Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Day, Take 2

"Keep your feet up!"

I pointed my toes skyward as I sped down the hill, then WHAM! For a second I was airborne, and scarcely had I touched back down when I found myself in the air for one last split second before landing and spinning backwards into fresh snow.Oh yeah, this was a snow day.

Michael and I made it to my parents' place in Oregon Friday night, having driven down from Seattle. Most of the trip was a breeze, with little or no snow on the roads, but about ten miles out for our destination, the scenery changed. Michael fishtailed the car for the first time that day just as my mom called to check on our status.

"We'll put chains on before we drive up the hill," I told her. About a half hour later we received another phone call, just as our car struggled to make the ascent up the narrow snow-covered dead-end road that leads to my parents' home, literally at the top of an actual hill, behind the tiny town of Sheridan, Oregon.

"How's it going?" my dad asked.

"Not too well, to be honest," I could feel my teeth clench as the wheels of our Pontiac Vibe spun, thankful that I wasn't the one driving.

"We'll be down," my dad replied.

As it turns out, we had lost one of the chains, and despite Michael backtracking a full mile - twice - to look for it, the chain was nowhere to be found.

"Don't worry," said dad. "It's like when they find the bodies on Everest after the snow melt. It'll turn up then." Thank, dad. What a lovely thought.

With the help of the tractor winch, and then from my Uncle Dan in his four-wheel drive pick-up equipped with chains, we were towed easily up the remaining mile. My family's home had indeed been transformed into a winter wonderland, with snow weighing down the branches of the fir trees and illuminating the lacy shapes of the bare oaks. On Saturday morning, there was only one thing that could be done - inner tubing!

Being as they live on the top of a hill, there is no truly flat land on my parents' property, and one of the steepest hills is behind the house, overlooking the valley below. Here we created the ultimate inner tube run, complete with two jumps, and Michael wanted me as the guinea pig.

Fun as it may be to slide down the snow into unknown consequences, it's possibly more fun to watch your dad and brother fly of their inner tubes after the final jump, doing a full three barrel rolls in the snow. The end of the run skirted dangerously close to a couple of rather large wild rose bushes, and since the land never actually flattened out, each tuber tended to go a little father than the one before. Lucy, our dog, was unable to contain her excitement at this point, and would pounce the moment someone landed, covering faces with desperate licks and wiggling as if her life depended on it.

Still, I think the most unexpected gymnastic feat of the morning was when I lost my bearings after the second jump and did a BACK FLIP before landing slightly dazed, and unharmed, in the snow. No kidding, I saw my feet pass over my head, and before I knew it I was lying on my back, gasping a little in shock.

"That was awesome!" Michael laughed from his viewpoint by the first jump.

Yeah, that was pretty awesome. So awesome, in fact, that it was the last trip I made down the inner tube run that day. Sometimes, it's best to quite while you're ahead.

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