I don’t know if this is a touching story or what. But maybe, for one of you, it will help you make a decision that maybe you are agonizing over. So I’ll share it.
My favorite thing in the world to do is ski moguls. I mean, for me, yes, it is better than sex. Seriously (sorry, if we’ve ever had sex). I’m really good at it (moguls :-). I kill ‘em, even at 51.
It takes a lot of work. I train for months to be in the right shape for it. I toil up and down the Lyon Street Steps till I can’t breath. Pound out thousands of hack-squats till my quads scream. Do this stupid, painful little back-and-forth-across-a-bench jumpy thing. All sorts of other things, just so that I can ski moguls quickly, violently, precisely, and love them.
My favorite place in the world to do this is Mary Jane, in Colorado. I’ll fly there 2–3 times each winter, just to hit their legendary bumps. Mary Jane is known for its moguls, and has this saying among the locals, “No Pain, No Jane.”
Each ski season, on closing day, that is where you will find me. Every season. Already bought my ski ticket for this year. Some of you know this. It’s a tradition at this point. Probably done this 5 years running now. Always my final stop of the season.
Except a year ago yesterday.
I was there. Right there. In Colorado. Just up the road from MJ, in Vail actually. My standard place to be, “The day before Mary Jane.” It was all planned out. Reservations were set. This was Saturday. I was leaving for a two week business trip to London Monday afternoon. Sunday was the one open day in between. Every year for five years, that Sunday has been Mary Jane, me and and my favorite thing in the world — steep, snowy bumps. Then everything shuts down for another year.
But last year, at the last second, I changed my plans.
Instead, that Saturday I made an impromptu decision to stop, pack everything up and return to DIA. Got on a plane Sunday morning. Flew to Houston. I only had four hours there, but wanted to see my father.
I had flown to see him about every two weeks for the prior several months. Because he was ill. But this trip was different. It wasn’t a situation where he had deteriorated to the point that we all needed to be there, sitting by his side, as he passed. But neither was it clear, at that point, whether he would live months, versus weeks. So it was important to me to see him before I went off to do my duty in Europe.
That was the last time I ever saw my father.
One year ago today.
Learn what you will.