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Winter memories (a challenge from a friend Jackie Lynnley)

Updated on January 3, 2015

Palm trees may be a fine substitution.

winter is different for us all.
winter is different for us all. | Source

Sleigh rides

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.

We could walk the mile to the snow hill or perhaps cross-country ski.
We could walk the mile to the snow hill or perhaps cross-country ski. | Source

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!

Real winter in real time.
Real winter in real time. | Source

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?

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    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Beautiful Eric! I just think you are a man so much deeper than we see. So glad you decided to meet the challenge. Wasn't it fun?! You kept up the pace in a very exciting way and I was with you til the end. But who won? Ah; doesn't matter. Glad you are here with us today instead of back there; you get the best of two worlds! lol

      Up; shared and will hurry add you to the list!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Wonderful pictures conjured up here. I love the toboggan race down to the road - you can feel the excitement and fear!

      This series of winter memories is bringing out all sorts of great writing and experiences.

      Great stuff!

      Ann

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 2 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      I really enjoyed this, from beginning to end. Brilliant vivid imagery beautifully written. Wonderful memories.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I want to live there and try that mountain on a sled. What fun...great memories...nice answer to the challenge. Bravo my friend.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Oh and loved the videos; had never seen the last one...really great.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      What an exciting life you have led Eric. Thank you for taking Jackie's challenge..you sure did it justice. This was a great ride. Good to see another Eddie Vedder fan too.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you so much Jackie, it is a wonderful challenge and I have loved reading all the other challengers immensely. This was very fun to write and be a part of.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ann it was a pleasure for me to write this. My memories are so vivid to me and definitely fond ones. Thank you for coming by and reading and commenting.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      You make my day Jo, I fear that I blush and such lofty praise. thank you.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oh we had such a grand time Bill, I am glad I could get some of it across. Thank you for your constant support.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Jackie, I just pulled those two videos up -- even though they did not quite go with the flow.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Eddie and my brother are buddies and he went to the same high school as three of my children -- therefor we love his music. Thank you John for coming by and leaving such an upbeat comment.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      Wow what imagery you have in this hub! I also know what a whiteout is. I don't really cae to go through another one as the last one took us off route through someplace we were kind of sure of where we were going but not totally. I had "white" knuckles that night. I liked the songs that you picked for this one too.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I certainly am glad that you made through the whiteout -- sadly many get in wrecks in such weather conditions. Thank you so much for your support, I am happy you had a good read.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      It was an interesting introduction to your unique life and a great one too you have led.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      HI Devika, I hope your New Year is going fantastically. I do have wonderful memories and plan to make a lot more!

    • Romanian profile image

      Nicu 2 years ago from Oradea, Romania

      Now it's snow in my city, for the first time in this winter, and I'm very happy about it. Everybody loves winter.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Romanian for the visit and comment. I sure love winter!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Looks like you did good. Will share you again!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Jackie, the more I think about it the more fun I realize I had writing it. Thank you for that also.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

      Very interesting and expressed as only you can do it! I enjoyed imagining the character behind this story.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      You sir are quite the impressionistic wordsmith. A regular Van Gogh of the word processor. Hey I loved that movie, and I didn't know you brother was a big celebrity movie star! I also love Eddie Vedder, who is a fellow San Diegan in case you did not know. This was a fantastic hub, words fail me. I hope you had a wonderful New Year!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      You cause an old curmudgeon to blush with you lavish praise. Thank you indeed. Yes my older brother is famous in his own mind at least.

      Eddie Vedder is alumni at San Diegito Academy where all my children attended.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Vespa, it is always a pleasure to hear from you. That character is just a little raggity and gray about now.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Great memories, and that white out! I remember one of those over here, in a car, going along a road.....! lol! loved the last bit, that sounds so cozy and awesome!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Oh, what a fabulous contribution to Jackie's Winter Memories Challenge! I missed this one somehow? I am glad I found it now. I truly enjoyed this read and felt as if I were right there with you in your winter adventures as a child. How sweet to snuggle up with your much loved dog of all near the fire.

      Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

      (((Hugs))), peace and blessings to you and yours in this new year and always, dear Eric

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Faith. I am sure glad you came over for a read and thank you for leaving such a wonderful comment. My memories are magical for I am a very lucky man. I am confident that you will make this a great year.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 2 years ago

      No Eric , you wouldn't trade this life for a second and I know it ! Great in depth story of who our friend Eric really is ! .....Ed

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I suppose that I really should give more back as I am so blessed to have been given such a great life. Someday I will have to conjure up some horrific episodes to balance things out, trouble is that I cannot really think of any.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      You have certainly provided a profound reply to the challenge here but If I had to choose, the last paragraph tells where I like to be. Home, warm, and cuddled up!

      Loved the "picture" of the whiteout!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

      P.S. My son had a St. Bernard named Vedder named after the one and only.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mary it is good to hear from you. Nothing like cuddling on a cold winter night that is for sure. I miss the cold out here in the desert -- but the cuddling is just fine thank you :-)

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Eric - Loved both of the songs, all the pictures, and above all, I loved what you wrote. Such great experiences and memories, and wonderful imagery. Every word placed just right conveying your personality and character as well as the events that were part of your life. Quite a wonderful hub, I enjoyed it thoroughly. A blessed childhood, a blessed life. Theresa

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Sometimes Theresa it is hard for me to even wrap my mind around how blessed my life is. So I just look to the heavens and give thanks. And never doubt that I give thanks for your support and friendship here on HP.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Very enjoyable reading of a winter memory, wish I could have a ride on that sleigh, especially with the jingle bells, it would really feel like christmas.

      Some times I envy the countries that have a white christmas, here in New Zealand it is summer, barbecues and beach weather.

      Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Elsie, thank you for coming by and leaving such a warm message. We now live in the desert and I miss the snow. We had a barbecue just the other day.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

      Very nice memories. I guess you liked in or near the Rockies. It sounds like fun. It sounds like you had a very interesting life.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I definitely have had a great life so far. I lived in Flagstaff Arizona at 7,000 feet, about 150 miles south of the Rockies. Thank you for coming by and commenting, I sure have enjoyed knowing you.

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 2 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      Reading this makes me glad that spring is finally here. I'm glad you found a warmer place to live. Enjoyed your personal stories!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 23 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Writer Fox, talk about warmer place I just returned from weeks in Southeast Asia where the temperature averaged 98 daily. Thanks for reading and leaving a note.

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