The return of “Grace”


Jessica Lewis

I’m sure no sight could possibly be more amusing than watching a non-skier attempt to ski for the first time. I am sure of this, because as I was attempting to ski at my sister’s house yesterday, I could hear the uproarious laughter echoing from the house, as my sisters, nieces, nephews, brothers in law and I think even my 9 month old baby pointed and laughed at me.

I’ve never been known for my coordination. In fact, as a child going through my awkward stage, my oldest sister nicknamed me Grace, because of my obvious lack in that area. For all children, the awkward stage is different, and can last longer or shorter amounts of time. I just hope that mine will end soon, because, as my husband keeps telling me, I bruise far too easily to be falling down the stairs so often.

Yesterday, I  felt inspired. Shaking off the remnants of my formerly clumsy self, I strapped on the ski boots and shakily made my way outside. I had the skis on in moments and was feeling confident in my abilities. No problem, I thought. I’ll be mastering the slopes in no time. I made a painfully slow lap around the house before I decided to try my luck at skiing down the hill. In retrospect, it probably would have been a good idea to learn how to stop before attempting to cruise down, but that thought didn’t occur to me as I side-stepped my way up the hill.

It probably took me fifteen minutes, but eventually I was standing at the top of the hill. I had a moment of hesitation as I turned my skis forward and saw the slope ahead of me, but I had no time to rethink my actions, because before I knew it I was moving. “Lean forward, snow plow, snow plow!” Katie (older sister number two) yelled as I picked up more and more speed and the fence at the base of the hill came into view. Of course, to me, snow plow meant absolutely nothing, so instead I flailed my arms and screeched in an ever so elegant way. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flash of brownish golden fur, my skis went flying out from underneath me and I landed on the ground, tangled in my own skis with a big, furry dog licking my face. “Lucky was not the right name for you,” I said to the dog named Lucky.

I heard a scrape as the windows of the house were pulled open. Laughter poured out  at me. “Good going, Grace,” someone yelled.

As I sat in the snow bank with the improperly named dog tangling his leash around my already disheartened form, I considered not getting back up. Not because I had given up, although I definitely had bruised my pride and some other body parts, but because I found it impossible to try to untangle my skis enough to stand. “Lean forward,” Katie  ordered. “Use the ski poles for balance.” As my six year old nephew grabbed my arm and tried to pull me to my feet, he began giving me pointers for my next trip down the hill, and I felt my last traces of pride dash away.

I’d like to tell you that my next attempt was much improved, but lying has never been my strong suit, so I will just say, I will definitely need some more practice before I hit the real ski slopes, and I guess I will be known as Grace until then.