Wednesday, June 08, 2005

My #2 Son

Robert Lawrence Temple II (my #2 son) & his wife, Dawn

I remember that in the old Charlie Chan movies that occasionally were shown on TV, detective Chan never referred to his sons by name. He referred to them as “#1 Son,” “3# Son,” etc. I have always assumed that those numbers referred to birth order and not to any valuation of his sons. When I use the terms #1 and #2 son, it is to their order of birth that I refer.

As I said in my post yesterday about my #1 Son, Nick, both of my sons were born on June 12. The only dissimilarity is that my #2 Son in birth order, Rob, was born four years after my #1 Son.

Well, I suppose that the year of their birth isn’t the only divergence between them. Rob is taller than Nick; he also has (a lot) more hair on the top of head than his older brother. Appearances aside, Rob is the gourmet and wine connoisseur in the family. When they were children, Nick would be more than happy with a (plain) hamburger and French fries from McDonald’s. Rob craved sampling all sorts of foods. On his seventh (I think) birthday, we took him to a seafood resturaunt where he ordered the special: a shark steak. That is something I have never tasted and never will taste if I have my way about it!

When I say that Rob is a “gourmet,” I mean that he is more than one who appreciates fine food. He also prepares it. Rob loves being in a kitchen and experimenting. After a year in college, Rob took a “volunteer” position with an organization called A Christian Ministries in the National Parks. He was assigned to minister at Big Bend National Park in Texas, where he led worship, prayed with the visitors and staff, and generally acted as a chaplain at the park. I wrote “volunteer” because, not only do these young Christians not receive pay for their ministries, but they must work in the parks to earn their food and lodging. At Big Bend Rob so impressed the staff with his abilities that he was assigned the duties of reservations and desk clerk, which was rather plush work when compared to those folks who were pushing brooms and cleaning up cabins. Plush as it was, Rob yearned to get out from behind the front desk and into the kitchen. He finally did and created some dishes that were added to the lodge’s menu.

After his year at Big Bend, Rob worked at two other national parks—Isle Royal, a forested island in Lake Superior and Bryce Canyon in Utah. He didn’t work in the kitchen at either of these parks; however, he did sharpen the wilderness skills he first learned as a Boy Scout.

Rob and his wife, Dawn, who is an archeologist, love the outdoors. They hike and backpack, climb mountains and spelunk. Spelunking is something you’ll not find me enjoying: I found myself feeling claustrophobic just watching a video Dawn and Rob made of one of their spelunking expeditions. Give me the fresh air of a mountain top; Rob and Dawn can have the caves!

I supposed it’s the outdoor activities that give Rob and Dawn so much pleasure that keep them living in the west. Unless, of course, it’s Dawn’s—who was born and raised in Texas—observation that there not much of anything good east of the Mississippi River. Of course, that Dawn has specialized in the archeology of the American Southwest may be another reason to live there.

Rob and Dawn have lived in the West since their marriage, which was immediately after Rob worked at Isle Royal National Park. For a while they lived in Alpine, which is in west Texas, where Rob was executive chef of a 5-star restaurant. (I’ll bet you didn’t know there was a 5-star restaurant in west Texas!) Now they live on a mountain several hundred feet above Albuquerque, New Mexico. As the picture at the beginning of this article indicates, living that high in the mountains isn’t easy. It’s a far cry from the dry heat of the west Texas desert!

That’s my #2 son. I look forward to Rob's and his brother's birthday next Sunday, even though he is far from me. And I also look forward to Father’s Day, when I shall celebrate the blessings I have received from both of my sons.

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