Ode to Friends

After a beautiful sunny warm Halloween we’ve had a nice early winter storm the last two days. Yesterday we woke up and there was snow on the mountains, and driving to work with the sun shining off it and the blue sky reminded me why I like winter. Today we woke up and there was snow on the ground here. The hammock is all covered, and the barbecue grill, and the doghouse. The skiers are all going into fever pitch, Mt. Rose opens today with a single run for $10, and it looks like the last few poor snow years are a distant memory. In other words, it’s all shining brightly today, and I feel an urge to go wax my snowboard.

There’s one problem. We have a good friend named Nick, a ski bum who’s been ski bumming around the Tahoe area for about the same amount of time as Kim and I. We’ve known him the whole time we’ve been here. Over that time, he has become the main person we go riding with. Nick knows the mountains. he knows Heavenly, and Kirkwood, and he was the first one who took us to Mammoth. Nick loves to jump off of things, cliffs, rocks, walls, etc. By following him we were always able to find a cool place, off the beaten path, even when there wasn’t much snow.

Nick’s mother passed away in West Virginia recently, and he had to go home to take care of family business. Now that he’s there, I think there is a lot of pressure for him to stay there, and take up real life, and do the things that his family expects of him. I can’t say anything bad about that. Family is family, and responsibilities are responsibilites.

If Nick doesn’t come back, who will take us to the mountains, and dare us to do things we wouldn’t normally do? Who will yell at us when we’re late? (We’re always late.)  Who will make us feel like locals? Who will laugh at the tourists with us? Who will sit at the top of Chair 6 at Kirkwood, when the snow has piled up so high there’s no way in but to just grip it and go, and laugh at the wind scouring people off the side of the mountain like kites? Who will show us where the hot springs are? Who will Humphrey Bogart bark his fool head off at?

So Nick, if you happen to read this, don’t forget that you have another family here who needs you too. I don’t want to interfere with what is important in your life, and I know that there are things going on that can’t be avoided or skipped over, but there’s a season of snow coming here, in Tahoe, and if you don’t come to enjoy it, who’s going to make me do things like this, and take the picture when I do?

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I don’t know, and that makes me sad.

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