Life Matters

Thank you collective laborers

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Labor Day was established to honor the American labor movement and the power of collective action by laborers. For me, the meaning of the holiday was that I got the day off work.

Taking full advantage of this situation, hubby, Marie and I trekked up to our tiny house in New Hampshire. Hubby's plan was to paint the well-worn house, something he could accomplish quickly because it is so small. Marie and I decided to venture out into the wilderness (via Route 302). She had a choice of a vast array of adventures from which to choose; tubing down the Saco River, taking the tramway up to the top of Cannon Mountain, driving to the top of Mount Washington, or doing the Alpine Slide at Attitash. Not enamored with nature, Marie chose the latter because of her love of roller coasters.

Attitash was bustling with people, and we joined in with the crowd. In order to get to the top of the mountain to access the slide, our means of conveyance was a chair lift. As I admired the scenery from 40 feet above the ground, Marie was on her cell phone, taking advantage of the local wifi. At first I was annoyed, but then felt somewhat vindicated when, using the video chat option, she used the phone to show her friend from Kansas – flat Kansas – the beauty of the mountains around her. She did appreciate the beauty in nature and even wanted to share it with her friends.

After we reached the top of the mountain, getting off the chair lift was a challenge. I pictured myself falling to the ground, getting hit by the chair, and then subsequent riders jumping off on my back. Fortunately, Marie grabbed my arm and guided me safely down the walkway.

We made our way to the Alpine Slide. While Marie was very excited because she adores fast roller coasters, I had a nagging fear of dread as my preference is for slow kiddie train rides. My first challenge was carrying the sled to the slide. Dragging it and pulling it was too awkward for me, so Marie came over and easily lifted it up and carried both of our sleds. Once the sled had been placed on the slide, climbing up into it was my next challenge. Because there was no step stool, which would have made the process so much easier for me, I bumbled up into it; extremely ungraceful, pants were falling down, legs ungainly twisted, and arms aching from the exertion. It was with a sigh of relief that I plopped myself upright in the sled, (similar to how one would sit on an old fashioned, wooden sled with metal rails.) Once seated, I tried to get the sled to move. It's a sled; it should slide, shouldn't it?

I became the object of laughter around me as I tried to scoot forward to no avail, with humiliation I thought my curvy and plump body was too overweight to allow it to move.

Finally, after the audience had their fun, someone said, "You have to push the lever forward to move!" Ah, yes, the lever in front of me. Pushing it forward, the sled began to move down this humongous sliding track, (like the luge track in the Winter Olympics.) Whoooosh! Off I went! I screamed, pulled back on the lever, and the sled stopped. As a number of other sleds lined up behind me, quite annoyed at my inertness, moving forward seemed to be the right decision. I unselfishly risked life and limb as the lever was pushed forward and the sled seemed to fly. Besides the fear of death, the other intolerable treat was the migration of a variety of bugs flying right into my face, some into my mouth.

Sputtering them out along the way became instinctive and I didn’t stop to think what type of bugs they were; gypsy moths, beetles, ladybugs, a variety of flies, and mosquitoes (possibly with the West Nile Virus). By the time I got to the bottom, I had squashed bugs on my face, in my hair, and stuck in my teeth. What an exciting adventure that turned out to be. It was so great to have the day off work!

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