illustration by michael hoeweler
When I was 13, I went spring skiing at Lutsen Mountains with my family. The conditions were perfect; the day was warm and sunny. My dad and I were the first skiers on the mountain that morning. We rode up on the chairlift singing a country western song that he always started with, “Daddy sang bass,” and I would chime in with, “Mama sang tenor.” Then we just made up the rest of the song. We sang all the way to the top of the mountain, swinging our skis. I must have gone down the Bridge Run 30 times that day, making wide turns, feeling that this mountain was all mine. Then we headed back to the lodge, where a big fire was going in the lobby fireplace. In the dining room, dinner was Swedish meatballs for my parents and hamburgers for us kids. My parents and little brother turned in early, but my older sister and I got to run around the lodge with the other kids, who just like us got to sleep in a big bunk room on the top floor. I felt so grown up that night. I still love Lutsen, and when I hit the slopes, I remember my dad, who is gone now. But he is there with me as I make wide turns down Bridge Run, humming our song.