Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Owen's Snowmobile

Doesn't he look sweet.

Owen's other Grandpa races snowmobiles so naturally he had to get his grandson one. 
He made the long trip down here to deliver it last weekend. 

Dad trying to show him the ropes.

Notice how it has been personalised with his name between the racing flags = 01.

Owen and his other Grandpa.

Yes he really loves his Grandpa and enjoys every visit. 
It is too bad that he lives over 300 miles away.
I am sure they both enjoy more playtime together.

Haming it up for the camera.

But speaking of snowmobiles, I hope Owen has better luck than me.

I have only been on a snowmobile a few of times and only as a passenger, that was way back in my teen years. Once on a short ride in Boy Scouts to get me to a location in a hurry. It was in the spring with slushy snow and my back got drenched and I was wet and cold for the rest of the day. Another time was with a neighbor's son who raced them, on a very modified super fast snowmobile. It was a fast ride that ended in near disaster.

He wanted to find a field of snow to try his latest modifications out in, and I told him where he could find one, but he insisted that I go with him. When we got to the field he hit the gas and the runners never touched down. As we neared the end of the field I tried to warn him that it was nothing but ice, but by that time we were going so fast that the ending was inevitable. At the end of the field was an old barbed wire fence some small trees and bushes and of course a rock pile. As we hit the ice I managed to holler "FENCE" but the runners had no purchase on the ice an he couldn't turn, he hollered "DUCK".

Luckily the snow had built up at fence/tree line and we managed to clear all of the bigger trees and most of the rock pile. I remember flying through the air thinking "this is going to hurt" and then strangely, "how pretty the frost and snow was on the trees in the nearby woods", just before hitting the ground.

There was enough snow on the other side to help cushion the fall. Neither of us were hurt seriously but the snowmobile was a mess. The windscreen was torn in half and the guys snowmobile suit had a big tear in it, and my hat, was gone. I think the fence got them. The runners were torn off, the fiberglass hood was shattered and debris was everywhere. The remainder of the sled landed about a foot away from the driver.

Needless to say we were both lucky to be alive and without any broken bones. As we limped home about a mile away, he told me we were going in excess of 100 mph before I warned him about the ice and he tried real hard to slow us down. My extra weight was something he didn't take into consideration when he hit the throttle, and it was all he could do to keep us from flipping. With me holding on to him and pulling him backwards he couldn't release the throttle, and he didn't think we slowed down all that much until the rock pile. He and his dad later retrieved the snowmobile and he went on many more years of racing.

I on the other hand, while not afraid of them, choose not to participate in the sport of snowmobiling. Many years of working outside in the winter has left me with a better way to spend my leisure time, INSIDE where it is warm.

My wife has mentioned a few times over the years that it would be nice to have one, especially when we would get snowed in for long periods. But somehow we have never gotten one.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ok, let's try this again...

Brady & and me

I have been away from here for far too long and now I don't know how to start or where.
So first I will tell you a little Christmas story:

When I think back to my childhood and realize just how close my parents families were, and weekends were spent visiting relatives, I wonder what happened. Some of my best memories as a child are from those weekends and it is sad that my children never had an opportunity to know their cousins as I did mine. For my part it was because I worked 7 days a week usually for more than 70 hours. But my brother and sisters families never adopted the weekend visiting tradition of our parents either.  We do try to get together on the last sunday of the month, but since my Dad died we haven't done a very good job of it. What with illnesses and vacations and work schedules or other "more pressing" issues, it seems we just can't all make it. Now it is hard just to get all of mine, my brother and sisters' families together for Christmas. Yes, much can be blamed on the economy or the social changes brought about by the electronic age, or whatever. But I wonder how my parents could find the time for all of these visits and I can't? Even though I no longer work. Still I think it comes down to choice and habit.

At our annual Family Christmas Eve Celebration this year, I sat back and marveled at how well all of the grandchildren got along with one another. And how our children mingled and reforged family ties. I even spent a few minutes on the floor with a greatnephew throwing a ball back and forth. Not such a big deal, maybe...but it was the first time that he showed any interest in me and I wasn't about to let the opportunity pass. Three year old Brady was playing with a ball as I was walking by, he bounced it high and I made a quick save as it headed over the stairwell rail. I rolled it back to him and he quickly rolled it back to me...an open invitation to play...I couldn't resist even though I knew I was going to have a heck of a time getting off the floor. As I was getting myself down to his level, my son asked if it was such a good idea, as he didn't think he would be able to get me up (his back was bothering him, (another family tradition). I told him that I would crawl to the stairs if neccessary. Brady and I had a blast rolling the ball back and forth. His outbursts of giggling prompted me into making faces and other foolish things. Soon other children came to join the game and I left after a while. (I even managed to get myself up unassisted.) The glow in that childs eyes and his laughter made it all worth while.

Opportunity and Choice...what wonderful things.
  And now for the obligatory family photos....
Our family, minus our youngest daughter, who moved to Florida last summer. 

My brother's family.


The eldest of my sister's family with our step-mother.
My youngest sister and her husband.

Our 2 oldest grandchildren.

And our youngest.