On cracking a rib at Snowbasin…

Snowbasin – one word – scene of an infamous incident in 2020 that left me gasping for air...

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Welcome to the “Georgia Wasp…”

This blog is modeled on the Carolina Israelite. That was an old-time newspaper – more like a personal newsletter – written and published by Harry Golden. Back in the 1950s, people called Harry a  “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.” (For his work on the Israelite.)

That’s now my goal as well. To be a “voice of sanity amid the braying of jackals.”

For more on the blog-name connection, see the notes below.

In the meantime:

It’s the start of a new year – 2023 – and at such times many people “look back in time.”

Usually people look back to the year just past, and normally that’s what I’d do too. But checking back on the posts from this past year – or this time last year – I didn’t see anything too interesting. So I looked back even further, to January 2020.

There I found an incident I’d forgotten about, until now. And that was even though I started drafting a post on it a month or so later. (In 2020.) The draft talked about cracking a rib (or so I thought), while trying to ski at Snowbasin.* That happened during my mid-winter road trip out to Utah, “in the bleak midwinter.” I’d left my home in the Atlanta area on December 27, 2019, and did a post on the drive out to Utah on January 20, 2020. (Just after I got back home, which turned out to be just before the COVID outbreak that started the following March.)

For whatever reason I forgot about the cracked-rib episode at Snowbasin in the years since. But it happened during a belated family Christmas get-together. My nephew got back from an Army deployment overseas, but he didn’t get home until a week or so after the “real” Christmas. And as part of the festivities, we all went to Snowbasin, and there – again – I tried snow skiing.

The road trip post talked about my long drive out to Utah. (Which included getting snowed in at Grand Isle Nebraska.) And about some fond memories of the post-Christmas family get-together, once I got there. But it also said: “In the next installment you’ll see how I cracked a rib while skiing at Snow Basin [sic]… And got a speeding ticket driving through *&^% Haysville Kansas!” For whatever reason that “next installment” never got posted, until now.

My notes describe a less-eventful drive home to Atlanta and led off: “I think I cracked a rib!” (Less eventful until I got the ticket driving through *&^% Haysville Kansas!”) The notes include thoughts on stopping for the night in Grand Junction Colorado. (Which brought back fond memories of my first wife Karen and I camping there for night in a travel van.) And how driving through Denver in heavy traffic was a real pain in the butt. There’s more detail in the notes, but for the sake of unity and coherence I’ll skip ahead to: “Now back to that cracked rib.”

We went skiing at Snowbasin twice, and I got “real practiced at the ‘bail-out.'” (That’s falling backwards to avoid running into crowds of people.) That was at the bottom of “Little Cat” ski run, and once you got there you went over and waited for the ski lift and another downhill run. In time I got better at staying up and not falling, much, “all the way up and all the way down.”

But before I tried skiing those two days, veteran family members taught me the “pizza and french fry” techniques beginners should learn. (Or kids, learning from their ski-moms). The idea is that to stop or slow down you turn your skis into a “pizza slice.” You turn in the narrow end of your skis up front and spread your heels – and the back end of your skis – out wide. Ideally, your skis should end up looking like a big slice of pizza.

For me – a Florida boy – the biggest problem was getting off the ski lift without falling, then getting out of the way of the people coming up on the next lift. In years before I’d had problems, but this time was different. I was amazed to get OFF the lift, then slide over out of the way, all without falling down. The trouble came on the last – 10th – run of the day. I wrote later, “Maybe I was getting a bit full of myself, but somehow I slipped off the ski lift as it was departing the bottom of Little Cat. I.e., I first slipped off the ski-lift chair itself, then slipped off concrete ‘runway,’ as it were, with a drop of about two feet, and then thumped down on my right side.”

At first, I thought the fall damaged my right kidney, given the pain in that area. But over the next few days it started to feel more like a SLIGHTLY cracked rib. I wrote later that it did start to get better, “but Saturday and Sunday night I couldn’t sleep on either side, as I like to do. I had to sleep on either my back or stomach, which is very strange to me.” I then added:

In closing, please note that I’m not complaining. I had a great time “out west,” including but not limited to snow-skiing again, for the third time in ten years. As for the “thorn in the side” caused by my own stupidity, I figure I have to “walk it off Nancy!”

For some reason I didn’t write anything in my journal about cracking a rib. On the plus side, I did use Facebook to memorialize this particular adventure. But to go back and retrieve those notes I had to learn how to better use the search techniques available to Facebook users. Which just goes to show, I’m still learning new things, even at the ripe old age of 71. (And counting, I hope.)  I’ve included some of those Facebook posts in the notes, but one point of this little essay is that for bloggers, it pays to look back over past posts. You just might find draft posts you’ve forgotten about. Then too, it pays to learn how to use that Search Engine on Facebook.

In closing, here’s my picture of skiers congregated near the bottom of Little Cat and the other slopes. They were the people I was trying not to run into, by way of the “pizza” technique. 

And yes, it was very cold that day…

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The upper image is courtesy of Snowbasin Utah – Image Results. Snowbasin is a “ski resort in the western United States, located in Weber County, Utah, 33 miles (53 km) northeast of Salt Lake City, on the back (east) side of the Wasatch Range:”

Snowbasin is one of the oldest continuously operating ski areas in the United States. Following the end of World War I and the Great Depression numerous small ski resorts were developed in Utah’s snow-packed mountains, and Weber County wanted one of their own. They decided to redevelop the area in and around Wheeler Basin, a deteriorated watershed area that had been overgrazed and subjected to aggressive timber-harvesting.

From Wikipedia. It’s 31 miles from Morgan Utah, where my brother and his wife used to live.

A word about looking back at the end of a year or beginning the next. I also found a draft post – from August 2020 – about the time my house in the woods got broken into. (By a man who turned out to be a mean-looking methhead with lots of tattoos.) I’ll finish that one later.

Unity and coherence. The link is to Unity and Coherence in Essays | Writing Center – PHSC:

Unity is the idea that all parts of the writing work to achieve the same goal: proving the thesis… Extraneous information in any part of the essay which is not related to the thesis is distracting and takes away from the strength of proving the thesis. [Also, an] essay must have coherence. The sentences must flow smoothly and logically from one to the next as they support the purpose of  each paragraph in proving the thesis. 

I note this because the family reaction is always the same when I hand out paperback versions of my eBooks at Christmas: “You’re writing goes all over the place!” In my defense I say that following all those “rabbit trails” I run across while writing is one of the best parts of the process. (For me anyway.) But in future writing I’ll try harder to achieve “unity and coherence.I’ll still follow those rabbit trails, but stick them back in the Notes, where they won’t bother my readers.

“First wife Karen.” She died in May 2006.

For more “rabbit trail” information, see How to “Pizza” and “French Fry” While Skiing – The-House. The pizza position helps you slow down or stop. (Which to me became very important.) The “french fry” position is when your skis are side by side, parallel to each other, and is used to gain speed. Also, “be sure you have the pizza position down before moving on to this one.”

“Thorn in the side.” See 2d Corinthians 12:7. The Bible passage is sometimes translated as the Apostle Paul talking about his “thorn in the flesh.”

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Re:  The Israelite.  Harry Golden grew up in the Jewish ghetto of New York City, but eventually moved to Charlotte, North Carolina.  Thus the “Carolina Israelite.”  I on the other hand am a “classic 71-year-old “WASP” – White Anglo-Saxon Protestant – and live in north Georgia.  Thus the “Georgia Wasp.”    

Anyway, in North Carolina Harry wrote and published the “israelite” from the 1940s through the 1960s.  He was a “cigar-smoking, bourbon-loving raconteur.”  (He told good stories.) That also means if he was around today, the “Israelite would be done as a blog.”  But what made Harry special was his positive outlook on life.  As he got older but didn’t turn sour, like many do today.  He still got a kick out of life.  For more on the blog-name connection, see “Wasp” and/or The blog.

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Here are some notes about the drive out to Morgan Utah, starting on December 28, 2019:

Last night – Saturday night, December 28 – I made it to North Kansas City MO, to the Motel 6 by KCI airport. I left south of Memphis in the morning (Olive Branch MS). All told I’ve driven 840 miles since leaving home Friday morning. Leaving some 1,028 miles to make it to Morgan.

I enjoyed the drive yesterday; Friday’s drive through the ATL and west Georgia was ‘same old same old.’ But it was interesting driving through northeast Arkansas, then on into south Missouri. I passed through Portia, Missouri, which brought back memories from the summer of 1987, when my parents paid for my flight out to Los Angeles and the Forest Home youth corps. (The Forest Home in the San Bernadino Mountains, not the one in Amador County.) See, the kitchen staff at Forest Home included a young lady named Portia, and the Youth Corps coaches (mentors) were fond of saying, ‘Ah, lovely Portia!’ But we digress…

But I wasn’t too fond of the drive last night. I’d just passed through Clinton MO and stopped at McDonald’s for a break. That’s when the rain hit. I got pretty drenched, then had to drive up through the rain, and strange surroundings, and the weird connection between Interstate 49 and I-29…”

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And here are some notes from a Facebook post I did on January 6, 2020 (for possible future reference):

“I think I cracked a rib!” There’s more on that later, but the good news is that today – Monday, 1/6 – I made it through the mountains west of and leading in to Denver from the west. (Which – Denver- was a pain in the butt driving through.) And made it to Goodland Kansas, some 1,230 miles from home. (Fayetteville GA, aka “God’s Country.”) I figure on getting home by Thursday night, after doing some touristy stuff on the way back home.

I left Morgan UT yesterday about noon, and drove south and east through the snow, slush and a bit of black ice. From Provo down to Green River, where I hooked up with I-70, and from there made it to Grand Junction Colorado. (Where Karen and I stopped and camped in our big blue van in 1996 or so. After I smashed up our travel trailer in Colorado Springs, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)

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And here are some notes from a Facebook post I did later on January 6, 2020:

[T]his past week I’ve gotten used to snow, high wind and temps hovering in the teens. Then too, driving east on I-70 this morning, along the Colorado River, was scenic and VERY picturesque, but I was SO glad to make it back to the “flatlands” of the Great Plains, eastern Colorado. And – gasp! – the sun even came out. (For a while.) Now back to that cracked rib…

And here are some notes from a Facebook post I did on January 8, 2020 (for possible future reference):

Dammit! I found out today that there’s a speed trap in Haysville Kansas.

I was heading south out of Wichita this morning, trying to avoid the beltway traffic, by heading down US 81, running parallel to the interstate heading down to Oklahoma. Approaching the intersection of Meridian and Grand Avenue, in Haysville – (ptui!) – I was driving at a speed slightly more appropriate to western Kansas. (As noted in yesterday’s posts. I.e., Western Kansas rocks, but east Kansas SUCKS!)

So anyway, I got stopped. Then a couple seconds later I saw that another Haysville cop had stopped another poor slob, about a half block behind me. Thus the conclusion: SPEED TRAP! So as I drove east and south to get the hell out of eastern Kansas, “the air was blue all around.” But other than that the day went well. (You know, besides the cracked rib from snow skiing last Saturday.) I made it to Conway Arkansas, 566 miles from home. Which is do-able. I did 550 miles on December 31st, from Big Springs Nebraska to Morgan Utah.It’s been a fun road trip, but “Dang it will be good to be home!”

So much for the rabbit trails.

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