By Rob Quinn
I was talking to my accountant, Gary, he’s been doing my taxes for 30 years. I said, “Here we are again”. Gary remarked, “Only two sure things in life, death and taxes. That’s why I’m an accountant”.
Last we heard from Rob he had just had a beer in Castle Rock after a great ride and got a text that rocked his world. Now we know what that text was: To catch up; Castle rock story https://303cycling.com/castle-rock-fat-bike-snow-adventure-and-cultural-hub-extraordinaire/
Enough about taxes, let’s talk about death. Star Trek claimed that “Space was the final frontier”. I think there may be one that’s a little more final. It seems of late, a lot of friends and people I know have been dying. Makes me think.
Gary Myers. Master Mountain Bike racer extraordinaire. He was a former professional Motorcycle racer and motorsports entrepreneur. He died of “a worn out heart” the doctors of Mayo said. The dude was cooler than Steve McQueen.
Jose Luis Carrasco, a Mexican Charro (cowboy) Mountain bike race partner in Baja. A tough-as-nails cowboy that helped at our Mountain Bike races calls me out of the blue from Mexico to say hello. He was really calling to say good bye. El Cielo. “Roberto, I am a rich man. I have many grand children and 8 good horses. Muey Contento” Were the last words he said to me.
Paul Lubbers. Maui Jim rep and marketing legend, passes the day before we were going to ski before Christmas at age 55. 4 days after we wet the nose in Golden drinking IPA’s and laughing. The goggles my wife wears skiing were a last gift from Paul, given to me as we giggled and left the pub high-fiving. He was late to see his twin boys and wife. I said blame me. He said he already had.
And the list goes on, I said I’m a cereal lady killer, She said I’m already dead
-Barrier Reef by The Old 97’s
I’ve done my share of researching other cultures association with “The Final Frontier” and here is my uptake:
Vikings Valhalla. “Hall of the slain” in Norse mythology. It was basically one helluva retirement hall people could not wait to experience. My take: Sounds a little confining even for a team player.
The Houri, has long been a staple of Islam that Muslim martyrs will go to paradise accompanied by 72 beautiful, deeply, beautifully contrasting eyed women. My Take: One wife has really been a lot for the majority of us (and vice versa!). The dude in “Sister wives” seemed to be aging in dog years and was not a happy guy. My take: A mega production spawned by a restrictive dating culture in high school.
Apache Happy Hunting grounds. Apaches liked nothing better than to hunt and hang out and party and drink Tiswin (Apache IPA!) with their friends. The Happy Hunting Grounds (an Anglo phrase) captured the sentiment that the afterlife is one big retirement party filled with all the things you liked when you were alive. My Take: Bingo. Winner winner Chicken dinner. I’ll put $200 on “Happy Hunting Grounds Art” (Art Fleming was the original Jeopardy host kids).
Ok, fine. I guess sooner or later we are all gonna go. Sorry Frozen Dead guy in Nederland. I don’t see your comeback as eminent.
Woke up this morning, Put on my slippers, Walked in the kitchen and died, And oh what a feeling!, When I went through the ceiling, And up to heaven I did ride
-Please Don’t Bury Me. John Prine.
So, what would YOUR happy hunting grounds look like? I can picture mine;
- Riding my Mountain Bike every day. Never losing the stoke.
- Skiing in the Winter till my legs scream. With runs that never stop.
- Water skiing in the summer, on that course that’s always one ball reach away.
- Having a beautiful and kind hearted mate.
- To find true love.
- Watching your kids grow up to be better than you. Coming home to loving pets that remind you that they are the sacred beings. Not you.
- Eating fine food and drinking fine ales. With a happy hour clock stuck at 5:59.
- I guess even in death, living well would still be still the best revenge! To live in a land with 1/2 price legal weed (ok maybe a stretch even in heaven).
- To enjoy music in all forms in all capacities.
- In my Happy Hunting Grounds Red Rocks is open with an epic band every night. In heaven there are no flat notes when jamming with the guys.
- To know you have loved and been loved.
- Create a difference and have one hell of a time in the process.
Then it dawned on me, everything I hoped for in heaven is what can be achieved here and now. Why wait?
What to do? The clock is obviously ticking and the refund policy seems sketchy. The game plan: Leave no stone unturned. Order that second slice of pie, take the damn vacation, buy the dream bike, tell your brother-in-law you are sorry for what you said and your wife you are sorry for the things you’ve never said. Tip 25% and pick up the neighbor’s dog’s shit in your front yard without a fuss. The list can go on an on…
All of a sudden that term “life is short” seems kinda true. Tomorrow seems to be an uncertain promise. Party on Garth.
A question needs to be asked. What if you don’t make the cut to heaven? Is it a straight drop to H-E double tooth picks? Well, that’s already been handled, but you’ll need to become Catholic. Purgatory (In Roman Catholic doctrine) a place or state of suffering inhabited by souls of sinners who are expiating their sins before going to heaven. So, it’s not just a ski area outside of Durango with marginal snow coverage?
No! Purgatory is sort of like Junior College or a bad first marriage. Eventually you’ll get to go to CU. But, you’ll need to suffer.
I had a dream last night I was cast into hell by a jealous god, The Devil walked up and said “you don’t need no lightning rod”, It hardly ever rains down here, I can’t recall the last storm, You ain’t gonna need that leather jacket, it gets kinds warm, But there’s one one-way in there’s no way out, It looks like you’re here to stay, The place is a mess, it’s overcrowded, More are coming every day”
-Conversation with The Devil. Ray Wylie Hubbard
The last hurrah. I have a final confession to make.
Not that kind, I’ll save that for the good padre to hopefully skip Purgy. I read Obituaries. I’m always amazed at the incredible lives people have lived and how it was summed up. If mine reads anything like Uncle Bunky’s, I’d say it was a life well lived. But lord…could you make it 95? See Randall Jacobs Obituary: https://legcy.co/3gPORO6
I don’t wanna be the last man standing, Or wait a minute I do, If you don’t mind I’ll start a new line, And decide after thinking it through, Go on in front if you’re in such a hurry, Like heaven ain’t waiting for you, I don’t wanna be the last man standing, On second thought I do!
Last Man Standing by Willie Nelson and Buddy Cannon
Go big. BEFORE you go home.