the most elegant decor and amazing Christmas ornaments that were drawing hundreds in to gawk and take photos. It’s neighbor, Caesar’s Palace, is
a massive multi-block hotel with 3,348 rooms, huge open lobbies, fountains, pools, an enormous spiral stairway and statues everywhere. Another tower is scheduled to open in 2010 adding 665 more rooms to this massive
complex, perhaps in a bid to compete with the stunning new Aria, just open with 4,004 rooms. Even this cannot compete with the MGM Grand’s 5,690 rooms, the second largest hotel in the world. Yes, Vegas
embodies the notion that “bigger is better” as each hotel continues to add new towers in service to the idea that perpetual “growth” is always the norm in this country—this while we are
now laboring through the most severe economic contraction since the Great Depression. Yet Caesar’s has a special wonder about it, and we spent an hour just to make a cursory review of this Roman themed palace.
I soon felt I would love to return there for an extended stay and just loiter on a bench in the common areas, people watching with my camera.
The next morning I ventured down for breakfast, amazed that
people were up at the casino slot machines, cigarette in one hand and drink in the other—this at 7:30am! Seeing this I could not help but take it as a metaphor for what we have just gone through as a society.
With the severe depreciation in real estate, devastating job losses, and the general failure of banks and businesses, we, as a nation, are still at the casino hoping for that one big payoff. This became all too
evident when I read the local paper that morning. I was immediately struck by the layout. Everything above the fold was about plans for yet more hotels and casinos—this in a city that is glutted with
accommodations as it stands. In spite of the Christmas throngs, and very cheap holiday rates, the hotels still struggle to fill rooms. But they were building more—upscale suites for the upper class business
traveler, the folks most likely to be immune to the ongoing depression we are now facing as a nation. Then, oddly, all the stories below the fold were about struggling area businesses and car dealerships. But the
headline went to the planned opening of that new hotel, complete with a photo of a big earth mover scraping away at the lifeless grey-brown desert soil to plant the seed of another extravagant facility aimed at
attracting more tourists with yet another casino. There was something oddly discomforting about Vegas in this light. It stood as a symbol of opulence, triviality, extravagance, deception, overblown architecture, and
the completely misguided notion that growth and perpetual expansion were to be taken for granted. It is the ultimate testament to the folly of humans who are still fascinated by shiny things. Think of the entire
city as a theme park, the grand Disneyland of our Brave New World. It defies credulity, with more hotels, more casinos, more cars crawling at a snails pace on the strip…And what if the Asian tourists that
easily made up 60% of the customer base there simply went home?
But sigh, I decided not to think about the economy on this vacation, and just have fun. Vegas is that, if nothing else. It’s a glittering
hive of good food and amazing energy. Just walking the strip is exhilarating, if you can manage to avoid the cluster of down and out Latinos hawking tickets to the girley shows. They were obviously well trained to
snap the ticket with their fingers to get your attention before offering it to you, but this trick only worked the first time you encountered one on the street. After encountering one of these dogged street denizens
for the tenth time, the pitch got very old, and the “ticket snappers,” as I called them, became just another street obstacle to avoid in the crush of humanity there.
The casinos literally run all
night long, beckoning you from every doorway. While not a gambler, who goes to Vegas without trying out the machines at least once? I decided to risk, and promptly lost, about $10 on the one cent slot
machines. But hey, at one point we had doubled our money before the sly one armed bandit reclaimed it all. Does anyone really think these digitally programmed machines are … well, completely random? I
think not. Play the slots in Vegas and simply be prepared to feed the machine a few dollars for the fun of sitting in the casino for an hour or two—if you can stand the cigarette smoke. We got several bottles
of free water, the same stuff the vending machines were selling for $3.50, so the loss wasn’t that bad. Face it, Vegas exists for one reason only—to suck money from the wallets of the tourists who walk
the strip, and at that it simply excels, in spite of the bad economy. Will the tourists ever go away and leave all these hotels vacant testaments to our folly? I suppose that remains to be seen.
The Vegas I
saw was simply humming with life and activity—though at one point, navigating the “Street of Dreams” shopping district of the Monte Carlo in a stream of tourists, I looked in at three forlorn shop
employees leaning on their merchandise displays as they watched the crowds of people walk by. Not a single customer was in the store, and for the merchants, the street of dreams seemed a nightmare. People were
walking, talking, gawking, snapping photos and a sightseeing. But few, if any, were shopping on Christmas Eve. The fate of Las Vegas, and the nation, may be sealed by this observation. The last blowout shopping day
of the season seemed a complete bust on the Street of Dreams. I wondered what people were doing elsewhere, still digging themselves out from under a big snowstorm and unusually cold weather. In the meantime, Vegas
will continue to build until the folly of this effort becomes glaringly apparent, even to the dullard investor class that still has money to bankroll such ventures. The long term fate of the city is as bleak as that
of the desert that surrounds it, but you would never know that from what I saw over the Christmas holiday there. It was “business as usual” in the city the mob built. Strictly business. Nothing
Zion in Winter
After two days in Vegas it was on the road again for a short drive up I-15 to Zion National Park in
Utah. We left the four star opulence of the Monte Carlo for the humble appointments of a Comfort Inn in a little town called Hurricane. After sleeping on Italian linen, and washing up over marble sinks in Vegas, we
settled for a simple, well worn, room that would serve as a brief base for our exploration of Zion. Sure, the faucet was loose, the door all scratched up, but the difference was not as noticeable as you might think
after downgrading two or three stars. This inn was “officially” a two star affair, but I had to deduct a full star when the heater failed and we had to move across the hall. The Mrs. Wagoner’s Pie
I alluded to at the top of the article was really a slice of “Bumbleberry Pie” that we bought in Springdale, just outside Zion’s gate. The container leaked, staining the bedspread, but we labored
to clean it, (and left housekeeping a nice tip when we departed the next day). But the trip to Zion was not about the substandard accommodations man has built in Hurricane, but about the awesome spirals of
rock and stone that God and nature have built, over millions of years, in one of the most beautiful natural settings I have ever seen.
Zion is sculpted red rock in a deep, winding canyon carved by the Virgin
river. In the summer it gets unbearably hot there, with temperatures over 100 degrees at times, but this December saw us at a chilly 32 degrees, with the park roads wide open for cars. (You usually cannot
drive in the park valley floor in summer). So we made our way from viewpoint to viewpoint, along the 8 mile road that ends at the “Temple of Sinawava.” The trails were too icy for any extended
walking, but we took hundreds of photos of the sheer red cliffs, and caught the nearly full moon rising over a cleft in the rocks at a place called “Weeping Rock.” Each turn in the road offered a
new vista, with towering cliffs vying with one another like the man made hotels in Vegas.
Leaving the place the next day, we found many more photo opportunities on Highway 12 to Mt. Carmel Junction. In fact,
this road leading east was in many ways more scenic than the valley floor. The rock formations were simply amazing, and the thought that it took mother nature millions of years to stack of these layers of sediment
was humbling. I was seeing it all for these brief moments, just passing through the work of a thousand millennia. If that doesn’t give you a sense of perspective on life, nothing will.
But the cold and
snow of Zion, the warmest part of the State of Utah, left us thinking that the climb to nearly 9000 feet at Bryce Canyon would not be wise. The weatherman called for -8 degrees there that night. So instead of
turning north at Mt. Carmel Junction, we turned south, hoping to find warmer temperatures and better roads. Our next destination would be Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam region, as a gateway to the Grand Canyon
beyond. (Lots More Zion Photos here)
On the Colorado River
We slipped out of Utah and entered
Arizona at a little town called Page. The two star Best Western here lived up to both stars, and was well priced. We decided to hit the visitor center and then took the tour of the massive Glen Canyon Dam with a
dozen other people. One of many large dams on the Colorado River, this engineering wonder was a little brother to the great Hoover Dam that sustains Las Vegas. In this case, the electricity generated here served a
huge swathe of Northern Arizona, and parts of Utah as well.
I was surprised to see the FEMA like security taken very seriously here. To take the tour we had to go through a scanner, emptying out pockets. My
companion was not even allowed to carry her purse with her, and burly guards appeared at the end of the long tunnels, eying the frumpy tourists as the guide took us into the heart of the dam, rattling off statistics
about its size compared to Hoover. Afterward, we drove to vista points over the lake and took some nice shots near sunset.
The next day we would discover a scenic drive near the river that offered another
view of the dam, and then tour the nearby Horseshoe Bend where the Colorado makes a hairpin switchback turn on its way to the Grand Canyon. You could walk right out to the edge of a sheer 300 foot drop to the river
below, and we joined a group of other tourists inching out onto the precipice to snap photos. Sadly, the prospect of another snow storm there led us to head east at this point. We had forsaken Arches and Bryce, but
my companion was determined to see the Monument Valley, and the roads looked open. So we drove out to see the great monoliths there and visit the Navaho Indian reservation.
The journey into Indian Country marked the point of greatest contrast on our trek. The poverty, whether by choice or due to the hard times, was apparent, and
sharply contrasted with the luxury, affluence and showy wealth of Las Vegas. Passing through small town we saw plain brown housing, barren fields of cactus and snow covered sage brush; slushy roads patrolled by the
occasional monster pickup truck that seemed to be the vehicle of choice for the Navajo. There was nary a sign of a Wall-Mart or MacDonald’s to be found. Instead the people here lived a much scaled down life,
farming, ranching, making do. The words “get, watch, and do what you want,” a recent ad mantra in the our world outside the reservation, had no meaning here. Getting here was getting the twenty miles
from your hovel to the nearest store or gas station. Watching here was staring at the endless expanse of the desert. Doing what you want was wondering if you would make it through the winter to another year.
While some might say the Navaho have chosen this life style, my guess was that it was imposed by lack of opportunity. With Vegas still in mind, I could not help but think of Huxley’s Brave New World,
where a couple of tourists visit the Indian reservation and meet John Savage. We drove through to Monument Valley and found some amazing landforms, great monoliths rising up from the snowy desert floor. It was the
wild west at its most stark and primitive condition—a land that could have been a hundred million years past. This was dinosaur country, cold and forbidding ground with huge, weathered mesas and lone towers of
rock brooding over the desert. Fingers of stone kept their solitary watch on the land. It was as close to Mordor as we might find here in the US.
We took pictures, staying all too briefly for the time it took
us to get there, and declining an offer by two locals to give us a closer look at the rocky formations for $50 bucks a head. I decided the 18X optical zoom on my camera would do that just fine to get close-ups of
the lonesome terrain there. Yes, lonesome is the word that kept coming to me about this place. It seemed a lost land from another time, bravely inhabited by a lost people from another time. In a way, I was only too
eager to get back on the road and continue south. We had another two hours before reaching the Painted Desert where we hoped to get a better look at the quiet beauty of this terrain. Our GPS navigator decided to
take us by the most direct route, a less than perfectly maintained road called highway 59. For the next 45 minutes I found myself trying to drive on two rails of dry pavement, worn by the wheels of passing cars and
flanking a thick accumulation of ice and snow in the center of the lane. It was a bit harrowing, but we made it through well enough to the town of Holbrooke on I-40 to the south, the gateway to our next day’s
Painted Desert / Petrified Forest
This was a very pleasant surprise for us after crossing the featureless expanse of the
Navaho Indian Reservation. We spent nearly six hours touring the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest the next day, loving every minute of it. A curiously hungry Raven seemed to follow us from place to place, eager
for the sunflower seeds we tossed in his direction. At one point he perched prominently on our car, one of the family, allowing us to get very close for some nice photos.
The viewpoints were nicely spaced,
each one offering a glimpse of the amazing landforms there. Snow graced the gentle contours of the folded hills, but the weather was mild enough for us to get out and do some hiking through this colorful landscape.
We saw the last remains of an old subtropical forest that had been calcified to stone over the millennium. The logs were
clearly fallen trees, but they had been hardened to cores of agate and crystal. The place had been pilfered for decades since its discovery in the1800s, but there was still enough material about to make a satisfying
Here we also found signs of the ancient human inhabitants of this land, with opportunities to photograph petroglyphs drawn on
the rocks thousands of years ago. As I captured them on my 8 gigabyte memory card I could not help but wonder how much of our digital world would remain in a few thousand years? Clearly the messages scored on the
rocks were a much more enduring way to traverse the centuries. They remained intact for millennium, but I doubted my 8 gigabyte memory card would survive this decade.
There were also fossils and old bones of
dinosaurs assembled in the museum at the south end of the park. As collecting a souvenir was strictly forbidden these days, we bought some petrified stone at the local gift shop instead. All in all this was one of
the highlights of the trip. I would say we had more solace, peace of mind, and just plain fun touring these parks than we did in Monument Valley or on the strip in Last Vegas.
On to Sedona
I had hoped to stop at the big meteor crater on the way to Flagstaff that evening, but we tarried too long in the Petrified Forest and could
not reach the place before sunset. We took I-40 west to Flagstaff, finding it got much colder with the elevation gain as we climbed into the mountain country of northern Arizona. Flagstaff was meant to be a 2-night
stay, and serve as a base of operations for us to see the Grand Canyon and Sedona, but alas, the winter storm that had passed through dumped 4 inches on the Grand Canyon, with another 1.5 inches predicted to fall
before midnight. A call to the park revealed that the roads were “snow covered, icy and treacherous” requiring chains or four wheel drive. So we decided to head south to Sedona, a destination we had
originally planned to visit on New Years Eve. We would see it a day early, on Dec 30th instead, and it did not disappoint in spite of snow flurries there as well.
The beauty of the valley and canyons around
Sedona is legendary. Even in winter, with the red hills swathed in snow, we found many photo opportunities. We toured the town all day, exploring the quaint shops of Talquepacque and the main shopping district, and
all the artsy boutiques and galleries, where merchants sedately offered bronze sculptings priced between $3000 and $5000 each. What a stark contrast from the Navaho Indian reservation! We were back in a haunt that
catered to tourists and the landed wealthy again. Who would spend five grand for one of these statues, I wondered? Just the thought that this store existed, and that there were people with the money to buy these
things, seemed disgusting to me on one level, a decadence that was every bit as offensive as Las Vegas.
Yet there was something about Sedona that I found very appealing, even though we did not see the place
in all its glory. I determined that this would merit a return visit. The atmosphere was very sedate, the people friendly, especially at the tourist information center. There we met with a grey haired lady who
pointed out all the best vista points to take in the amazing sculpted cliffs that surround the town. Sadly, she confessed that five of her six children were now unemployed, so in spite of the obvious wealth in the
area, the blight of the depression had clearly left its mark on her family.
Yes, the place was an obvious tourist trap, but get off the main drag and explore the roads outside of town and you could feel
the quiet magic of these hills. I know why Sedona is one of the most visited places in Arizona now, and I think if we had come here in September, with nicer weather and the trees all in their autumn colors, we would
have completely fallen under the spell of this beautiful valley. Sedona is a “must see,” destination, and I was glad I had the chance to visit.
The road back north to Flagstaff gave us a good
taste of what “icy and treacherous” mean. We were second in a line of fifteen cars, crawling along the sinuous, snowy road of highway 89 out of the canyon to Flagstaff, and it took of over 90 minutes to
make the 29 mile trip north again. This convinced us not to try the roads at even higher elevations and tour the Grand Canyon the next day. So this great gorge, home to some of the oldest rocks on earth, remains on
my “bucket list” for a viewing during better weather.
Now who would throw a dart and hit this town as a destination
point on a vacation? As mentioned earlier, Flagstaff was simply meant to be a base to reach other sightseeing places in the vicinity. But I have to say that we found the sparkling new three star Courtyard by
Marriott to be the most comfortable and nicely appointed quarters of our tour, even better than the four star Monte Carlo of Las Vegas, (sans casino, which we didn’t miss at all). And the food we
discovered in this mountain hideaway was simply fabulous. We had a wonderful Thai dinner on the first night before Sedona, and then tried to get to the nearest restaurant, finding a Red Lobster down the snowy street
that served up a very wholesome and tasty seafood dinner on the second night. High marks to Flagstaff for food and lodging, if nothing else!
Canyon under heavy snow, we decided to cut our tour a day short and take the long twelve hour drive home in two stages. The last night in Flagstaff, after the disappointment of missing the Grand Canyon, we tossed
around potential plans for one last destination before heading home…might we sneak down to Pasadena for the Rose Parade? Not a hotel room could be found. Might we bend north through Vegas to watch the
fireworks there on New Year’s eve? We were just too tired to take on the city again, and the room rates had tripled.
So, nine days into our tour we just pointed the car west on I-40, heading home. As a
consolation we detoured briefly along the old historical Route 66 and visited the Grand Canyon Caverns. The place was so hard to find that we nearly drove past it, in spite of the sign. Descending 23 stories beneath
the earth, we entered a completely lifeless realm of silica and sandstone. Not even bacteria or viruses could survive more than 72 hours in the place, which made me wonder why the U.S. Government choose it as a
fallout shelter and stockpiled food and water there for 2000 people, the entire local population in the 1960s. This observation redoubled when the guide told us that, within a week, the complete dryness of the cave
would cause lung failure, and you would suffocate if ever trapped there. The relics of a bobcat and frantic claw marks in the stone made by a great prehistoric beast added an ominous tinge to this fact. Yet anyone
who was forced to use this place as a fallout shelter would certainly need to remain there for at least a week, wouldn’t they? By the way, the food and water are still there. The cache consisted of only one
food item—crackers, and gallons and gallons of now rancid water. I wrote the whole thing off to a typical government SNAFU. Ascending to the surface again, I was gratified to sit in the old western style
saloon and grill, and have a nice thick burger with fries, grateful that I was one animal that had managed to escape from the caverns.
The mid-point on the way was the town of Barstow in the middle of the
Mojave Desert. While not the most romantic place to spend New Year’s with your gal, I think we will always remember that moment in another Day’s Inn, watching the “Ball” drop in Times Square
from our hotel room after one of the worst meals we had on the trip at the local “Sizzler.” My companion summed it up well when she said it didn’t matter where we spent New Year’s eve
together, as long as we were together. I agreed. I’ll long remember that night, and sitting on the bed the following morning watching the Rose Parade before we left. As a last tribute to the holiday
season, we discovered a Tanger factory shopping outlet center just outside of Barstow, and my companion did a little shopping.
Then it was home to beautiful Monterey, and my nose and hands could finally
recover from the dryness of the desert and high elevations we had been experiencing. Did I mention that road trips are a tad taxing? They are, but I saw places I have never experienced before and had a wonderful
The trip seems to have had a powerful impact on me, as I have been dreaming of being on the road, moving from one vista point to another, for the last ten days now. Along the way I bought a piece of
sculpted rock to remind me of the amazing terrain I saw on this trip, and it often commands my attention when I see it now in my room. What is it about simply getting out into this beautiful world that is so deeply
satisfying to the soul? How many great works of art were nothing more than the artists attempt to reflect what they saw in the awesome and infinite random variability of the natural world, as I strove to capture
those moments with my camera as well? It is a world where there are no schedules, timetables, no profit or loss, no good or bad. Nature does not judge. It never hurries. It has unlimited patience. Somehow,
standing in the sculpted canyons of creamy red sandstone, gazing at the multi-hued badlands of the Painted Desert, walking amid the calcified remnants of trees that once stood in the Triassic era, was a humble
lesson on the patience and infinite care of life. The gentle breath of the wind, caressing rock and stone over millions of years, had quietly labored with rain, and the shifting earth, to create all the landforms
around me. As Carl Sagan once said: “These are some of the things that carbon atoms do, given enough time…” And it all left me with the feeling that everything was in its proper place, quite
perfect, just as it was.
Perhaps it was best expressed in this quote:
God is in his heaven, and all is well on the earth.... All will be well, all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well.
are but shadows passing over the timeless weathered terrain of this land. Like visitors to these parks, we have but the briefest moment to look, to touch, to hold, to kiss. Cherish each and every moment, and be well.
Article By: John Schettler