More Dogs on Main Street
November 27, 2009
The ski season is underway. It’s off to kind of a slow start, thanks to summer-like temperatures that lasted right up to the last week or so. There’s nothing wrong with these perfect blue skies, but a little snow now and then would be nice, too. Once it turned cold, the snow makers at PCMR went into attack mode, and have managed to get enough open to have a nice time of it out there. No, it’s not perfect powder and nobody is jumping off the cornice up in Scott’s Bowl. But for early season, it’s pretty typical. It’s enough to get my legs back under me, and the snow is surprisingly soft. So it’s game on.
This winter could stand a little stimulus, though. Maybe a couple of feet of TARP money spread around the mountain would help. Everybody is a little nervous going into this season. Nobody knows quite what to expect. Things fell off a cliff last year just before the season opened. People who had already booked Christmas vacations went through with their plans, but the rest of the winter was soft. The total skier numbers weren’t terrible, but those who came were a thrifty lot, and nobody spent a dime. The retailers and restaurants really got slammed.
So this year, they are a bit shell-shocked. Inventories are thin. I tried to buy new skis, but they only had one. They had to go back to the distributor to round out the pair. Gloves only have three fingers this year. The big post-Thanksgiving shop-alooza is this weekend, and it will be interesting to see what the numbers look like, both locally and nationally. Retailers were already discounting things a week ago. If the season surprises to the upside at all, the shelves will be empty by mid-December. But the circumstances are so far off anybody’s experience that it’s all a wild guess. You really have to admire the courage of business owners in times like these. Let’s hope for the best and shop locally when you can.
Thanksgiving is a nice time of year. Christmas gets way too hectic and complicated. Thanksgiving is a more reflective holiday (especially for those of us who are banned from participating in any of the cooking). I’ve got great memories of Thanksgivings spent at my grandparents’ farm in Idaho, in a tiny house stuffed full of too many cousins. The stove was a very strange item. Half of it was electric and the other half was wood burning. Grandma was equally comfortable with either system, and for a huge meal, both sides were in full service. Those dinners became the yardstick against which all Thanksgiving dinners are measured.
My mother did Thanksgiving pretty much by the Grandma Jensen book. I suppose there were some modifications along the way. Mom did not raise her own potatoes, and Dad didn’t decapitate a live turkey out in the garage. But the basic formula was the same. We often celebrated with cousins, and my aunt, Mom’s sister, cooked a meal so similar to Mom’s version that it was impossible to tell them apart.
As families grow and generations are added on, things change. In-laws who didn’t ever know Grandma Jensen volunteer to help by making some of the side dishes. After they have been in the family for several years, they can be trusted with some of the minor sides, but the first time somebody showed up with marshmallow-free yams, it was a problem. Eyes were rolled. Mashed potatoes from a box were politely tolerated, but the spuds were re-assigned the next year to a more reliable source.
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It’s been probably 20 years since the younger of my two sisters, the non-pie-baking sister, showed up with Cool Whip to top the older, pie-master sister’s rendition of Grandma Jensen’s pumpkin pies (which are actually made from banana squash instead of pumpkins go figure). Talk about tension. Fortunately, we were in Salt Lake that year rather than out at the ranch, and I was fully prepared to run to 7-Eleven for real whipping cream. Fortunately, Mom had some in the back of her fridge, and we were able to proceed without having to hide the sharp cutlery. Mom died not too long after that, though I honestly don’t think it had anything to do with the Cool Whip.
We have much to be thankful for. We live in a beautiful place. We have four runs to ski on and good friends to do it with. Rough as the economy is in general, it’s not all that bad locally. A little retrenchment isn’t altogether bad taking stock of what really matters and what isn’t all that important. As you think about it, take time to look for some of the great nonprofits in our community who do so much to make it work. Give what you can.
Tom Clyde served as Park City attorney in the 1980s and is the author of "More Dogs On Main Street." He has been a columnist at The Park Record for more than 20 years.