Winter memories (a challenge from a friend Jackie Lynnley)
Palm trees may be a fine substitution.
There is a man named George. George is a cowboy and land owner and a physician. George raises cattle and has horses. George was a best friend of my daddy and his son a best friend of my brother. George had to bring out hay to cattle in the snow covered winter. George had a sleigh to do this. When George had to do this near Christmas he would hollar down our road and get us a coming. We would help load the hay and he would give us a ride in a sleigh. Yep there would be jingle bells and songs and laughter and joy. And way down the road he would have decorated a beautiful fir tree.
Now I am not saying that the blankets and kerosene lanterns turned the starlit nights into heaven and that the carols and hugs made the world go away for just a moments sway. But I can tell you that on this day I weap happy tears of a year gone by.
Just because the big hippie in this video is my brother Brian, oh and I like the song.
I ain't much for looking at.
A danged too long Korean war era cold jacket. Two wool caps for a helmet. A pair of ratty gloves but full born mittens atop. Wool pants, wool shirt and cotton longjohns. Wet leather boots an inch too long. wool socks to make up the difference. Grit in my gut and snowflakes for my eyelashes. I got wax for my runners in my pocket and a pocket full of matches and newspaper to start up a fire. I have an eight foot Flexible Flyer. I am youngest of six kids and nobody has held title to this mountain but a Dierker since I was five.
I got Mimi. She loves me -- well heck she does not even look at me. But I love her. I am ten.
We hike up the trail to 8,000 ft.. Our base is 7,000 feet. Yes that is the elevation above sea level of my home and I live in the mountain. We do not live at the mountain. We are the mountain. We are of the mountain. Todd Brown has challenged me and he rides a 5 foot long oak toboggan. That baby flies but does not turn worth a good nickel. He will ride sitting up and I will ride face first down the hill. While there is fear there is no room for it as the winner at this point takes home all bragging rights.
By notions brought on angels wings we wax up, we point our sleds downhill and death awaits two young boys as we race for heaven and adulation's. No one dies or breaks anything serious on this day and we are met with cheers as we coast to a finale and the end of the run out and onto the road. Cheers are had all around and we start a fire in the ice skating shed at the base of the hill. Hot cocoa is had by all and the smell of steaming wool fills the nostrils as others prepare to hit the mountain for their shot at glory.
(an interesting aside is that the hill is called Mars Hill and it is where Pluto the non-planet was discovered at the Lowell observatory)
There was plenty of snow in my hometown.
Now you see it and now you don't!
When snow falls it coats things white. Fog is basically white. Snow that falls is white. Clouds are white. When you combine all these things in a real dense manner you have what is called a whiteout. Whiteouts can be so dense that you cannot see your feet. Think of pitch black and color it white. Technically a whiteout is less dense and only means that your horizons are not distinguishable.
Now combine this effect with speed. Speed of travel. Keep in mind that whiteout conditions come and go and may only be a few feet thick of could be miles wide. Now back to speed. Imagine traveling in and out of such conditions at 50 miles per hour. Those are the conditions I faced back in about 1977 while ski racing in Telluride Colorado. And we were required to turn in and out of racing gates in conditions like that. It was a moment of clarity where you had to totally rely on your memory of the course and distances and angles and guesswork with speed. I was a lucky one, I made it. Of course the winners were the lucky ones where wind cleared the course just long enough for them to make it through.
An appropriate painting of a whiteout!
Just because I like this song a bunch
But the best memories
Two feet of snow on the ground outside with the wind howling and snow falling. And inside a fire burning with wood collected over the fall. Jams and preserves made in late summer. A cured ham prepared right at the beginning of winter. Hot cocoa in hand. Good music playing. Two dogs laying up by the fire. And the one I love curled up next to me on the couch just watching the snow fall through a big picture window.
I love my life now and would not trade it to go back in time -- or would I?