Skip to main content

Spinning Reindeer and Mountainous Treks

 
    It was 1975 and as I walked out of elementary school for the last time, my grandparents were waiting for me in the parking lot in a Midnight Blue Lincoln Continental with a full size Airstream trailer hitched to the back.  It was summer and we were off to see America.  My cousin Ramonna, who is several years younger than I am, sat in the oversized back seat with me, as our feet stuck straight out in front of us and we headed West.   The car smelled of new leather, Old Spice and expensive perfume.    I was young enough that many of the memories have since faded, but I can still clearly see the wild storms in Kansas and the never ending highway that carried us to Colorado.

    We landed at Garden of the Gods Campground in mid June only to be met by an unseasonable snowfall.  We jumped in the big car, with trailer still attached, and headed to K-Mart where my grandparents bought us all winter clothes to replace the suitcase full of summer wear we had packed.  Hoping now that it was actually fashionable in the 70s, I remember leaving the store in a lime green pair of bell bottom pants with a giant cat embroidered on the leg.  The finishing touch was the white pom pom on the tail that gave it a 3-D effect.  Gosh, I loved those pants!     

    The next morning my grandparents would take us to “The North Pole,” an amusement park at the base of Pike's Peak.  It was a magical place with summer snow all around.  This trip would not be complete, however, without a journey to the top of the mountain.   Forty years later, I have to recommend that one do this without a 30 foot trailer dragging behind you.   At the age of 11, I had no clue to the danger we were in or the small heart attack that my grandfather certainly must have been facing as we climbed higher and higher on narrow roads with steep drops off the side and no place to turn around.   These were the days before break stations, runaway vehicle ramps and nitroglycerin in the glove box.   I only remember the amusement park and the view from the top and both were absolutely wonderful.

    Years later, I took my own family to Colorado and we ventured down to the Springs to see “The North Pole.”   My daughter was one year old and looked like a tiny Babushka doll in her headscarf intentionally donned to protect her ears from a late summer wind.   My son was five and wanted to ride some spinning reindeer sleigh ride.  I had forgotten about the Disney Tea Cups of Death not intended for any child with motion sickness and should have remembered to stay away from such rides.  The first time the reindeer passed us in its large circular course, I noticed my son’s color had faded.  The second time he flew by, he was looking a bit green.  On the third rotation, his head was down and I was leaping over reindeer to signal the operator to let the boy off the ride.  He had turned green and was in the full throws of motion sickness.

    We headed to the car and decided a slow ride to the top of Pike’s Peak was what we needed to relax.  I had no idea how slow that ride would actually be as we stopped every few miles for me to hold a sick child on the side of the road and curse those spinning reindeer.  As we got closer to the top I saw the dangerous two lane gravel strips of road with steep drops hundreds of feet below that we had to travel.  I thought back to the Lincoln and the Airstream trailer and wondered how worse this road had to have been forty years earlier.   It was bad enough now and I felt the energy of my grandfather’s courage that still remained on the mountain.  We continued our periodic stops on the side of the road and I wished that the car smelled like new leather, Old Spice and perfume, but it did not.  It was more of a sweaty child, cotton candy, carbonated soda and dust smell that filled our car.

    We eventually made it to the top and as we pulled into the parking lot a large dark cloud floated overhead and we found ourselves in a miniautre snowstorm.  We stood there in our shorts as the snow pounded down on us.   I had to smile as I found myself standing where I had once stood before and secretly wished that I now had that pair of lime green cat pants purchased for events such as this one.   I forced everyone from the car so we could take a picture. My son sported a post traumatic sweaty pre-hypothermia look.  The Babushka baby gave me that look of total discomfort and disgust and my husband stood in the background desperately trying to light a cigarette in the storm force winds.   I wished that my grandfather was there with his silver trailer and we could have climbed inside to take shelter from the storm.  I imagine he was one of the few who has actually pulled a small house to the top of Pike’s Peak and I felt honored to be a part of that.  Perhaps forty years from now my children will take this same path in their eco-friendly suburban utility vehicle and remember the flying reindeer and unseasonable snow storm.  My daughter won’t know why, but she’ll remember the warmth of a scarf on her head and the smell of cotton candy.  My son will breath in the cool mountain air and remember down deep somewhere how wonderful the air felt as we stood on the side of the road catching our breath and stilling the world for just a moment in time.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Mink That Made Its Way Home

             When I was five years old, my grandmother would care for me before school each day.  She would turn the stereo console on and play big band music from the 40's.  I remember dressing up in her mink stole as we danced around the living room spinning and twirling to the classics.  She told me that one day the mink would be mine and I hoped that I would be as beautiful as she was wrapped in luxurious mink.     Time, of course, came and went and my grandmother passed away many years ago.  I have often wondered what happened to her mink stole and wished that I could wear it just one more time.  Little did I know, my grandmother had given the stole to her daughter and sometime during the early 80's when fur was not fashionable and we were wearing hideous things like leather pants and spandex, my aunt tossed the mink into the Goodwill bin near her home. She did not know that anyone actually wanted the mink and donated it to charity.  She told me she remembers lo

Peace, Love and What???

  There is nothing more precious than child innocence.  While it appears that this message may, indeed, be upside down, it seems that an upended pink ribbon is a call for better testing for earlier detection of breast cancer.  Who better to deliver such a message than a group of young girls with bright futures ahead of them?  While my daughter actually has no idea that she is holding the poster upside down, her mistake quietly sends a much more powerful message across this field. Who knows, but any one of these young ladies, excited about their part in participating in a campaign of hope, could go on to be the one to discover just such a test or cure.   So even if the symbols are upside down, or even fall to the ground, our youth are learning to be a part of something bigger than themselves and might just one day deliver this message exactly as they innocently displayed this Fall day in their youth.   Picture by Kathi Kolb www.accidentalamazon.com

Snapped Rabbit

Photo Courtesy of Hershey's    There is almost no greater joy than the pure chocolaty goodness that lies in the rectangular patterns of a Hershey’s bar.  While some people enjoy cigarettes or liquor or even illegal drugs of choice, my addiction lies in the innocence of a candy bar.  It is something that is enjoyed in small pieces, savored, one rectangle at a time.  Whatever genius designed this heavenly creation, divided the bar into 12 miniature rectangles, all looking like a small version of the whole.  It’s mind boggling if you really think about it.  It’s much like putting two mirrors together and seeing into infinity.  With each bite of Hershey’s bar you find more rectangles calling your name.   A wise person knows not to listen to their sirens call, but to snap off only one or two pieces and move on without looking back.   Photo Courtesy of B Jobse    My children know the power of the Hershey’s bar and fully understand that stressful events can bring on the dippi