My parents lived a mostly sedentary life, which was not atypical for their generation. There's no great explorers or adventurers in our family tree.
I was the "daredevil" of the family, but remember that the bar was set pretty low.
Still, I liked to push boundaries a little, tempting fate where practical. As a bonus, there was also the satisfaction of getting a rise out of my mother, and she usually took the bait.
Observing any unapproved activity, mom's go-to warning was always, "You're going to break your neck." Of course, no one ever broke their neck, we were young and invincible.
I was the first skier in my family. As far as sports went, my father bowled and my mother played mah jongg.
I started skiing in college, when my friend, Lenny invited me on what was one of many adventures in survival during our first year at Northern Illinois University.
We hitchhiked from Dekalb, Illinois to Lenny's house in the Peterson Park neighborhood of Chicago, where we picked up some supplies and a car.
I don't remember the specifics of our acquisition of ski equipment, but it might have included breaking into someone's house who Lenny said "wouldn't mind."
About 90 minutes over snow packed roads and we were in Wisconsin. Could have been Wilmot Mountain or the now long defunct Mt. Fuji, who remembers?
We donned skis (whoever's skis they were) and grabbed a tow rope, which took us to the top of the hill, where Lenny said, "Follow me."
I followed him down without falling or making a single turn. At the bottom, we ran into some people (literally), and returned to the tow rope for another run. And so it began.
Fifty years and millions of vertical feet later, I'm cruising down a completely deserted ski run west of the Continental Divide. What happened next I do not classify as a ski accident, per se, but as a lapse in judgement.
At any rate, I was suddenly surrounded by people and my skis and poles were 50 yards uphill from where I was standing. They were asking me questions, but I didn't quite get what they were saying and then suddenly my skis were next to me, awaiting a skier.
Putting my skis on, just as I had done that very first time back in 1969 (except for the step in bindings), I turned downhill and headed home.
Something, however, was very wrong. My left arm was dangling, I couldn't move my head and my shoulders seemed to be locked into a permanent shrug.
Not exactly sure how I got down, but I did. Now all I had to do was figure out a way to cheerfully convey the situation to my wife, to whom I affectionately refer as Broomhilda.
For those who find themselves enjoying a little schadenfreude from my misadventure, tune in tomorrow for "Tales from the ER"
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