Love, honor and trust him?



The things we do for love: skiing may or may not be your first love but anything your spouse enjoys and wants you to try is worth checking out. ©Thinkstock

Married just over 24 hours, my bridegroom and I began the first day of our honeymoon in a snow-covered mountain lodge.

It was a morning filled with expectation because, on the downhill side of mid-life, I’d discovered love. On the other hand, I’d married a skier while I knew absolutely nothing about the sport. Furthermore, I’d spent most of my life indoors—except this middle-aged bachelor had wrapped me in his arms, told me how good life was going to be and whispered, “Trust me.”

The agreement (before we married) was that I’d never have to ski.

“But I’ll want to see you once in a while, and it’s obvious that for five months a year, you’ll be skiing!” I told him.

“It won’t be that bad,” my True Love said. “But, Babe, it’s up to you.”

Up to me? Oh, sure. I’d caught the twinkle in his eye every time he mentioned deep powder.

It took several weeks of wrestling, but I’d waited too long for a man like mine. I wasn’t about to lose him to some Suzy Chaffee or fear.

“I’m going to ski,” I announced, trying to sound more confident than I felt.

Now, however, as I opened the drapes and faced the mountain, I despaired. Equipped with the best gear (a wedding gift from my groom) and outfitted with the latest ski wear, too, I would enroll in the local ski school along with children barely three feet tall—while my spouse teamed up with patroller buddies to defy every steep gulch on the hill.

My husband is kind and patient. So when I slammed drawers and refused breakfast, he just wrapped his lanky arms around me and said, “Babe, you’ll do great,” I donned the bulky clothing, shoved my hair up into a scratchy hat and adjusted my clunky goggles.

Outside our room, where wind-whipped snow bit into my face, I squeezed enormous boots into what seemed more like traps and mentally measured the distance to the ski school shack.

“I can’t do it!”’ I wailed.

“Yes, you can.” Scotty grinned. “I’ll get you down that hill. Just trust me.”

We may be husband and wife, I thought, but he most definitely had some things to learn about me. Trust him? I don’t think I can.

As if he’d read my thoughts, Scotty chuckled, pointed to the class gathering below our room, and emphasized how short the distance would seem once I’d actually dealt with that “slight” slope.

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll try.”

At first, it wasn’t that bad. Actually, I discovered I enjoyed skimming the snow.

The plan was to literally join forces. Standing behind Scotty, I was to inch my skis between his. I would also press my face to his jacket, wrap my arms around his middle and close my eyes.

“Close my eyes?” I screeched.

Again Scotty smiled as he touched my cheek and positioned my arms. Then, patting my insulated hands, he shouted, “Yahoo!”—and pushed off.

At first, it wasn’t that bad. Actually, I discovered I enjoyed skimming the snow and relying on someone else.

“This is kind of fun,” I mumbled against my husband’s broad back.

“What’d I tell you?” Scotty laughed.

We did occasionally encounter bumps. “What was that?” I asked once, noting how crusted the snow felt beneath my boots.

Scotty threw his head back, but I couldn’t hear him for the crackling ice sprays echoing across the hill. Another time, he patted my hands and said something about “not to worry” and “just hang on.”

To my surprise and his, I’d been doing exactly as instructed—until, nearing the bottom of the grade; we began to pick up speed. Scotty had explained we’d accelerate “a bit”—but hearing him tell it and experiencing this sensation suddenly seemed like two entirely different events. I knew I’d been given his promise we wouldn’t fall, but my skis were starting to part some, and now my old nature had begun to battle with my faith.

“How much farther?” I barely uttered, afraid to make a sound.

“We’re doing great,” my fearless leader assured. “Just relax, Babe.”

About this time, however, my husband’s word began to mean absolutely nothing, as my fears and my evaluation of our chances became all the proof I needed. That we would crash and break every bone in my body seemed inevitable. And though I detected no tension in my mate’s down-padded trunk, my own stiffened so completely I soon became even less flexible than the fiberglass skis supporting my frozen feet.

“Relax!” my mate shouted back over his shoulder.

“I can’t!” I cried.

“You’ve got to, Babe! We’re nearly there!”

But Scotty’s assurance was suddenly no match for my doubt. Although he tried preventing it, within seconds I’d not only begun to tip sideways, but I had thrown my spouse off-balance, as well.

Suddenly, four skis, three poles, one pair of goggles and two bodies were rolling, slipping, sliding and bouncing across an unrelenting, ice-covered knoll. Not three feet from our goal, all of Scotty’s hopes and my temporary pleasure had come to a halt.

As quickly as a bruised man can, Scotty began to scoop snow from his glasses, shook ice lumps from my hat, questioned me about anything broken and gathered my gloves.

“Babe,” he said, inspecting, checking, brushing me off and also trying to keep the tears from freezing on my face. “Do you know what you did?”

I could only nod and splutter. Both my body and my pride had suffered, and I was certain I’d had all the humiliation I could bear—until I heard the voices of my husband’s old friends.

“Hey!” one ruddy-complexioned Norseman called as seven patrollers shot across the hill. “This must be the new bride!”

“She learning to ski?” another whooped.

“Yup,” Scotty laughed. “She sure is,” he laughed as he lifted me to my feet. And then, pressing his lips to my wounded ear, he whispered, “Learning to trust, too. Right?”

NANCY SCOTT is a freelance writer and novelist in a Western state.    


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