Let the Mystery Be: The search for Amelia Earhart goes on…

Grateful Blog: Day 81: I read in the paper this morning that there’s a new expedition in the South Pacific looking for clues of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance, which happened 75 years ago. I’m too young to have grown up with Amelia Earhart but her flight and subsequent disappearance are legendary. Somewhere on July 2nd 1937, after leaving New Guinea her plane, a Lockheed Electra 10E, disappeared and she was never heard from again.

I think I first learned of her watching old 1980’s episodes of the show ‘In Search Of’ where the host Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek’s ‘Spock’) would delve into topics such as the Bermuda Triangle, the Loch Ness Monster and Amelia Earhart. Later, when I used to attend bluegrass jams at Seattle’s New Melody Tavern in the early 90’s, occasionally someone would lead the group in a rousing version of a song dedicated to her. There’ve been many songs dedicated to her, from artists as diverse at Joni Mitchell to Kinky Friedman to Bachman Turner Overdrive. I once stayed in the ‘Amelia Earhart’ room in the La Posada Hotel inWinslow, Arizona. Amelia Earhart’s legend got around…

But nobody exactly knows what happened to her that morning while attempting to circumnavigate the globe with her only crew member Fred Noonan. One only need to look at her Wikipedia page to see it rife with theories, myths and urban legends of what may have happened flying over the vast South Pacific ocean. The most salient is that through a series of navigational errors, they missed the island they were attempting to land at, ran out of gas, and crashed at sea. And for 75 years, only Amelia and of course Fred Noonan, know what happened…

The new expedition used the phrase of ‘finding a needle in a haystack’ when explaining their chances of finding meaningful evidence but I honestly hope they don’t. In today’s technologically driven world it feels like we’re one step removed from a computer algorithm telling us that we’re not human or real at all, that we’re somehow less than the sum of our parts. I know that’s far-fetched but we’ve already broken down the world into it’s smallest atomic particles, mapped our DNA and explored the new frontiers of nanotechnology and the far reaches of the universe alike.

It’s not that I’m a Luddite or that some of those scientific findings might not be good in advancing the cause of the human race, it’s just that I’m a romantic at heart. I like to think that some mysteries should just remain exactly that. That maybe the legend of Amelia Earhart should live on, in songs and stories and in our imaginations, rather than in an inglorious ending finding an aluminum strut washed ashore on some remote South Pacific beach.

So let them search for Amelia’s needle in that vast blue haystack, let them search and search and search until they’ve exhausted their wits and their funds. And let them return home empty handed like so many have before. Let the mystery live for another 75 or 175 years before technology rules every square inch of our beautiful and endlessly complex planet.

This morning, in the absolute middle of 64 million square miles of the beautiful, vast and calm South Pacific, there is only the rhythmic sound of the waves, the sea birds that sail over it’s waters, and the low, throaty ‘rat-a-tat-tat’ of Amelia Earhart’s silver Electra, still looking for a place to land…

I’m Grateful that Amelia’s still out there, and that some mysteries may never be solved…

A Subscription, Rodney, a Civic and a Swowobile…

Grateful Blog: Day 74: I got my annual ‘SnoWest’ snowmobiling magazine today. It comes delivered to my house exactly once a year after most of the snow has fallen and is on its way out around here. I’ve been getting it now for 15 years. I get to peruse the latest and greatest and most powerful models from Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat, Polaris and Yamaha. Most of ‘em have more power and bigger engines than my 1980 Honda Civic station wagon did (although few would survive a barbed wire fence at 80 miles per hour like my Honda did).

I went snowmobiling a number of times in college. It was a blast. It was even more fun when you’d been drinking. And then it was not only fun but it was stupid and dangerous as hell. You’d lay on the throttle and suddenly your whole body would slide backwards, damn near off the seat (which would’ve hurt). The only thing still keeping you held on was a death grip on the handlebars, which were squeezed tight around the throttle. The ‘Catch-22’ lasted until you could scoot back up and regain your position—and composure on the seat. Once a guy I was snowmobiling with hit a tree. Not going all that fast, but he still hit a tree. Wrecked it pretty good. I think we were smart enough to be wearing helmets…I think…

Somewhere along the line I developed a healthy respect for those powerful machines and decided it wasn’t my thing. It wasn’t my thing like motorcycles and firearms. And redheads. No offense ladies but I know beautiful trouble when I see it. But I still get ‘SnoWest’ magazine without fail, every year. I don’t pay for it. In fact, it’s addressed to someone named Rodney G. U’ren who used to live here before I bought the place in 1997. I have no idea why they keep sending it. Is it a lifetime membership? Just totally free to every household inAmerica(do YOU get one too?). And what else was Rodney G. U’ren (if that’s even your REAL name Rodney) in to??? The mind reels and my spine shudders…

The thing is Rodney’s been doing me a favor, once a year, every year for 15 years. When I get the magazine I actually read through it. It’s filled with that certain bravado and machismo that almost all guys get when they’re about to do something exciting (Read: borderline crazy) and downright dangerous. It’s that “Hey guys! Watch THIS!” moment. That magazine reminds me that yeah, once I did dig riding snowmobiles at outrageous speeds. It reminds me that I use to like redheads maybe a little too much and I used to climb rock formations with no clear plan how to get down. And I once crashed a perfectly good Honda Civic station wagon in Spanish Fork Canyon, Provo County Utah into a perfectly good (until I got there) barb wire fence going 80 miles an hour. I have the arrest record to prove it…

All I’ve got to say today is that I’m Grateful for having survived those reckless and maybe somehow necessary transgressions of my youth. And I’m Grateful for Rodney, wherever he is, for somehow setting me up with an annual subscription that reminds me that I need to slow down, take a deep breath, and take my hand off the throttle for a bit…

P.S.: I just looked up Rodney on Facebook…and sent him a friend request…stay tuned!

A Car, A Girl and A Business Card…

Grateful Blog: Day 73: I found an old business card of mine today. It was funny. It had my name on it, right there in royal blue. ‘DanWeber’. And it had the company I worked for ‘Favorite Nurses’ and their address and phone #. The works. Pretty standard deal. My first thought was ‘Welcome to 1996’. However, I instantly remembered that guy who it belonged to. The car he drove, the job he had, the girl he was in love with and thought he gonna marry someday.

And then I thought ‘I HATED that job’ and was so Grateful that one day my awesome boss Judy said ‘My boyfriend needs someone to be his Real Estate Appraiser apprentice, know anyone?’ And being the smartass I am, I said ‘Yeah, me!’ She shot that idea down instantly. So did I. I’d be taking a huge cut in pay and she’d have to hire someone new. Nope, that wasn’t a very good idea for either of us. Then 5 hours later, while at home, she called and said ‘I know I’m going to regret this, but why don’t you come over and meet my boyfriend.’ I went right over. It was Friday afternoon We talked. About anything and everything. We actually each had a couple of coldCorona’s. That was the interview.

I got the job, with its cut in pay and I never looked back. I really dig my job now. Have for a long time. And I’ve not missed that old job a single day, not one. Finding that old business card reminded me how Grateful I was for fate intervening on my behalf. But the truth is I actually DO miss that old car I had, a 1977 Buick Skylark, the one I drove everyday to that job I hated, when I was in love with a girl that I thought I was gonna marry someday. Turns out it’s the same car I drove to my new job, and it’s the one I drove away from the church dragging tin cans and a sign that said ‘Just Married’ on the back. You know, I wish I’d have kept the car and thrown that business card away…