Lake Tahoe and heaven

Now, South Lake Tahoe is a town in California on the south side of Lake Tahoe. This was my destination. It was nice. It was touristy. It looked expensive. The cheapest hotel was $125.

The elevation of the town is 6237′. Lots of snow falls here in winter. However, the temperature on this sunny day was about 70. There was a perfect balance between increased solar radiation and cool breeze. The mountains ringing the lake, though, were still white and cold.

I felt obliged to come Tahoe at least once because my father loved it here, and I wished to determine if I would love it too.

Though I was burning out from my travels, Emerald Bay state park was calling. A man behind the desk of one of the hotels said this was the prettiest spot around. I’d take my time there. I’d walk slowly there.

A trail down to the lake shore wound along Eagle Creek. It was raging with waterfalls. People say flowing water emits negative ions. I have no idea what that means. Maybe that’s a scientific explanation of why nature’s beauty induces pleasure in us. But whatever.

The trail continued down to the Vikingholm, a mansion built in 1929 that mimics old Scandinavian architecture. Big, red ponderosas stand in front wafting their vanilla smell. California incense cedars grow around too. The ebb and flow of water on the shore creates a pleasant shhh-sound. It’s all nice enough. Sure, it would have been cool to live here in the days before mass tourism, though not in winter.

Then I walked along the lake-shore. The bay was, well, emerald. Light glimmered from small surface waves. The water was clear. People kayaked. Some even got in that cold water. But sticking my toes in was enough.

Here I sat staring at the lake. It was all quite beautiful. It made perfect sense why my father loved Tahoe who visited here not just a few times while living in San Francisco. He had died three years beforehand, and his death almost instantly made me realize how many things I would have liked to talk with him about, but didn’t because of butting heads. Though, he died knowing I loved him.

I sat down and thought about Stanford University – of all things. I’d first visited the campus in June 1993. My mother had taken me on a trip to visit colleges before my senior year of high school. She took me to Stanford, Cal Berkley and UCLA. The impression left upon me by Palo Alto was overwhelming. The campus architecture and blue sky struck me as most beautiful place I’d ever seen, literally. To have attended school there would have been a fantasy.

On that visit my mother and I talked to Doug Cosbie. He was a former all-pro tight end for the Dallas Cowboys who, in 1993, was an assistant under head coach Bill Walsh. My mother had set up the meeting to discuss the possibility of me walking on the Cardinal football team. Cosbie said I had a spot if I were accepted. But I wasn’t because my grades were not that good.

I ended up attending Rice University in Houston. No football scholarship had been offered to me by Rice. Hell, I wasn’t even accepted academically either. Rice put me on the waiting list. However, my dad set up a meeting with a coach, who pulled some strings to get me accepted under the condition that I would walk on the team. I did, and went on to earn a scholarship, start every game of my four years of lettering, and earn three year All-WAC honors, and was selected as an All-American in 1997 and a pre-season All-American in 1998.

My point is screw Stanford for not seeing the potential in me. And screw all the Marxists there who fill young minds with ridiculous notions of reality. And, while I’m at it, screw all the people who would tell me I don’t deserve to be a teacher or professor, especially at a place like Stanford, which was a dream of mine once upon a time.

I don’t know what heaven’s like. I doubt it’s sitting on your butt on a cloud playing a harp. Like a song I know says, “They say there’s a place where dreams have all gone.” Maybe that’s what heaven is. Maybe heaven’s where joy of unsought and unlived dreams abounds beyond our wildest imaginations, like teaching American history at Stanford.

Whatever. These ruminations occurring while staring across the many-mile wide waters were likely the result of fatigue.

Still, the whole scene was beautiful. It struck me as the stuff of heaven.