A friend in need isn’t necessarily a ‘friend’

Published 3:00 am Saturday, January 23, 2016

Several us “girls” were sitting around the other day and a couple of them were commenting on how many “friends” they have on facebook. Mama always said if you have just one true friend, you are richly blessed. Mama also said a friend in need is a friend indeed.

I have/had a true friend that “left” me in need. Granted, Weaser and I were a little too seasoned to be boarding a train bound for a Colorado ski resort. But snow skiing was on our bucket lists.

We arrived just in time to go twilight tubing. The hill paled only in comparison to Mt. Everest. An inch of snow on six feet of ice made for a good ride, we were told. We shot off the hill like a space rocket on the way to the moon. Faster than a speeding bullet, we zoomed down Lil’ Everest. We lost our shoes and our religion in an effort to stop the runaway tubes as we entered New Mexico.

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But we had survived so, sure, we wanted to hook onto a human chain and zoom down the mountain again. There’s safety in numbers. Elbows were hooked to feet all up and down the chain. If the chain started to break up, we were told to unhook our elbows and let go of the feet of the person behind you. But the sadistic human holding my feet didn’t let go. He went one way with my feet and me and my tube went the other. Down the icy mountain I bounded – bouncing my bottom on the ice like a monkey on a pogo stick. I was battered and bruised. A chunk of ice was imbedded in my right thigh. It would not melt until the spring thaw.

I managed the pain by eliciting little ekes with every movement. But I had come to ski. Hang the pain. I was going to ski.

The next morning, some in our group Weaser and I signed up for ski school at the bunny slope. The instructor showed us how to walk with skis on and wedge and plough. Then, he lined us up in two lines – 500 snow bunnies in each line and facing each other.

One at a time, we were to ski between the lines demonstrating our expertise at walking, wedging and snow ploughing. “If you fall, you must get up by yourself,” he said. “No one will help you.”

I demonstrated style and grace as I walked the skis between the lines on my first run.

And, I was wedging along all right on my second run until the tips of my skis tangled. I fell flat right there in the cold, cold snow with a thousand irritated, nameless faces peering down at me. I tried the maneuvers I’d learned in ski school but my hip wasn’t in the moving mood. I thrashed around kicking my feet but my hip was snowbound. I found Weaser in the line and motioned for her to come help me up. But she didn’t see me .So I called to her, “Help!” She didn’t hear me. I called again. My calls turned into pleas.

In time, the whole world stood still, like I was in a vacuum. The only thing moving was my hand beaconing Weaser to come to me. The only sound was that of my weak voice calling, “Help! Help!”

My mouth filled with snow. I could plea no more. I thought I heard the barking of a St. Bernard but it was only the angry yapping of a thousand ski bunnies.

I began to hallucinate. Then, an angel in a ski suit appeared. Through the blowing snow, I could read his nametag, Gabriel. He helped me to my feet and stood me back in line.

Weaser turned her head as if she didn’t know me.

“Why didn’t you come help me get up?”

“I didn’t know you couldn’t get up,” she said in a flippant way.

I whacked her with my ski pole. Unsnapped my boots, shouldered the skis and trudged back to the ski lodge. After bumping her buns on the bunny slope all afternoon, a weary Weaser found me in my wool socks with my feet stretched out to the fire, sipping hot chocolate and munching warm roasted hazelnuts.

Tsk. Tsk.