Canyons and Debts

I’m not exactly sure of the year. Might have been 1984, the year the Olympics were in L. A. I have relatives in California and I went out to visit them. It was convenient that it was the year of the Olympics because McDonald’s provided prizes for medals the US won. Because the Soviets were boycotting the Olympics, (Likely just because we boycotted the Olympics the prior time) the US meddled in far more sports. Hence, McDonald’s payed for about a fourth of our food.

Considering that there were four us us, two of which were young teens, that was a big help. Every time we stopped for a meal, we had scratch-offs from our precious meal. That isn’t to say we always ate at McDonald’s, but as I said, they did help a lot.

When we reached Flagstaff, we spent the night. Then, seven in the a.m., we headed north to the Grand Canyon. Considering we were passing nearby, why not? We might not get another chance.

After zig-zaging a while and climbing, we found ourselves on a large flat plateau. Every now and then, we saw signs, “Land for sale, $1,000 an acre.” I actually considered buying a couple of few acres. I was hardly rich but I could have afforded a few thousand.

I wondered why they were almost giving the land away. As luck would have it, a short time before we reached the Grand Canyon, there was a McDonald’s. We decided to stop and turn in a few of our scratch-offs there. Then, as we entered, we saw the explanation for the cheap land. The sign said, “Because we have to haul all our water here, we must charge a little more for some of the items on the menu.”

So there it was. The place was right next to the Colorado River. Yet, it is one of the driest places in the US. Go figure. Still, over the years, I have considered, if I were wealthy, I might buy a few acres there. I don’t guess I’d need to concern myself with the neighbors much. I mean, while I was there, the only folks I saw were mostly on the road. They were either on the way to or from the Grand Canyon.

It wasn’t a long way out of the way, but it did take a while to get there. Then, when we arrived, the wife and kids were busy watching the squirrels. Never figured on that. Here we were at one of the biggest canyons in the US and they were fascinated with squirrels.

I mean, we have squirrels at home, a lot of them. Well, I must admit, they were fearlessly running up and down the wall of the canyon. I mean, I didn’t want to get so close to it, and the baby squirrels were right at home on the edge of the cliff.

We moved on to another lookout point where we could oversee a plateau that was about half way to the actual bottom of the canyon. After looking for a while, the person next to me said, “Hey! there are people down there.”

I looked down there, and then at the person who spoke. “Where,” I asked? “I don’t see any.”

In a short time, he pointed them out. If they had not been moving, I’d still not have seen them. It does give a person a little perspective of just how deep that canyon is. I mean, the numbers simply do not do it any justice. Those folks were only half way down and I didn’t see them.

Later, I found out that people are allowed to walk down there. However, before they do, they must register and go through an orientation. In it, they warn the would be hikers, it is sort of like climbing a mountain in reverse. Once you go down into the canyon, it is far more difficult climbing back up. Therefore, be careful about exceeding your abilities.

As I think back over it, I realize it is much like debt. It is easy to climb down into it. Working your way back out… not so much.

Those senators and representatives don’t seem to have figured that out.