I just wrote this story yesterday (2/18/21), watching the snow gently fall on our shell-shocked city of San Antonio.
My sister, Rosemarie, had tried to FaceTime me earlier in the day to establish a 3-way with our 92 y/o Mom, who’s in the Golden Gate Nursing Home back in Staten Island. Even though Mom suffers from severe dementia, it’s ALWAYS an absolute blessing when we’re able to see her (despite her being mostly unresponsive).
My sister would often visit her, but with all the COVID stuff…and they’ve unfortunately had a number of cases, both residents & staff…everything is now conducted virtually.
I got her FaceTime call earlier this afternoon, but the screen kept displaying “Trying to connect”.
Finally, it disconnected.
She later sends me a text message, saying that I never answered her call.
(Pls note: I’ve already filed a federal lawsuit against her, claiming interstate nonsense & reckless accusations!)
Of course, I explained what really happened.
Despite her apology, the damage has already been done so I’m pushing forward with my legal action.
In addition, I’m including her unfounded & unsubstantiated accusations that I once ate her chocolate bunny that she won in a spelling bee…could ya imagine that she had the unmitigated gall to raise this matter at several family gatherings in the past as well as on FB?!? 😱😱😱…in my claim so I can save some on attorney expenses.
Then, she replies, “I didn’t think you were out skiing cross country!!!! Although I don’t know if you ever skied!!!”
Oh, the humanity! (Why isn’t there a dirigible emoji??? Dirigible…blimp…Hindenburg…💥…🔥)
So, I replied & briefly told her about my sole attempt at skiing.
You get the longer version…
Me & my buddies set out early one wintry Sunday morning from Brooklyn to drive up to Hunter Mountain, “the Great Northern Catskills’ premier winter destination”.
I borrowed my Dad’s Cutlass Supreme as it could easily accommodate 6, er, sizable, healthy young men.
(Yes, I know, it’s supposed to be “My buddies and I…”, Karen, but then again, you ain’t supposed to say “shit”, either!)
Where was I?
It’s normally about a 2 1/2 hour ride from Brooklyn and since the weather was fine & it being the weekend, the travel upstate was smooth & uneventful.
This would actually be my very first time skiing.
Or, rather, attempting to.
I had previously hurt both my knees playing ball & tore the cartilage in each one. And this was probably 1976 so there was no such thing as “minor” arthroscopic surgery.
I hurt the left one after playing in the Annual Turkey Bowl on Thanksgiving Day (you know, in the PS 176 schoolyard…the boys vs. “the men”).
“The men” were all in their 20s & 30s…usually muscle bound beasts…and almost all were “connected” in one way or another.
The Mothers And Fathers Italian Association.
C’mon, you ever watch the Sopranos?
I was playing on the offensive line in this 7-man “touch football” game…3 lineman, 2 receivers, QB, halfback.
Played on concrete. Basically, everything but tackling. And line play was particularly fierce!
No holds barred.
I played opposite “Nicky Beans”, I believe, or some equally-maniacal monster who was”all man”.
But I pretty much handled him the entire game! Never got to the QB.
And he was pissed.
Very late in the game, on a running play to the “opposite side”, I pulled to provide some lead blocking for our QB.
The next thing I knew, I went down in a heap…but I hadn’t hit anybody!
Seems that SOB dove at my legs from behind (talk about a chicken shit move) & took me completely out. And he’s now standing there gloating.
Normally, I would’ve instinctively turned around, got in his face & exchanged some pleasantries.
But I was in incredible pain & somehow, I remembered where I was & exactly who he was.
Discretion was, indeed, the better part of valor…and the wisest move for my long-term health. (I don’t care how big they are…the trunk of a Cadillac can be quite stuffy! ⚰️)
I didn’t say a word & was helped to the sidelines.
After a short while, though, my entire leg went numb. Didn’t feel a damned thing!
(For those of you who read the story about my golf cart disaster, where I got ejected onto the cart path, bounced a few times on the pavement, then rolled into a shallow ravine filled with rocks…on my back, no less!…I experienced the very similar phenomenon.
Disaster, incredible pain, followed by total numbness.)
And since it was Thanksgiving, I went home, showered & changed, then headed out to Laurie’s house for a holiday feast.
But when I returned home later that night, all Hell broke loose!
In my knee, that is.
Upon exiting my car, no more than 75′ from my front door, someone chopped at my left knee with a giant axe!
The pain was unbearable!
I couldn’t even hop, couldn’t stand, couldn’t anything.
I grabbed onto the iron spikes along the top of the concrete wall (that separated our home from the sidewalk) & basically, dragged myself to the front steps, then up the stairs.
“Seriously now? A whole rambling story just to describe how you injured your knee?
“Hurry up, willya?!?”
That was my left knee…torn cartilage. I hurt my right knee hopping over a foul ball when I was on 3rd base & tore that cartilage.
That’s why I’ve gone skiing only once in my life.
*takes a breath*
So, I’m doing my thing on the Hunter Mountain bunny hill. I can do a Class 1 snowplow, ya know, where you point your skis inward in order to stop.
And since I wore brand-new dungarees (see story #84 “Snow!!!” for a definition), I left a bright-blue stain on the snow whenever I took an inadvertent slide.
Always leaving my mark, heh?
But it was the trip home where most of the excitement occurred…
It began snowing pretty heavily when we finally decided to call it a day, somewhere around 4:00, 4:30.
As soon as we hit the highway (Route 23A south), we were in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Not a big deal as I was very used to driving in bad weather.
But then, the wipers started to slow down & the headlights actually dimmed! (Later, after pulling into a service station on the highway median, we learned that the alternator belt had snapped.)
So, here I am, driving with my head out the friggin’ window…in a full snowstorm.
With glasses on, no less!
Finally made it the service station & had the belt replaced. I was absolutely thrilled to learn that it was just a stupid belt & that I somehow didn’t kill my Dad’s car!
(I escaped death TWICE in the same story!!!)
But the traffic did not let up one bit as it was snowing even more heavily than before!
And for the entire length of the trip, no less, including the NY State Thruway, until we finally reached Manhattan.
Now, it was well after midnight…more than 8 hours since we left…as I headed down the West Side Highway toward the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel & into Brooklyn.
For all non-NYers, the West Side Highway in Manhattan is more like a big avenue than an actual highway.
Traffic lights. Pot holes. People. The gorgeous prostitutes (with Adam’s Apples) outside the Ramrod.
I must’ve fallen asleep.
At the wheel.
The next thing I know, the road curved sharply to the left and since I was driving in the right hand lane, there’s this steel girder staring me straight in the face, less than 50 feet away, when I awoke.
It couldn’t have been more than a few seconds that I was out.
I believe. But honestly, I really don’t know!
Note: At this point in the “highway”, there had been an elevated portion of the road that had been abandoned…but only partially dismantled.
It was here where cars USED TO go up the (dismantled) ramp & continue on downtown
Now, instead, the road turned to the left & you would now continue UNDER the no-longer-used elevated roadway.
That’s exactly where the girder was…holding up the beginning of the elevated highway.
Lemme tell ya, THAT WAS SOME WAKE-UP CALL!!!
Literally & theoretically.
And, of course, the other 5 bears were snoring away in their stupid li’l dens…not even realizing that I just saved their lives!!!
(OK, so I just almost killed us all, but still…)
They say that God acts in strange ways.
I believe it.
As always, thank you so very much for listening!
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