The picture you see above is yours truly as a young lad at Tuckerman Ravine on July the 3rd. My friend Eric called me from Vermont and said that they still had snow at Tuckerman Ravine up in New Hampshire( see my earlier posts on this place). So being the adventurous, no obligations, do whatever I wanted guy( this was BJBJ-Before Janet Before Jack), I decided to make the trip and spend the Fourth of July in New England. I packed up my skis, boots, poles, spring skiing gear, pack, hiking boots, road bike, golf clubs, tennis racquet, bathing suit, and basically all the recreation equipment that I had at the time. My neighbors thought I was moving. They were shocked when I told them I would be using all of these items that weekend.
So, fast forward, I leave work at 5:00 and head north on 79 and East on I-90 for the familiar trek to Vermont. I could probably drive that in my sleep but nonetheless it is a hike and I arrived in Bethel, Vermont at 3:00 AM. I crashed at the Durfees and Eric woke me up three hours later. He laughed because he said I was saying something about not being able to go because the concrete was not yet dry. Now I have never poured concrete in my life but for some reason I was having a real nice dream about manual labor. We drove the three hours plus over to Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire where we loaded the skis and boots into the pack along with some food and beverages for the day and began the hike to the floor of the Ravine. It was pretty neat to hike up there and see folks skiing in their shorts and T-shirts and the party on the Lunch Rocks was going strong early in the morning with the hooting and hollering and heckling going full tilt when skiers bit it on the steep descents. Eric and I got a lot of runs that day and after a quick swig of a beverage,, we headed back down the mountain trail to the parking lot. The drive back to Vermont was filled with laughter about the great time and the fact that we got two visits to the hallowed Tuckerman Ravine in one season.
The next morning, we headed out on the road bikes for a “short” 60 mile ride. Eric, as I have told you before, is the master of the understatement and as we headed out of Bethel to Killington, I knew this would be a torturefest because my pal here was and is a very fit guy. On the descent into Woodstock, we hit 60 MPH because a truck driver hollered to us our speed as he passed us on the downhill. That was kind of crazy and the sidewinds were a little shaky for me. I was glad to hit the valley and head up the steep hill back to Bethel. I limped into the Durfee garage and we got out of the bike duds and into the golf gear. T- shorts and shorts were the apparel of the day as we hit The Montague golf course. I laughed when I saw a hat, sunglasses, and Hush Puppy shoes staring at me out of the ground with a tombsone at the head of the display. The tombstone said, ” this is what happens when you don’t replace your divots.” A classy place to say the least and we made our mark when Eric rocketed a drive under the bumper of a car in the parking lot. Needless to say, our skill level on the course is not what it is like on the slopes and we cheated and hacked our way around 18 holes and laughed the whole time. From there, we went to a swimming hole with Eric’s wife Helen and cooled off after the raucous round of golf at the famed Montague. The tennis racquets came out next with some doubles with Helen and Eric and after a great barbque, I crashed again dreaming of the infernal concrete job that had not been finished.
The final morning, Eric and I woke early, and I bid my goodbyes to Helen as we headed to the Adirondacks to meet our friend Mike Smith( Post- The Older We Get- The Better We Were.) Mike has the marina at Pilot Knob on Lake George and we were towed around all day on Mike’s rocket boat. We water skied a lot that day and the sunburn was memorable as we ended the day with a sandwich and a cold one before I packed all the stuff up once again for the trek back to the burg. Eric and I thanked Mike and he headed back to the Green Mountains and I headed west towards the land of taxes and potholes. As I arrived back at my place at 3:00 AM, I unloaded all the gear in the garage and once again crashed in my own sack. Funny how that wheelbarrow full of concrete appeared again just as the alarm went off for the start of a new work day. With all that we had done, my dad’s famous quote came to fruition,” Work- is the curse of the leisure class.” I am not sure I could keep that pace every weekend but for one Fourth of July Weekend a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, it is a great memory even to this day.
As we remember our Founding Fathers on the Fourth, think about what they did, read about what they did, appreciate all that they did. When I look at that flag on the Fourth, I certainly am thankful to them and the good Lord for living in a great country. Thanks for reading and have a happy holiday. Carpe Deium- seize the day. Thanks for reading.