January 19, 2013

A Sack Of Potatoes

One of my sister-in-laws posted a picture of me on Facebook yesterday for my birthday. It was a picture from the past, in the early days of my relationship with her brother.

Oh, what days those were. He was a hang glider pilot and a crazy-ass pilot. While the other guys and gals he flew with had big Cadillac style gliders, he had an aerobatic glider. He could take quick, tight turns and rise above them all in seconds while they had to perform slow wide cumbersome turns, so wide sometimes they would lose the thermal.  My charming suitor could throw 3 loops on his way down to the landing strip and the pilots already on the ground would grimace or cuss and swear but they always ran out to greet him upon landing. Ready to share the excitement of the moment and the day's flights.

He also raced sailboats at Whiskeytown Lake. Man did he
look nice, tanned gleaming chest and back aboard the old San Juan 24.
He was good, too.  And strong and smart and witty, with just the tiniest bit of arrogance, perceptible only to strangers. It disappeared once you really got to know him.

We skied, water and snow. Spent a week at Mammoth Mountain slopes right after the big earthquake scare and practically had the whole range of slopes to ourselves. Off the lift, ski down and ski right up to the next lift and sit for the ride up.

It was fantastic. My sweetie hurt his knee at the end of the day on Wednesday and sat in the lodge with ice and a good book while I skied my little heart out for the next two days.  I sometimes tease him about that today.  I warned him. It was the last jam of the day and he said he was headed to the moguls one last time. I said, (now imagine me clearing my voice with that know-it-all wisdom of a distinguished professor of philosphy), "Frank" (that's his name) "Frank, I don't think that's a good idea, its been a long day and you're tired, save the moguls for the morning!"   Big mistake! BIG mistake. Half way through his cants, Bamm! Oh, I mean, Biff! Twisted knee. He had some serious SDS (snow deprivation syndrome) for the rest of the trip. He did enjoy the hot tub though!

We water skied with my sister and her husband as often as we could. One day out on Lake Shasta as I was cutting the wake so slick and leaned into it so steep that if I had bent an arm, my elbow would dip into the water. One time, though I cut to the right just as Doug (brother-in-law) was tightly steering the boat to the left. At the furthest angle out from the boat centrifugal force took over, my hands could no longer hold the rope and I went flying. They said I rolled on top of the water about 8 times before I actually went under. It was awesome....couldn't wait to do it again.

Frank was determined to fly Mt. Shasta. He attempted it twice. To train for it, he would sling me over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes and climb the mountain. I can say I have been half way up the mountain without having touched the earth.  After training, he climbed the mountain easily with a 75 hang glider on his shoulder, even in the higher elevations. Each time he got to the top the wind came up way past safe flying conditions. He would then place his glider on the snow and ride it down part way like a sled.

We hiked, we took the kids to Whiskeytown Lake every chance we could. He worked a lot of weekends but always knew he could drive out to Brandy Creek beach and find the kids swimming like fish, Doug roasting weiners and swigging a beer while Sherree and I worked on our future wrinkles and skin cancer.

We visited Vieques Island, near Puerto Rico, and went night swimming in the Bio Bay.  OMG, that was awesome. Like swimming with fairies in the water. We made water angels (like snow angels) that glowed in the dark. It was a new moon night and there were a gazillion stars in the sky and what seemed like a million stars in the water. We could see the fish creating their own luminescent trails under water. They had told us to watch out for jellyfish, but we never encountered any. I think it was because it was so magical that nothing could put a damper on the sheer joy.

Yup, that picture brought a lot of good memories forward. Camping all the way up the Oregon coast, body surfing in Puerto Rico.  Chasing Merlo's pig and horses and cows out of our back yard and garden.  Walking the labs down to the school and back. Nice. Climbing Mt. Shasta, camping in Lassen park, wandering through lava tubes and chasing ghosts in Captain Jack's Stronghold in Modoc county.

I am getting my knee in shape because I want to do more stuff like that. We still haven't camped and had Bigfoot wander into camp!

Yup, he's pretty darn sexy!

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