Variety is the garlic in the salami of life
During the work week I sometimes sleep on the ski hill at Snowmass, because New Castle is just too far.This arrangement requires a double commute. First I drive to Snowmass from work in Aspen. Then I snowmobile up to my chalet. Life was simpler when I stayed on the mountain at Snowmass and ski patrolled there, too, but after 30 years I wondered if the pine trees might smell a little sweeter at Aspen. Besides, just before he burned up in a light-plane crash en route to St. Benedict’s Monastery, Mr. Courtney advised our 10th-grade world history class that, “variety is the garlic in the salami of life.” A week ago Tuesday when it started really snowing, I wondered if maybe Wednesday morning we might have to come in early for avalanche control. You can’t phone my place at Snowmass, so Artie and I took home patrol radios. Artie promised he’d call on channel one if he got the 4 a.m. get-out-of-bed-and-go-to-work call. That night it was slippery and bumper-to-bumper all the way to the Owl Creek turnoff. The Owl Creek Road makes a sharp left and heads uphill by the driveway to Lada’s place, where I sometimes keep my honeybees. I pulled around the state patrol car stuck sideways at the base of the hill.Now it was snowing hard onto the unplowed road. The Range Rover in front of me doing 10 mph finally turned off at a monster home halfway to Snowmass.At Snowmass I had to dig out my snomo and wiggle the ignition wires to get it started. I headed down the Slot Road and then banked hard left onto the west side of Option trail. I got a thrill when I went up onto one ski, but I didn’t tip over, and I gave her full throttle straight up the slope through the powder.There was an honest eight inches at my bungalow, and it was still coming down wet and heavy.I fell asleep listening to Glenn Miller on the radio, and when I woke up at 4:30, I wondered if Artie had called, and I just didn’t hear him. I started worrying about rush hour traffic. I wasn’t going back to sleep, so I got up and headed down the mountain.I got lost twice on my snowmobile in the fog and the dark and had to stop and read a ski trail sign to find my way down. In Aspen I pulled over on Durant Street. I was contemplating an illegal U-turn, when a police car pulled alongside. The officer wasn’t smiling. He did look familiar. “Say, aren’t you that cowpoke who lives up the Fryingpan?” I said. “And didn’t I once-upon-a-time live in the house you grew up in?” I added, just to make him wonder. Finally he grinned. I said, “Dan, I can’t decide whether to head for work or breakfast.” “Go to breakfast, Ed,” he said solemnly. Then his cell rang, and I drove to the Wienerstube. On the ride up Aspen Mountain, the pine boughs hung low with new-fallen snow. It seemed they never smelled so sweet. This is the final episode of “To Bee or Not to Bee.” To his valley friends, Ed says, “Thanks for the memories!” Ed’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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