Palm Springs, 2006
In 2005, when we made the first fledgling effort at renovating our house in Estes, we spent so much money and time at Park Supply, the tiny local hardware store on Route 7, that we got to know the guys pretty well.
Greg, short and skinny as a cigarette butt. Big trucker’s cap. Always joking. The paint guy, quiet, soft and mustachioed. David, southern, tall and noble, with a professor’s spectacled gaze and gentle guidance.
Every afternoon we rattled off on some errand. A certain grit of sandpaper. So many inches of lag screw. A tint of paint. Spray foam or a can of texture. One of the guys steered us through our projects and potential idiocy. Maybe they saw the real reason behind our little tasks.
One afternoon we had a small order. Some drywall stuff. David helped us carry it to the car. As we were about to pull out he knocked on Lil Mountain Ash’s window. She rolled it down, and he said, “You know, you guys really have something between you. Don’t ever let that go.”
That was it. He went back inside to stand behind the counter again. I took it as a sign. When the guy at the hardware store says something like that you better pay attention. We got engaged a month or so later, on a climbing trip to Joshua Tree.
And there we are in the photo, fresh faced from a soak in a hot spring after three weeks sleeping in the truck, caught like critters in the tram station photographer’s gaudy flash.
I’d just popped the question. She’d replied, “Are you serious?” Yes, Lil Ash, I am. It just took a sweet old guy in a hardware store to make me realize it.