Tony blinked his eyes open in the half-light of a snow covered, early New England morning. The snow’s high albedo created a lovely soft light in Jean’s room and Jean created a strongly rising libido in Tony’s loins.
It was cold in the bedroom but underneath the down comforter it was heavenly, especially when he reached out, encircled the nearly perfect and nude form of his lover with his arms and pressed her authoritatively to his equally nude and achingly primed groin. “Hmmm, seems like there’s something that’s come up in the night,” she whispered in his ear. She reached out and gave his engorged penis a firm but loving squeeze and said, “You two are going to have to wait till later, big boy, we’ve got to get moving.”
Tony’s face fell as he realized that his instantly aroused desire would not be instantly satisfied. He perched on one elbow and stroked her flanks saying, “Wouldst thou leave me so unsatisfied?”
“Listen, Romeo,” she said with a big smile, “Your wood was anything but unsatisfied last night and if you play your cards right you’ll be anything but unsatisfied tonight but we’ve got to get moving here or else Friar Tuck won’t get me the antidote on time.” They kissed, embraced and just as Jean was having second thoughts about giving in to his lechery Tony slipped out of bed, taking the sheet and comforter with him.
“Ass hole!” She hissed as she balled up into the fetal position in a feeble attempt to fight the cold. “Now Juliet may only offer palm to palm and holy palmers’ kiss to the jerk who left her shivering without a cover! And I ain’t talking no hand job here!”
Tony threw the covers and a kiss to her as he shimmied into a pair of sweat pants and a tee shirt and headed for the bathroom. Jean got up and likewise relieved herself and they both went downstairs to make coffee and breakfast loudly enough to wake the other two guests. When the coffee was perking and the pancakes cooking Tony looked out the window at the fresh layer of snow. “Whoa, it looks like we got at least a foot and it’s still snowing. Do you think the roads are clear?”
“This is New England, sweetie; the roads are clear.”
John and Gerri made their way downstairs looking much the worse for wear after two consecutive nights of partying to the wee hours and then rising early the next day. Tony decided he had better drive on the snowy streets rather than his brother or Jean because he figured no one would want the extra burden of explaining any potential mishap to Carl if a hung-over John or, God forbid, someone other than a Kneel were behind the wheel during a collision.
A greeting of, “Good morning,” on Tony’s part to John and Gerri was met with subdued and forlorn grunts. The conversation was muted as much by the early hour and the lack of sleep as it was by any ill effects of the previous night’s drinking and Tony was the only uncultivated creature in the room whose like is stigmatized throughout the civilized world with the baneful moniker of “Morning Person.” Among the otherwise more common Night Owls at the table Tony’s aggressive tendency of awakening early and eager to get his day going was a trait everyone considered suspect, but as it was early no one considered challenging him about it.
Once they had eaten, grabbed their gear and stowed it in the Olds Jean directed Tony to head over to Main Street and then north to U.S. 44. John and Gerri took advantage of being chauffeured and caught a few more Z’s as the troupe sashayed their way to the mountain. The streets in town had been plowed and as the foursome made their way west Tony was relieved to find that the streets department was doing a good job of keeping 44 clear of snow. Going over Avon Mountain was a bit unnerving but they drove along nicely until reaching Farmington River Turnpike just east of New Hartford.
Jean had made the trip to Ski Sundown half-a-dozen times over the years but never in a snow storm. She was navigator and as the roads had so far been amazingly clear she directed Tony down her usual short-cut of Farmington River Turnpike, a far more secondary road than Highway 44 and as it turned out not nearly as well plowed. After a few minutes of ever worsening road conditions Tony said, “Shit. Up till now the roads were great. What happened, did we hit a different county or something?”
Jean grimaced and owned up to her navigational misstep. “No, I took us on a little short cut I usually use to get here. I wasn’t thinking about them not plowing the secondary roads as quickly as they do the major ones. Do you want to turn around and get back on 44?”
“How much farther is it on this road?”
“Just a few miles,” she responded. “Then we’ll be to the ski resort road.”
Tony considered his options and the road’s slippery surface but deciding that turning around was unnecessary he smiled at Jean and said, “No worries, beautiful. The 88 can make it through just about anything.” He made his way along the short-cut and came out on State Road 219, the Reservoir Road. After driving on Farmington River road Tony was proceeding more hesitantly and when he came to the last, uphill, switch-back covered ultra-narrow track to the resort he was driving with great care through the still lightly falling snow. Ratlum Road, the road up the mountain, was covered in snow and Tony was taking his time up the greasy grade. As he drove he used his rear-view mirror to watch as a little red sports car come chasing up his tail pipe. He looked on in disbelief as the driver got right on his bumper and tail-gated him as both cars climbed the final leg to Ski Sundown.
Tony looked in his mirror again as he climbed a steep section of Ratlum and said, “There’s some asshole right on my rear end!”
Tony’s loud complaining about the offending driver had roused Gerri and John from their slumber and his three passengers turned their heads to see if he was exaggerating but as they did so the little car backed way off. In fact, he backed so far off that Tony thought his troubles were over until the car again practically attached itself to the 88. Tony fumingly made his way up the mountain complaining of the sports car’s near proximity to his bumper as the red car again began to back off some only to immediately crowd Tony again.
The other driver repeated getting close and then farther away and Tony muttered under his breath as both cars inched up the mountain. The other driver was close enough to the Oldsmobile that he could no doubt read the tiny UMCP Lot 4 parking decal on its bumper and it chugged along in that position as Tony slowed to make a curve to the left that was sharper than a ninety degree turn. Tony slowly climbed the hill but as the red car followed it suddenly slowed, backed off his bumper and started down the mountain and was soon out of sight. Shaking his head and fuming Tony pulled into the parking lot.
He parked the car and the foursome was just finishing gathering their belongings from the Olds when the little red sports car pulled into the lot and headed for a parking spot scant feet away. “I’m going to say something to that idiot!” Tony declared and as he did so Jean rushed up to him.
“Don’t say anything, Tony; don’t say anything. Just let it go,” she said to him calmly and rationally.
As she said this the driver and his girlfriend got out of the sports car and he yelled over to Tony, “You know, if you hadn’t been going so slow I could have made it up the hill. I had to go down to the bottom and start over again!”
Upon hearing this Jean’s face lit up with fury and she marched over to the portly, early thirties know it all and let loose with both verbal barrels. “What kind of moron doesn’t have the common sense not to follow too closely in a snow storm and how dare you blame him for your ineptness? What you need is some basic driving lessons and maybe then you won’t be such a pompous, gas filled hazard to yourself and others. I think you should think real hard before you open that flatulent flapping maw of yours and utter any more inane statements! Capisce?” saying the last word with the proper three syllable pronunciation. The other driver closed his mouth, opened it and again re-closed it without saying an additional word.
Gerri, John and Tony looked at each other and John said, “Hey, Tony. Whatever you do don’t say anything; right, Jean?”
“Yeah, yeah, he had it coming. If he knows what’s good for him he’ll stay the hell away from us today,” Jean fumed.
The other three laughed and Tony said, “I have a feeling he’ll keep his distance, sweetie!”
John and Jean helped Tony fill out his ski rental information sheet at the lodge and everyone got their equipment. John took Tony to the bunny slope and provided him with extremely rudimentary, basic instruction. “You really ought to learn how to parallel ski but for now we’re just going to try snow plowing until you’ve made a few runs down the bunny slope.” Tony watched John demonstrate and learned how to snowplow by bringing the tips of his skis together and pushing down on the inner edge to slow himself. John and Gerri took off for the advanced runs while Jean skied with him on the easiest slope. As Tony snow plowed down the nearly level terrain she would serpentine down the forgiving and gentle grade. Once at the bottom they ascended using the tow rope a few times but Jean quickly grew tired of playing nurse-maid and urged him onto the chair-lift.
The snow had continued to fall intermittently throughout the morning and had recently picked up speed and volume causing Tony’s eyeglasses to periodically get covered in snow, rendering them useless between cleanings. Jean walked him through the chair lift procedure and when it was their turn Tony took the right side of the chair so that he could grab the rail with his hand when he sat down. He got on the chair okay but when they reached the top of the lift he pushed off hard enough so that the chair was forced backwards in such a fashion and with enough velocity that he caused Jean to tumble to the ground rather than sliding safely out of the way. The lift operator gave her a dirty look as he stopped the chair and Jean got up, ignored the employee’s look of superiority and waved to him that she was okay. Only Jean’s pride had been damaged and she was pleased at having gotten Tony to the top of the green slope.
At the top of the little hill the snow was being driven harder by wind than it had been at the base and Tony found that his glasses were constantly being covered in snow, making them most ineffectual. He opted to remove them but because of his nearsightedness this caused him to ski in an exaggerated and extremely bent over position so that his face was close to the ground, thus enabling him to see variations in the terrain. His first experience skiing was not going well and Jean found herself growing more and more bored with her forced inactivity. She knew that bringing Tony skiing for the first time would be more work than play for her, but she hadn’t realized how extensive and pervasive this truth would be.
They managed to ski slowly to the base of the green slope and Tony was proud that he hadn’t fallen. Jean looked as though she was having a hard time not criticizing her boyfriend. An experienced skier would understand that snowplowing down a bunny slope at a speed that most people could run at was really not something to be overly proud of. No doubt Jean wanted to be supportive but at the same time was having difficulty in adjusting to the limitations Tony was forcing her to accept. “You know,” she said, “maybe you should learn how to parallel turn in addition to just slowing down. You’ll have a lot more control and it’ll be more fun.”
“I don’t know, I think I’m doing okay the way I’ve been going.”
“Tony, we haven’t even really started skiing yet. You need to relax and be a little more adventuresome. Here, watch me as I zig-zag a little ways down the hill.” Jean allowed herself to slowly slide down the hill and exerted a tiny amount of force on the outer edge of her left ski while unshipping her weight from her right and allowing that leg to stay relatively parallel. After traveling about five feet in a gently flowing arc to the left she repeated the action on the right followed by another left and right. She wound up about twenty feet downhill from Tony whom she encouraged with, “See? Easy. Now you try.”
Tony let out a highly audible sigh. “For you it’s easy, for me not so much.” Sighing again he added, “Okay, here goes,” and started down the hill with his weight distributed on both legs. Once he had traveled a few feet and his speed had increased to that of a slow run his eyes got wide and he tried to turn as Jean had, only to find himself lying on the ground unharmed and unhappy. “Yeah, that didn’t work so well,” he said without a trace of levity in his voice.
Jean and Tony made little progress in getting Tony to ski. Patient instruction was not one of the amazing arrows in Jeans bountiful quiver and after having fallen a few more times Tony said he was content to snow plow down the mountain in peace. Jean responded with, “This is not the mountain, it’s the bunny slope and what you are doing isn’t skiing, it’s, well I don’t know what it is but it isn’t skiing. I know you can get this but you’ve gotta try,” she said with patience she no doubt did not feel.
“Hey, it’s obvious you’re not having any fun here with me right now so why don’t you go ski some on your own and then come back to me? I’ll be fine and once you get a few turns down the mountain maybe I’ll be ready to try again?”
“You’re sure?” was Jean’s immediate reply. She wanted to spend time with Tony and help him to become a skier but it was pretty clear that if she didn’t get a break from his inept, foul footed fumbling she might soon loose her temper and berate him the way she had the sports car driver.
“Yeah, yeah I’m sure. Just let me get some experience on the skis and I promise I’ll try again.”
“Okay, if you’re sure then I’ll go, but I’ll swing back over here every couple of runs to check on you.”
“Swing back over? You mean you’re not going to stay on this hill?”
“Uhmm, no, I wasn’t. I was going to go do some of the blue runs and maybe the easier black. Is that okay?”
“Yeah, sure, sure. That’s what I meant; you go ahead. I’ll be great.”
“I tell you what, I’ll make a few runs here on the bunny hill and if you still feel that way then I’ll go find John and Gerri and we’ll swing back by and check on you.”
“Okay, that sounds better. You have fun but come check me out from time to time, okay?”
“Okay. You be careful and enjoy yourself and I’ll ski around you a few times and then let you know when I’m heading to to find your brother.” With that they had kissed and each made their way down Sundown’s easiest chair lift accessible slope at different paces, with different goals and from vastly differing perspectives.