Jul 18, 2007

Pike's Peak and America - also Tagged Again

by Anna Arnett

Last Wednesday, I rode a cog train to the top of Pike’s Peak. The weather was cool and the scenery spectacular as the two carloads of tourists, including many attendees of the 497th Bomb Group reunion, chugged for a couple of miles up a wooded canyon, alongside a busy, sparkling mountain stream. Above the timberline were meadows reminiscent of Biblical times, and we half expected to find sheep and a robed shepherd with his long, crooked staff. Then came the rocks, a huge pile that extended clear to the top. Occasionally we spied marmots atop a big boulder, but the Rocky Mountain sheep must have been elsewhere at that particular time.

“You may consider these rocks huge,” our guide said, “But to us this is merely gravel.”

At the top, 14,100 feet high, we staggered out on wobbly legs, panting with the exertion, and feeling rather lightheaded, drank more water. There were enough clouds to obscure the valley itself, but the waves of varied blue and purple peaks surrounding us gave pause to gaze, and marvel.

At the highest spot in the leveled-off summit stood a huge monument—a plaque dedicated to Kathryn Lee Bates, who rode a donkey up a primitive trail and stood at this very site. The sight so inspired her, that upon her return to the valley, she penned the hymn that nearly became our National Anthem: "Oh Beautiful, for Spacious Skies, for amber waves of grain; for purple mountains majesty above the fruited plains. America, America, God shed his grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea."

I could hardly read the words of the first two verses, engraved on the plaque, without tears. It touched that deep well of patriotism within me, and I tingled all over. What a great land we have – what a great heritage!

Now we’re home again to the mundane—if there is such a thing. Since Liz tagged me again, I’m just going to add it to this blog, whether that is kosher or not. The one good thing about aging is that I feel much more comfortable about breaking, or at least bending a few more rules.

I’m not sure I understand all the instructions, but I’ll give it a try.

If I tagged you, remove the blog from the top, move all the blogs up one, and add yourself to the bottom. You have to copy and paste the whole thing into a Word document (or whatever) and use it (what?) as a template for your own version

Not Entirely British
Marcia Mickelson
Writer in the Pines
ANWA Founder and Friends Liz Adair
ANWA Founder and Friends Anna Arnett

1. What were you doing ten years ago?

Good gracious, I don’t know! I do remember that twenty years ago I retired from teaching pregnant girls in Mesa , spent six wonderful weeks in Vermont at an NEH seminar on the suffering of the innocent, and in late September left for a temple mission in Sydney, Australia. But ten years ago? I was serving two or more shifts a week as an ordinance worker in the Mesa temple, and was probably working with music in the Primary. I think that’s about the time I started the first of three courses I completed with the Institute of Children’s Literature, and I was probably writing that novel I almost completed.

2. What were you doing one year ago?

That’s slightly easier. I was released from teaching in Relief Society and put into Primary, mostly to write their program for Sacrament Meeting. Still there. We attended a 497th Bomb Group reunion in Dayton, Ohio, where we met for the first time two daughters of Charles’ co-pilot back in WWII. Lovely women. My husband (and sons) commissioned an artist in Paris to paint a picture of two B-24’s; one like Charles’ and one like his best buddy’s, and donated a printed copy to the Air Force Museum in Dayton. I completed five years of volunteering an hour or so a week at a nearby assisted living home, and I attended an ANWA retreat for the first time.

3. Five snacks you enjoy.

1. Chocolate candy (but I’m thinking of giving it up)
2. Trail mix
3. String cheese
4. Ice cream in most any form
5. Cookies

4. Five songs you know all the lyrics to.

1. The Star Spangled Banner (well, at least four verses)
2. Stardust
3. I’ll be Seeing You
4. Sentimental Journey
5. Somewhere between half and three-fourths of the hymn book (that’s cheating!)

5. Five things you would do if you were a millionaire

1. Endow the Arnett Foundation
2. Hire a maid.
3. Travel extensively
4. Hire a chauffer
5. Give the rest away (but only to worthy causes)

6. Five bad habits.

1. Procrastination
2. Putting things down instead of away
3. Staying up too late
4. Eating too much
5. Talking when I should be listening

7. Five things you like to do.

1. Knit
2. Crochet
3. Talk on the phone
4. Get positive feedback from ANWA
5. Anything with my family

8. Five things you’ll never wear again.

1. Three inch heels
2. Two inch heels
3. Size twenty or above (‘never’ is an iffy word)
4. Tight or short skirts
5. Clip earrings

9. Five favorite toys

1. My computer
2. SuDoku puzzles
3. Call phone
4. Exercise machines
5. Jigsaw Puzzles

10. Where will you be in ten more years?

Still busily enjoying people. Hopefully gazing at my certificate of graduation with a PhD. Hopefully staving off the swarms of people who want my autographed copies of whatever. Probably enjoying great-great grandchildren. Actually doing some of those ‘millionaire’ things. Enduring to the end—if it’s not already here. If it is, I expect to enjoy it.


  1. Anna,
    I enjoyed learning more about you in your "tag", but...giving up chocolate???

  2. I agree with Joyce...giving up chocolate??? Just when scientists have finally decided what I suspected all along...chocolate is good for you!!!

    Pike's Peak is amazing. Next time we go there, I will insist on the train. We drove to the top last time and I am glad I can say we did it once. I don't choose to do it again...too scary! The marmots were cool, though.

  3. I posted and hit the wrong button and my post disappeared, so I'll try again.

    It was sooooo great being able to spend time with you at the retreat.

    Maybe in ten years people will be standing in line for autographed dishcloths.

    Actually, I hope you'll publish your poems--I'd stand in line for an autographed copy.


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