March 3rd, 2015
In 2013 I discovered the Inspiration Network’s Saddle Up Saturday. I was so pleased that they were airing The Virginian and The High Chaparral. It was like a walk down memory lane, a good memory lane. I started watching them both realizing that The High Chaparral was a superior show. I became an instant fan and couldn’t get enough. I was nine years old when it came out originally, and remember watching it with my Dad. However, I remembered the characters but not the story lines. I remembered Blue being dreamy and Manolito full of mischief but other than that, not too much.
After watching a few episodes, it made be curious to see what actors were still with us. Through some IMDb searching and Googling, I found my answers and The High Chaparral Official Web Page. I read through a lot of it and then came upon the reunion information. When I looked through the information, I felt a tug and an inner voice saying, “You have to go to this”. I tried to ignore that tug and voice for a long time but it wouldn’t go away.
I had recently come through breast cancer, surgery and chemo along with complications and additional surgeries. I, also, have fibromyalgia and because of the cancer, I was no longer able to work. I had some money in my rainy day account and decided if I could do the trip for X amount, I would go. However, somewhere I got it in my head that the reunion was in August. Here comes that voice again, rechecked the website in January 2014 and realized it was in March. Wow! I’ve traveled some but have never planned a trip on my own. I always went with a friend that would plan everything and I just had to show up. So, I did my due diligence and researched prices for airfare and shuttle services and realized I could make this work, all on my own. The information given regarding the reunion hotel accommodations and the Arizona Stage Coach shuttle on the Reunion site made that part easy. When I told my family, some of them thought I was nuts, asking, “why?”. I liked it because it sounded fun, everything was organized for you and it was in a warm clime.
I arrived while the Director’s Cut Pilot was airing and the Bunkhouse Girls were gone for lunch break. After the pilot got done, there was Don Collier. So, bold as I am, I walked up, introduced myself, told him I was a ‘Pilgrim’, he hugged and kissed me and told me he would get me fixed up, and he did.
I made a couple friends right off and my paths kept crossing with another woman attendee. We started hanging out together and one day, over a meal, we both talked about how we felt this reunion was bigger than us. We couldn’t really put our finger on it but felt it was very spiritual. I knew now that it was God tugging on me, all those months before. The warm weather did my body and soul good and the reunion lifted me out of that terrible road my life was on. (That friend and I are bunking in together this year.)
After I checked out on Monday and before the shuttle picked me up, I ran into Don and Penny in front of Starbucks in the hotel. I sat down and introduced myself because I hadn’t met Penny during the reunion. I thanked her for the wonderful experience and we talked of the spiritual side of the reunion. We both felt the whole experience was bigger than us and God played a big part in it. She gave me her email address. I first sent her an email explaining all the things I would do differently and she, very diplomatically responded, and gave me reasons on all my points. I did apologize and the emails between kept us continued and eventually led to me handling some of the silent auction for the reunion and a very special friendship. Penny is so great at what she does but she looks to the Lord for guidance and has a beautiful soul.
My leap of faith took me out of my comfort zone, out of a depressive state of mind and led me through the gates of the ranch. I can’t wait to come home to The High Chaparral, again.
Faith is not a leap in to the dark. God knows the final outcome.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
(NRSV, Isaiah 55:8-9)