I was leaving the steam bath that is Houston Texas in late July , and heading for the cool mountain passes at the snow peaked roof of Colorado. It was my fourth A.A, Alonon mountain conference and the very best yet. Here in Texas we would put it to you this way, If the creek don’t rise, and the devil don’t care, and God willing, that there is borrowed air in my lungs and wheels will turn, I will be at the crested butte mountain conference until the end of my days. There are 600 plus souls, who arrive in different stages of recovery and by the end of the conference we are, if not all, mostly, happy, joyous, and free on top of the world and on top of the mountains of Colorado
I scored the second biggest fish, and made conscious contact of the spiritual kind an unlikely connection that was more than the rod and less than the reel. This spiritual perfection was punctuated by the room mate from distraction, God love him, he was able to bring up all my glaring defects of character, not so much as flaws, as one would find in a diamond ,but more like crevasses as in an ancient and slow moving glacier. They were brought up in a way that would leave no doubt as to my need to dig deeper, to help dislodge the rotting and moldy laurel leaves that I easily grow accustom to.
Hey Jimmy, how’s about letting me chair one of the directed meditations at the conference, I am well versed and have practiced for years and have attained a fair to midland understanding of how to quite my mind, with out disturbing my lips. Jimmy B, aka the happy Buddha from Austin is one of the honchos of the conference and rightfully so, a big man, in every aspect of the word, a hearer and a doer. Jimmy B’s response well you will have to give an audition of sorts to the lady in charge once upon the mountain…
The fist day, is registration, activities galore and what a great time to play. White water rafting, hot air is ballooning, horse back riding in the cool crisp mountain air in the majesty of Aspen grove cathedrals, flying down the mountain on bicycles and so much more. Hikes on pristine mountain trails pausing long enough to have a gratitude meeting, well they are all gratitude meetings to me. Recovery, less I forget, meetings and work shops views and do’s from all over the U.S of A, and some foreign countries including Mississippi. Connecting up with old friends, it’s like developing a family in slow motion, folks you have not seen since last year and some you have seen last week and always the same loving hug of camaraderie and appreciation for the fellow and the fellowship. Then there are the tournaments, love and fellowship is the only racket, Tennis any one? There is Golf where the only handicap is trying to fit it all in, the boot scoot where a big kid won a medal for carrying a child down the mountain, tennis anyone, and of course speckled mountain trout fishing.
David D. a close bud, suggested the trout fishing, I am not much of a fisherman I said, I needed a nudge, ok he said there was some ladies that would cook up the trout, but they lamented what if we blanked, there would be nothing to eat, I said, like most things in life, there is always a catch!! I was hooked, and in for the ride. It was my responsibility to get and secure the map to the mountain lake, no problemo.
I was scheduled to be the guide in the Thursday meditation , 7:15 to 7:45 am , there was no audition, it was more like a guide by default , Jimmy B told me , remember Joseph your not a teacher and no religion, I asked how about just a little , no! None, he said. Ok then.
The fishing tournament also was on the same day, Thursday. I searched the suite for the map, but no luck, my room mate came to my aid with the news that he too would be going, and that there was going to be an automobile caravan to the lake and no need for a map.
Dawn in the Rockies , reading ,prayer and meditation, to get ready for the meditation and packing for the day of fun fishing, Oh by the way the caravan leaves at 7:30 am my roommate discloses in a matter of fact, your screwed way . Some how this info was not processed by me earlier, oops the drama, any body got a map, high or low no go, directions were to the like of, well sir you go down this dirt road and make a right , make another right make a left at the fork in the road , off to the left you will see an Evenrude boat motor, no, no it’s a Johnson motor, you turn left and you can’t hardly miss it, yes well that’s the best I can do, and the distances , well it was down the road a piece. I was being abandoned, having little confidence in my own navigation abilities and it showed. My room mate and David D opted to go in the caravan and leave me to my own resources. My commitment was to the program and the meditation that I had wrangled to do.
I was more than pleased with my guided meditation and hit all the notes. When you guide a meditation you have to stay alert to the room and the people in it, like in the saying, in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king, you have to keep one eye open. Some of the folks were starting to fidget a sure sign to bring the meditation slowly to a close, And I did so. Getting a fair amount of kudos and a kiss from a quite lovely lady for my efforts, I headed out.
Having the directions in my hand and a rent a car and an early model G.P.S., I had the feeling, sometimes like in sobriety, you have to go with out another human being, but you never have to go it alone. I pulled out of the drive way and right into the center of the caravan that was going to the mountain lake and the fishing tournament, I was running early and they were running late. I was exactly were I was suppose to be. David D. in the car just behind mine jumped out of the car he was in and into the front seat of my pt cruiser and said he always had every confidence that I would make it to the fishing.
We were assigned to our pontoon boat; there was Sue, Marge, A. J., David, Bryant and me, a mixed crew on a common voyage of recovery . Bryant ,was an alateen who had just laid his sister Caspar’ ashes to rest on top of mount Crested Butte, her nick name was fashioned after Casper the friendly ghost, she had a congenital heart disease and was always that pale . Casper was a alateen whom loved the program and the Crested Butte mountain conference. Casper would spend her eternities on the top of the mountain.
Bryant was first and was starting to catch a string of speckled trout. I had not as of yet had a bite. I was just dunking my hard fighting worm. I figured that if I was going to be a fisherman I needed a fishing prayer, I proceeded, Lord if you happy with my program and spiritual progress give me a fish! I usually refrain from putting in a shopping list and just ask for his will and the power to carry that out , but I thought , well as a Father myself, sometimes you want to know what would make your children happy , if nothing else to let them know you care and that you are there. Well sir in a very short period of time there was a mighty yank and a pull, unless that worm of mine was on steroids I had a hit. After what seem like an eternity my hand was starting to cramp. The pull from 150 ft of line bouncing off the bottom of a pristine mountain lake, And the constant torque from the bow of the rod until she broke the surface with Thar she blows, it was Moby trout, Landed and confirmed, it was 2lbs 4.5 oz, ok more maybe than Moby. I was still quite confident, you and me Lord this going to make a great story. Everybody started catching fish. Bryant caught the most at 5. We had a total of 14 for the crew. An early afternoon mountain squall was headed our way, lightning, thunder, and all, It was hard to pull away, but discretion being the better part of valor and common sense being uncommon sense it was time to cut bait and make for safe harbor .
We landed just moments ahead of the storm. We were told that we had the most fish by one; a win by an inch is as good as a mile. Bryant had caught the most individual, and now my moment of truth, now remember I didn’t ask for the biggest fish only a fish, but I know God doesn’t do anything in a small ways and with out a lesson. There was a contender, he was an ala-teen, a big kid about my size and a half again, a baby Huey, the judge put my fish up first, and called out 22 inches,22 inches exactly, and then baby Huey’s fish, also 22 inches and again it was exactly, they looked and measured, measured and looked, no go, both exactly 22 inches. . We have to weigh them, the judge snorted getting drenched from the mountain squall, maybe trout 2 lbs 4.5 oz, the moment that hangs, Baby Huey’s 2 lbs 8.5 oz a quarter pounder more weight, what happen? Lord It was me and you, I could have been somebody, I was a contender and it would have made a great story. As words gets around, it came to me in a casual manner that baby Huey had carried one of the fellowships infant child down from the top of the mountain the day before. The lesson was that the Lord loved me and honored me, but He puts more weight in those that take care of his little children.
A far cry from when I came into the program of A.A., I was Hope less, hapless and at war with God. Now I have a new employer, and with that a renewed Hope that, my life will continue to improve when I do the next right thing, and sometimes the next right thing is not to take that first drink of alcohol, clean house and trust in God.
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