10 years ago I lived in Big Bear. I had intentionally created a kickass life, mapping it out in my mind. Carving it out from sheer will alone. This is something I have done several times throughout my life. That another story though.
The one I feel like telling involves me, the storyteller, shirtless, in bed, drinking wine while my wife reads stories to the kids in the next room. That said, this story might be cut short.
Anyway, 10 years ago my wife was pregnant with our firstborn son. His nickname was little wolf. It was about mid August and we decided to drive to Lake Arrowhead for the day. We drove the winding roads on a cloudless afternoon. It was one of those afternoons where you could smell the incense cedar filling the cab of my truck. That smell, much like the redwoods, always put an astonishingly huge smile on my face.
Emma grabbed my arm. She took a breath. She grabbed the side door and lifted up slightly. “Are you okay?” I asked. She said, “I think I’m going into labor.” I looked at her, “are you serious?” “I think so.” She said. I looked at the gas tank. It was almost empty. The hospital bag wasn’t packed. “Can you hang in there? I’m going to get some gas and we’ll head to the hospital, okay?”
The hospital was “down the hill”, about an hours drive and I was pretty sure I would be doing a roadside delivery in about 45 minutes.
When we pulled into Arrowhead, we drove and drove and could not find a gas station. The pains were getting worse. It was then we made the split decision to head back to Big Bear to pack a back. Driving economically, I made sure not to waste one drop of gas. The thought of delivering a child on the side of the road was beyond me. Placenta, umbilical cord, what do I do with it all?
As we gently winded our way out past the incense cedars and the fingers of sunlight streaming through the evergreens, the spasms of pain lifted. The grimace shifted as we sailed past the sheer mountainside and the glittering lake.
We were almost home.