It’s the season of giving, but sometimes it feels like we end up giving a little more than we had planned.
For example, there may be somebody out there who ended up with a pair of cross-country skis — and while I knew that letting my son “borrow” them for the ski season essentially meant I was giving them to him, I was not anticipating giving them away altogether.
A few weeks back, I was just taking my first sips of coffee on a Monday morning as my wife and kids were getting ready to leave for school. My son, a high school sophomore, called up from the door to the garage about a pair of skis.
“What skis?” was the answer from my wife.
“The ones I left on top of the car so I would remember them this morning …”
While I have to commend my son for getting things ready the night before so he wouldn’t be rushing around in the morning, sitting on top of my wife’s car was probably not the best place to leave a pair of skis. What he didn’t realize is a couple of days a week, she gets up ridiculously early and goes for a workout. She’s usually back before the kids are even stirring in their beds. Perhaps this is the time to mention that one of the supposed origins or the word sophomore is the Greek for “wise fool.”
And let’s face it, when you’re leaving the house at zero-dark-thirty, you’re probably not thinking to check for something on the car roof.
She did say she heard something shift, but figured it was just something she had sitting in the back.
She backtracked on her way to school, and I drove her route a couple of times when the sun came up. I even made a Facebook post, and we gave a heads up to our neighbors, friends and coworkers, but the skis never turned up.
It’s not the first time I’ve lost something that had been left on top of a vehicle. I even once had a coffee cup that I called my 60-mile-per-hour mug. It had a wide base, and that one time I left it on the car roof while loading up some fishing tackle, it must’ve wedged perfectly under the roof rack — because it was still there when we got to the river. And there’s been many times when I’ve leaned something up against the side of the truck, only to remember that it’s there when I hear it fall over as I begin to back out of a parking spot.
Fortunately — if there is a fortunate side to losing something — they were relatively inexpensive skis, which I had bought second-hand as a pair of back-up skis while my son was “borrowing” my skis during last year’s high school season. He got his own new fancy set of skis this year, and was going to bring those back-up skis to use as his rock skis — basically, a set of old skis to use when the snow is still pretty thin and there might be a few rocks poking through that would scratch up your skis.
My fear is that those skis were hit by a plow truck or run over by some other vehicle. But in driving back and forth, I never spotted any broken pieces, and since they were red, I figured they would have stood out against the snow. So I’m hopeful that someone spotted them, stopped and picked them up.
And here’s my Christmas wish: I hope those skis are being put to use by someone who is out enjoying what has, so far, been a great winter for cross-country skiing — especially compared to the past couple of seasons. In my dreams, there’s some young skier who, after clipping in to them, has discovered some innate talent that they never knew they had, and someday will represent Team Alaska at junior nationals or even Team USA at the Olympics, all because of a pair of skis found on the side of the road.
Of course, if they’re just getting out an enjoying the local trails, that’s fine too. Heck, if someone found them and is just using them as decorations over the fireplace, at least they’re being put to good use.
And if you have a set of skis that didn’t magically appear at the side of the road, my New Year’s wish for you is that you get out and use those, too. If we’ve learned anything over the past couple of winters, it’s that we need to get out and enjoy the snow while we have it, because it might not be there tomorrow.
One other thing: before you leave for the trails, take a quick peek on top of your car.
Reach Clarion editor Will Morrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.