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  • Writer's pictureDan FitzPatrick

Goodbye Winter

Logan and I are excited about the warming weather and the prospects of the coming Spring, just now beginning with visible evidence of the daffodils sprouting and trees blooming. It's not that we don't like Winter, just that Winter has had it run and it is now time for another season.

But before we leave the topic of Winter, I'd like to share some observations on a highly peculiar habit that our humans exhibit during that time of year. Logan and I don't know whether to be amused by it or to seriously question our humans' sanity.

We have noticed that, quite a few times during the snowiest parts of Winter each year, our humans bring out the most unusual pieces of equipment, which they take with them -- quite happily -- on journeys both near and far, from which they return exhausted but in exceptionally good mood. They refer to it as "going skee-ing." Apparently, it is some combination of exercise and entertainment which they particularly like to do all together as a family. They talk a lot about it beforehand and continue to do so long after they return. It’s like an obsession for them.

Now, Logan and I don't actually go with our humans on these "skee trips," but our canine cousin, Adobo ("Dobo"), who lives someplace called "Out West" with the eldest female offspring in our human family, has seen first-hand what humans do on these "skee trips," and has helped fill in some of the blanks for us. The following is based on a combination of our observations and his.

First, this strange activity appears to center around two long pieces of wood or some other material marked with various patterns and colors (presumably to distinguish one set from another) which, believe it or not, they affix to their feet with massive hard plastic shoes, also in various colors. Honestly, the result looks ridiculous. There is clearly absolutely no way the humans could ever walk in that get-up; at best, they can only slide back and forth. Dobo tells us that that is the whole point, that the humans like to slide down snow-covered hills in them, turning slightly to the left and right every now and then. When they are done doing that, they take off the long narrow planks of wood (or whatever it its) and walk awkwardly in those plastic shoes. According to Adobo, those massive plastic shoes do not flex, so walking in them is very uncomfortable for the humans, and they do so only in short distances. Logan and I do not understand why in the world humans would bother to buy shoes they cannot comfortably walk in!

Dobo relates that the humans' behavior when engaged in the activity is even more bizarre. First, he says, they walk in those uncomfortable shoes, holding the long narrow foot-planks and two thin, pointy sticks, up to a long line of other humans, all waiting to get onto a big metal bubble that hangs from a metal rope. They ride in this bubble all the way to the top of a big mountain, then slide down on those foot-planks all the way down to either the line for the big metal bubble, or another line where humans sit on a metal bench that also hangs from a metal rope and carries them back up to the top of the mountain, where they slide back down again. All the while they carry those thin poles in their hands, occasionally sticking the points in the snow. They repeat this over and over and over again until the effort of sliding catches up with them and they take a break, usually at a building midway up the mountain, where they eat food (mostly hamburgers) and drink some sort of a concoction made with wine and spices, which they drink hot. They then have to slide down to the bottom of the mountain, which they tend to do in a sort of sloppy and undisciplined manner.

Once they are finished with their round trips of riding and sliding, they tend to gather at another building at the base of the mountain and eat and drink (mostly drink) some more. Incredibly, they don't take those big plastic shoes off until they are finished!

Logan and I have long since stopped trying to make sense of some of the things our humans do. The good news is that, once they return from these "skee-trips," they are relaxed and happy. Happy to see us, as we are to see them. So even though we do not go on these trips with them, we certainly benefit from these "skee vay-kay-shuns" and thus suspend judgment on their peculiar behaviors.

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