Friday, February 5, 2010

Please wait for me


By WARREN MILLER

In 1984 during the Christmas holidays, I made the 845-mile drive from Hermosa Beach, Ca. to Sun Valley for my annual film show and to start filming my next movie.

The snow was hard packed granular because there were a lot of skiers and snowboarders and not much snow. After lunch in the warming hut at the top of Baldy I started drawing cartoons for some of the kids whose parents weren't enthusiastic about a few more runs before the lifts closed.

A pretty dark-haired lady came over and said, "I'm sorry if my son is bothering you." I replied, "He's fine and by the way I've met you before. Correct me if I'm wrong but I had breakfast with you and I hope your ex-husband seven or eight years ago in the Edgewater Inn in Seattle. After breakfast you gave me a business card that had blue ink on it. Is that true?" She said, "Yes."

We chatted briefly and I asked her, "Could I have your phone number?" She wrote it down and I asked, "Can I ski down with you?" She graciously waited for me at the bottom of Warm Springs where I arrived about two minutes after she got there. We chatted and then she was gone. Where do you look for a beautiful, single lady in the gigantic Christmas crowd at Sun Valley?

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The next morning I worked on a script and didn't get to Warm Springs until about 11:15 and found her in the singles lift line. She had already made half a dozen runs on Warm Springs. As we rode up together for the first time, I invited her to join me for a casual lunch after a few runs. And I sure enjoyed my first lunch with Laurie.

We were definitely, 'G.U.' (geographically undesirable) as far as any future was concerned. She lived in Seattle, had a ski school with 100 instructors and owned a ski shop with about 30 employees. I owned my film production company in Hermosa Beach. That's a two-hour flight, or a two-day drive apart.

That night I showed my ski movie in the Opera House and invited Laurie, her son Colin and their friends to the film. I didn't know she was chaperoning 10 kids from her ski school near Seattle, and the parents of those kids would be arriving in a couple of days. We skied together. After trying as hard as I could, I couldn't keep up with her on a pair of skis. I still can't, 26 years later. That's okay, others can't either. That's okay, she still always waits for me at the bottom of the ski hill.

Three years after that first meeting, I talked her into marrying me after a week or so of wearing out my body while windsurfing together in Maui. Twenty-two years ago we were married in our living room at new our home in Vail. And here we are, many years later in our home at the Yellowstone Club in Montana.

Right now it's in shambles from a $200,000 frozen pipe flood. Every morning we climb over the debris of reconstruction as we suit up and walk out in the snow in front of our house and climb into our skis just as we have for all of these years. The freedom that our skis give us, makes watching them tear out and rebuild the flood damage better than staying on our island home north of Seattle and getting the construction updates over the phone. As Laurie and I always say, "This too shall pass."

I find the lure of yet another day of making turns is just what my brain and body needs.




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