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Advice & More April 2018

Daringly, Head For The Hills!

By Karen White-Walker

One push and I'm sailing through the air, my frozen strands of hair whipping my elderly, weather-beaten face, and it feels like I'm being attacked by razor blades, and yet I feel so free
and alive!

How many of us used to look forward to the nightly news, because back in the day, terrorist attacks, massacres and school shootings were unfathomable? And now before going to bed aren't you tempted to put the hospital's emergency number on speed dial for “just in case?” Like maybe you'll suffer a stress-induced stroke?

But wait, there's hope! My three aging sisters and I recently discovered an outlet for national news anxiety and a panacea for depression brought on by dwelling on what's all wrong with this wacky world. Great news! I can tell you what's RIGHT with it. Stay with me here and I promise you'll feel wildly light, invigorated and enthusiastic to share with other seniors your newly found freedom — IF you live to tell about it! C'mon, at our advancing ages, is it such a big deal to be toying with the idea of landing "from here to eternity" in just one swipe?

First, in preparation you must disregard those aggravating aches and pains that keep you chained to your couch; also that crippling idea that you're too old to try what you might have been too scared to do at age 10? Forget the words “I can't.” I have found now at 70-something, that the words “I can” have a therapeutic connotation – and we four sisters have taken it to the limit, literally, and we want more, more!

That “more” is something we've heard about from those 60 years younger than ourselves –  the winter sport of tubing. And yes, we did feel silly and self-conscious about our ages standing amongst those “babies.” So that's what prompted me to ask George, a worker at Holiday Valley, if anybody older than us went tubing.

"We got one 91-year-old regular who comes here with his 75-year-old 'kid.'" And then to
rattle us up, he adds that the son just asked his dad to up his life insurance — double indemnity if there's an accident. " Naw, just fooling ya guys about the dad's insurance, but I'm right on about their ages."

With George's assistance I manage to plop myself into the seat of the big, round, rubbertube. He hooks the cord hanging from the side of it to a pulley that starts jerking me up over the icy jagged terrain, and our ascent begins up the hill. Hill, heck! It looks more like a mountain!

"Brace yourself up on the tube's sides with your arms, and raise your bum up from the seat's bottom, so it doesn't hurt like hell!" he yells out to me.

I'm the first sister to reach the summit, followed by sister two, three, and four. We used to refer to ourselves as the Little Women, now it's more like the Big Bruisers since we're all decked out in one-piece snowmobile outfits that belong to four husky men. And darn if mine doesn't fit perfectly. I ask you, where is the justice?

The steep hill before us appears so long, and we all suddenly feel so short on guts.

"Look, what do we have to lose?" quiver's Mary's voice.

"Only our lives," trembles Beth.

"Hey, did you notice at the end of this monstrosity that mound of snow that's supposed to stop our tubes?" nervously asks Joyce. "What happens if we go over it?"

"According to George, we die!" Don't think that I didn't think to ask that joker that question beforehand and, luckily, he had that mischievous glint in his eyes. But really with my wearing thick safety glasses, could I be sure of anything I saw?

"There's only one-way down, Karen, and because you're the oldest, and you're always wanting us to defer to you first — HERE YOU GO!"

One push and I'm sailing through the air, my frozen strands of hair whipping my elderly, weather-beaten face, and it feels like I'm being attacked by razor blades, and yet I feel so free
and alive! Absolutely no time to think about the world's problems, only the inconvenience that my nose is running and I don't want to use somebody else's sleeve. Oh, what the hell!

My speed-breaking flying tube hits the snow mound and swings me around like a mini merry-go-round. Oh, to feel like one is back on the playground again! As I turn to see my first sister whizzing down this runway, I can tell that my playmate is having the time of her life! Never mind that her expression of horror resembles someone who's maybe just been informed she's going to be working in Trump's cabinet.

Look, it's so hard not to revert back to thinking about the national news. But the four of us are really trying. In less than two weeks we've gone tubing three times. How crazy is that? A delightful crazy, I might add. More sane than working with you-know-who, in you-know-where.


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