~ Chris Alan Foreman ~

My book of life is presented in two volumes. Volume One of The Dash between the Dates is a retrospective of my first seventy-two years, written as memoir, progressing through 32 chapters, and concluding in March, 2022. Link to A Retrospective of my First Seventy-two Years

Volume Two of The Dash between the Dates, is a Monthly Journal of my life with each calendar year forming an additional chapter. Volume Two began on April 1, 2022, and will continue as long as my health, my mind, and my God see fit.

The years of 1988 to 2022 may be viewable in a Photo Journal format at chrisalanforeman.com

2022
April

As I begin this cyber-journal, I identify with the old man depicted by the preacher in Ecclesiastes, in the first eight verses of Chapter 12. I am the man whose years have "drawn nigh".

1. Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; (In my evil days, pleasure has shifted from vigor and stamina to doctor appointments and perseverance.)

2. While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: (My universe has not yet darkened. Perhaps this is so because I do not live out my days "under the sun" as the sons of Solomon.)

3. In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, (The keepers of the house - muscles - do tremble; strong men - bones - do indeed bow themselves; grinders - teeth - would indeed be few if not for the miracle of dentistry; and having recent cataract surgery, my windows - eyes - are no longer dark.

4. And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; (The sound in the streets and grinding is lower, but my hearing, although less acute, is still adequate to enjoy music and conversation. My nights are not yet sleepless. Random sounds do not awaken me.

5. Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: (I am more afraid of falling and breaking something these days. I don't suffer from insomnia, but I am much more fearful of losing my health.)

6. Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. (These four metaphors of death -- loosed and broken bodies -- will all happen to me. No doubt. My dash between the dates bear witness that I am aware of my mortality, my heritage, and my destiny.)

7. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (I recognize myself as a "conditional unity". Someday soon, my material self will crumble into the earth, while the real me -- my soul -- will rise into God's care.)

8. Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. (Indeed, Preacher Solomon, all of my words demonstrate foolish vanity. Of all God's creatures Chris Foreman must rank as the prince of vanity.)

April 2022

April 1, 2022 was a busy day. On the way to the San Matero gym, I dropped off my 2021 taxes in the mail box. It was a lot of money, but the $162,925 to the IRS and the $76,384 to California was less than I had anticipated. H&R Block charges $1000 dollars, but I figure that was worth it. I'm not yet sure how I'll file my 2022 taxes. In the afternoon I got an iPad message from Simon informing me that Gia had been accepted into the BAK middle school art program. The family was celebrating. Liz and I also sat at Starbucks with John and Tami Kamperschroer. His Fuller Seminary position has relocated him to Illinois.

April 2 proved to be even more challenging. Liz and I joined in a CSM hike with Tom Tabor. This was the first such outing in 29 months, since the onset of COVID. We drove in my Prius to Almaden-Quicksilver County Park in San Jose. This seven-mile hike challenged me physically. My feet, knees, and legs hurt. I made two mental notes: next time take two bottles of water; remember to clip my toe nails before a strenuous hike. This being said, we both enjoyed the wild flowers, the views, and the history (especially me). I was pooped when we got home and on Sunday settled for a CPC Live Stream service.

I began to prepare in earnest for my road trip to Death Valley with Frank, making last minute changes and preparations to spend all three nights in the National Park.

On Wednesday morning, April 6, I walked with Steve at Seal Point, came home for a rest, then headed the camper south. My first stop was at Los Banos Reservoir Campground. That short drive put me two hours down the road. On Thursday, I drove down Highway 99, through Bakersfield, to a place called Mountain Valley RV Park. The spot was right next to a little airport. I watched as small prop planes towed glider planes into the air then released them to glide back to the runway. On Friday, I arrived in Las Vegas about 4:00 pm and stayed overnight at the Motel 6 Tropicana near the airport. I walked the streets a bit before turning in for the night. I received a message from Zachary that his family was on a road trip to Minneapolis where Ruth was attending a convention. The four of them stopped in Tomah near the home we once lived in.

I picked up Frank at the Las Vegas airport at 8:30 on Saturday morning. We filled up on gas, then entered Death Valley National Park. On this first day, we drove down to Badwater Basin which is the lowest-hottest-driest point in the USA. We then drove through the Artists Palette, then to Furnace Creek. It was the hottest day of our road trip, reaching a temperature of 104 degrees. Wanting to avoid the heat, we drove west to spend the night at Wildrose campground in the mountains where it was much cooler. We saw three burros by the roadside, then heard them bray during the night. Frank slept in a four-man tent on an air mattress while I stayed on the camper bed. My brother and I had a great time in company, conversation, and cooperation.

On Sunday morning we read scripture about Palm Sunday as we walked down a dusty road. It was always surprising to see springs of water in these desert places. We drove past Stovepipe Wells Village and north to view the Ubehebe Crater, walking the ridges taking pictures. We had planned to drive down a dirt road to see the Racetrack of moving stones, but the roadway was washboard and driving too difficult. We spent that night at Mesquite Springs. While rummaging through my stowed clothing, I ran across an old doggie coat that Jody used to wear. Frank helped me memorialize it with stones in the cleft of a rock. I STILL MISS MY DOG!

On Monday we stopped by a few more sites at the National Park: a borax works, Zabriskie Point, and Twenty-Mule-Team Canyon. We bought gas, ice, and a few grocery items at the General Store in Furnace Creek. We also watched a short video of Death Valley and munched ice cream bars. We exited Death Valley and set up camp at a place named Desert Pads near Death Valley Junction. The site appeared to be an array of abandoned concrete pads. Who built this place and why? Was it a government experiment gone bad?

To call the night windy would be an understatement. I used eight ropes to tie down Frank's tent. My camper shook with gale-force winds. Frank was a champ to endure the night as the red tent pitched, rocked, and nearly collapsed. My brother said the chill was worse than the wind. He was fortunate to survive the night with his shelter intact.

It was still windy when we broke camp on Tuesday morning. Only later did I realize my blue pantry box must have blown away in the night wind storm. Alas, I lost Tupperware, a bag of corn chips, bread, and a can of chili. We ate breakfast at a place called Moms in Pahrump, then entered Las Vegas. Frank's departing flight would not leave for a few hours, so we walked the Strip visiting the Luxor and Excalibur. I later put together a video of this three-day road trip through Death Valley. Frank later made a post on Facebook.

After dropping Frank at the airport, I began the return phase of my adventure, spending one night at a KOA near Barstow and a second night at the Basalt campground on the San Luis Reservoir. That was a lot of driving and I spent hours listening to an audiobook called The Next 100 years; a Forecast for the 21st Century. I was happy to finally arrive home, to swim and shower at the gym, and to play puzzles with Liz. Like all good adventures, it was great to be on the road but good to be home again.

On Good Friday, I sent an email to Eileen about meeting Snoopy's brother (Spike) in the desert. She returned a smile to me. On Saturday Liz and I had scheduled a hike with Tom Tabor, but it was raining! We decided to suck it up and I drove to Long Ridge Open Space. I wore my 49'ers rain gear, but the wind and rain still made hiking a challenge. I ate my salami sandwich lunch on the drippy Wallace Stegner bench.

Easter was a special day. I drove to Sterling Court, picked up Becky and her friend, and attended First Pres in Burlingame. Liz received her Easter picture (posed for a week earlier) and I received an Easter photo of Zélie and Zofia.

I spent much of the next week puzzling out my next book, trying to mesh together the Rwanda Genocide, Simon Bikindi, and the source of evil with the story of my friends and my own adventures. Before beginning to write this novel, I strove to establish a list of characters, a timeline, a narrative arc, and chapter headings. I seemed to go round 'n round, not even having a good working title yet.

The final week of April passed with a busy schedule. On Saturday morning, I walked the Sawyer Camp Trail from the north end. I wanted to see the "second tallest Bay Tree in California," but it wasn't worth the effort. The tree had crashed into the ground. Nonetheless, the long walk was good for my body. Then on Monday, I began to repair my camper at the Union 76 Station. The check-engine-light flickered and indicated an "evaporative issue". Can you believe that little light cost me $400 to fix? I'm glad the place was close, because I walked back and forth three times. Hari was the name of the guy who does the repair work. I told him, "It's not a good thing for me to be on a first name basis with my car mechanic." It may be time to sell my over-sized toy.

On Wednesday, I received my second Covid booster at Laurelwood Rite Aid, and on the last day of the month, Liz and I did our last hike with Tom at Memorial Park. It was a long drive to get there but the weather, wildflowers, and scenery were marvelous. Twenty hikers participated in this event.

May 2022

The first day of the month fell on a Sunday. Liz was attending the SF Ballet matinee -- a performance of Swan Lake -- so I attended CPC alone. After church I began to mentally prepare for my first Deep Dive into the Gospel of Mark. Then I answered my cell phone. My Table 1 friend, Gil Limtangco, was comatose in intensive care at Mills Peninsula Hospital. Gil's wife asked if I could visit him to pray and give some kind of last rites. And so, after my deep dive, I drove to the hospital. I laid hands on my friend and encouraged his wife and daughter. Gil was always such a positive and godly man. I later learned that the plug was pulled from his life support and he died of septicemia at 9:00 that evening.

The next day I drove the camper to Prayer Mountain for two nights. I was able to focus on my writing, keyboarding into my iPad the first tentative words of my nascent novel: "Victor Kwizer rubbed his red-flecked eyes."

On Friday I spoke at Gil's CPC memorial. I knew so little about his life and his wife, yet she mentioned how important it was for him to loconotive himself into Thursday morning meetings. I will miss his shining presence in our midst. Whenever a table member might moan about difficult, I would silently gesture to Gill smiling from his wheelchair.

On Saturday Liz and I hiked at Sweenie Ridge near Skyline College. It was a one-way trek down a dirt road with a car-share start and end. Tom Tabor told me he had been leading hikes like it since 1982. No wonder was he so good at it. The trail margins were bright with a spectrum of wildflowers and an ocean breeze moderated the sunlit day to perfection.

I dreaded following my investments at Wells Fargo Bank The war in Ukraine and on-going inflation had pushed the market into bear territory with my portfolio plummeting by 12% since the first of the year. A picture from Zoshie cheered me up. She was such a drama face!

I continued to conceptualize my novel landing on the title: "The God of All Hope". Will that name stick? To research my topic, I ordered four books concerning the Rwandan genocide.

On Thursday, May 12, I spent the early morning presenting slides at Men's Fraternity and in the late afternoon, I strolled with Lizzy at Filoli. The first half of May sped by and I began to pack my bags for my mid-month triangle: a flight from SFO to PIT to PBI back to SFO.