I remember the fist time I went to the mountain with my family. Everybody said I was too little to ski, so Grandma stayed with me at the ski lodge all day. I slid around on my little cross country skis at the base of the mountain, and pouted and sulked and watched everybody else joyously riding up the lift and swooshing back down the mountain. It was a beautiful sunny day and the snow sparkled, and at the end of the day all of the tired skiers came in beaming with huge smiles and talking about what a perfect day it was. When Grandpa came down he said it was such a great day that he thought he would take one more run. I glowered knowing I would have to wait still longer, but then he surprised me and scooped me up in his arms and skied over to the lift, and sat me down as we rode it up together. Higher and higher we went, and when we got off the lift Grandpa swooshed down the mountain holding me between his legs on my little cross country skis. I could feel the wind blowing through my hair and the snow sliding smoothly beneath me, we were going so fast and it felt amazing. Sure it was really only the little baby lift, but it still lasts in my memory as one of the best runs down the mountain I have ever taken.
In the following years I was old enough to join everyone on the mountain, but I still got left behind when I tried to keep up with my brother Devin and cousin Justin. I got tired and frustrated being the littlest one, and my toes got cold, and I knew they really didn’t want me around. Then I realized, if I skied with Grandpa, when I got tired and my toes got cold he would take me into the lodge and sit with me and let me have a hot chocolate and a donut. And at the end of the brilliant sunny days if I asked “How about we do one more run?” Grandpa would smile and off we would go.
P.S. Hi, this is Dan here. Katrin mentioned this family event and I wanted to get in on the action. Katrin and I have been together for going on 13 years now and in that time I've had a lot of opportunities to spend time with Bill and Jo, not only in Oregon but also even in Vermont and Hawaii. What strikes me more than anything is their generosity. They have always made me feel so welcome as a part of the family, showered me with smiles and kindness every time, and it's made me feel comfortably at home in their presence. I've heard it's not always easy marrying into a new family, but they sure have tried to make it easy for me. Please pass much love on from me to them.