In my last post, I mentioned that Suzanne had hiked in with me partway on my overnight backpack. She returned to the car, but on the way decided to test the bear spray she was carrying, since it was a couple of years old. She removed the safety pin, and gave it a short burst that went about 10-15 feet. She put the can back in her pack's side pocket and returned to the car. A few days later, as we were preparing to leave Silver City, I took the bear spray out of her pack and stored it in a bin. I must have gotten a tiny bit of oleoresin capsicum (made from chiles) on my finger, because a few minutes later, when I rubbed my eye, I experienced serious irritation and burning that lasted several minutes. I can't imagine how much a full shot in the face would hurt, and I'm glad I haven't offended her enough to test it on me!
While in Silver City, we had two delightful meals with Scott and Denise Kennedy. They gave us a wealth of recommendations and information on the area, having lived there most of their lives. Suzanne and Denise enjoyed a hike on the trails behind the Kennedy's home, and they enjoyed a magical moment when Denise and Scott's son dropped in from the spirit world with some verifiable evidence.
Sunsets and sunrises in New Mexico are often strikingly beautiful because of the extraordinarily clear skies, as was this one...
From New Mexico we drove on to Cave Creek, just north of Scottsdale, Arizona. Suzanne was invited to be a keynote speaker for the first annual conference of Helping Parents Heal, a world-wide support group for parents who have a child on the other side. Suzanne's upbeat speech was very well received. (A Shining Light Parent is one whose child has left the physical body, but whose light continues to shine as an ongoing presence in their family’s heart and home.)
When the conference was initially planned, the goal was for about 200 attendees; in fact, over 500 people attended the event, which was a huge success, a tribute to the enthusiasm and planning of Elizabeth Boisson, Irene Vouvalides, and Jason Durham.
The dinner on Saturday night was very special; rather than a somber affair, it was filled with hope, joy and love. We shared stories about our kids and encouraged one another along the path to healing... it was truly a remarkable event.
Here is a shot of the Still Right Here (Suzanne's latest book about this journey we are all on) folks - from left to right, Ty and Suzanne, Cyril and Elizabeth Boisson, LeAnn Hull, Irene and Tony Voulalides, and Lynn and Jeff Hollahan. We discussed some fairly difficult topics. I think I speak for the other husbands on the panel that we were not thrilled to discuss our emotions so publicly, but for some reason, those present seemed to find a bunch of teary-eyed guys sorta special. You can watch a video of the discussion here: https://youtu.be/hCmtJVwMrCg
Speaking of desert critters, while at dinner one evening at a golf course cafe, we were surprised to see two javelinas (Tayassu tajacu), otherwise known as collared peccaries, running among the tables. I was advised not to approach them - "What, do I look really dumb???" Interestingly, javelinas are not pigs. The latter are from the Old World, primarily Europe, while javalinas/peccaries are New World animals. The young are called "reds" due to the color of their hair. Javelinas are herbivores, and eat cactus, agave, mesquite beans, tubers and other green vegetation. They grow to about 55 lbs.
We visited several good friends while in town for the HPH conference. Cyril Boisson took me for a drive in his 2008 Ferrari... OMG, what a sweet car! The only time I've ever been in one was in 1968, when as a college senior I drove my date's father's 275 GTB. (He was out of town, and I think she forgot to mention the events of that evening to her parents... WAIT... 1968 was 50 years ago... Nooooooo..... Suzanne reminds me she was in second grade then...).