Update from Everest

I hope you will extend to me a point of personal privilege to deviate slightly from the climbing blog as today is a very special day for me. It is a rare confluence of circumstances that allow one to even attempt a mountain like Everest. You have to have the financial resources, good health, time away, and most importantly the support of your family. When I read the stories of Perry, Scott, Amundsen, Mallory and the other great adventures I never thought much about the families that were left behind to carry the load while they made those men made history. Those families, especially the wives, were every much a part of the success of those men as their own efforts and determination. The wives especially were made of tough stuff.

I have been blessed to be married to such a women 34 years. She has put up with a lot to let me follow my dreams. What is more she has been an active and enthusiastic supporter. I would have never climbed any of the Seven Summits without her. She even hiked in with me to BC in 2006. To my knowledge that makes her only one of three people in Columbus who have made that arduous trek including Jon Connally, our friend, who just hiked in with me and should be on his way back home by now. There have been plenty of sacrifices along the way. In 2003 I got stuck in bad weather in Antarctica and missed Christmas. I whined like a little boy. I will never forget she told me “Christmas will be when we are all together” and that settled it.

My bride is no wilting violet and has never met a stranger. Hiking isn’t her thing but there are people her at BC who still ask about her. She has that rare gift of caring about people that comes through clearly. I tend to be more introverted I suppose. I have always gone into the office early and then taken a break at 7:00 or so to eat breakfast and read the paper. I had been going to the same place for years and seeing the same people who often sat right next to me. We would say hello exchange parts of the paper but that was about it. One morning Terri happened by to join me. As soon as she walked in these people jumped up and started talking with her. At one point one of the men told his friend “Terri is married to the mountain climber you read about in the paper”. At this point she pointed to me and said “that is my husband”. I’ll never forget the look this guy gave me. “your a mountain climber?” To this day I am not sure how to take that. Terri knew all about there kids and personal lives. To this day I still don’t even know who they were. One time we were eating lunch discussing some important business. People, including one developmentally challenged young man she had befriended, kept stopping by to talk. Finally I said in exasperation “that won’t happen if you will quit making eye contact”. That has been a joke around our home ever since.

Most people think we have achieved a small measure of financial success. What they don’t know is that for the first 20 or 25 years Terri worked outside the home and we lived predominantly on what she made. We plowed back everything the company made in the early years. I worked at the office 60 hours a week and she worked a 40 hour job and still took care of making a great home. Today she tells everyone her job is “motivational expenditures”. The truth is I have never made a big decision without her input. This has truly been a joint venture and still is.

So for at least the third time we are apart on our anniversary. There is a song by Dan Fogelberg called “Longer” that in one verse says it all:

through the years, as the fire starts to mellow burning lines in the book of our lives though the binding cracks and the pages start to yellow I’ll be in love with you, I’ll be in love with you.

To my bride, I love you more than ever. I can’t imagine being here if I didn’t have you to share this experience with. With God’s help, a few more weeks, and I will have this behind us. Then we can start on the Seven Malls.

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  1. […] was with a smile I read Bud Allen’s post today with a loving note to his wife. This is the truly hard part of expedition climbing. It […]