It all started with Mom’s skis
I enjoyed a New England childhood that was like growing up in a Norman Rockwell painting. We lived on a five-acre plot with a large lawn and fruit trees, a slightly run-down hundred-year-old white Victorian house, and a faded red barn. In summer, we had a swimming hole in Mann’s Pond, next to my grandfather’s textile mill.
Our house was located near three of the most notable landmarks in Sharon: the nine-hole Sharon Golf Club; Geissler’s Farm, which was famous statewide for its apple cider; and the nudist colony, where a couple of hundred naked souls spent summers living together in tents.
Nudes notwithstanding, winter was my favorite season.
The first time I ever touched a pair of skis, I was 7 years old. The great moment occurred while I was rummaging around among the hay bales and the worn-out harnesses stored in the loft of our barn. In a dark corner, apparently unnoticed for years, stood a pair of maple-wood skis, things of beauty and wonderment despite the dust that covered them.
It turned out they belonged to my mother. They had been carefully shaped and carved by a local woodworker especially for her. But she had given up the sport after she had children, and I inherited the skis.
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Never have I experienced a more complete sense of joy and adventure than when I first stuck my hunting boots into the leather toe straps and proceeded down the modest hills outside town. My life changed completely because of those first real skis.