Let's all agree right now that we are going to be decent to one
another, regardless of the decisions we make or the different
directions we may be headed. The kind of thought it takes for each
of us to judge another's situation is too complicated for us to
think ill of one another.
A guy cuts you off in traffic, someone commits to a party and
then doesn't show, a colleague doesn't hold up his or her end of the
deal. I suppose we have to take others' actions into account when we
make plans, but we should be as kind as possible in how we treat
someone, regardless of the silly things we think they do.
I've done lots of silly things! If I could go back - man, would I
do things differently. I'd change about everything I've done except
marry Kerry, and even that was probably ill-timed. But I think the
"Star Trek" TV-show writers were right: If Captain Picard had been
allowed to undo that one poorly thought-out night - a bar brawl when
he was young - he never would have become the man we watched season
after season. Maybe that poor decision made him into that guy.
And that brings us to Larry Mayo.
Larry is one of the world's most respected glaciologists. If you
need to know how old it is, where it's going, and how long it will
take, Larry's the guy to ask. He flies all over the world studying
everything about glaciers, and teaching those who care. But at home
in Fairbanks, Alaska, sheep are his thing. He and his wife, Gail,
might be the hardest-working sheep farmers in the world, making a go
of it during the long, cold subarctic winters.
So they had the good stuff wherewith to fertilize my vegetable
garden. Kerry's garden, actually, I was just labor. Every spring we
would drive our '63 Chevy 4x4 pickup to their place and fill 'er up.
One spring was particularly mucky. It was taking longer than usual
to melt the snow, run it away, thaw the ground, and then dry it up.
Spring is always long that far north, but that year Kerry was
particularly antsy to get started.
We didn't see Larry walking up the road, as we were trying to
decide whether the ground was solid enough for Moby Dick - the great
white whale of a pickup - to make it across the field and back
without tearing up the field too much. It's one thing to rob a man
of his manure, it's another to leave big ruts in his beautiful
After watching us walk back and forth trying to decide if the
ground was solid enough, Larry asked what we were doing. …