My parents travel from Arizona to Utah every year to spend Christmas with us. It’s become a tradition. My mother’s birthday is December 22nd, so they arrive in time for us to properly celebrate her before Santa visits. It’s a twofer at our house!
This year was no different, except Mom entered a new decade. A number she prefers that I not mention, because she says, “The only people who want to be “number-ty”, are people who are 80.”
We decided to go tubing on Mom’s special birthday. I called Soldier Hollow (a local winter sports place) and shared that my parents were…older than me…and asked if the hills were safe and mellow. “They’re totally mellow,” the young man said on the phone. “As long as a pusher doesn’t spin you.”
Got it. No spinning. I asked him if there was any way the day could be not fun. “Nope. Just layer your clothes. It won’t suck.”
This year, December 22nd was opening day for the tubing hill. Fresh snow had fallen days prior, the air was crisp, and the seven of us – aged 7 to “number-ty” – were ready for some old-fashioned fun! We climbed into our tubes and were towed up the hill.
I went first. Fast. And out of control. I blew past the orange cones where I was supposed to drag my feet to slow down, past the employee at the end of the run, and through a mesh safety fence. I stood up, and looked toward the top of the hill. Mom was getting ready to head down. I was…concerned.
“Hey. Can you tell my parents to go back?” I said to the employee. “Do you have a walkie-talkie? I think this is too much for them. They’re a little older. It’s my mom’s birthday. This seemed like a good idea. Is that pure ice?”
Then, down came Mom. The ride was quick, she drug her feet to stop, didn’t fall, and had a big grin on her face. I was happy she didn’t break a hip, because it’s always curtains when someone breaks a hip.
Then, down came Dad. Like a bullet. He shot through two safety fences, snapping a fence pole with a dramatic crack. He was fine and Mom cried with laughter, like watching Dad’s “agony of defeat” crash was the best gift ever.
We made a few more runs, had some hot beverages, then piled in the car and headed home. The seven of us took turns sharing details of successful and failed tubing techniques, recounting Dad’s rocket run many times.
Hooking on to a towrope to climb the hill is a nice treat once in a while, cresting can be daunting, but the trip down is nothing to fear. The sweet spots seem to become more clear...over the hill.
I hope when I’m “number-ty” that I’m able to fly down a tubing hill on my stomach.