Family Chronicles: Ski, Bowl, Scrabble.

Sue and I were determined to ski during my time here. She and her friend Hazel have been skiing every day for a half hour. This day we decided to go for a full hour, about 2.5 miles, through the deep dark snow-glistening woods of Spring Hill Conservation land in Acton.

map I had brought my 30-year-old telemark skis all the way from Jackson, Wyoming, when I moved to Bloomington Indiana in 2002, thinking I would ski again some day. Well, this was the day!

I zip up my 30-year-old North Face shell. . .

gloves off

. . . and push off, behind Sue and Hazel, not wanting them to see how I do, because though I have trumpeted my skiing skills, who knows? I mean geez! It’s been twelve years! And I’m 71 years old!

Wow! Pushing. . . PUSHING . . . is hard on the upper arms!

I settle in to the trail, poo-poo Sue when she points to a “water hazard,” i.e., a tiny trickle of water that we have to cross over. . . still huffing and puffing, but far enough behind that Sue and Hazel can’t hear.

Whew! Sue, in the lead decides to stop to remove her hat. I get a chance to rest. And take a photo. Sweet place! Reminds me of Indiana woods near my home, actually. Makes me wonder about the relative ages of these two renaturalized areas.


Okay, about half way. Time for photos. I ask Hazel to take one of Sue and me. Luckily, I look huge here. We’re all laughing, since Sue is actually a few inches taller than me, her “mother-in-law.”

Sue and me

Continue on.

Oops! Kiera texts Sue. What does she want?

Kiera texts

Oh geez. Better stop to text her back.

Sue phones

At this point, I’ve actually taken the lead, and yes, wondering when this trail, in perfect conditions, no wax needed, is going to end.

At this point, Hazel announces that we’re well past the 2/3 point. Aaaah! Good! I mutter inwardly.

After getting back. I eat a quick lunch and then set off on the next adventure, bowling with Drew, just the two of us, our time together alone during this trip. (In past few years, tradition has built up for me to spend one period of time with each grandchild alone, doing something that they love. Kiera and I will travel to Cambridge, for lunch and a craft shop expedition in a few days.)

Drew and I get in my car and travel one mile to the Candlepin Bowling place. It’s been 50 years since I’ve bowled. And have never worked with these tiny balls.

Drew nails it, from the beginning, with a pool table strategy of aiming the balls off to the side, where they then angle on to pull down at least a couple of pins each time.

Drew bowls I, on the other hand, stupidly keep the exact same strategy of trying to aim the ball down the middle, fast, for two games straight. He wins, by far, both games. The entire experience takes 30 minutes. I had no idea it would be so fast!

Home again. We decided the night before while watching the Olympics, that we would play scrabble while we watch. Scrabble on our devices! (ipads and ipad minis). The kids and Sue and Sean tried to figure out a way to get us all on the same scrabble game that way. (They are all incredibly media savvy.) No luck. So we decided that we would actually play with a real physical board game, bought when Sean was in his 20s, he told me. While watching the Olympics, of course.

I peek into the living room on arrival home. Two guys on devices. Will we actually play Scrabble?
on screen

I decide to set up the card table myself. Let’s get this game going!

We do. With Olymics as backdrop, the murderous Snowboard Cross (six snowboarders starting together, going down a hellish course with jumps and turns) and the boring Men’s cross-country relay (1.28 hours!), we start. And ommigod, it looks like there’s nowhere to go after each of us takes our first turn.

impossible start

Let’s start over, I say. “No, let’s keep going. See what we can do,” says Sean.


before sex

Okay. A bit better. After words like “grope” and “mean” and “hate” . . Now notice what happens. What Sean does! With two letters he nailed a triple word score. And what a word! Not at all the Sean any of us knows. (He’s been asking me since his kids were tiny to please not swear in his home.)



Hilarious, prolonged laughter. . .

We keep going.

Some of the words continued to be scabrous, though I can’t remember them. I was losing, badly, to the other three. The losses continued. Finally, we were done. all the letters used.

all letters on boardjpgI lost, big time.

And then fell into bed, exhausted by the day’s activities, before the Olympic event that I had badly wanted to see, the American ice dance team of Davis and White (I think that’s the name). Oh well!

Today, we’re off to Essex, on the north coast, to hang out with Nancy and Ray, old friends that I met when Sean, now almost 50, was a toddler, and Ray and Sean and Colin’s Dad were classmates together, in the M. Arch. program, at Harvard.

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