Love the mornings, today is Sunday, and I popped out later than I like. But it is nice not to have to rise and shine at 7:00 am, or earlier. Sometimes I wake to the bus picking neighboring kids up, and realize it is still dark out and likely is 6:30. I remember those school days. I recall getting on and off the bus and in an hour it would be dark out. There was an hour’s ride before I reached home or made it to school.
I also recall skiing on moonlit nights in the big field next door with my brother Charles, nickname Skipper. Talk about magic! The whole field was littered with sparkling diamonds! You could see everywhere! The trees cast shadows. You could even walk the road into the woods. My parents owned 40 acres and the road led to the back of the lot. There was a pine grove just before you reached the back.
The field was a very long slant down to the road, route 222 it was called. My brothers and my route was a beeline from the house to the field that paralleled the road. To get there, there was a rock wall to get over. It was a matter of finding the right spot to go to, it had to be covered enough with snow. Then we worked our way up to the top of the hill. You could walk straight with the skis most of the way before turning sideways Once at what we called the top of the hill, you could go a bit further___we could ski down almost to route 222. This was a good quarter mile. So it was worth the trip! The snow mostly crusted with a light powder over it.
The first trip down became my most memorable. I was wiser the next trip. Being young I wanted to pave my own way, and not follow in Charlie’s trail going up or coming down. He after all was only 17 ½ months older.
I’m picking up momentum nicely and enjoying myself when all of a sudden I realize what’s ahead. There was this outcropping in the middle of the field. On the side facing the road, it had a straight down-solid granite face about 8 feet high from solid ground. Luckily the snow was pretty deep then. Nothing to have 3 or 4 feet in the field most winters, and layers of crust happened after each snowstorm. The fact there was a good layer of fluff helped. Ski’s were sliding very well, very fast! I had had the skis long enough to know if I fell it would be a job and a half to get up.
Well, my predicament is ahead of me! I was headed for the very middle, the high point of the wall. I knew if I slowed down I would “kill myself” (I am 12.) __that the only thing to do would be to speed up, bend the knees, and land trying to stay upright, bend the knees, and stand. And just maybe I would land right. All of this is flash thinking!
I still recall all the feelings, of being scared. Hoping it would end well! Would my bother come back and find me? What would it be like waiting for an ambulance? Our parents never let me ski again! And I loved it! And in what condition would I end up? A broken leg? Well! I did manage it beautifully! OMG! It was exhilarating! What a trip! So proud! I envision doing it over and over again. Maybe be in the Olympics? LOL!
Instead when I caught up with Charlie and asked him if he saw me! It was disappointing that he missed the whole thing. “Did you see me? Did you see me! I went over the knoll and was airborne! It was fantastic!” Hoping I did not look scared.
He looked doubtful, until he went back up, and saw where I had come off and then landed___then told me I had better not do that again. I think he was a bit envious. But I don’t think he tried it. I did not want to try it again. I was didn’t want to tempt fate. It seemed Charlie did not want to try it either! So we went around it after that. But I was so proud I had made it and I did envision doing it again. Yet never made it back. And in the summer I walked to the knoll to see how high it was. It was taller than I was for sure. I thought I made it over that? Wow!
Years later I would go over this same knoll, the next time was with my cousin Paul he was being nice and asked if I wanted to drive the snowmobile! I was being so careful, we went through the woods and came up behind the knoll. And there it was! I thought “I can’t slow down! I will kill both of us! And he will never let me drive his snowmobile again!” Again, speeding up worked like a charm! But you land harder with a heavy snowmobile, the result was we both were standing straight up when it landed! Both in shock! I asked him if he wanted to drive, and he said “NO, you’re fine!” I kept apologizing! When we got back to the house I thought for sure he would be talking about it. It was the weekend poker game and everyone that played was there. But he didn’t say anything. I do get to ride with him again. But chose not to drive.