Monday, February 11, 2013


Virginia is one of the most versatile states in the union since it has ocean, bay, and river beaches, the Blue Ridge Mountains, Natural Bridge, and Luray Caverns.  You can't throw a pebble without hitting a historic landmark.  Living in the home of the first permanent English settlement in America (Jamestown 1607) and the site of Cornwallis's surrender (Yorktown) we are fortunate to have in our homes arrowheads, Civil War bullets and buttons, Revolutionary shards of pottery and a permanent sense of our place in all of this. Not too long ago, we had visited most of our beautiful state and taken in its ambiance, past and present, when serendipity offered us a new experience:  the church sponsored skiing adventure.  Leaping upon such rare opportunity, Husband signed us up.

Me going slow, being safe

Skiers leave home about the same time as bull-froggers and hobgoblins, the absolute dead of night.  We sluggishly boarded the chartered bus in the church parking lot, took a seat in its plush quiet interior and slipped back into drowsy numbness, when the sound of air brakes heralded our arrival at Massanutten Mountain Ski Resort.  Now the fun begins.

We were herded to a locker room and issued rental skis, which should have come with last rites or at least a short term coverage plan of some sort.  Since husband and I had no experience on skis, we were ordered to the beginners class being taught on a small rise just outside the lodge.  People were lined up at the windows having their hot mugs and enjoying the stand-up/fall-down comic revue.  We were the only mature adults having to endure this humiliation; however, neither of us could fake our way through the day without instruction.  As we executed the basics, the children needed little help; we however had to have our poles extricated from each other.  Husband had stuck his pole through the hole in my pole...he lives to embarrass me.  Oh married people, must you be so symbolic?  The teacher declared that in all her years of teaching she had never encountered that particular problem.  When we finally received clearance to try the "Bunny Slope," the teacher waved goodbye, or crossed herself, I couldn't tell which.

Husband spears my pole and we flunk beginners class

The recent thaw on the trail had added a delightful thin layer of pure ice, ensuring that our descent would be lightning fast and thrilling.  First there was the lift, a novelty to us.  It stopped, we boarded.  One would naturally assume this process to be mirror imaged...stopping, disembarking.  No.  We were ordered to jump off as it slowed - two brittle-boned seniors - and gun it down the ice-covered Bunny Trail with our recent instruction still searching for a permanent repository in our brains, soon to sport concussions.  The lift slowed, we jumped, fell sprawling onto the ice and were followed by nice people who scooped our abraded bodies up to a standing position.  How can this get any worse?  Read on.

Who in their right minds would let us do this?

As we gazed down the first slope, we noticed it snaked through a pretty stand of forest trees covered in ice. It was truly a  Christmas card.  I began my herringbone descent finding some soft snow on the sides.  Husband, being the daring one, fearlessly sailed ahead.  In our class, it was discovered that husband was only gifted to turn right.  No  matter what the teacher told him, he turned right.  (He has this problem dancing too.)  Happily the first curve on the trail turned right.  As he sailed forth, Husband overdid his right turn and slowly plowed directly through a thicket and into the woods.  Being helpless to save him, I summoned a more experienced skier in our party, who found him with poles flailing and both skis planted firmly under a log.  Freed from his predicament and  uninjured, we continued on with me cautiously herringboning and Husband giving all to sport.

When we finally reached the flats, I tried skiing and was doing bravely when wiped out by a preschooler with his sails full in the wind.  I looked up from my seat in the snow to see Husband slowly turning right, heading for a ditch where he remained digging furiously with his poles.  Oh what fun.

We got those things off and headed for the lodge fireplace where all the sane people were.  Husband found a Bubba with a flask and returned to the Bunny Slope to get his money's worth.  The last time I saw him from the window in the lodge, he was in the distance slowly turning right.


  1. Love the story, love the illustrations. Glad I didn't inherit the skiing skills.

  2. Fantastic drawings and story, keep it up.

  3. thanks to CBW for directing us to your mother's post...
    it has not disappointed,
    hilarious ...couldn't stop laughing
    love the illustrations.

    cbw may not have inherited your combined skiing abilities,
    but she has inherited her mother's ability to tell a story!!


  4. I love it, W.O.W. ! My sympathies-- and simultaneous admiration for your adventurous spirits gamely attempting a potentially dangerous sport. I was a skateboarder as a 13 yr. old (when the first skateboards were sold) and I watch snowboarders now wistfully, at times. I realize that I am now neither young, nimble nor slender and the demon ice would make snowboarding a dangerous idea in my dotage. As for skiing, I learned at 14 that I had not inherited my Norwegian grandfather's skiing 'chops'--especially when I did a backwards snowplow (herringbone) position, down a bunny slope, while frantically clawing at snow in a vain attempt at slowing my descent--rear end high in the air. Nope, nobody will ever get me to put skis on again.

  5. oh boy ... this is just brilliant and what makes it so is that i experienced all this first hand when i learned to ski back in the 60s ... no i wasn't 60 ... so i give you huge props for even signing up for this 'event' .... i stopped skiing after exiting a lift hitting ice and ending up in the base hospital with a concussion ...

  6. I thank Daryl for pointing your hilarious post out to me. It's been a while since I laughed out loud at a blog post and I thank you for that. Beautifully executed.. the story.. not the skiing maneuvers. ;)

  7. I'm pretty sure that Daddy managed to " stick his pole in your hole" at least 3 other times.
    Baby Sis

  8. What a wonderful story, and your illustrations are priceless! Knowing your husbands affection for daring (ie: zero turn mower on dock), I can see where he would have fun. As for myself, not so much. I used to cross country ski and at that, a friend told me that I was the only person he knew who could fall down standing still.

    I really needed a good laugh, so thank you.

  9. Congrats on the POTW mention ...

  10. Congratulations on the POTW. I enjoyed this story very much!

  11. How sweet of you, Daryl. And thanks for everyone's interest!