So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label snow. Show all posts
Showing posts with label snow. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

First and Only Ski trip

Snowmass Colorado - ski resort 

This hot weather has me thinking about a very cold vacation Barry and I took years ago when we were newlyweds.
It was Christmas day and we were sitting at the table at my parent's home where we always gathered for holiday dinners. My brother, Rex, and his wife, Mary, said they were going out to Colorado for a ski vacation. "We are meeting my cousin and his wife at Snowmass where we have a free week at a condo right on the slopes," Mary said.

Rex headed up the purchasing department of Hercules Bumpers, the family business, and met salesmen from many different companies trying to gain his favor. They offered Rex perks hoping to gain contracts with Hercules. One company owned a condo at the ski resort, Snowmass, just a short distance from Aspen.

Barry asked questions and soon we both said how much we would love to go to Colorado to a ski resort and Rex invited us to go with them. Barry and Rex had a wonderful relationship which made my life better and I knew Rex really wanted us to go.

Within a few weeks, we had bought ski outfits and warm clothes that we would never wear in south Georgia where we lived. The only problem for me was my horrific fear of flying. Barry kept telling me it was safe and I would love it once I was in the sky. 

On the plane, a 747 with three aisles of seats, I had a window seat. Barry had begun plying me with tasty drinks even before we entered the airplane. Once we were seated he immediately got me a glass of champagne which was free. Yes, back then flying was very different from today.

We were on a champagne flight to Denver from Atlanta. Barry was right. I put on headphones and filled my ears with loud classical music, not rock and roll. Closed my eyes and forgot where I was for a few hours.

When we reached Denver we found snow. Not just a little bit of snow. We found that the Colorado mountains were in the midst of a blizzard. No flights were going to Aspen or any area near there. We were told we would need to stay over and hopefully get a flight out the next day.

Well, Rex Council had plans and no blizzard was going to stop him from getting to that condo. He didn't want to miss a single minute of his time there, must less an entire night and day. Mary's relatives were already there.

Against my advice and in spite of my fears, Rex rented a car and said he would drive to Snowmass. If you knew Rex,  you would know he thought he could drive anywhere at any time. He loved to drive his big car, Buick or Town Car. But this time he had to rent a car. I don't remember what kind of car it was, but I think it was a four-wheel drive. That drive through a snowstorm so thick we could not see the road ahead or the sides of the road was the most frightening thing I had ever been a part of.

In the curving mountain two-lane roads, Rex managed to keep the car going and we did not run off the side in spite of a lawman who appeared behind us somewhere calling on his megaphone, "Stay on your side of the road."

Rex didn't change his driving but muttered out loud, "I'd do that if I could see the road."

It was dark when we finally made it to Snowmass and found our condo. I was exhausted but we had to go down the mountain before it was too late to get our skis and instructions. I was young and in pretty good shape. I rode horses and rode a dirt bike, but had no idea what was wrong with me when I became so breathless I had to sit down on the way back up to the condo. It frightened me. I felt like I was about to die. I just couldn't breathe. A kind soul stopped and let us ride with him up the mountain. I was put to bed and everyone huddled around me worried. 

In time, I felt some better, but I was not ready to go out the next morning and try to ski. Once I learned that the thin air in the high altitude was hard for me to breathe since I came from the flatlands where the air is thick and humid, I was less afraid but was told to take it easy until I acclimated to the altitude.

The condo was outstanding in comfort and had astounding views. Rex, Mary, and Barry hit the slopes early. They simply skied out the front door. Amazing to me as I had never even seen snow like this. Barry had lived in California and in Germany where he learned to ski. Rex and Mary were beginners but both were anxious to get out there and try it. Not me.

By the second day, I was up to taking a skiing lesson. We first practiced falling and getting up. I fell just fine, but could not get up. It was horribly embarrassing. My instructor used me as an example for the others to show them what not to do. He laughed at me and I wanted to become invisible. He was cute and funny. He said I was a mogul. When I asked, "What is a mogul?" He said it is a south Georgia girl who falls and can't get up.

My short experience with the ski instructor was my last one with any instructor. I flew to Colorado for skiing but never skied. However, I had a wonderful experience that week, one I will always remember.

While the others hit the slopes, I walked down to the village and found the ski lodges, restaurants, and bars where I could sit and write, take photographs and blend in with the other people there. The heady air played a game with my brain and I found myself getting a crush on my smart alec ski instructor, watching him laughing and talking with girls, looking so handsome in his ski clothes. He was the model on the Snowmass brochure. 

I wrote a poem about him and it was my first publication in a slick magazine. 

High in Colorado
                   By Glenda Council Beall

He poses, hip cocked in red and blue,
sun-glistened face of Eros turned to me,
a fledgling atop the icy slope. My
breath quickens in foolish adoration

at the sound of my name from his mouth.
Knees bent, I push on poles and slide
down to him, past him, racing for the edge.
Sit down, Glenda! My legs collapse,

long shoes shoot sidewise. I try to rise,
but can't. He twirls, zips toward me,
digs in. You know a mogul is a South
Georgia girl who falls and can't get up.

He laughs, his teeth like sparkling icicles.
Giddy Aspen air heliums my brain,
overflows my heart that dances in triple time.
He yanks me up, skims powder to the lift.

At sea level, snow dreams
melt into arrogant soap bubbles
as his smiling face yellows
on a faded brochure beneath my ski apparel.

skiers in Colorado but I am not one of them

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Some photos I like

The last photo of Barry and me, 2008, taken for my poetry book, Now Might as Well be Then, published in 2009
Winter at my house a few years ago. 

Winter in my woods

Brasstown Bald, highest peak in Georgia with dusting of snow.
Photo taken from my deck.

We walked this long road up to Connemara, home of poet Carl Sandburg, a few years ago. We spent the day there. I toured the home and learned much about this fascinating man. His wife raised champion goats. 

I am sick with a cold and not up to writing a post today. So I decided to post some photos I like.
Sailboat on the bay in Nova Scotia. I liked the cleanliness and fresh air. I could live there except I don't want to be so far from my family.

Bison graze at Yellowstone in 2003. This trip motivated me to write a number of poems. I will always remember the wildlife and the wonders of Yellowstone Park. I hope we will always have our national parks and national monuments.

Scene from Yellowstone’s Valiant Wild
By Glenda Council Beall

A young male strode down the mountainside,
crossed the road, strutted into shallow waters
of the Gallatin river. He stalked the old bull elk
grazing alone on the other side.

The herd master ignored the gauntlet for a while,
then quick like a rattler striking, charged from the bank. 
The clash of antlers cracked like breaking pines
in an ice storm, rolling sound upstream and down.

On land once more, the battle halted
while both tried to maneuver bony-branched horns
between the lodge pole pines. A minute’s rest--
then back into the current.

Strong hind quarters, taunt neck muscles, bunched
like iron cables, pushed, retreated, up and down
the icy stream. The match wore on for more
than twenty minutes.

Heads low, antlers commingled like old bones
collected in a basket, until the young stud forced
his aging foe beneath the water’s surface, held him there.

The veteran of a life of valiant clashes at last broke free.
He crashed and splashed downstream, the loser,
bleating like a lamb who's lost his mother.

Posing for cameras on the roadside,
the victor, centered in the roaring river,
raised his head and shook his massive rack.
He bugled his triumphant call to his new harem