Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I'll be just fine...

I had a galvanizing moment of clarity a few days ago; an "AHA" moment so pulverizing it almost sent me to bed to recuperate.  Even as I sit and type this morning's blog I'm still shocked by the realization.  This post, though written about me, has an underlying dedication for whom - my dear friends and blog readers - you will shortly discover.

I was a wild and reckless kid.  I skateboarded before skateboards were popular.  No helmets or knee pads for this tomboy.  I wandered into the riverbed behind our house on hot summer days and searched for frogs in the green, murky water.  I rode my bike, leg cast and all, like a demon out of Hell practically daring the powers that be to break my other ankle in the process.  I climbed the tallest possible trees to avoid being found and crawled into the highest recesses of rusted out rocket ship cones in the neighborhood parks.  I scratched off scabs, cracked my knuckles, and learned to whistle through my fingers louder than most grown-ups.  Oh, and have I mentioned I could shove an entire pack of Big League Chew bubble gum into my mouth all at once?  Yes, I believe I have.

How did my mother handle my antics?  Well, she had three other teenagers to worry about and at this crazy time in my youth, mom was ready to give birth to my younger brother.  As long as I didn't knock out a tooth or the stitches from the dog bite weren't too horrific, I'd grow up just fine.

My mother had her hands full so when my older sister and I asked permission to take the bus 20 miles to the beach, she was okay with it.  After all, how much trouble could a sixteen and an eleven year old get into?  She never considered my thrill of boogie boarding the big waves or disregarding the rip tide warnings or not being aware of the weird dudes leering at my sister and I in our swim suits.  No, we would be just fine.

I come from a family of snow skiers.  My dad, during his Army years, served in Alaska on the Ski Patrol for the border between the US and Russia.  I remember his stories of helicopters dropping him and his buddies off on a mountain and how getting down was entirely up to them.  I was shown old 8mm film of my mom skiing in Lake Tahoe.  By the time he was ten, my younger brother was racing his older siblings down the expert runs at Mammoth Mountain and Park City, Utah.  My sister's kids, my godchildren, learned to ski when they began walking.

Where do I fit into this skiing equation?  I don't.  I am the lone Bryant who can't ski.  The one time I tried was mortifying.  It was in Taos, New Mexico.  My older brother had hired a private instructor for myself and his wife.  While standing sideways on top of the bunny hill, yes - bunny hill, I panicked and got leg cramps.  Within a matter of seconds I was on my back with three instructors pounding out my legs while I screamed, "Don't let me slide!".  Once I recovered from that indignation, I managed to take down ten innocent skiers on my first run.  It looked like a strike of fluorescent pins in snow gear.  SCORE!

Now I live in Colorado merely thirty minutes away from a ski resort.  I would like to redeem myself.  I can not have the maiden name of Bryant, live in Colorado, and say I don't know how to ski.  Seriously?  I can do this.

I mentioned this to my mother over the phone the other day.  She was adamant.  There was absolutely no way I should go skiing.  It's too dangerous.  Too many people have died going skiing.  "Remember Sonny Bono, and he knew how to ski!"  Ouch!

What?  This is my mother speaking?  Snow bunny of the 1950's!  The one who never worried about me as an eleven year old jumping eight foot waves at the beach?  NO!  Not possible!  Then her next words rang clear and true, "Where would the boys go if something were to happen to you or Eric?"

AHA!!!  Yes, that was it!  Immediately after we hung up I decided my mother would be the sole custodian of my two autistic teenage boys upon my untimely demise.  It's time buy a set of skis, recover my lost dignity, and hopefully avoid a tree or two along the way.  I'll be just fine.