While Murray's away in Europe for the next two weeks, maybe I won't have so much schmoop fodder. This story involves Murray but it involves very little schmoop.
For the Memorial Day weekend, I went down to Springville (where Murray lives) and spent my days with him and my nights with Patience in Spanish Fork. Murray and I are pretty much fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants sort of people (he pretty much melted when he saw that every single day on my planner is completely blank and unscheduled... beyond dentist appointments, what do I have to schedule?), so we were flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants.
On Saturday, his friend (who we'll call Danger) called to invite us to go floating/rafting down the Provo river (last year, Redras and I wanted to float down the Provo river, but we were never able to execute that plan). Murray, without consulting me, politely declined. When he got off the phone, he apologized for answering for me, and explained in a somewhat non-excited voice that Danger had invited us floating/river rafting. My eyes lit up and I said, "That sounds like so much fun." Murray was surprised, and I sensed a little hesitation on his part, but to be honest, I wasn't sure if he was hesitating because he didn't want to do it or if he was hesitating because he didn't really believe that I would honestly want to go floating down the Provo river.
But Murray will do anything to make me happy (it's one of his finest qualities). So he called Danger back and said we were coming.
On our way to Provo river, Murray asked me how excited I was to be doing this. I said a 9. He was a little dumbstruck. If only I knew what he knew. (That's a little foreshadowing.)
We met up with the group (about 10 people in all). We deposited half our vehicles at Vivian Park and piled into the other half to go a little farther up the river. Then, our group members began to inflate our craft. It was then that I realized that Murray, Danger, Some Other Guy, and I were all expected to squeeze into a tiny, cheap, inflatable raft. Still, I didn't think it could be that bad.
Until I got into the water and began to have an inkling. For some reason, I thought that that mountain snow-melt-run-off wouldn't be so very freezing cold. I was wrong. I really knew how wrong I was when, after four adults got into the dinghy, our craft filled most of the way with the frigid water. Oh, and by the way, the four of us were basically spooning to even be in that raft. I've never felt closer to Murray. He was literally sitting in my lap.
And then we were off. No one was comfortable. Everyone was cold. We were moving slowly. And when we got to water that was moving a little more quickly, we bottomed out, hitting the submerged rocks and tree trunks with out knees and feet. It was painful. And our boat was only getting fuller and fuller of water.
Luckily, we came to a complete stop at one point, and Murray and I decided to jump ship and just walk the rest of the way on the nice trail beside the river. That decision possibly saved our lives, and the life of Becker. (That's a little more foreshadowing for you.)
Murray and I were strolling hand-in-hand down the nice little riverside path, Danger and co. gladly out of sight and earshot so that we could start complaining about our experience. At this point, I described the experience as a 2. And things weren't getting much better. True, we were out of the water, but Murray had no shirt and no sunscreen and was burning. And our trail ended, leaving us only train tracks to walk on the rest of the way. I just kept telling myself that the Heber Creeper creeps and surely we'd have time to jump into the bushes were it to creep up on us.
Despite this, Murray and I were still blissfully enjoying one another's company---so much so in fact that we even started singing some hymns. Lame, I know, but I think it's important that my parents at least know that Murray is the kind of guy who, when walking on train tracks without his shirt on, will choose to sing "The Lord Is My Light" rather than drag me into the bushes and ravage me. These things are good to know.
But it wasn't just the two of us for very long, because Fate intervened and introduced us to Becker. Becker was sitting on the bank of the river in his inner tube. He was wearing a life jacket. He was about our age and looked like a normal sort of fellow. But when we passed by, he asked if it was okay if he followed us for a bit---he was "unfamiliar with the terrain." Something about his slurred speech, inability to walk in a straight line, and ignorance of the fact that simply following the river was as much "familiarity with the terrain" he needed, tipped me off to the fact that something was wrong. I really wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was not 100% mentally. Or worse, maybe he had hypothermia (from the water) or heat stroke (from the sun) or both (is it possible?), and his behavior was just a symptom.
Whatever it was, Murray and I invited Becker to walk with us, even though it required us to slow down our pace considerably. Once, when I got close to Becker, I smelled the alcohol on him. So then I knew for sure that he was just drunk. Really, really drunk.
We walked and visited with Becker for a really long time. Unfortunately, Becker didn't have shoes. Between the railway ties was gravel. So either he was walking on burning-hot wood (from the sun) or sharp gravel. It was hard enough for him to walk straight (or to stay on his feet) and the pain wasn't making things any better. Finally, I offered him my flip flops (I have leather, calloused feet). Becker refused. But I kept on insisting, and unfortunately, this caused Murray to give Becker his flip flops (there's no way Murray's feet are as leathery as mine). Becker accepted them (his feet were getting cut up) and as we helped him put them on (he was too drunk to do it himself) he said, "That is the most patriotic thing you can do is give another man your shoes."
Keep that in mind people. Really, it bears repeating:
The most patriotic thing you can do is give another man your shoes.
Eventually, when Becker could no longer walk at all (maybe after 45 minutes of walking together), we decided to put him back in the water. He had a life jacket after all. Unfortunately, when he was in the water, he was too drunk to actually get back onto the tube. So he just hung off the side and began to freeze to death. Murray and I concernedly ran along beside him as he floated down the river. Finally a group of people appeared on the other side of the river while Murray was on that same side, trying again (fruitlessly) to get back onto his tube. They asked if there was a man in a life jacket. We called to Becker and told him his friends were there to get him. He waved at us. We told him his friends were there to get him. He waved at us. His friends called to him and told him they were there to get him. He waved at them.
And we considered that the end of our moral obligation to Becker. Of course, you should know that Becker was appreciative of our help. He even told us where he lived so that in case we ever needed anything, we can come to him for help. Actually, I'll just extend his offer of help to Daltongirl, because apparently they're pretty much neighbors. I'm sure that Daltongirl will need Becker's help gathering eggs from her chickens in August. Becker will be there to help. And he might even offer her his shoes, if he's feeling particularly patriotic.
After getting rid of Becker (but helping him long enough to earn blessings), we made our way back to Vivian Park where we reunited with Danger and co.
Now during a dating period, you need to be learning as much as possible about your potential future spouse. (Is it weird that I just said that? I'm just stating a fact.) What did I learn about Murray?
1) Trust his hesitation. When he declines to go river rafting, trust that instinct.
2) His delicate, fair skin burns easily. Poor, poor Murray.
3) He is a patriot.
4) He is willing to help drunks.
5) He maintains a positive attitude in a not-so-great situation.