Pittsburgh


(Written Friday morning)

I’m off to Pittsburgh today (Pennsylvania) ((the one near Mckeesport)) . Looking forward to seeing Craig & Holly. Craig is my childhood friend who grew up around the corner from me. The corner of Maple & Grand is where we would meet. We called it “corn” for short because we understood the concept of abbreviation but not the craft.

We used to throw the football and play golf and trade baseball cards and watch the Simpsons and watch Van Dam movies and ride our bikes to Dairy Queen and arm wrestle and play night tag and go skiing and play basketball and have slumber parties and I would usually go home around midnight crying because I wasn’t comfortable sleeping in anything other than my own bed.  So it will be good to stay with him and I don’t expect to cry tonight.

Night tag may have been one of the highlights of my competitive childhood career.  I was amazing and fearless. I would leap rusty fences in the pitch black like a super hero. I would hide in the dirt under a bush for hours. You couldn’t catch me, I was invisible. I was the Jason Bourne of 12 year olds who played night tag on my block, I’m sure of it.

The skiing though, that was dangerous.  I’m amazed I’m alive. As much due to the drive there as anything. At 3 pm school would let out and we would sprint home so that at 3:15 we could catch the van to Wisp, which was driven by Craig’s 16 year old brother who would drive at the van’s maximum speed of 91 mph (110 downhill).  We would get there in about 35 minutes listening to AC/DC’s thunderstruck on repeat, when it should have taken an hour.  I would then go off the biggest jump and attempt helicopters for the rest of the evening, from 4 pm to 9 pm.  I never once landed a helicopter but that didn’t deter me.  I did land ever other way, including on my head.

It blows my mind that we didn’t have any injuries.  Craig was a very meticulous skiier and could not stand falling.  He would fall and then you’d have to wait half an hour for him to get all the snow out of his boots.  One time we went on a school field trip and he face planted on a mogul right in front of the chair lift where all of the other students could see him.  I think he’s still recovering emotionally from that.

Craig was always a better skier, but for the longest time he refused to do black diamonds.  We were both well past the time when we were good enough to do black diamonds, but he was resistant, and I didn’t want to go by myself.  I mean, it’s a BLACK DIAMOND.  When you’ve never done one you just picture a cliff face with a few random patches of ice, and skeletons along the way.

One night my dad went skiing with me, instead of Craig. I have no idea how this happened because my dad doesn’t ski. My dad wanted to encourage me, and volunteered to do a Black Diamond with me (there is a lot of down time in the chair lift so you’re bound to say things you regret). I’m not sure exactly what he was thinking as he was struggling at the bunny slope.  Anyway, we did it. I went right down the black diamond very uneventfully. Got to the bottom, felt great – check the black diamond off the ol’ bucket list.

And then I waited. A good 30 minutes went by and I was definitely worried that I had killed my Dad, which was not on my bucket list. But then there he was in the distance, a speck on the mountain, walking down the moguls in ski boots, skies over shoulder, directly beneath the chair lift where teenagers could laugh and taunt him.  He was very brave and fatherly and unable to ski downhill.

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2 Responses to “Pittsburgh”

  1. Your dad’s a real mensch. Wish him happy Mother’s Day for me.

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