Thursday, October 1, 2009

Yellow Rooms, distant canyons, & facial hair

Pin It I must preface this post with the message that this experience occurred some four months ago. However, due to other things far more pressing in my life, it became lost—buried in a sea of documents on a laptop—only to be rediscovered again tonight as I was poking around in search of something else.

I present it now—four months late. But as the saying goes, it is better late than never.

So, please imagine that I am down in Hurricane, Utah at the present moment…summer is just beginning and a whole lifetime of adventures await…


The light knock sounded on the door of the ‘yellow room’ this morning; I say the yellow room because that is the color of the room which I’m staying…bright, and cheery. Like a dear friend which eagerly awaits your arrival; I could say the same of the Monk Family—much more like my own family than simply friends, but I digress.

The knock sounded followed by the nervous voice, “Are you awake?”

The door cracked open just a portion; enter ten year-old Tanner, youngest mancub of said ‘family,’ asking if I would be willing to take a hike to the local canyon, ‘Three Falls.’

He’d been asking since yesterday, so within ten minutes said boy and I were hiking along the street, backpacks and water bottles in tow, ready to conquer not just one or two, but all three falls of the valley at road’s end.

As we came to the mouth of the ravine, the sun shone in some places, while not in others. The aqueduct built years before for the overflow of water from the ravine was slightly reminiscent of fortress battlements.


“I sometimes come up here and pretend that this is a castle,” Tanner admitted. “I imagine that I’m defending it from invaders like Orcs.”


We made our way up the steep hillsides littered with loose stones and precarious ledges as we ascended the way to three falls.

“I like it here,” Tanner said as we stopped for a water break sometime later. “It’s quiet.”

As if in reply to his words, the lamenting wind began to blow through the jags of stone and heave a long, melodious sigh—as if hopeful to whisper its secrets to those with ears attuned to listen.

As we climbed higher, the sun rose above us, waxing everything over with its warm rays. When I climbed down to a certain part of two falls to investigate its safety, Tanner waited at the top. As I made the arduous climb back to the promontory where Tanner awaited I made a request, “Tanner…I need some music to help me climb. Give me a soundtrack, boy!”

To this, Tanner promptly started to belt out:

“Right now you can hardly breathe…
But you can do it just.know.that.I.believe…
Then that’s all you really need
So come on, I’ll make you strong…it’s time to turn it up, GAME ON!”

Sung like a true ten year-old who loves High School Musical.

And with that brief harmonious interlude, we continued on our venture up the desolate gorge. As we walked, Tanner asked, “I was wondering, when do people go through puberty?”

Thinking that this was really a subject best broached by parents, I decided to give only the barest of answers to questions he might ask, and deflect the rest of them to his mom and dad.

“It’s different for everybody,” I said. “For some people, it starts when they’re ten or eleven, for others it’s even later like fifteen or sixteen. However, it usually starts somewhere around twelve.”

He quietly mulled this over for a minute or two as we trudged along.

“You know why I’m excited for puberty?”

I had to be honest, I had no idea. I couldn’t remember being excited about anything when it came to puberty when I was a kid; nothing that is unless you counted getting taller.

Tanner leaned in close and whispered, “Sideburns.”

“Sideburns?”

“Yeah,” he rubbed his cheeks with the back of his hand. “I’d like to have some sideburns.”

Once again, the mancub surprises me

24 comments:

annette said...

6 years from now you'll have to be like, "Check out the sideburns!" when you see him- pointing at his own sideburns of course! I wonder what he will say then! :)

Corine said...

LOL! That kid reminds me of Levi! (Only, Levi can't stand side burns!) He is so funny, and not afraid to talk about anything! I really hope I always remember well what he was like as a kid, when he is grown.

PS I love the colors and view in that hiking photo!

MindyElias said...

This is hysterical! I've never ever heard a kid talk about sideburns! Love it!

And he knows his HSM so I am digging that :) (and so do you since you quoted it perfectly!)

~me

Mamma has spoken said...

Sideburns,I haven't heard anyone wanting them since the 70's.

Linn said...

I love this post! Every bit of it. And what a sweet boy--I will cross my fingers that he will receive just the sideburns he desires.

Rachel said...

The other day I told Matthew that he needs to start wearing deoderant. He looked at his brothers and said, "YES, I'm a maaaaan".

K.J. said...

What a fun outting. I had to chuckle about the "sideburns!" Loved it! I needed a smile this morning. Thanks!

SO said...

That is so funny and great at the same time. Looks like a beautiful hike.

Gerb said...

I remember overhearing Coolister talking with his cousin about how lucky their uncle was (who is nearly the same age as they are) because he had armpit hair already.

WHAT?! Sick. I just walked away.

LOVE the pictures, as always.

Richard & Natalie said...

I am so glad that this post found its way to the top of the abyss- that is the pdf file. My oh my, what adventures you have...

PMC said...

i was all worried when he wanted to tell you what he was looking forward to...could it be girls, chest hair, what is the kid going to come up with and how embarrassing will it be? no, not embarrassing, just cool...you gotta love a kid who wants sideburns!

The Helms Family said...

Haha. Wow, I guess I shouldn't be surprised, it's Tanner. You know I haven't gone up to Three Falls before. Beautiful pictures by the way. And the feeling is mutual. We always love it when you come to visit.

Rich said...

Could the side burns comment originated form a super hero named Wolverine? Great story by the way, I am always amazed by how you can respond so quickly and on such a personal level with everyone you meet.

Amanda said...

Haha! My room is yellow and I LOVE it! Funny story!

novidiac said...

Glad I read this, I shall respond to all my boys puberty questions with, "It's all about sideburns." Now as for my daughter that might not cut it, but I'll give it a try.

A Lark said...

Hmmm...maybe you should try sideburns?

Teachinfourth said...

A - It's always fun to bring things like this back around, isn't it?

C - Tanner is quite the character; in fact, it's coming time for me to take a visit down to my other 'family' down south. Glad you liked the photos.

ME - I hadn't either; to be honest, I didn't think that that was going to be one of his questions. (Insert audible sigh of relief).

As for HSM III, did I mention already about three times that I was an extra?

B - Guess they're making a comeback in Utah.

L - Hopefully they will still be in style (or that he'll still want them) by the time they start to come in.

R - Ms. Rogers tells me that her class needs deodorant all the time; when I walked into her room after afternoon recess, I couldn't agree more. Glad your little man is willing to help the cause and start wearing 'pit stick.'

KJ - I myself wouldn't have wished for them, but hey...I'm also not 10. When I was that old I did want to have stubble like Indiana Jones though.

S - The hike is great for being so close. At the right time of day, it's extraordinary; at the wrong time, it's average. We went at a good time.

G - The joys of boyhood...

N - You have no idea; there are some blog post which will never hit the light of the Internet, however, just know that there are those which would have you rolling.

M - I was relieved when it turned out to be something not so embarrassing.

H - Indeed it is Tanner. You really should head up there early morning or late evening. It's nice either time...I think I'm due for another visit down in your neck of the woods soonish.

R - It very well could have been now that you mention it. As for good responses, I only blog about the good ones...

A - I love the yellow room, however, I think on my next visit I will have to be in the plum room...not so great. I call that room the "Barney Room." Oh well, it could be far worse, I could be outside in winter.

N - I don't know, I think sideburns could be universal.

J - I thought about it once, and then I wised up. Good thing, too.

birdeeb said...

Sideburns haha! CUTE! My husband has never been able to have sideburns...maybe he hasn't hit puberty yet ;o) jk. LOVE the hike! Jealous we don't have something THAT cool here!

summer said...

Q & A by kids...they are always full of surprises!

Teachinfourth said...

B - Southern Utah has all kinds of neat little draws and canyons which seem to beckon to the wary traveler and can offer hours of solitude. Of course, there are also plenty of slot canyons which are downright homely as well, you just have to know where to go.

S - That is so true, you can never quite be sure just what it is that you are going to get.

Danielle said...

Thats cool that he wanted to go on that hike with you, and obviously felt close enough to you to ask about puberty!...Sideburns.....haha

hintonrae said...

Too funny! And so stylin'. Maybe he should be looking for some sequins and platforms to go with those sideburns. ;)

Julie said...

You always have such fun adventures! I bet the hike was awesome!

Teachinfourth said...

D - Well, you just have to know Tanner...when you're him, you just don't mind asking stuff like that.

L - I hear that they're making a comeback.

J - It was fun, however, it did make me late for a lunch appointment. Some things though are just worth it.

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