Some friends of ours, who have
more money than God, bought a vacation house in Aspen, Colorado a few
years ago. And naturally, they started inviting their friends to come and
My wife and I were having a little
trouble making the cut. As yet another mutual friend related their story
of a wonderful visit to Pete and Shelley’s Aspen home, I decided it was
time to force the issue.
"Hey," I said to Pete
one day. "How come everybody except us gets invited to your house in
"You’re on the list,"
replied Pete. "Unfortunately for you, there are people we haven’t
met yet who are ahead of you on the list."
Ha, ha, ha. He must have been
kidding, because after only a few more months and a few more prods, we got
the official invite. We were going to Aspen, home of the fabulously
wealthy, and we had a free place to stay.
The only disappointment was that
it was winter, which means two things. One, the chances of actually
getting to Aspen are slim due to the changing weather conditions, and two,
you’re expected to ski.
Undaunted, we packed our ski gear,
of which we had none, and boarded United for the flight to Denver, where
we would catch a puddle jumper for the short ride into the Rockies to
Aspen. Amazingly, the weather cleared and we arrived in Aspen on time. Now
the only question was whether we’d get out before spring.
Whatever chic is, Aspen is it.
Pete met us at the airport looking far more stylish than he ever did at
home. Shelley was wearing a winter ensemble that she wouldn’t be caught
dead wearing in Northern California. Beautiful people were swirling all
around us at the airport. A celebrity was sighted, known to all, except
I was a fish out of water.
We had dinner at a swanky
restaurant where the food was good and the price was ridiculous. And then
we retired to their mansion in the hills, where we would rest up for our
big day of skiing the next morning.
I used to love skiing when I was a
kid. But something happened. I got off a chairlift one day for another run
down the mountain, looked at the hill in front of me, and thought, "I
just did that."
Then I got older and my affection
for the sport dwindled further. I avoided the harder runs because I got
worse each time I went down. I no longer had the recklessness of youth.
Those stretchers were calling my name. So I stayed on the easy runs and
became bored enough to quit.
But this was Aspen, and I must ski
again. So my wife and I rented skis and met Pete and Shelly at the bottom
of the hill. Pete was wearing a lovely one piece powder blue jumpsuit and
Shelley had chosen a bright yellow parka and white overalls.
I was wearing jeans and a blue
jacket with a Monterey Aquarium insignia.
This caused considerable laughter
from the "in" crowd, which included my wife, who had seen me get
dressed and had said nothing. She didn’t exactly look like Paris Hilton,
but she apparently knew enough not to wear jeans.
"Nobody wears jeans on the
slopes anymore," said Shelley. "You’re going to look
It was a beautiful day. The sun
was shining, the snow was perfect, and I had skied enough years to know
there was no way I was falling down on the slopes I was going to find.
Jeans were comfortable, and I was certain they would stay dry.
I looked around at the hordes of
skiers and snowboarders heading for the hill. No one, and I mean no one,
was wearing jeans. Except me.
"When I skied in the ‘70’s,
I wore jeans," I announced. "In the ‘80’s, jeans. In the ‘90’s,
jeans. It’s a new century, but I’m still wearing jeans. I am me, hear
I proudly walked over to the
ticket booth and purchased my $70 all-day lift ticket, fairly certain that
it would be the last lift ticket I would ever buy.
Yes, I was going out, but I wasn’t
going out in style.
I wasn’t one of them.