by the way...

Ski? Can’t I iron instead? Or weed? Vacuum?


My friend and I saw Everest at Imax a while back. I can’t tell you how happy I am that there’s no way to alpine ski in Ponte Vedra Beach. If there were majestic mountains here, I’d feel obliged to try skiing one time. I did golf once in this golfing mecca and found it impossible—perhaps because I was given golf clubs for lefties—true story.

Five decades ago my brand new husband, Jim, and I honeymooned for a week in the Bahamas after our December wedding. When we returned I gritted my teeth and agreed to go skiing on New Year’s Eve weekend So, with our newly minted suntans, we set off from our New York City apartment and drove up to Mt. Cranmore, New Hampshire.

I wrote in my diary, “Petrified of everything. Kept falling down and couldn’t get up, and we were just walking out of the ski lodge—not even on the mountain.”
The next day at Cranmore I recorded, “”Learned to snowplow, vaguely. Fell off the T-Bar three times. Was sent into the A class.” Whatever that was. Perhaps it stood for one’s athletic ability: C stood for Continually Improving, B was for Beautiful Skiing, A was for Apelike.

Late Sunday it was getting dark and it was my final shot at the mountain. I psyched myself up to feel like an Olympian and heard strains of the national anthem. I took the ski lift with Jim. I did the snowplow a few times and felt confident that I’d mastered skiing.

“You go down ahead of me, Jim.” He was an excellent skier and I felt bad about holding him back. He was reluctant to leave me, but I insisted. I’d surprise him and ski down and meet him at the bottom. Besides I was freezing and wanted to get this skiing thing over and done. So, I aimed my skis straight down the mountain.

Quickly and easily I hit my head with a ski and splat! Down I went. God forgive me, I remember thinking, maybe I’ve broken a little something so I can relax in the lodge. Shameful! I lay there for a while, knowing I wasn’t dead or hurt and didn’t budge. Jim’s skis crunch — crunch — crunched up the mountain to get to my side.
My knight in snazzy ski clothes rescued me. I attempted to ski a bit more, and then we walked down the hill, me, gingerly. Very romantic. We had a great dinner and drove home.

The next day we subwayed to work. He to Wall Street, I to a skyscraper in midtown. Never was I so happy to do my boss’s expense account all morning. I wasn’t skiing! “Oh you poor thing!” My fellow secretaries cooed and gathered ‘round to listen to the story of my “crash.”

“Oh it was nothing,” I assured them modestly.

Jim forgave me for being a crummy skier and took me to Schrafft’s for lunch. I went to the mountains with him a few more times and he was fine with me staying in the ski lodge with cocoa and a nap. That’s my kind of skiing. Cocoa, a nap and a good book. Heaven. After a while I had a couple of kids so they could eventually keep him company.

My kind of town, Ponte Vedra is…