Last summer we climbed Col de Le Madeline.  This mountain was 15 miles long and beautiful.  And, REAL, HARD, WORK for me and my friends.  Today, as I watched the Tour de France riders go up and over this beauty and beast, I was reminded of M&M and the Chambermaid yelling at me to stop and join them for a steak just 3 miles from the summit.  I stopped for a coke and then got right back after it.  I’ll never forget that climb.  I’ll never forget the descent and the cold beer we had at the end of the day.

Madeline was a beauty and a beast.  She was unkind and unforgiving.  She was a relentless 10% grind that showed you no mercy.  And yet she was beautiful beyond belief.  The panoramic views at the top were as breath giving as the climb was taking.  Most of the day it was just me and the mountain.  My only company was the sound of my breathing.  At the start, sometimes in the middle, and at the end, however, I was surrounded by my friends, taking in great food, enjoying a good glass of wine, and just “being with” my companions.  What a great memory we made.

Tonight will be very similar.  A few of my friends, a bunch of Missi’s treats, and washed down with some fine wines from France.  Remember, when we’re old and almost out of energy, the memories that we will be able to recall, will be a great determiner of the quality of our last years.  Invest now in something that has an invaluable return.  Invest now in something worth recalling.  Invest now in one of life’s greatest gifts…

The gift of companionship.

Madeline is in my memory bank.  AND, I am richer for having shared her…

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