In the crazy summer selling months I sometimes have to live my river trips vicariously through my email inbox. There is usually a good story to every repair questions. I get to help people getting ready for big trips and get work with outfitters and dealers from around the world. Most email conversation come and go as questions are answered and stories shared but some people I get to hear from a few times a year.
One particular favorite is man who goes by the call-sign “GHD”. I first got to know GHD when he emailed me a small novel about the zipper he was fighting on an old, prototype 156E. I liked GHD right away and could tell he was a character; he kind of has that “old man of the river” feel and humor about him (thou, he would need a few more years to be considered old) and has talent for writing and enjoys to do it. Everything with him is a good story, even the process of a zipper replacement.
He emailed once and said, “ I got great news today. I mentioned the Colorado River in my own boat is the last item on my personal "Bucket List." Well today I got my ticket to ride... or row rather” he continued a few paragraphs later with, “The sad part of my news is that I will have to sell my IK's to afford to go on the trip. I love them like I would a slightly handicap child. But since I only use them a couple of times a year and I really NEED this Colorado River trip I will post them for sale soon.” I laughed out loud.
GHD wrote a poem about a white man fire once and I was lucky enough to be on the email list that received it, here is a verse, “His ritual born, when Ancients reigned, required him this test, of leaping naked through the flames, and hoping for the best.” The poem was an attached word file and at the end of his email he said, “So, if for some reason Mt Lemmon burns completely down this weekend ... I was not there. Later – ghd”. Again, I laughed out load.
He sent me a story about his solo run down the Salt River at high water. Here is my favorite paragraph:
“I was so cold I was physically shaking or it might just have been my adrenaline. Standing at the edge of the water, I kept fiddling around; I knew I was hesitating. I was second-guessing myself, that armchair adventure charm when it all sounds so exciting sitting at home warm and safe was gone. I stood before the truth and most of my excitement had evaporated with the cold reality. About that time I heard a group of people talking as they huddled together on the small sand hill behind me sharing some hot coffee. The wind brought me their words like a Biblical Prophet. The small group was discussing my survival with a definitely negative slant. It was at that very moment I knew I had to at least get in the river no matter what outcome might result. I had to at least try and find out if I could do it.”
I must admit, I get a little smirk on my face when a see a message from GHD in my inbox. Without fail I get tidbits of life’s adventures, challenges and disappointments in the form of river stories, photos, videos and forwards. People and stories from my AIRE Inbox usually tie me over until I can get out of the office and back out on the river!