The year is 1968. The setting is in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado on a chilly and blustery winter’s day. The sun shines brightly from above, casting a strong glare against the virgin snow.
A “young” woman of normal stature, a tinge of blue hair, and around the age of 63 has just swooshed down the beginner slope of this new ski resort. Her first attempt in her life at skiing, Kora had literally danced her way down the mountain, stopping at the bottom, proudly waving her arms above her head, ski poles in each hand, proclaiming her victory to her family who had snapped a series of photographs to capture this historic event. “I have wanted to do this for years!” she happily announced. “Now I can check that off of my list of things to do before I die!” (Note to readers: 41 years later, Kora is still alive and active, finding more things to check off of her list!)
Suddenly, from seemingly out of nowhere, a young man on skis was rapidly approaching Kora from behind. It appeared he was somewhat, if not totally, out of control. Within seconds, and with no warning to Kora, her arms still in the air, the young man slammed into the back of Kora, sending her tumbling to the snowy cushion in front of her. Thankfully, the snow padded her fall, but she still sustained some cuts and scrapes as well as her first ever broken bone. Her leg was fractured. The sweet smell of victory soon turned sour as the medics arrived to quickly transport her to the hospital.
Although I was five years old at the time, I remember this event rather clearly. Grandma Kora was taken to a nearby hospital for some surgery, and then the doctors put a cast on her. By the next day, she was learning to use crutches. As she hobbled down the hospital hallway towards me, I remember only one thing: I was terrified of her at that moment. For some strange reason, I was sure that she would kick me in the hindquarters with that beast of a cast, given the opportunity. No, Grandma was not mean, but to a small five-year-old, that cast, coupled with an over-bearing woman, was something to be feared!
Needless to say, that was the first, last, and only time Grandma took to the slopes.