Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Giant of a Man!

For young men trying to leave their mark on life, there’s something about creating memories that they can brag about as old men. I don’t know that Scott Pierce and I qualify as old men yet, but the following story certainly qualifies as one of those events, which only occur because of the wild enthusiasm and naive optimism of youth.

Scott was my roommate in college and one of my best friends in life. He was amazingly athletic. He had all the physical tools to play football--size, strength, speed and agility. Not surprisingly, Scott received a scholarship to play football at Ricks. He played tight end both before and after his mission. Scott had the athletic ability to do just about any sport. In high school he chose to play football, basketball and threw the discus in track.

During the Christmas break following our missions, we were invited to snowmobile with his fiancee, Coya Hillam and her family in Island Park, Idaho. I realized there was a freestyle wrestling tournament with an opportunity to wrestle in the open division in nearby Idaho Falls the same weekend. I proposed to Scott that we wrestle in the tournament on our way to the Hillam’s cabin. Scott seemed doubtful about my proposal.

“This is crazy. I haven’t wrestled since junior high school.”

“Yea, but you’re the man! You’re a total specimen. You’re the kind of athlete that could know almost nothing and still win matches.”

“I don’t know man. This seems kind of crazy. Do you think they’ll be anyone good in this tournament?”

“Doubtful. The Heavyweight class is always an easy weight class. There will probably be a couple of soft ‘has been’ former high school wrestlers. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”

“I don’t know. It seems a little crazy.”

“Listen, life’s short. When we’re old men, don’t you want to have something really cool to talk about?! This is a real chance to hang it all out and do something crazy.”

In the end, Scott agreed. He weighed about 220 lbs. back in 1978, which placed him in the Heavyweight division. This was in the day before the weight restriction of 275lbs for heavyweight wrestlers. It was not uncommon to see heavyweight wrestlers in excess of 400 lbs.

Upon arrival we heard rumor that a representative wrestler from USA Wrestling would be present to conduct a pre-match clinic to review the new freestyle rules. I was thrilled to learn that we would get to meet and talk with Olympian Jimmy Jackson, a former 3x NCAA Champion from Oklahoma State University. Jackson was a massive man—standing 6’6” and weighing 375lbs when he was in shape. Jackson had wrestled in the 1976 Montreal Olympics and it was clear that he was not in shape when we met him in 1978--he was clearly well over 400lbs.

What none of us knew at the outset was that Jackson intended to wrestle in the open division as a heavyweight wrestler. Upon hearing this, I was ecstatic to see him wrestle; Scott less so. "What if I draw him my first match?" He asked. "What are the chances of that? Brother, that's just fear talking. Besides you're the man!" I assured him. As luck would have it, Scott, in fact, drew Jackson his first match. I tried to convince Scott that he had a chance. I lied. I reviewed with him an arm drag and explained that he might be able to use his superior speed to get behind Jackson. (Scott was very quick.) I told Scott that Jackson was clearly out of shape and that he might be able to take him down. Again, I lied.

The time for the match came. Scott had diligently drilled the arm drag technique that I had shown him. He was primed and ready. He stepped out onto the mat. I was yelling encouraging words—not really believing anything I was saying. Jackson looked ginormous. Scott? Well, he looked like a shrimp, even though he was a very athletic 6’2” and 220lbs. To say this match was representative of "David and Goliath" would be an understatement. The whistle blew. The crowd was shocked—Scott exhibited cat-like speed and flawlessly executed the arm drag we had drilled. It was amazing. Everyone in the gym gasped. "Who is this undersized white guy on the verge of taking down a world class wrestler twice his size?!" Scott got beyond Jackson; however, no sooner had he done so he realized he was matched against something akin to a Grizzly bear. He could barely wrap his arms around Jackson. His eyes became the size of saucers when he realized there was no way that he could take Jackson to the mat despite taking his back. “Take him down! Take him down! I screamed. “Lift him off the mat! What are you waiting for?!” He tried in vain to lift Jackson off his feet. Nothing. Jackson was squatting and moving his hips down and away. In this position he was simply too massive to lift. Suddenly, Jackson reached behind him and with one paw pulled Scott in front of him like he was a rag doll. Jackson then put Scott in a double-over throw position. Now I was fearful for my friend's safety. What had I done?! Jackson executed a world class back suplay landing with all of his weight on Scott’s chest. It was beautiful! I have never seen such a behemoth of a man move so gracefully. It was poetry on the mat. (Sorry Scott.)

Now this maneuver would have likely dispatched a mere mortal man, but Scott somehow survived. He fought valiantly for almost a minute. It was only after Jackson’s massive 400lb+ frame completed buried Scott and his limbs were no longer moving, that the official called a presumptive pin. I use the word "presumptive" because the official could not confirm whether Scott’s shoulders were pinned to the mat. Scott was completely buried beneath the mass of human flesh that was Jimmy Jackson. He nevertheless mercifully called an end to the match based exclusively upon the fact that Scott was no longer moving.

Since this match, Scott has alleged that I provided expert coaching during the match. This assertion is false. I was mostly laughing hysterically. I wanted to provide aid and comfort to my friend in need, but in the end all I could do was laugh. Every detail of this story is accurate. If Scott disputes it, I can only assume it’s because his lost consciousness sometime during the match.

Regardless of how one remembers the details of this match, on one cold December day back in 1978 a "giant of a man", my good friend Scott Pierce (despite being undersized, outclassed and under-skilled) courageously took on a Olympian that looked more like a Grizzly bear and survived; and now has a story worthy of the ages. Thank you Scott for having the courage to attempt the impossible and for allowing me to share in this experience!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is Choking Your Opponent REALLY Illegal?

Occasionally, while wrestling a tough opponent in college I was known to slip in a little choke in an attempt to convince my opponent that I was not some chump to be trifled with. Although I was never penalized for this, I was clearly caught in the act in the picture above which appeared in the school newspaper following a very tough match with UofU's Dave Millay. I can't say that my "little choking" turned the match in my favor, but I'm pretty sure it didn't hurt my chances of winning either. I have never thought of this "minor infraction" of the rules as unethical...that is until last year, when one of our young high school wrestlers was at my house watching a UFC fight and noticed this picture in my den, and asked:

"Hey coach, isn't choking in wrestling illegal?"


"Aren't you choking your opponent in that picture?"


"Isnt' that illegal?'


"Then why are you doing it?"

"Because Millay was a very tough wrestler, and I had to be tougher."

"Isn't that cheating? I thought you were an honest person?"

Silence... Ouch! (Mental note to self: This wrestler needs to be punished for certain next year for asking smart-alecky questions and openly challenging one of his coaches.)

"Good question. However, I'm pretty sure that choking your opponent in wrestling is only slightly illegal. It's not like taking steroids, is it?"

More silence. Double ouch! As I reflected further about this conversation, the following thoughts passed through my brain: Clearly steroids are illegal from a criminal standpoint. Choking your opponent?...Well it's a mere violation of the rules. It's not like choking is a crime--at least it's not a crime if you're on a wrestlng mat when you choke someone! Conclusion: choking is not a criminal assault if you are on a wrestling mat. Okay, I'm comfortable with this distinction: Choke someone on a wrestling mat and you might win an important match. Perfect! Choke someone on the street and you go to jail. Stupid! Another note to self: Make sure all choking occurs on a wrestling mat. Somehow all of this made sense to me as I initially worked through this ethical question, although now as I speak the words, my logic feels a little strained. What do you think?

So...I decided to seek some enlightenment from my Vast World Wide Readership. The question is really rather simple: Is it ethical to choke your opponent while wrestling? Yes or No?

The following rhetorical questions might help guide your thinking:

-Isnt' this akin to fouling your opponent in basketball until the official starts calling the foul?

-Is it similar to trying to time the starting gun in track to get the jump on your opponent?

-Isn't it similar to an offensive lineman holding to protect his quarterback?

-What if it's a really important match and choking will help you win?

-Is it unethical if it's just a little choke?

-Is any degree of choking unfair?

-Does it matter how long you choke your opponent?

-If it only causes pain and your opponent doesn't start to pass out, is that acceptable?

-Does it matter how many times you choke your opponent?

-Or how hard to you choke him?

-Does the degree to which you feel malice (or not) factor in to how culpable you are?

-Is choking per se cheating, in the same way taking Steroids is considered cheating?

-What if you feel no shame or guilt when you choke someone? Doesn't sin require a recognition that you are doing something wrong? If you don't recognize it as unethical, is it?

Please weigh in on this most interesting ethical question on the poll at the top of my blog.

And to think there are those who say Wrestling is a barbaric sport with no gentlemanly thought. Ha!

Below are newspaper pictures of me wrestling Nebraska's captain Billy Selmon and BYU's Matt Bake. You will note that I am wrestling cleanly (at least in the pictures) and still managed to win both of these matches.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Tiger in My Pocket

Ever since I accidentally tossed my first flip-cell-phone out the car window while trying to answer it one hot summer day, I have become convinced that some very real and tangible animus exists between me and my communication devices. The worldwide readership that follows Darrell's Yakimania undoubtedly already knows that I was kicked out of the AV class in fifth grade, apparently for "disrespecting school property"--whatever that means (As if inanimate objects possessed the sensitivity that require respect!). Regardless, over my lifetime I have struggled with certain aspects of technology. Now mind you, I am not technologically impaired. I use communication devices and tools (computers, cell phones, email, text messaging, etc.), it's just that I don't really love technology. More importantly, I'm convinced that it hates me.

For a number of years, I have been accused of the criminal offense of "butt-dialing" my friends. Recently, I acquired a "smart phone" (the Droid). It truly is a masterpiece of technology. I can access (and respond) to emails remotely. I can look smart in Gospel Doctrine Class, by accessing my scriptures, the lesson manual and lots of impressive extraciricular material. In short, I can appear to be much smarter than I really am, which is something I have been aiming for since about the 3rd grade. The phone that I acquired, however, is not only "smart" it is also "smart-alecky" and seems to possess a mind of its own. While climbing Mt. Rainier this past summer I dropped my phone against a rock and cracked the face. Following my disrespectful treatment of this technological device, the phone seemed to develop a bit of an attitude. Yes, my cell phone seems to have developed a "Gremlin-like" personality that is characterized by spite, revenge and a meanness that borders on evil. I swear I am not making any of this up. I will be no where near my cell phone and it will randomly dial people from my contact list. For example, one recent morning (very early) it dialed Bucky Burnett while he was on his honeymoon. Seriously! It dials people that I most definitely have no interest in talking to, and at times, it even dials people who I am trying to avoid. In the past week I have dialed an old college roommate (whom I have not spoken to in years), the Kennewick Washington Mission President (who knew I was even authorized to have his number!) and various other sundry persons with whom I have zero desire to talk. The only way I can accurately describe this phenomenon is that it's like having a Tiger in my pocket, that refuses to be tamed and frequently lashes out to harm me.

So, if you receive a random phone call from me at some weird hour, do us both a favor, don't answer your phone...and let's all pretend that I never called.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Walnut Grove Cooking School

Working with foie gras like a champion chef!
The kitchen
6 extraordinary chefs and one pretty darn good eater.

In 2000, Maynard and Benedict two British nationals came to France and renovated an old farmhouse and barn located on an abandoned Walnut Tree Farm and turned it into a cooking school—The Walnut Grove Cooking School. The structures on the property are approximately 200 years old. The barn was converted into a kitchen that is state of the art, with a dining room in the loft, and accommodations in the “old French farmhouse” which are very nice. I think this birthday gift historically ranks number one.

The She-wolf is totally in her element at this school: sauces, appetizers, breads, spices, presentation, etc. It’s all way beyond me. I’m only signed up as an “eater.” It’s a plum of a job. My job is to show up, eat and rave about the food. Every evening features a six-course dinner, the efforts of a kitchen full of fledging cooks and two remarkable chefs. To describe the food as “utterly and completely amazing” would be a gross injustice. I’m inspired and all I am doing is eating.

After coming here, we are committed to doing a cooking trip for Sheila and the girls, either a return trip here, or somewhere in Italy. The Smarty Sistas would absolutely love this. It’s not just the food—it’s the ambience, the accommodation, our hosts and the location. Bon appetit!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lost in Loire

Let me first state that France is RIDICULOUS! The food is ridiculously good. The French are ridiculously gorgeous (and thin), especially, Parisians. The environs are ridiculously beautiful and scenic. This place is ridiculously historic. French (the language) is ridiculously beautiful and romantic. And yes, France (particularly Paris) is ridiculously expensive. “Ridiculous” seems to be the only superlative to describe my sense of France. Every meal has been over-the-top good. We have been dining at great restaurants and bistros, unlike our EF Tours trip to France with the kids in 2004. The standards are so high in France that it’s hard to get a bad meal, but somehow EF Tours found a way. I swear, they must have searched all of France to find the only lousy chefs to feed us. Go figure?!

While Sheila has been taking cooking classes at the Walnut Grove Cooking School in Livre (near Laval), I have been bike riding. We are in the Loire Valley, a UN Heritage site. It is ridiculous in every way. Supposedly this is a birthplace of French cycling. However, by the looks of my loaner bike you would never guess that. The bike I rode to deliver newspapers circa 1967 was infinitely better than the “grandma bike” loaned to me by Benedict (one of the chefs at the school). I shouldn’t complain, but I’m trying to cover some serious ground here in order to make it to certain sites, and this behemoth of a bike is most definitely cramping my style. Hey, at least it has three working gears.

Yesterday I decided to ride to Châteaux XVIII in neighboring Craon. The Châteaux was beautiful to say the least. There was a wedding dinner taking place at one of the outbuildings on the property and the side door to the Châteaux was left open. Seriously what would you have done? In the Southern States people leave their side and back doors open as an invitation for friends and family to enter and make themselves at home. Since I am an American and naturally have an historical bond with the French (yes, we are brothers of the revolution and our sons fought and bled together in two World Wars), I felt it would have been discourteous of me, as a friend, to decline this invitation. Of course, I didn’t go upstairs, didn’t use the bathroom and didn’t forage in the kitchen for tasty treats; nor did I have the audacity to break out my camera and start taking pictures of the spectacular decor. After all invited guests shouldn’t gawk, and typically don’t take pictures when invited into your home do they? However, I thought it a ridiculously generous invitation by this anonymous French friend to invite me into their home, don’t you think?! I felt appreciative to be sure.

I set out from Craon (without map) to explore the French countryside heading generally in southwesterly direction. It was my intent to make a 20 Kilometer loop and back to the cooking school in Livre. I got ridiculously lost. However, because everything was so ridiculously scenic, I didn’t really care. I stopped to take pictures when motivated, picked a couple of apples for lunch, tried to speak French to some French brothers at a village festival in La Selle, and gasped at almost every turn in the road at the ridiculously amazing scenery. I ultimately found my way back to Livre having experienced the French countryside in a most intimate manner. Later that evening the She-wolf noticed the small apples in my backpack, “Where’d you get the apples? Kind of small don’t you think?”

“I borrowed them.”

“How do you borrow an apple?”

"Okay, I stole them.”

“I thought you loved France and viewed yourself as traveling Ambassador of goodwill?”

“Well, I was hungry. I spent 6 hours on my bike and forgot to take any money.”

“Whose fault is that?”

“Okay ‘Ms. Judgmental,’ haven’t you read Les Miserables? They had a revolution here a few years ago; they don’t imprison people anymore for stealing to sate extreme hunger. I’m kind of surprised you didn’t know that.”

To set the record straight: The apples that I “borrowed” were not from a commercial orchard. It was a old tree on the side of a sheep pasture. Most of the apples were on the ground already and it was obvious these small, wormy apples were going to go to waste if I didn’t eat them. Besides I was really, really hungry.

I have two more historic rides on my riding agenda: Chateaubriand and Laval. Rides of 80 and 50 Kilometers, respectively. These rides are only impressive when you consider what I am riding. Regardless, the French countryside on bike has turned out to be a ridiculously rich experience--one that I will always cherish. If I get lost in France while on my bike and perish somewhere in the French countryside, my dying request is that the following be placed on my headstone: “The Most Ridiculous Human Compass,” preferably in French.

Friday, September 10, 2010

An Education in Art History at the Louvre

Me at the Louvre vigorously demonstrating that I AM an art snob.

The painting La Nuit by Claude Joseph Vernet prominently hung in the Sully section has always been one of my favorite offerings of the Louvre. Now, let me explain why I am uniquely qualified to comment on fine art.

When I was in college I discovered that I had certain unique and special gifts. I had a roommate who frequently experienced rather bizarre (and usually very vocal) dreams. As a loyal friend, I felt it my solemn duty to heighten his dream experiences by providing colorful commentary and spot-on interpretations as to the meaning of his dreams. All of my roommates were quite impressed with my abilities to interpret the subconscious mind and strongly encouraged me to consider Psychology as a major. However, I felt that a formal education might actually serve to limit "my gift" by stiffling my creativity. I was genuinely concerned that a restrictive and formalistic education would likely impose too much structure on my free wheeling approach to the psychobabble that is "dream reconstruction and analysis." So I stuck with Physical Education and Zoology knowing that if I actually ever got hired as a high school teacher that I would have the ability to spread my unique gifts and influence young minds in a greater sphere. In my apartment complex at Ricks word soon got out that I could, indeed, provide accurate and insightful analysis on dreams. People came from "all over" to have me provide profound psychological insights as to their subconscious. Well, to be precise, it was only two guys who actually sought me out--a guy from room 116 whose dad was a psychiatrist, and this other weird looking dude who occasionally hung out at our apartment and who had been at Ricks for at least a decade working on his AA degree. Regardless, I felt pretty important all the same just knowing that other people recognized by ability to figure out complex and interesting stuff. This experience (among others) caused me to realize that I really do have a knack for getting inside people's heads.

Now, back to the Louvre...As we were strolling through the Louvre, we happened to come across an art professor from some very important institution of higher education (I'm pretty sure that she was in grad school longer than I attended public schools K-12.) She looked nothing like the French hottie, Audrey Tautou, who starred with Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code. In fact, she was the exact opposite of Mlle. Tautou, who (in the movie, at least) also happens to know lots of cool stuff about art history. At any rate, the She-wolf and I watched this tragically dressed, unkempt humanities expert escort a group of about 10 art history majors through the Louvre. It was fascinating. They hung on her every word. She was the picture of the Socratic method, asking hard questions specifically designed to cause her young disciples to stretch their minds. Her students were failing miserably to keep up with her vast and inexhaustible fund of knowledge. It was truly riveting to watch. I too was briefly taken in with her expanse of knowledge. We followed her around several rooms watching her dispense her expertise like a Jedi knight wields his light sabre. That is, until she she stumbled! As it happened, she attempted to enlighten her cadre of padawans concerning La Nuit by Claude Joseph Vernet. She launched into a great lecture about light and life and the obvious message being communicated by Vernet through this work of art. She explained his background as a Maritime artist, the deep impressions that the Mediterranean Sea made on his psyche as a young man, the age in which he lived and his tutelage under another great Maritime artist, Bernadino Fergioni. She then attempted to pull details of the paintings into this construct and explain the theme of light and what it represented. I was flabbergasted! I had only viewed the painting for about a minute and knew that she was WAY off base. I wanted to scream, "Fraud!" then and there and expose her for her obvious heresies. What she was piling on this naive and unsuspecting group of students was purely, and simply a bunch of CRAPPOLA! I had taken only a cursory look at the painting, but was able to almost instantaneously understand its meaning and purpose.

Let me explain. In the first picture above, I am pointing to the focal point of this painting. It's hard to tell because of the illegal flash that Sheila used to capture my pin-point analysis. However, if you look closely at the second picture it's clear to see what I am pointing to--a fisherman! Everything else in this work of art is rendered superfluous when you consider this fact. The light of the moon and the soft glow of the campfire? Diversions for the real theme of this masterpiece. Clearly the fisherman is the largest human form in this painting. This communicates something about how Vernet viewed his Maritime world. The fisherman is naturally tall and rugged. He is looking away from the frivolity and warmth of the fire. Indeed, he is a mighty historical figure! He has obviously spurned all else to pursue his passion. He is fishing at night because for centuries "men of the rod" have know that "the bite" often times comes on best in the darkness of night. Yes, he knows that the darkness of this night is his friend. The purpose of the light in this painting is to enhance and provide depth and texture to his objectives. Captured in this masterpiece is the warm light cast by the moon over his shoulder to encourage and brighten the lonely night. In considering the nonsensical and heretic interpretation provided by our so-called art expert at the Louvre, the words of Shakespeare immediately came to mind, "The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool." Say what you will about "shape and lines," "color and composition," or even "historical context," for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the relevancy and message of La Nuit could not be clearer: "I fish therefore, I am." And to think people waste so much time and money studying art history, when an amateur with a keen eye and a clever mind was able to comprehend in seconds all that Vernet was trying to communicate in La Nuit! After sharing my most outstanding and fresh insights with the janitor at the Louvre who spoke very little English, I was seriously wondering if the Louvre might possibly be interested in pursuing my obvious talents for interpretative art analysis, despite not having a formal education in Art History. Following this post, I suspect that members of my vast worldwide readership might even start a petition for me to be bestowed with an honorary degree in some field of humanities. If so, I would appreciate a doctorate degree of some kind, preferably from some smarmy sounding European University because my Juris Doctorate from a University in Utah somehow just doesn't make me feel all that smart.
In reality, we loved the Louvre. We were inspired by the grandeur of man's artistic achievements and felt incredibly small and insignificant in the shadow of these monumental works. The edifice of the Louvre itself is an amazing showcase for what man can envision and create. And yes, I do prefer my interpretation of La Nuit!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Edward Cullen in Paris, or Why Can't I be the Wolverine?

"I prefer Brunettes." Edward Cullen, Twilight, Chapter 8, p. 194.

Sheila at Angelina's. We couldn't get in on our last trip to France. To be sure the hot chocolate is world class. The only thing that even comes close is Salish Lodge near Seattle, or maybe Timberline Lodge at Mt. Hood.
"You smell so good in the rain." Edward Cullen, Twilight, Chapter 17, p. 361.
"Yes, you are exactly my brand of heroin." Edward Cullen, Twilight, Chapter 13, p. 268.

Most people view themselves quite differently than people around them. I know this is true for me, but have difficulty understanding why this is so. I earnestly believe that I am good at human relationships and that I know something about women. And yet, mysteriously almost every memory I have of my relationships with women (including my wife and daughters) are fraught with confusion and misunderstandings. What's up with that?!

I desperately want to be viewed by my wife as rugged and mysterious; complicated and deep. I think this is why I am so fascinated with the character, the Wolverine. He is so full of angst and conflict. Yet, he is passionately committed (and capable) of protecting and providing security to the women in his life. Although I really want to be viewed as the Wolverine (at least in my wife's eyes), everything about who I am betrays that notion. I suppose the first time I tried to put my arm around my wife set the stage for our relationship and illustrates this point. I sensed that Sheila wanted me to put my arm around her on one of our first dates, but wasn't quite sure. The anxiety built, as I mulled it over, "Should I?" or "Shouldn't I?" It was one of those moments where the decision became larger than what was at stake. The tension built in me until it finally exploded in a disasterous ending. As I made the decision to put my arm around her, I did so in such a quick, awkward and jerking motion that I elbowed her in the jaw, almost knocking her out. I'm pretty sure the word "smooth" did not register in her mind at that exact moment. I would love to tell the story about when I first encountered the clasp of her bra strap (post marriage of course), but am afraid that it might scar my children for life, so they will just have to wait until after I am dead and read my more private personal journals--if they dare!

At any rate, I have spent most of my marriage trying to make up for missteps and clumsy moments. For the She-wolf's 50th birthday I wanted to do something "over the top"--something that screams, "I AM Spartacus! I AM the Wolverine!" So, my daughters helped me with this awesome surprise to take Sheila to France for cooking lessons. In anticipation of this trip, I envisioned myself with my wife in the romantic environs of Paris and the Loire Valley, being smooth and sophisticated, rugged and mysterious, witty and charming...you get the picture. In order to make my vision a reality, I found dozens of Edward Cullen quotes from the Twilight series. I tried to memorize them, thinking that I would impress my wife when I quoted them at just the perfect moments. That was my vision. My reality? Mostly awkward and very "cringy." I couldn't remember my lines. I choked. I found myself fumbling with my cue cards; in short, I felt like a bumbling 7th grade boy hopelessly trying to impress a 9th grade girl. Ouch!

At times, its tough to be a man of such vision--a vision that almost always exceeds my grasp. To be more specific, yesterday I was holding the She-wolf in my arms while standing on a bridge overlooking La Seine and was inspired. I had her in my arms, all I had to do was deliver the line...This was going to be "a moment." While she was gazing into my eyes, I was going to deliver the kill-shot: "Do I dazzle you?", the simple, and yet powerful line, which is loved by all Twilight fans. Unfortunately, "Do I dazzle you?" came out something like, "Uh...do I, uh...dabble you?! No, that's not it! Do I, uh...diddle you?! NO, NO!...Damn it, what was that verb?! Hold on a second..." I fumbled in my pocket and consulted my "Vampire's Guide to Lovers' Cheat Sheet", (which I had meticulously prepared in advance) chock full of cool Edwardisms, found the right quote and belatedly delivered my lines, "Do I dazzle you?" Needless to say the moment was ruined, there was no spontaneity, and no impact. I was crushed. The She-wolf, however, was understanding; she kissed me passionately just the same. For some reason that seems to defy everything my brain tells me, she loves me despite my goofiness, my bumbling manners and my constant miscues. Although I will never likely deliver the lines as expertly as the trained actors in the movies that I see, or for that matter as brilliantly as me in the amazing visions in my brain, I fortunately have found a woman who apparently loves me for simply trying to be the Wolverine.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A 35 Year Old Garden Revelation

One Saturday when I was a young man of high school age, I was working with my mom in the garden and I noticed that she was repeatedly giggling to herself. I asked her, "What's going on? Are you okay?" She replied, "I'm fine. I keep remembering things that were said last night at my high school reunion that made me laugh." As a young kid, I was entirely oblivious to my mother as a distinct person, separate and apart of her as "my mom." However, that experience caused me to begin to view my mother in a different light. For perhaps the first time, I saw her as a woman with the same dreams, hopes and emotions that she felt as a young girl. We have since talked about this event and I am convinced that even at age 80, there is a special place in her heart and mind for her life as a young debutante walking the halls of South High School, with handsome, athletic boys chasing her, hoping for just a chance to hold her hand.

Okay loyal followers of my vast worldwide readership, stay with me now...fast forward from that garden revelation 35 years ago to my high school reunion just a week ago...I came home with the biggest smile on my face. Thank you Leslie Aspiazu and the Intro Girls who put on such an amazing night! It was not just the opportunity to talk to old friends that made it such a great evening, it was really the powerful emotions created by the memories of youth: hopes, dreams, fears, loves, anxieties, etc. that made me smile. Sheila was a real sport to accompany me. I was disappointed that certain very close friends weren't able to attend: Scott Pierce, Keeko Georgelas, Guy Tuft, Ron Anderson, Burt and Cathy Ringwood to name a few. However, I had a chance to visit with Jerry Hirano, and listen to the Hart brothers (yes, they talk just as much as they did in high school), and dance with Sydney Young and Lori Day (woohoo!) I think Lori Day wore that tight dress just to remind all of us "young men" that we STILL don't have a chance with her! Ha! Some things never change.

At the reunion, someone handed me a copy of the following football picture. I'm No. 59 and Scott Pierce is No. 75. Scott actually had serious football skills--size, speed, strength and agility. Me? To be honest, I wasn't all that good at football, but my coaches played me because I liked to hit people. At my age, I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit that I'm still very proud of that fact. At my reunion, the Hart brothers and I tried to recreate this play based upon this single frame. Then we reached deep into the corners of our memories and were somehow able to recreate the entire football season based upon this single picture--well maybe it was the football season that we now remember as middle-aged men. Hmmm...maybe I really was as good as my memory suggests?!

My children have often wondered how I convinced the She-wolf to marry me. I am sure that many astute followers of my vast worldwide readership have wondered this same thing. As Sydney often says, "How did YOU (pointing to me) get THAT (pointing to her mother)?!" Well, let me assure you all that it was not Jedi mind games or voodoo or some type of freaky mind control, it was my hair (and as I remember it, amazing social skills). As proof of my skills, style and panache, I offer exhibits A and B, which were kindly sent to me by the very victim in these exhibits: Miss Kris Laycock, who is now married to Bob Weeks and is busy with her 8 children and 9 grandchildren! I offer these exhibits with apologies to Miss Laycock. Apparently, I am willing to throw her under the bus to prove a point--that at one point in my life, I was, in fact, able to convince another very pretty, popular and nice girl to date me. Haa!

Now my best memory of Exhibit A is as follows: I am leaning over a very nice dinner table and undoubtedly saying something charming, witty and intelligent. Note the look of confidence on my face, my cool demeanor and my casual body language. Miss Laycock? Well, she is clearly impressed with my skills as well. She is smiling demurely and probably thinking, "Wow, what a lucky girl I am to be dating such a cool young man."

As I suggested this likely scenario to the She-wolf, she helped me remember what probably actually happened the evening Exhibit A was created...I had amazing hair and lots of confidence yes, but in reality, I probably pestered young Miss Laycock to go on a date with me. She probably realized that I would continue to stalk her until she relented and agreed to go on ONE date, knowing that if she went with me it would ALL be over soon and she could go back to her normal life sans Darrell. In the picture, I am exhibiting great confidence yes, but I am probably saying something very awkward and insipid. Miss Laycock? Well, she is smiling, trying not break into hysterical laughter and create a scene. Note the slight turn of the head, indicating she is modestly repulsed and is clearly thinking to herself, "Only one more hour. C'mon, you can do it Kris. It will all be over soon, and someday you will look back on this night and laugh." Yes, Miss Laycock is amused that someone would actually have the audacity to wear such a hideous tux, and is probably mildly impressed that despite wearing such a ridiculous outfit he apparently possesses the chutzpah to believe that he really is ALL THAT.

Next, please note Exhibit B. More of the same in terms of my memory. I genuinely like how I looked, especially the hair. I seem confident and happy that Miss Laycock is smiling and has her arm around me. What more could a young man hope for?! As I reminisce about this picture, I am most grateful for my knowledge of the resurrection and the eternal promise contained in Alma 11:44 that "there shall not be so much as a hair of their heads lost." Miss Laycock? Undoubtedly more of the same according to my interpretation of this picture. The She-wolf's interpretation is slightly different... Indeed, Miss Laycock is feeling more of the same, except that by now she has endured a dance, a dinner and a long, long evening with the guy in the baby blue tux, clown-sized bow tie and wildly ruffled shirt who miraculously seems to believe that he really is ALL THAT. All she can do is smile for the camera and hope for a better date...someday.

Regardless of whose version or interpretation of these pictures you choose to believe, on one recent night, I was a young man again, with the same dreams, hopes, desires, loves and anxieties that I felt in high school. Like the experience of my mom in our garden following her high school reunion, I felt the powerful emotions of youth and my life and experiences at South High School. (As a post script, I promised Miss Laycock that I would "try" not to embarrass her. I hope I have succeeded and that this puts a smile on her face too!)

Friday, September 3, 2010

What's in a Picture?

Below is a picture of me in high school wrestling the National Champ of Japan. Jerry Hirano's mother worked tirelessly with me prior to this match to be able to speak a few words of Japanese to my opponent. Little did we all know that I would later serve a mission to Japan, become a Japanese linguist in the Army, teach high school Japanese, and in general make Japanese language and culture such a big part of my life. In the picture, I was just trying to score points against a very good two-time Japanese National Champ.

The pictures from this match have come to mean more to me over the years, not just because it was a very cool thing to be part of this All-Star wrestling team, but rather because of who I can see in the stands: my sisters, Jan and Nikki (both of whom are deceased), my parents, friends, family members and members of my ward who came to see me wrestle. I didn't realize it as a young man (or perhaps I failed to appreciate) how much support I had in life. Considering all of the support and help I have received from people who love me in life, if I ever I fail at anything I will be left without excuse.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Darrell's "Bag of Trick"

Have you ever thought you were totally cool, only to have your bubble burst by people entirely incapable of appreciating your awesomeness?...Well, my vast worldwide readership may be surprised to hear this, but it happens to me--a lot. Every time we water ski, I break out this really cool trick that I learned from my younger brother, Jeff. It's not that hard to do, but it's way fun and looks more impressive than it actually is. So, of course, as one who never wants to draw attention to himself, I have to whip it out and show this generation of wake-boarders that our generation of skiers had their tricks too. Mistakenly, I mentioned this to one of my children, who felt compelled (I suppose on grounds of age alone) to be disagreeable. Our dialogue went something like this:

"Dad, I don't know why you don't get with it and learn to wake-board?"

"Well, skiing is old school, and I am old and smart; therefore, I ski. Besides when you throw up a cool tail, it's like poetry in motion. (I then waxed philosophic, and sage, which I am wont to do) You see, skiing on a slalom ski is rhythmic and pure. It's like ballet on water--except very macho, of course."

"But dad, all you do is go back and forth. It's not like you can do tricks, like you can on a wake-board."

"Au contraire mon frere. I have tricks. Apparently you have forgotten my 'outrigger.' If that's not an utterly amazing trick, I don't know what is."

"Whoa. Did you say 'tricks?' Dad, I've got to give you props for the outrigger. It's the bomb for sure, but it's 'a trick.' You don't have 'tricks' you have 'a trick.' "

Now my vast worldwide readership is probably wondering why I don't just add another trick to my repertoire. Well, I've tried. I about killed myself trying to learn to barefoot ski, and to be honest, I'm done with that. I'm not sure my body can recover from what is obviously required to learn to barefoot ski. I meticulously researched "waterski tricks" on line and everything that looked tricky, also required the athleticism of Zeus. So apparently, I am stuck for life with a singular trick.

Ever since this conversation, the "outrigger" has become known as "Dad's bag of trick." I get into the water and the mocking immediately begins. "Watch out, Dad's gonna break out his 'Bag of Trick' " or "Quick. Get out the cameras, it's time for the 'Bag of Trick.' " Despite this unmerciful teasing, somehow I can't help myself. I feel almost compelled to do my thing and drop the outrigger.

On our last family vacation, Nick Jordan brought his new camera and kindly took a few pics of my "Bag of Trick." And so... for posterity's sake, here it is "Darrell's Bag of Trick."

Boys and Girls, the first two pics are demonstrations of what we used to do before the introduction of wake-boards.

The sequence of pics below is what I correctly refer to as "the outrigger." However, certain less enlightened individuals (all of whom happen to be immediate familial relations) from the wake-board generation generally seem to be incapable of appreciating this bit of H2O trickery and disparagingly refer to it as my "Bag of Trick."

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Human Compass

When my children were little I made them refer to me in respectful and descriptive terms such as "Spiffy Daddy" and "Big D." We backpacked a lot when they were younger. When we were wandering around in the woods, I made them call me "The Human Compass." Again, a highly accurate and descriptive term for me. Now, those of my vast worldwide readership who actually know a bit about my history understand that I have earned the title "The Human Compass" from real world challenges and experiences in the great outdoors. Recent mountaineering experiences this past summer illustrate what I'm talking about.

A couple of months ago, Brandon Tarango and I attempted Mt. Hood on two consecutive weekends, only be to denied for two consecutive weeks. On the last occasion, it reminded me of why I totally deserve the personal moniker "The Human Compass" for life. We climbed to the saddle of the Devil's kitchen (10,400') and found ourselves on unstable, steep and very deep snow. We attempted to retreat in a total whiteout and somehow descended onto the White River Glacier (not a safe place (many crevasses), but I suppose it was okay because we were lost and didn't know it). I had not been able find our tracks and so instead relied upon the compass in my brain. After we had descended about 1,000 feet, we realized that the slope we were on was getting steeper, and more dangerous; not at all what we had just climbed up an hour earlier. I pulled out the GPS, but its readings were erratic (could it be that I haven't read the manual?) and not at all helpful. And so I pulled out my map and compass (read old school) and solved the problem. In reality, we got a break in the weather for about 10 seconds, enough to see that we had descended below the Steel Gates onto the White River Glacier. I expertly (and with mad navigational skills) lead us west to the Palmer Glacier, and thereafter home to safety. Okay actually, I just climbed west back to the Palmer Glacier (where there are no crevasses).
So if you ever feel the need to test your manhood by wandering in the wild, please call--my specialty is getting lost.
*In the picture above please note the dangling compass. The map? ... It's in my brain, of course.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Men--The Ultimate Multi-Taskers!

I had a very interesting conversation with the She-wolf last week that illustrates something about marriage, something about women, and most definitely something about men. Faithful followers of Darrell's Yakimania have come to appreciate the thoughtful insights that I have shared on this worldwide blog in previous posts. In fact, several astute followers have suggested that I should consider starting a talk show to compete with Dr. Phil. Firstly, let me say Dr. Phil is a chump, but more importantly, I seriously doubt that it would be much of a competition. The following dialogue between us while I was trying to watch TV illustrates what I'm talking about.

Shewolf: "Are you going to change the light bulbs in the den during one of the breaks?"

I was "watching" (switching back and forth between) the Suns-Lakers game and the Mariners-Tigers game.

Me: "Yeah, I'll get to it."

...30 minutes later.

"Remember we have company coming, and I would really like to have the light bulbs changed sometime tonight."

"Sure I'll get to it."

...30 minutes later. Now quite frustrated, the She-wolf politely asked me an entirely legitimate question: "Do you think you could change the light bulbs during one of the breaks for ads?" And then added with a tone of sarcasm, "I usually try to multi-task by taking care of chores during the ads."

She was suggesting that I do the same. but was missing the point entirely. In her female brain she was thinking that using the breaks for ads to take care of little chores was an efficient use of time, and that this represented how superior she is at "multi-tasking." However, she failed to comprehend how complex and deep the male psyche really is.

To make my point, I enlightened her on this subject:

"Dear, you are suggesting that I multi-task by taking care of this little chore during the ads, but what you have failed to consider is how totally involved I am right now. Look at me. I am a veritable 'multi-tasking machine.' I am watching two riveting games at the same time. I am still digesting my food--which incidentally was wonderful. Thank you very much for another outstanding and delicious meal, if I didn't already say so. I am having intermittent and important conversations with my wife, which has something to do with light bulbs, AND I am managing vital bodily functions, including breathing, which is keeping me alive for yet another day so that I can work hard to support the family. For crying out loud woman, what more can a man do?! Just thinking about all that I am doing right now is exhausting. I can't possible even think about light bulbs at this moment. I am sure that I will get the light bulbs changed sometime before our company arrives. However, if I don't, it's very unlikely that our company will want to visit in the den, so we're probably safe, even if I don't get to it. So, if you don't mind, can we finish this conversation after the completion of these games?" Brilliant, don't you think?

At this, she mumbled something that sounded like this as she left the room: "(mumble mumble) Men! (mumble, mumble) idiotic! (mumble, mumble)..."

As you might expect, I was quite impressed with my observations. As I have thought more deeply about this exchange between my wife and I, I have realized just how accurate my insights were on this subject, and how good men really are at multi-tasking. Sometimes we get a bum-rap for being simple minded and incapable of handling multiple, complex tasks at the same time. However, this is simply not true. If a female that you know disagrees with this assessment, go ahead and issue the following challenge:

1. Operate the remote control with precision and style while following two important sporting events;

2. Manage important bodily functions that sustain life;

3. All the while reliving your glory years and reminiscing about what a great athlete you used to be.

...Now that takes some real energy!

Attached is a picture of the pool, which Sheila somehow managed to get cleaned and ready for next weekend's company, despite putting on a funeral dinner for the family of a sister that died in our ward, processing numerous food orders, preparing a lesson for Sunday, exercising everyday, studying her scriptures, completing her visiting teaching and maintaining an immaculate home. While that might sound impressive, I am sure she is not capable of operating the remote control in a fashion that truly represents higher level multi-tasking.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I Hate the Wind!

My wife loves me so much that she let me buy a new road bike last month, even though my "old" road bike was still in excellent condition. I have always wanted a carbon framed bike, but they are pricey. I convinced her that I would love my road rides so much more that it would make me more pleasant at home and happier at work. I don't think she really believed any of my sales pitches, but she let me buy it anyway just because she is such an awesome wife.

I somehow thought I would be faster and happier on a new bike. To be sure I like certain things about this bike much better, but I was so used to the stiff ride of my aluminum bike that this new feel is going to take me some time to get use to. The reality is the big hills that I used to struggle to climb are just as steep, the wind that always blows from the northwest still blows as hard, and my legs seem to wear out at about the same mile markers on this bike as my old bike. So I don't know that I'm any better as a rider, but I look really cool and I get to brag to my buddies that I am riding a carbon framed bike.

I rode to Ellensburg today. First there was the stiff canyon breeze that got stronger with every mile that I got closer to Ellensburg. Then it started rainin, and then snowing, and then finally, hailing. Even my very "technical" (whatever that means) riding jacket did not offer much protection. Apparently, I was over confident because of what I paid for the darn thing. Finally, I got to Ellensburg and the weather improved--sort of. Blue skies and wind, more wind and stronger wind. I know that there are many people who ride bikes in Ellensburg, but I have no idea why. Riding in the Kittitas Valley is like riding in a wind tunnel--a very cold wind tunnel. The Kittitas Valley is absolutely breathtaking, but I was never so happy as to have that beautiful valley at my back and that omnipresent and violent wind wildly pushing me back down the Yakima River Canyon towards home.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I Hate to Run!

Okay, I scheduled myself out of the office today, with the plan to climb Mt. Jefferson. Sadly, my climbing partner, TJ Hesselgesser's Grandpa passed away Thursday and we cancelled the climb. The Shewolf is uncomfortable with me attempting any technical climbing on my own, so I decided to do something else challenging. Those who are part of my vast worldwide readership know that I hate to run. What you probably don't know is why, and how much I hate to run. I think it all started with the first time I had to run to cut weight for wrestling in high school (circa 1973). Cutting weight became an obsession for me for the next decade. The "strength to weight ratio" is a tricky thing for wrestlers. The only real effective way for wrestlers to cut weight is to run. Some weeks it meant running a lot. It's not just that I had to run, but it was the running in rubberized suits, running hungry and running thirsty that created in me a total aversion to running. Now, my oldest daughter is an accomplised runner and keeps talking about the sheer joy of endorphins when she runs. Say what?! The reality is that I have never experienced an endorphin, an endorpho or anything remotely endorpinistic. I hate running, and it hates me. So, last night as I considered the disappointment of not being able to experience a big mountain challenge, I tried to think of some other appropriate challenge to fill the void. I decided a respectable, substitute challenge would be to go on a long run.

I went out this morning and bought an IPOD nano, compatible with the Nike Plus running system. I charged the unit and loaded it with some really awesome Rock tunes (Stevie Ray Vaughn, CCR, The Doobie Brothers, etc.). I started running at about 1:00pm. I ran as hard and as long as I could. When I got to 14 miles, I started thinking that maybe I would just run a marathon. It was only another 12 miles. How much harder could another 12 miles be? Apparently, exponentially harder! Something happened at Mile Post 16. My body broke down in ways that I couldn't imagine. It wasn't just the blisters on my toes--my legs felt like lead and wouldn't move. It was really weird. I'm a wrestler--I'm used to fighting through difficult things. This was , however, something altogether more painful and oppressive than about anything I have felt before. My feet felt like they were in cement. I ran another 2 and half miles. At 8+ minute miles, I ran for 2 hours, 32 minutes, and covered 18.5 miles.
Well, someday maybe I'll run a marathon...However, the reality is that I hate running so much that I'm sure I will never really consistently train, which means that a marathon might just be a pipe dream.
If ever I actually run a marathon, I would appreciate it if members of my vast worldwide readership would not bother to tell me Oprah's marathon time. I'm not sure if my tender male ego could take it if she turned in a faster time.
Above is a picture of Lil D after one of her cross country meets last fall.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Coconut Bra Dance Invite

As my faithful, vast worldwide readership well knows, I never exaggerate. You may rest assured that the following story is entirely accurate and would meet the Paul H. Dunn veracity test for inclusion in any Sunday talk or gospel discussion. Sheila and I were enjoying a Polynesian dinner show on the final night of our stay in Bora Bora when the hotties in coconut bras decided to get a little crazy and invite dinner guests to join them. Even though I am mostly reticent to draw attention to myself via public exhibitions of self expression, I was nevertheless silently screaming, "Pick Me! Pick Me!" Unfortunately, I was afraid of appearing a little too enthusiastic in front of my bride. The Polynesian dancer closest to us, asked some very soft looking, self-absorbed French guy with a protuberant belly who declined her invitation and instead chose to nurse his red dinner wine. She then asked another skinny and self-important Frenchman with a toucan sized beak who apparently would rather continue to suck on his entirely offensive dinner cigar as opposed to dance with a Polynesian hottie in a coconut bra. Say What?! Fortunately, I was the next closest male in the crowd. I'm sure she couldn't have missed the eager look in my face, essentially begging to be embarrassed in front of total strangers. Yes, I was chosen to dance with a Polynesian hottie in a coconut bra. Woohoo! What a way to end a most excellent trip to French Tahiti. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera, but a Japanese friend, we met on the trip, Hirofumi Nakatsuji had a camera and kindly took a picture of Sheila and I after we danced with our Polynesian friends. It's an axiom of life that if you are asked by a hottie in a coconut bra, "Would you like to dance with me?" the only acceptable answer is: "Woohoo! I'd love to!"? For the life of me, I will never figure out the French.
Above is a picture of the legendary dance troupe and our friends from Japan, the Nakatsujis.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

"What am I doing?"

I wrestled in the Greco Tournament this past Friday Night in the Chehalis Triple Crown, where they wrestle Greco on Friday night, Freestyle on Saturday and Folkstyle on Sunday. This year it was a monster tournament with wrestlers from Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Alaska. We wrestled on 14 mats spread out in the main gym, upper gym, cafeteria and wrestling room. It was a nightmare trying to keep track of wrestlers and when and where they were wrestling. I have wrestled in this tournament on a number of occasions (mostly with Shea), but as the years have passed I have wondered to myself, "What am I doing?" It was late in the evening, the crowd had thinned and the only wrestlers still in the gym were wrestlers who were competing for medals. I was on the side of the mat lacing up my shoes and trying to stretch and warm up muscles and ligaments that felt more like dried out gelfite fish than living tissue when a little smart-alecky, young wrestler with dyed red hair asked with a look of total bewilderment on his face,

"What are you doing?"

"What do you mean what am I doing? I'm trying to warm up. What are you doing?"

He replied, "I'm wrestling, but what are you doing?"

"Indeed," I smiled and thought to myself.

As I continued to warm up, he persisted,"Can people who are...um...well...like you, can they still wrestle?"

"You mean can old, fat guys still wrestle?"

"Well, I didn't say old and fat. But you know, can guys like you still wrestle?"

As I reflected on how badly I had wrestled in my last match, I had to agree, his question was entirely legit.

I responded, "Not really."

"Then what are you doing?" Another excellent question. However, I was getting ticked. Couldn't this punk kid see that I was trying to get in the zone mentally and that he was messing with my mojo, so I just replied, "OK little man, why are you wrestling?"

He confidently crowed, "I'm here to win!"

"Well then that makes two of us," I replied. I then went out on the mat and beat up a young wrestler who was maybe a year out of high school and had never wrestled Greco. Did I feel bad? Heck no!

Later in the night (close to midnight), as I was getting "ash canned" in the finals by a very young, and very athletic coach from the Westside of the state, that most excellent question kept bouncing around in my head, "What AM I doing?"

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

$5 Lobster

Several years ago while vacationing in Costa Rica with our kids, Sheila and I had a chance to enjoy a dinner out with her brother Daryl and his wife Annie. We were at a restaurant and I ordered lobster. It was the largest, most succulent lobster I had ever eaten. After the first bite, I felt compelled to review the currency exchange rate in my head and realized that this most delicious culinary experience was not only heavenly, but cheap--dirt cheap. My lobster dinner was a mere $5. I immediately ordered two more lobsters. With some embarrassment, our waiter apologized and explained that he would have to charge me for the entire lobster dinner even though I only wanted the lobster. If you were a certified Lobster Lover and rarely ordered it because it almost always costs twice as much as everything else on the menu, what would you have done when faced with the opportunity to order three delectable lobsters for only $15? That's right...I pulled the trigger on the three crustaceans and enjoyed what has become known in the Smart Family as "Lobster Mania."

Now fast forward several years, I am in Moorea, Tahiti with Sheila celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and enjoying a romantic evening at a little French restaurant on the water. On the menu I find myself tempted to order "Lobster Flambeau." What is served dusts the flavor and intensity of my experience in Costa Rica. The French truly know how to cook. It was buttery, yes; but there was something more, much more. Something sweet and spicy. I couldn't quite put my head around all of the flavors. Out of curiosity I inquired with the Matre d' what it would cost if I ordered just the lobster and not the rice and veggies. With some embarrassment the Matre d' apologized and explained that it would be the same $85 as the entire entre "Lobster Flambeau." Lobster Lovers what would you have done?...OK, so it wasn't "Lobster Mania" like in Costa Rica, but it was pretty amazing just the same.

In short, a single crustacean was ample. The view and the ambience were something altogether out of this world. As you can imagine, the view across the water as we dined on the bay was heavenly, but the view across the table of my most delicious bride was, well, simply celestial.