A Winter Story


Last week, I walked out the door one morning with a fresh brewed cup of coffee in my mittened hand. That is when my fur-lined boot stepped onto another planet that had come crashing down and landed on top of us here in the black hole just outside harmony grove, dumping heavy white snow everywhere, bending trees and breaking limbs. Making this world unrecognizable.
I foraged on.
But it was hard to distinguish where the path was once in the woods. And then it completely disappeared on the other side of the pretty pond, which is not really a pond, and is not really pretty. I circled around out there trying to make my way to an opening, trying to get back on what had been the path. I thought about following the deer trails, but they were all rerouted too. And they are not easy to follow to begin with.
And then I was stuck. I could not move in any direction without a lot of hoopla.
I supposed I could always go back by following the coffee spills in the snow, but it had been a hell of a trip getting to where I was, and I really was not looking forward to repeating said trip in the opposite direction.

I plowed forward, or whatever direction it was, moving snowball hurling branches out of my way, crawling under and in between evergreen feathered limbs that drooped to the ground, and bushels full of brown dried oak leaves smothered in ice and snow, closing my eyes and taking it in the face, down the neck and in my coffee.
Eventually I did make it out of the woods and back to the house where I lined up my mittens, hat and boots against the heat register, like back in the days when I was a kid.
And last winter.
"You sure were out there a long time," Sven called down from the loft.
"I got lost."
That is how it goes when life marches on and time will not stand still for even a minute.
Each winter is different, and you have to learn how to make do with what you got.
For instance, downhill skiing gets replaced with cross country skiing. Cross-country skiing gets replaced with snowshoeing. Snowshoeing gets replaced with walking. And walking.
That is why my sweet Sven and I purchased tickets to see the Christmas light display at the zoo.
But the key to a happy winter is in the mix that goes in with the Tom and Jerry mix.
If you are not of legal age and or that is not your cup of tea, there is also wine.
A grandson stopped over the other morning.
"Grandma," he says. "Rene said I could borrow his skis."
I could not remember the last time I had seen my son's skis.
As I suspected, Kaden and I were not able to locate them.
However, we did find Sven's.
"When was the last time Grandpa used these?" asked Kaden.
"Maybe thirty years ago," I guessed.
It was unbelievable.
Sven's old boots fit Kade.
It was even more unbelievable that this unpretentious kid was willing to borrow Sven's outdated equipment. In my day, downhill skiing was a whole lot about your gear and being cool. But what do I know?
"What's that Louisa?"
My sister says that downhill skiing is no longer cool. It is all about the snowboarders.
"Louisa, you don't know any more than I do."
Anyway, Kade and his buddies were planning to ski from open until close at the resort, which is like eleven hours, and he was trying to save a few bucks by not having to rent.
He went to look above the shop just in case his uncle's skis, which would have been two decades newer than Sven's skis, were hiding up there.
I soaped up a cloth and began rejuvenating the dust engraved boots and skis that were now sitting in the dining room.
I slipped my foot inside the right boot and clicked myself into the binding.
"Wow, it actually works."
I unsnapped the binding and a couple pieces of shiny gray plastic flew off the back of the boot.
"That cannot be good."
Kaden returned empty handed and examined the ski boot puzzle pieces on the rug.
"I don't think I really need these," he said.
What a great kid.
He stepped into the same boot and clicked himself into the binding.
"Nice," he said with a big smile.
"Kade, you can keep these. I don't think Grandpa is planning on skiing again for a while."
"Sven, can Kade have your skis?"
"Yes," came a voice from above.
Kaden tightened his boot and that is when the entire strap snapped off in his hand.
There was a moment of silence as we stared at the strap and the hole it left in the boot where it came from.
"I think I will just rent my stuff."
I fiddled around in my purse and pulled out a twenty to help with his cause.
"Aw, thanks Grandma," he says.
As he was stepping into his dad's truck, I hollered out the door, "Do you want to take Grandpa's skis and just rent your boots?"
"Um, I don't think that will work Grandma."
And that is when Sven pulled his head out of his book one more time and hollered down, "Jeez Millie, why don't you just give him those old wooden ones you have setting out on the deck with the red bow?"


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