First of all thank you for allowing me to share our stories.And for the feedback and encouragement.
Part I told of our first ski trip.Thankfully we had many others.All of our ski adventures were great fun. No more near crashes,no frostbite and only one minor injury. Me. Each one was unique in location, people we met and watching Rita working hard to become a good skier. We were not yet at the point in our life when she got her glasses, so I learned how to alternate between skiing and clearing a path for her.( Mostly successful on both counts.)
One trip stands out.I’d like to share it with you.
Rita was living in “ suburbia “ and going through a nasty divorce. In suburbia at the time, if one neighbor got a new car, quick, buy GM stock because they all wanted one. The same copy cat syndrome applied to divorce.”Hey honey, the Smiths are getting a divorce, Wadda you think, You want one too “?
Her neighbor Irene,( not her real name but close) was in that situation and asked if she could join us the following weekend. She needed a getaway.What follows will make no sense if I don’t describe Irene.
In those days we would say she had it all together.She was equal parts CEO -engineer- super mom- fashionista- and Wonder Woman.That was Irene.Whatever it is,I can do it.
I wasn’t happy with the arrangement ,but Rita could empathize and was always willing to help.So she said she would be responsible for her friend so how could I say no.
Saturday six am,Irene burst out of the door ready to go skiing.It must have taken as long to do her make up as the entire cast of Cats.She was ready for dinner with the Queen.Her new ski outfit must have cost more than my entire wardrobe.Including brand new ski boots.I did manage to convince her to leave the jewelry at home.
Off to Stowe, Vermont.
Visualize,if you will, a mound of snow eight feet high and fifty feet in diameter at the base.This was not even a baby hill,it was an in utero hill. I took Rita at her word, and watched as she showed Irene how to walk sideways up this eight foot hill.
After an agonizingly long time they reached the top.Somehow the vibes went out, and I was joined by a group of people who sensed that something historic was about to happen.
Rita now demonstrates how to position your skis to come down the hill slowly, and proceeds to do so.Irene watches. Irene doesn’t move.Rita sidesteps back up and demonstrates again.Irene doesn’t move.Rita goes back up and tells Irene they will go down together. Irene starts bawling.(Remember the make up?) Finally Rita is able to walk her all the way down the eight foot hill.To the applause of everyone watching.
When they got to the bottom,Irene removed her skis and told us we could pick her up at the lodge and marched off to be a ski bunny.
The drive home was very quiet.Except for my occasional discreet giggles.
I don’t believe I have ever been prouder of the way Rita handled a very difficult situation.
That fall we went back to Stowe to have a picnic with Maria and the rest of the Von Trapp family.But that’s another story.
Fred and Rita