He started by accompanying me to the Kirkwood Ski Resort at Tahoe in February 2005. I put him in my pocket of my ski jacket and thought he’d like the ride. Or something. Carrying a wee brown bear in your pocket is always a good conversation starter.
I’d bought him and a larger brown bear at IKEA that year–when I’d bought some book cases. I saw them there in the bin and thought…well…I just thought he’d make a good bed partner. Soft. Furry. Dedicated. Undemanding. Basically, a pretty low-maintenance relationship (which is something I needed at the time).
Here’s a pic of my Carol (good friend and neighbour. Part of my Fitch Mountain Fitness group), me, and GB jr.
That day was a pretty eventful day. Right after we took this picture, Carol took off on her skis down the hill on our way to lunch. I followed on my board. We were just taking our time, enjoying the day, and the views, and the sun, and everything.
Then. Then. I saw a cloud of snow in front of me. I saw two skiis go in two different directions. I made my way over. Carol lay on the snow. She wasn’t moving. She wasn’t breathing. She was just still.
Carol? Carol? Are you OK? I struggle out of my board.
Carol! I say louder. Can you hear me? Hey. I shout up to the people in the ski lift. HEY. We need a toboggan. Carol? Can you breathe?
She moans and says. Yes.
Can you move?
I can move everything buy my leg. I can’t move my leg.
Ok. Stay still. I say. Stay right there. I grab her skiis and dig them into the snow in a barrier just uphill of where she lay. HEY. I shout at the people in the ski lift again. Can you make sure there’s a ski patroller on their way down. We need a toboggan.
I make my way back to Carol. The ski patrollers arrive quickly and do their stuff.
Do you want me to call Jimmy? Her husband was skiing tougher runs on the other side of the mountain with Sean and Katie.
No. She says. I don’t want to ruin his day. Lets just get me back down hill and we’ll see what happens.
I watch as the patrollers lift her into the toboggan. She passes out from the pain. The patrollers give her oxygen to help keep her awake.
Where’s your phone? I ask. I pat her pockets until I find her phone and start looking in her address book for Jimmy’s number.
No. She protests. Don’t call him. I don’t want to ruin his ski day.
I call him anyway. I think she’s delirious from the pain and high on the oxygen.
Hi. Jimmy. It’s Jennifer. He questions why I’m calling on Carol’s phone. Yeah. Uh…Carol’s on her way down to the medical facility…in a toboggan. I just wanted to let you know–although she didn’t want to ruin your ski day. But, I called anyway.
He starts to ask questions. I tell him she fell and the ski patrollers are taking her to the main medical facility. He should probably meet us there.
I look back at Carol and tell her Jimmy and her son Matt will meet us at the facility. She’s tucked into the toboggan. She looks a bit forlorn all bundled up and I decide to tuck GB jr into her jacket–to keep her company going down the hill. The patrollers tell me I need to be careful and make my own way down the hill.
I realize I’m a bit shaken. I carefully pick my way down the hill and meet everybody at the medical facility. Jimmy’s now in charge. He talks to Carol. He talks to me. I hang around for moral support.
She has x-rays taken and they splint her leg. We don’t know everything that happened, but we know it’s bad. Jimmy and Carol decide to go back to Healdsburg that evening. The rest of us on the trip are a subdued, but we stay in Tahoe for the rest of the weekend. We call Carol for updates.
Turned out–she’d shattered her tibula (the top of her shin bone–the part that connects to the knee). She needed a pin in her leg with twelve screws connecting it to her bone. I have way more to say on this story…after the fall–but I’ll put it in another entry.
The point of this story was supposed to be how GB jr started traveling with people on his world-wide adventures….