Monday, January 3, 2011

Down-hill Snow (a short story)

Down-hill Snow

(A day in the life of a father and a son, 1984)

Shawn stood a few feet to the side of his father, Chick Evens, knocking the snow off from his skies, brushing off his jacket, he had taken a tumble.
“That was a good one, Shawn,” his father said, “The snows real sticky today.”
“I know, it’s seems to slow me down some too; let’s try over there.”
“It’s a Black Diamond,” said Shawn.
“So it is, but it’s just a small one, I went down it before, nothing to it, nothing to worry about, just a little jump and you’re over it, keep yourself balanced, and don’t swing those poles about and you’ll be fine. Come on we’ll do it together.”
“Wait a minute, no, you do it first. I like watching you.”
Shawn was insistent on it, it seemed to bother his father, faintly at first then more so after a moment’s time, “Don’t be a bloody coward son, do it!”
“Okay, okay…” he grumbled unwillingly, “but if I get hurt, it’s your fault.” And he took off, his father behind him, his legs slipping a little too far apart, floating over the edge of a mound, then bringing back his knees pert near locking them, and as he turned his body, not quite knowing how to stop sharply, he fell and got smothered in snow, his father pert near parallel, showed up alongside of him.
“See, you did—great!” he said, proud as a peacock for his son.
The point was made, but Shawn was still frowning somewhat—he did something he didn’t want to do, but did it, and it turned out fine, matter-of-fact, his father knew under pressure Shawn usually done well.
“Oh, well. I’m getting hungry; let’s ski over to that small warming house I think they have a snack bar in there.”
“We might as well,” said Shawn.
And so they climbed the steep hill, and skied down to the inn, cleaned their boots off and went in.
The boy took off his jacket, sat down against a wall, ordered a hamburger, and hot apple juice, and the father a hamburger, and hot coffee.
“Is that all right,” asked his father.
“No more black diamonds, huh?” said Shawn.
“Okay, I wonder if they got any sweets like doughnuts or cake in here,” asked the father, and they did, and he ordered cake for him and his boy. He had felt bad he called him a coward, he was just fearful, not a coward, he was sorry he didn’t retract the word, but it was plane now he wasn’t.
The door opened and two more skiers came in, the waitress brought them a menu, smoking was permitted, they let up a cigarettes, it was 1984, and with their hats off, and skies mounted against the wall outside, they drank and ate, they were fond of each other.
Then once more, stamping their boots, of left over snow, they put the skies back on, and finished the day out.

No: 659 (1-3-2010)