Wednesday, April 25, 2012
R. Triplett Tribute #2
This is the fourth year since Ryan's passing. In commemoration of his being, I'm putting out a series of 5 tributes: a collection of short true stories of experiences we shared and in essence, give you a glimpse of his unforgettable character. With his 35th birthday coming up on June 5th, and going into the fifth year of his absence, I wanted the world know what a big impression he left on my life.
#2 Cowboy Juice.
At 18 and 19 years old, Ryan and I had the world in front of us. A friend of a friend introduced us and although a few months passed between our initial meeting and our first date, our lives were forever altered by that encounter.
Living in Bellingham was the ideal setting to grow: small population, liberal thinking, great food and friends. It quickly became home. Since Ryan was born and raised here, he showed me his hometown as only a local native can. Everywhere we went he had been there or done that before or knew something about it, yet he always reserved passing judgement on a place - as though seeing it for the first time through my eyes. I fell in love with the damp forests, the cool chilly beaches and the incredible views of the San Juan Islands.
Soon enough, Ryan was ready to further explore the world at large. And to be honest, I was too. We started taking weekend trips East and North. To the East laid the beautiful Okanogan Valley: the US Alps; and to the north were the Canadian Rockies. For burgeoning climbers, we were in heaven.
We had barely enough cash for gas so most of explorations were by car and poached campsites. We got really good at finding spots, whipping out our tent and settling in for the night. I loved falling asleep in quiet surroundings, listening to Ryan's breath deepen and usually hearing the rain falling on our tent fly.
Every morning the mission remained the same: coffee. At first we were limited to the nearest gas station cup of Joe and due to its huge variance in crappy to pour it down the toilet, we invested in a French press. Camping took on a whole new dimension. Morning rituals changed. Ryan was the brew master and took great pride in making a thick, dark sludge cup of java. And every morning he'd proclaim: "That is one mean cup of cowboy juice." Smiling, teeth stained in black coffee and grounds stuck between his teeth.
To this day, thousands of cups later, I still drink my coffee black as night. I try to limit my sludge intake and remove the grounds - but not one drop of milk or sugar touches my cup, the only way proper way to drink cowboy juice.