Don't Go Down In There - Part 2
There we were, alone on the mountain, about three miles from camp, it was sundown and a snow storm was starting to drop its first few flakes. I had a very depressing, lonely feeling, and I was worried about Dad, because we had a long hike up to the top of the mountain, then another long walk to camp and I knew Dad was not in any condition for that. I worried about a heart attack. I didn’t say anything about those feelings, tried to keep upbeat and positive, but inside I was slumping pretty bad. We put our coats on, got our rifles and started our long uphill climb. At times like that, the wild mountains seem so large, ominous and very lonely. It was nothing for me, but for Dad it was Mount Everest. I felt like bawling, but I didn’t. We slowly made our way up to the head of the draw, where we had started our descent with the Jeep. By then I knew it was going to be one long hard go for Dad, and wondered seriously if he could really do it. He was being brave and not showing anything but determination, but I knew inside him it was a big worry, but Dad was the type of guy the more difficult things were, the more grit worked its way to the surface, I couldn’t feel anything but pride and love for him.
Every once in a while, you hear the expression, “He or she lives a charmed life,” that expression fit my dad. With him, I knew it wasn’t charm, or luck though. With Dad it was a different word or words. Closest thing I can think of is “watched over”, a life spent living with Dad was to learn there is a God in Heaven who loves and watches over his children. I saw this manifest so many times in so many ways, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind about that fact. Now that didn’t mean Dad didn’t have trials and tribulations, he had a heap of them. But there was this buoyant feeling being around Dad that it was all going to be ok, it will work out. I’m sure that millions of people can say the same about their parents. I’m grateful I had a Dad, and Mom like that, it infused in me a trust in God, that God knows that He cares about us and it’s good to lean on Him, to call on Him often, and there is nothing to be ashamed of about doing that.
Anyway, getting back to our bleak situation, it was getting darker, and soon would be dark, getting a lot colder, and snow now falling steadily, and miles to go. Not a good situation at all for Dad. As we were trudging through the sagebrush, stopping often for Dad to rest and catch his wind, we looked up to the top of the mountain where the road is that winds down the other side to our camp. This was not the time of night anybody would be traveling that bad lonely road. They would be in camp by a blazing fire eating a hot meal, telling the stories of the day. It was too dark to be hunting.
But, just as we were looking up toward the top, I think probably faintly hoping we’d see someone coming to rescue us, we did suddenly see a pair of headlights come over the crest and work its way along the ridge following the road which ended up close to where the lights now were, which were still close to a thousand yards away. I expected to see the outfit turn around and head back the way it came from, like it was just looking for a place to turn around. But Dad stretched himself up and out into the largest profile he could make and waved his rifle and arms as vigorously as he could and yelled and whistled. I followed suit. At that distance and being dark as it was, dusk-I thought whoever it was, they would not be able to see us. The lights stopped for a moment, then proceeded down the slope toward us, there was no road. We watched, hopefully, the lights kept coming, bouncing and jostling in the brush. Closer and closer they came, now we knew they were coming for us. What a sweet feeling, can’t really describe it.
Dad said to me, “It’s Bishop Brunt.” Happiness flooded into me at the sound of those words I couldn’t tell for sure it was his outfit, about all I could see was two headlights, but Dad somehow knew. Sure enough soon we were happily greeting our Bishop of the old 4th Ward, our home ward. Who better to greet us in our extremity than our beloved Bishop? It felt so good to hear his voice and to hear the cheerful chatter between him and my Dad. We were rescued! Thank God, and Bishop Brunt.
“Got to worryin’ about you, Rex,” the Bishop said, “So we came lookin’ for you.” “So glad you did,” or something like that Dad said but with the unique way Dad had of expressing himself. Not off color, but colorful. I was one happy boy. Dad would be ok, I wouldn’t be out there in the dark and cold, crying over my Dad’s lifeless body from a heart attack. I was so relieved.
Somehow they had seen us waving and shouting and made a beeline. It snowed about a foot that night. The next day we all went home in the Bishop’s outfit, leaving the jeep up on that big lonely mountain. A week later my Dad got Lynn Mickleson to take his 4-wheel drive down on the Minidoka. By then the snow had melted and they were able to pull that Jeep out of that draw and got it fixed and home. See, it all worked out, all while I was in school safe and sound.
There was just that “aura” about life growing up with Dad, troubles came, but then they went. They didn’t stay. Things worked out. What a wonderful way to grow up.
P.S. The deer stayed cold up there, it was good when Dad brought it home a week later.