With all the snowfalls in the past few weeks, people are talking fondly about going skiing. But me? I just shudder with dread at the thought.
You see, my last experience on the slopes was memorable—exciting and memorable.
It was Christmas Eve, on the slopes overlooking beautiful Lake Tahoe, my first trip down the mountain, feeling invincible with fresh snow under my skis. This was some years ago…like 50 or so years ago, and agility was not near the issue it is today.
As I began to blaze down the mountain, I suddenly was down, on my back, my leg at an odd angle, people whizzing by my inert body. My groans (maybe they were screams) must have caught someone’s attention because shortly I was being carried down the mountain in a sling type contraption.
Our family takes accidents casually, so my mother didn’t get in a hurry to rush me to the hospital. Of course, it could have been that the one rental car we had as a family was being used by other clan members who were out sightseeing. Those were the ‘no cell phone’ days.
I, however, do not take pain casually, and the only pain medication was a bottle of Jack Daniels. By the time the crew returned it was dark, the nearest hospital was across the mountain in another town, and I was well oiled. Medical help could have been in another universe, as far as I could tell. Enough JD and one loses track of time and place.
After sitting in the emergency room with dozens of other skiing mishap folks, the doctors confirmed, I had a broken leg.I spent Christmas Day in the hospital feeling very sorry for myself. but with a gift from hospital auxiliary members: a knitted red and green ‘toe sock’ that fit around a cast to protect my protruding toes. Apparently these knitters prepare all year for the hundreds of skiers who end up in the Truckee hospital.
Several days later I flew home supporting myself on crutches. It was cold and icy when I arrived, and not being adept at crutch walking, I slipped and fell. Another trip to the hospital, this time with a broken arm.
Obviously certain functions were difficult for me, and washing my hair was one of those trials. Off to the beauty shop I went. The woman scrubbing my head must have had a bad night, because in her attempt to get my hair clean, she stuck a finger in my eye.
By this time, the doctors and I were becoming really good friends. They bandaged my eye, suggested that I might lose sight in that eye, and sent me reeling off in a wheel chair: a cast on one leg, a cast on one arm, and a bandage over one eye.
I looked like an accident victim. But wait, I was an accident victim! People look at you with a strange glance when they see you coming wrapped in gauze. They move out of your way, afraid that whatever happened to you might be contagious.
As I said earlier, that was my last relationship with snowy mountains and skis. I don’t dare risk bodily harm all in the name of having fun.
But, hey, go on you dare devils, fly down those snowy slopes with no regard for your body. I’ll wait for you with a bottle of JD and an ambulance.