I guess there was a Ted talk on youtube about how we are all made up of stories. I found a reference to it in an ASMR video by Lauren Ostroski (I think that is how she spells it) Fenton. Anyway, I wanted to rely a couple of stories about my parents. One I was there for but did not know all the details and one that happened before I was born.
My mother was quite athletic when she was younger. She encouraged my ice skating because she used to ice skate on Lake Michigan. Once, she told me, that she had been invited to a skating party out on the lake. She had gotten distracted and skated far, far, out onto the lake and into the shipping channel. It was at night, so she was all alone out there in the darkness but nothing but the northern lights for company. Or so she thought. The ice breaking ship with its huge chevron bow came plowing through the ice toward her, and clearly did not see her. So she skated…as fast as she could in front of the breaker as it slammed the ice to pieces around her. She raced in front to get away from it, because if she slowed down, she would fall in to the water and drown. So, she skated at her top speed with her lungs on fire and her skates flashing sliver in the night sky. Terror caused her heart to beat wildly and still the breaker came. Finally, it turned away, churning the water of the channel…but still large cracks appeared in the ice, and my mother jumped them landing onto unbroken icebergs and skating away at full speed to get off the shattering ice. The skating party forgotten, she made for the shore line. The cracks were hairline, some times bigger and she hurtled over them in terror. She made it to shore, as the ice began booming and breaking apart all the way to the shoreline. She lay in the snow, breathing hard and sucking air into her lungs, feeling her leg muscles screaming, like she had been screaming in fear. When the cold seeped in across her back, she peeled off her sweat soaked down coat with frozen fingers. She got up, and on wobbly, sodden legs, walked the three miles back to her house. My grandmother, who was not a nice person apparently, said to her as she collapsed from exhaustion into bed, “What the hell happened to you?”
We’d gone up to Keystone Colorado at Christmas for a medical meeting. We spent Christmas in a studio condo overlooking the mountains and it was magical. (Keystone and those Christmases require separate entries) But, my dad and Dr. Irwin Brown at some point decided to go ice fishing on Dillon lake, and Dad returned dead drunk. My mother was livid. He was quite ill with altitude and alcohol poisoning. However, when he recovered, he told the story of what had actually happened. As drunk as he was, he and Dr. Brown had saved someone’s life.
They were sitting in the car, shooting the shit and drinking Rock N Rye which Dr. Brown had brought a bottle. They weren’t really fishing because it was cold and the conditions weren’t really optimal …snow flurries, a chilly wind, and the shelter out on the ice looked less than appealing. But, they sat there drinking, with the heat on, watching a couple of guys out on the lake fishing in a couple of holes…when one guy fell in. The ice had thinned where he was and while the fish enjoyed coming up for oxygen, it weakened the ice. Without thinking, both of them jumped out of the car, yelled to the other fisherman, who promptly tried to get to the guy but the ice was treacherous. They spotted the thrashing fisherman and called an ambulance. My dad and Dr. Brown, drunk as they were, slid on their bellies out on ice thin as paper and managed to wrangle the guy out of the water with a rope. They wiggled their way back off the slush and wafer thin ice and dried off. They were drunk as skunks which gave them the bravery to do what essentially was a stupid thing. But, they saved the guy’s life. Dr. Brown turned up the heat in the car, and they wobbled their way back to the resort to sleep it off. I don’t think they ever told anyone that story except us. They didn’t do it for thanks, although “Make way! I’m a doctor!” was probably shouted at least once. I doubt it made the paper and my dad certainly didn’t want to be reported as the Hero Drunk. From that point on it was referred to as the Rock N Rye incident, and a joke between my dad and Dr. Brown. I don’t know that my mother ever believed the story, although I am sure she asked for confirmation. I think its proof that Angels work in mysterious ways. Amazingly, my dad was not hungover, which was a blessing in and of itself as he was a presenter the next day at the meeting. Mom forgave him, which I think was the most important thing.