Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Oil on board, 7" x 5"
$125 plus $6 shipping in U.S.
This pretty little lake sits just a few miles above the town of La Grande, Oregon. As kids, my friends and I would ride our bikes up here to fish, or just to explore. Morgan Lake road is steep, and in the winter it was (no doubt still is) a notorious sledding hill. I have an especially vivid memory from about age twelve of careening down that narrow icy track with a bent sled runner.
You know how wheel alignment problems on your car sometimes don't show up until it starts vibrating at a certain speed? That's what happened to my sled. When it really got up to speed, my American Flyer started chattering uncontrollably. Each time I tried to steer, it wildly overcorrected, throwing me into sudden lunges from one edge of the road to the other. I could barely stay on top of the beast. My toes were dug in, but stopping was useless on that ice.
Somehow I rounded a sharp curve, only to face a Jeep coming up the narrow road! Miraculously, the sled lurched in the right direction at the right time, sending me whizzing past the front tire by inches. I skidded off the roadway and down a steep embankment, heading straight toward a barbed wire fence! I closed my eyes and waited for the pain. When I opened them, I was lying half-buried in deep snow. The tracks showed that I had neatly sledded between the wires without so much as a scratch. My stocking cap was dangling from the wire.
Ah, it's a miracle we survive childhood, isn't it?