It is 25 degrees. I am dressed like an Eskimo. And people keep asking me, with a straight face, how I’m enjoying the warm weather. “It’s usually zero this time of year,” they say, real cheerful.
Poor things. They don’t know no better. They probably come to New Orleans and go swimming on St. Patrick’s Day.
I got to explain. My sister-in-law Gloriosa, the perfectionist, found out there was something she couldn’t do. Ski. In snow.
No surprise, since we ain’t big on snow in New Orleans. But now Gloriosa has started taking skiing trips.
Me, I never seen a ski.
Like normal people, if I take a trip it’s in the summer. To Disney World. Or the beach. Someplace warm.
But Gloriosa and her husband Proteus go “Up North” to this ski lodge twice a winter, once with the kids and once without. They also clump around on snowshoes there, which is good exercise to achieve a firm backside, Gloriosa says.
But this year, just before the two of them are supposed to leave, Proteus gets ordered to go to a liquor sellers convention in Miami. His daddy and him own Old Line Liquor Wholesalers, and old Mr. Proteus usually goes to this convention, but he ain’t recovered from Mardi Gras yet. Proteus’ mother, Ms. Sarcophaga, usually goes with him, but she ain’t speaking to him on account of whatever he did on Mardi Gras that he ain’t recovered from.
My gentleman friend Lust is also going, since he owns bars. So Gloriosa says I got to go skiing with her.
We get to their cabin near the ski lodge real late at night and fall into bed. Next morning, Gloriosa pops up early and says she’s going for her morning walk.
After a while, I crawl out from under the covers and stare out the window, and huh! It snowed overnight, real deep. Now, I seen snow before. We get snowflakes in New Orleans every 10 years, at least. Not enough to make a full-size snowman or nothing, but still. Plus, I watch A Wonderful Life every Christmas.
Still, I never seen snow, in person, piled up like sand dunes. It is gorgeous. But I want my coffee.
And there ain’t no coffee. We brung a bag of Community coffee, but I guess we left it in the car.
I will just dash out and get it.
Well. It turns out you can’t dash on top of snow. You can ski on it and you can snowshoe across it, but if you step off the front porch in your bedroom slippers, you sink. Up to my armpits
When Gloriosa comes back (wearing snowshoes) she sees this big indentation in the snow like a hysterical snow angel touched down.
Inside, a snow-covered bathrobe is defrosting on the floor and I’m in the hot shower. I holler I ain’t coming out until there’s coffee.
While she’s brewing it, Lust calls. I hear ice cubes tinkling. He is by the pool, working on his tan. Ain’t that nice. I say that I’m about to go skiing in very cold snow, and he gives me some advice.
Then me and Gloriosa wriggle into long underwear and pants, and more pants, and jackets, and knit hats, and we button knit scarves over our faces and go out like we’re getting ready to rob a bank.
At the lodge, we put on skis and boots and helmets and goggles. We take our ski poles and head for the ski lift. Gloriosa skis there and I slither, clutching them ski poles for dear life.
The lift operator says to place your poles in one hand before getting on, so I do,and my skis slide out from under me – and whoops! I am lying flat in snow. Again. Meanwhile, Gloriosa has hopped on the lift and disappeared up the mountain. The lift operator hauls me up and shows me the correct way to stand, and I grasp my poles in both hands, head high, knees bent and slither back to the lodge. I return the skis and boots and helmet and goggles and poles. Then I stroll to the bar and find a table with a nice view.
I take Lust’s advice, and order hot buttered rum. Which, in case you don’t know, is a liquid praline, but with alcohol instead of pecans. A little touch of home.
That is how you enjoy snow.