He had on work clothes and a ball cap. His pants and hoodie were splattered with drywall mud and paint. He was half unshaven, like myself, with his hair growing a little longer and the same weathered pale blue eyes that know what it means live in a mountain town come fall. It’s coming.
There is something about instinct in uncertainty.
There is something about a long winter followed by a cold hard spring and a short summer that forgets the fall and dreams of winter. It forgets the fall of the US dollar and the Arab spring. It forgets the lines of sale racks and the credit calls. It forgets the last time you paid for parking (not that we park and don’t pay in Whistler, er, sometimes). It even almost forgets my son’s voice in the back seat today saying, “That stinks like a fart!” When we drove past the turnoff to Cheakamus Crossing en route to pick up the second computer that crashed in less than a month and drop off the third on its way to Tim and the boys at Altitude Computers in Function. It forgets it all and falls back into the dream of this place we call home.
Meanwhile my son, the older one of the two monkeys, was running around picking out ice creams and fruity-chews and while I was trying to figure out where they stashed the magazines this week, my wife was saying something about watching the other one, our two-year-old, piling the groceries from her mini cart onto the conveyor belt too high above her reach to see. My wife realizes immediately why I am not listening – aka what our neighbor is reading while the credit card of the guy in front of him is declined buying groceries and he makes small talk while they try another one – and she points me in the only direction that will snap me back to reality. I leave the line, the kids, the Dr Pepper my little girl is balancing on the tips of her fingers onto the belt and cross the aisles to the all mighty altar where the first sign of our annual search for the Holy White Grail has arrived…POWDER Magazine.
There are two rows at eye level and I laugh inside knowing, ‘that’s not enough for this town man’, and I pull out the first one in reach knowing it will never do. Corner folded, spine crushed on the corner, nope. Next one, nope. Glance back at my wife, no, the third one is mine, perfect, breathe a sigh of relief, get back in line, smile. It’s on!
Remember when the peak chair opened last season and I sang, “It feels like the first time!” (Ya baby, sing it!) Remember when I told you how I read Leslie Anthony’s White Planet and the story about the suede glove covers we wore as kids for grabbing rope tows? Remember the day I picked up the K2 McConkey Shane-Toons? Remember, “Life, Death and Voices in the Snow”? Have you been paying attention? Are you even listening? (If you haven’t got your copy of POWDER yet go get it and read this later dummy!) Remember the song that was playing at Bill’s that night you met that girl? Remember falling asleep in your new ski boots after walking around your 700 square foot basement suite all night trying to break them in before skiing the next day because opening is two weeks early? Remember your first POWDER Magazine? Ya baby!
What ever happens next in our little town, in our little election, in our local shop, in your life behind some desk somewhere far from here…you just can’t stop that feeling from coming when you see POWDER on that rack.