{ Saturday, May 07, 2005 }


Hi World,

Welcome to Mary Ann Kills Time After Three Cups of (Spiked) Coffee in the Middle of the Night Because Everyone Went to Sleep and She's Afraid of Air Travel. This is long and possible nonsensical.

It's currently 2.5 hours before I have to leave the house to fly to Portland. You may have heard that I don't like flying and thus tend not to sleep the night before I go somewhere...

(PS I didn't update the phone tree for If I Die In Transit, but I think you all know your roles. JV, as a holder of posting privledges, you're in charge of posting the news here. ydelek is mostly in charge of starting the tree... and Steady, if you're reading this, my old cell phone is somewhere in this apartment near the coffee table. My current one will blow up with me in the airplane, but ydelek's number is in there and you two should be able to figure out who needs notifyin'... Did I mention about how I hate flying?)

Anyway, I was screwing around on google maps, staring at the summer camp where I worked for six years (and was a camper for six before that). I found myself wondering where Gunpowder Creek actually starts. I've seen the end, but never the beginning.

LB and I once led a long and very against-the-rules, Kids This Will Be A Great Story When You're On Staff, But Don't Tell Anyone About It Until Then Because We Love Our Jobs Hike For the Source of Salamander Creek, but that's a smallish creek. We did, in fact, find the end of it, in a beautiful meadow at dusk with deer and rabbits and wildflowers. (Also, the local corner store in plain view... uh, yeah... oops...)

That same thing wasn't possible with Gunpowder Creek. So, I followed the satelite photos as far as I could... and then I got to thinking about my Uncle Bernie.

I don't remember how it all began... I think he was talking about how one of his sons had gotten involved in the Sierra Club with the Water Sentinals and how he'd spent a couple of weekends testing water quality... and I mentioned My Creek. Gunpowder Creek.

Uncle Bernie listened to me tell him about the fact that the rule at the camp was "Don't go in Gunpowder past any opening on your body.", and how we'd joke about our three armed babies after a trip to the swimming hole. I explained to him that at the Christmas Hikes the creek was bright green and not frozen from the de-icing fluid from the airport.

Can I just interrupt myself real quick? Thanks. I might not make it to the plane. The garbage disposal is making the most threatening noises all of the sudden... seriously, like something out of a horror movie... like the biggest, nastiest water bug in human history is about to pop out of there and eat me. If you think I am going to walk near the kitchen or do anything that could be construed as a sudden movement, you are so confused...

I have this inane fear of garbage disposals. I'd never seen one before and a childhood friend poured some sort of green foaming cleaner in the one at her house when I was probably ten years old and then screamed and made me look and then gave me a quick plot synopsis about how this was just like this one horror movie my mouther wouldn't let me see, and seriously, I thought we were going to die.

My friend did not think it was very funny when I told her mother about the scary foam and loud noises coming from the kitchen sink.

I'm really easily scared like that. I saw Dr Strangelove last weekend and I'm not kidding when I say it gave me nightmares. (Everyone who has heard that: "It's a comedy." Me: "I realize this. Shut up. I still had nightmares.")

Where were we? Oh yes. My Uncle Bernie and the Sierra Club. If you're new here, Uncle Bernie was my primary father figure and he died of cancer last June. It is very, very sad. That's the short backstory.

So, Uncle Bernie called periodically to ask who at the camp might talk to him about Gunpowder Creek. (It seems the answer was "No one. Officially, the creek is beautiful and will not harm your children.") And he'd update me about the work he was doing to clean up the creek.

Well, last weekend, I was at Steady's parents' house, and I mentioned that my uncle had been the chair of the Water Sentinals for the Northern Kentucky Sierra Club. This did not go over well. Apparently, the Sierra Club is Bad News in that family.

I followed this up by saying that I was well aware that my family would not be popular around those parts, what with all the donkey collecting... because why not keep digging?

(It is now 4:24 am, I just spent, like, an hour researching the tavern my great, great grandfather owned because right now I am the most scatterbrained girl in the world.)

The disposal just made a sighing noise. If anyone is still reading along as I desend into madness, and you know anything about the noises garbage disposals make overnight, comment or e mail me, please.

Okay, back to the task at hand... so I was thinking about the creek and so I went looking for the answer about where it starts and I ended up on the Sierra Club's page. So I searched for my Uncle Bernie. And I found this (if the link won't scroll, it's "Remembering a Dedicated Conservationalist...". And then I got a little weepy and decided to write all about it here.

Even in the midst of hellacious chemotherapy treatments and hospital visits, I could always count on an e-mail from Bernie offering insights on our Airport campaign.

That's about my creek. The one he was working on saving for me and my sister.

Bernie’s unabashed honesty and passion is something that I’ll always miss. You always knew where you stood with him. Even if you argued vehemently over the phone about how things should be done, you always knew that you were arguing with him because he cared enough about what you were doing to argue back. And no matter what, you could always count on a big hug and a joke from him the next time you saw him.

That's exactly right.

I also learned that the creek is now clean. There was a picture of it frozen over and covered in snow. The three camp people who are the only ones still reading because they wanted to know what I was going to say about Our Creek have their mouths hanging open. Did y'all know Gunpowder could freeze?

Okay, I have to go pack and stuff before it's time for me to drive myself to the airport... the plane leaves at seven am. Steady offered to take me, but there's no reason we should both be up that early. I also have to go hit the ATM and get cat food before I can go.

posted by mary ann 2:48 AM