Surprised I’ve never…


I was working on an essay recently, and in it mentioned that I’d never been on skis. When one of my sisters saw it, she responded with a text…

“You’ve never skied?”

A simple enough question. And in the world of texts, it brought on a few quick exchanges though never a truly detailed conversation. In the end, my sister was left simply offering up that having lived in the northeast she was surprised to find out I had never gone skiing.

She probably has a good point.

While I do know I never hit the slopes, I also recall being signed up for at least one school ski trip. I don’t know if that’s true… time and details swirl and blur, and attempting to recall it has me thinking the trip was canceled… still, the end result is the same. Never skied.

But the reality is that winter in New England involves snow and there are plenty of trails to explore. Saying you live in the region but have never skied isn’t all that far from saying you’ve never tried clam chowder.

One funny alternative to this concept is that I’ve also never really been in a snowball fight.

I’m not going to enter into a debate of how I recall our childhoods… don’t want to rouse the sisters or the parents… suffice to say that my memories involve a quick “no throwing snowballs at your sisters” warning from my parents each and every time I attempted to create a perfect sphere of wintery fun.

Though I do wonder…

I’ve built snow forts, made snowmen, and climbed hills with sleds and toboggans and saucers and more. (Climbed, descended, brushed offed, climb, descend, brush, repeat.) I’ve stayed outside beyond the legendary blue lips phase. I enjoy mini-marshmallows in my hot cocoa.

What types of things are regional expectations?

When you consider beaches in Hawaii, California and Florida, the thoughts tend to believe that everyone there has tried to surf.

Who residing in Texas doesn’t own cowboy boots and cowboy hats? (Isn’t mandatory to have cowboy boots for formal, dress, casual and everyday needs? And, I’m probably missing at least four other pairs. Right?)

When the Olympics come on, we hear about people that have experiences from cross-country skiing to curling presented to them as expected ways of life. Even exposure to the biathlon. And yet, I know, not every school offers a lacrosse team (so to speak).

So, what is it? Where is the line? Why does my sister assume that I’ve skied?

There are places where history, heritage, community and such come together to create expectations and activities. An extreme example such as hunting whales can have specific purpose and ceremony. There are some groups that have been granted exemptions to international laws based on subsistence-based cultural practices.

Where you live… the community you are a part of… the people you spend time with… they all can blend in a variety of ways. And often, there are certain beliefs that can be found, both internal and external of the group.

If you had to guess about people that may have seen a tornado or felt an earthquake… would you have a specific setting for where it occurred? My guess is yes.

And yet the results of any consideration can go, somewhat spectacularly, off the expected path.

I went to school with someone that lives in New York City. At the time, he was twenty-years old, and other than his dorm room had lived his entire life in the same house. He had never been to the Statue of Liberty. Seen it, of course. Never set foot on Liberty Island.

When we talked about it one day, I recall being exposed to the idea of the differences between resident and tourist, along with the attractions of a specific location for each group. I also remember, and still believe today, that it’s quite possible to take something for grated (especially when you grow to expect that it will always be there).

One of my strongest pieces of advice for traveling involves asking someone local where they would eat lunch. The idea simply being that those from the area can refer you to the best in the area. I still believe that… still put the thought to practice… and yet, yeah, consider I’ve never skied. You should accept that those responding to your lunch question, so to speak, may not have skied either.

On a shelf in my office is a stuffed Eeyore. It’s a Safari Eeyore, bought at the Animal Kingdom in Disney World. Something you could, to my knowledge, only get at the Animal Kingdom. I love it. Does everyone want one? No. Does everyone have one? No. But for me, personally, I enjoy having it there. I love the feelings it creates and the memories that come flooding back when I spot it.

Just because you haven’t skied doesn’t mean you don’t have a Safari Eeyore to share. And I can’t be any clearer than that.


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