Saturday, February 18, 2017

Fontana CA; From The Valley To The Mountain

In 1932, Los Angeles won the bid to host the Olympic games.

Probably because they had no other city bidding against them.

This was during the worldwide Great Depression and fewer than half of the participants of the 1928 Summer Olympics returned to compete in 1932.

Even the President skipped the event.

Which is a shame because he missed seeing Kido Shunzo.

Kido was born on 1889 in Miyagi, Japan.

As a talented rider, he was entered in the steeplechase event, a strenuous 20 mile race, that ran through mountains and fields, containing 50 obstacles to pass over.

From the start, Kido took the lead on his beloved horse Kyugun, and held his position.

As he neared his last obstacle and the subsequent gold metal literally around the corner, something happened that would surprise not only the onlookers but generations to come.

Within seconds of his gold medal, Kido dismounted his horse, and moved to the side of the track.

You see, his horse Kyugun, was 19 years old, which in human years is about 79 years.

Kyugun was shaking, his body laced with sweat, and his breath was coming in raspy pants.

His fellow competitors, under similar situations would have whipped their horses to reach their last bit of energy, and win the race.

However, Kido realized that if Kyugun had to jump over one more obstacle, death for his horse would be certain.

The judges and spectators reportedly shed tears as Kido stepped close to his horse and whispered his apology in the horse's ear.

Later Kido would say that in light of the situation that he had put his dear friend in,

"I realized that I am not at all good at riding a horse."

Two years later in 1934, a plague was placed for both man and horse, upon Mount Rubidoux's
Testimonial Peace Tower, a structure that was built as a replica of a noted bridge in Alcantara, Spain.

This plaque reads,

"During the Equestrian Games of the 10th Olympiad

Lt. Col. Shunzo Kido, turned aside from the prize to save his horse.

He heard the low voice of mercy,

 not the loud acclaim of glory."

In was in search of this plague, and this mountain of greatness that we left our homes and loved ones on that bright Friday morning.

From the valley of Fontana, to the top of Mount Rubidoux.


Our breakfast that day was made by champions, made for champions, and scarfed down by a few champions.

Another feast made by Genelli & Co.

Waffles, biscuits qnd gravy, yogurt with fruit, eggs....etc.

Emily couldn't tear herself away from the food long enough to take a picture.

It's serious business.

It was also on this morning of greatness that we added champion #7, and our second Emily to the roster.

Complete with our A-list of athletes, we split for the mountain.

Actually, first, Amelia (we changed Emily Genelli's name to Amelia, so we wouldn't get her mixed up with Ms. Emily Keating) had a kid dropped off so she could babysit it for the day.

She was getting him all set up with his stroller and the amenities he would need on the hike and Luke walks up to her and says "So what's his name?"

Amelia looks at him....

and just keeps looking at him.....

and then mumbles "I don't know."


(that was me laughing, not her)

So, for the next little while we debated about what kind of name he looked like he would have, until Jenny piped up and said she thought his name was Macklemore.


But that was the best we had to go with, so Macklemore he became until Jenny said she thought his name was Montgomery.

This sounded more promising until she said she actually thought his name was Claiborne.

Finally after a text from the father of the child about halfway through the day, the truth was revealed.

His name was Claymore.

To the poor confused kid who spend half a day with people calling him by 3 different names that were not his own, to him I say that you will always be Macklemore to me.

Some things stick.

Anyways, we piled into our cars and drove to the mountain, dubbed Mt. Rubydoo by those who had trouble with the pronunciation.

SOMEBODY forgot his jacket and so he was using Macklemore's blankie while it was available.

When you pull into the parking lot, it is a beautiful sight, and a little daunting. 

The peak of the mountain is topped with a white cross, and you can see the trail that winds and finds its way to the top. 
We were blessed with sunny skies that day, and honestly, it couldn't have been more perfect. 

Even in the desert, a cactus blooms.

The view got prettier and prettier the higher we went.

Some of us couldn't wait to get to the top....

So we started running. 

Amelia pushed Macklemore all the way to the top! #fontanastrong

We just had to keep our eyes on the cross. Almost there.

I believe I set my personal record for calories burned in one day, and flights of stairs climbed. 

When we reached the top, there were people running, jumping, doing just about any type of exercise that you could name, at the top of the mountain where there was a plateau right before the ascent to the cross. 

Myles got inspired began to demonstrate some tricep dips. 

I hear they're hideously painful.

Then we tried some leg exercises. They were about as successful.

Facing North, wearing North Face.

Macklemore Jr.

We made it.

It seems that since we began this journey with a bit of history belonging to Mt. Rubidoux, we shall seem it fitting to end it this way also. 

There was another perfect day, other than the one I've been describing to you, dear reader. 

That one happened on a certain perfect day in 1909.

A certain Ms. Carrie Jacob's sat in her 4th floor room and watched as the sunset fell over Mt. Rubidoux.

The purples, the oranges, the streaks of white that belonged to the dying sunset held her mesmerized as the giant fireball settled in the western sky.

A a singer/songwriter, she had always had always garnered inspiration from the things that made up her American life, and turned them into something tangible, something that she put her heart into singing.

She grabbed a pen and paper, words landing on the sheet and they poured out of her heart,

"When you come to the end of a perfect day,
And you sit alone with your thought,
While the chimes ring out with a carol gay,
For the joy that the day has brought,

Do you think what the end of a perfect day,
Can mean to a tired heart,
When the sun goes down with a flaming ray, 
And the dear hearts have to part?

Well this is the end of a perfect day, 
Near the end of a journey, too, 
But it leaves a thought that is big and strong, 
With a wish that is kind and true,

For mem'ry has painted this perfect day
With colors that never fade, 
And we find at the end of a perfect day,
The soul of a friend we've made."

The end of a perfect day.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Fontana CA; Among Friends Pt. 1

I've been among thieves,

I've been among deceivers. 

I've been among liars, 

I've been among scoundrels. 

But like the man who was on his way to Jericho, sometimes you find those human beings that no matter what shape, situation or predicament you find yourself in, they always pick you up and carry you further. 

When connections are real, they simply never die.

They can be buried, ignored or walked away from, but never broken.

If you've deeply resonated with another person, or groups of persons, the connection remains despite any distance, time, situation, lack of presence, or circumstance. 

Real connections live on forever.

I've been among scamps, tramps, and fakers, 

mischief makers, heart-breakers, and tricky takers. 

But in Fontana California...

 I was among Friends. 


Some time before Christmas, Luke approached me with a proposition. 

To attend the Fraizer's Youth Conference that takes place late in the month of January.

It took some thinking and convincing, but I threw all in, and we bought our airplane tickets, and rented a car. 

We met at the Portland Airport Wednesday morning, and said goodbye to the cold and rainy city with a flip of our backpack straps and a brisk walk down the jet bridge. 

There is nothing I like better than that moment you break through the surly bonds of the cloudy day you've been dreading and pop through that last layer of white fluff, and the pilot of the plane you're riding on is blinded by the unprejudiced sunlight that streams through just about any opening that it can find.

We had a brief layover in the sunny port of Oakland, and took off again for a short flight finally to Ontario.

When we began our descent, the mountains (hills, whatever), that surrounded the cities of our particular interest, it appeared that they had been sprinkled with powdered sugar, cause it couldn't possibly have been snow.

But nay nay, the days leading up to our arrival in Fontana had found certain communities pelted with snow, ice, hail, and just about any other weather cycle you could think of, within a short drive from the valley.

I had been praying for weeks that we would get to enjoy semi-warm, sunny weather, and it looked like my prayers had been answered. The day we landed in Ontario, a weather shift began to warm up the busy little towns, and besides strong winds for a day or two, California lived up to the high standard I was holding it to.

I started to get a jump on my summer tan, but it was forfeited by the falling snow and rain I returned home to.

The dear girls Jenny, Heidi and Emily Genelli had all planned to take care of me and Luke for the entire weekend.

They pretty much made every meal, found and prepared a place for me and Luke to stay, and made us feel completely at home the entire week.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to these girls, and I personally wish to sing their praises for my whole blog audience to see.

After landing, hitting Panera Bread and meeting up with Emily and Heidi, we headed to their grandparent's house to unload our suitcases, and see the place where we would spend the weekend.

A  bright little cottage complete with a sweet Grandmother, and perfectly located just behind the church. 

Beautiful spotless room, complete with a posted board of good memories.

(I had a lot more suitcases than you can see in this picture, but let's just pretend that's all I brought)

On our way to church that evening, I just had to stop and take a pictures of Emily's beautiful rental...
A convertible Mustang.

Sometimes blessings come in horse shaped packages.

The church service that night was amazing and I had such a good time slowing down for dips in the road while I was driving to the restaurant after church.

I had to pass a car to make my turn so I went against my usual recommendation of not changing lanes in the middle of an intersection, and for some strange reason the car I cut off was flashing his lights at me.

Couldn't figure out why until I left the intersection and about left my front bumper in the intersection too.

How was I supposed to know there was a drop the size of the Grand Canyon just sitting here waiting for me to drive by??


I usually will post a picture of my rental car, but lets just say that the only redeeming quality of my Jeep Compass was that it was high enough off the ground that I didn't cause considerable damage to the front of it when I hit the dip.

We went to bed late that night with visions of breakfast break-dancing in our heads.

I managed to get up every morning at 7, and still maintain some level of consciousness throughout most of the day.

As far as lack of sleep goes, it felt just a little worse than WCC.


We stepped out and headed over to the Genelli's house and were greeted by a happy, hike-ready Jenny.

Ok, there's a picture of the Jeep, it wasn't that bad of a car, really.

Better than walking at least.

We were planning on doing some outdoor activities but by the time we finished with our breakfast feast,

(eggs, waffles, blueberry bagels, strawberries, pineapple, sausages, apples, cookies)

took a death defying ride with Emily in the Mustang,

got the stink-eye from guard dog Shiloh,

DROVE the Mustang, with the top down,

it was much too late to start off on such an adventure.

So we decided to go to one of my favorite outdoor malls and do some shopping and walking.

And help Jenny find a dress to buy. You know, since me and Luke know about stuff like that.

A spectacular food court.

Messy hair, don't care.

Best running shoes I've ever bought.

That evening before church Heidi and Emily each made their own version of taco soup and it were delicious.

I was so stuffed from the weekend, they kept on throwing every kind of food you could think of at us.

Most importantly, there was plenty of avocado.

So much so that I got to eat the extra half avocado that we didn't need.

At least Jenny looks like she approves of what I'm doing. Or maybe she just can't see me.

A little before dinner entertainment.

At church that night, the place was packed with elders,

Bro. Hyler, Bro. Brown, Bro. Stolsfuz, and the late Jason Hood, whose picture stood on the front row, right next to Bro. Fraizer.

The younger Stoltzfus tearing it up.

A a year or two ago, when we were down in this area of California, and had met up with some of the Fontana people, I had swapped watches with Myles. 

The one he gave me consequently broke before I got back from the trip LOL it's ok buddy.

But mine is still ticking, so he wore it in honor of the night.

When connections are real, they simply never die.

Real connections live on forever.

May you still have hair on your blessed head by the time I blog part 2.

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