Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Yes, really.

When my father retired, he bought a small house in New Hampshire. It was (and is, so far as I'm aware) a nice little place; four rooms - two up and two down - and a basement, sitting on about 6 acres of mostly undeveloped woodland. To get to the house from the main drag, one has to take an unpaved road of about a quarter-mile in length. A railroad - formerly a Boston & Maine right-of-way, but now usually used only once a day as a tourist attraction - runs along the eastern border of the yard.

When my father died, this property became mine. I liked the place, and the area, but couldn't really afford to keep it, since MY WIFE and I both worked in Boston and wouldn't be living there. We endeavored to sell it.

In the meantime, MY WIFE and I would take a weekend up there every couple of months. We did this to check on the place and make sure everything was OK, of course, but also because it was a nice quiet place to go, to get away from the Boston area. It was situated in a small town more-or-less at the beginnings of the White Mountains; very pretty area.

Well, very pretty area except for the fact that it sat behind what amounted to a junkyard.

On the main road, just before the turn-off to my dad's place, there was an auto repair shop called Smitty's. Smitty was a nice guy. While my dad was still living, Smitty would plow the dirt road, whenever there was a snowstorm, all the way down to my dad's place, free. When I needed to sell my dad's car after his passing, Smitty put it up on his frontage by the main drag with a "For Sale" sign and took care of all potential buyers. He charged me no commission when he sold it. However, he did keep a whole bunch of junkers and wrecks within sight of the house, which cut down on the scenery, and we could have complained to the town about that, since he wasn't zoned for a junkyard, so it was sort of a quid pro quo.

(Funny story, wholly unrelated to the main one: When my dad moved there, the little dirt road had no name. Whenever he needed to tell someone where he lived, he had to say, "Behind Smitty's". He got tired of that and finally petitioned the town to name the road. They okayed his request and he named it Sullivan Lane. He put up a nice hand-carved wooden street sign and was pretty proud of it. However, here's what happened. Someone would ask him where he lived. He'd say, "Sullivan Lane". Invariably, the other person would say, "Sullivan Lane? Where's that?" Then my dad would have to say, "Behind Smitty's".)

We were taking one of our mini-vacations up there, over Martin Luther King day weekend, when it snowed. And snowed, and snowed some more. By Monday afternoon, when we would normally have been on the road in order to be back at work on the Tuesday after the holiday, there was an accumulation of at least two feet, with drifts much higher. The driveway - that is, the dirt road - was totally impassable. We were stranded at the house and had been for the past two days.

We knew that sooner or later Smitty would come down and plow the road, since he still did that following my dad's death, but we had no idea when. He had no reason to plow out his own business, as the main road was only barely drivable itself - I found that out by taking a hike up there through the drifts up to my waist.

Monday evening came and went. It was now Tuesday and we both called work to tell them why we weren't there. Well, the only thing to do in that house was sleep or eat, basically. The TV and radio reception was horrendous. The house wasn't hooked up with cable. There was a satellite dish my dad had purchased some years back, but it was now fairly rusted out and the wires were no good. So, the only outside world we knew of came from WMUR-TV, channel 9 in Manchester, and a few weak radio signals once the sun went down. There wasn't much to read, either.

We're fairly good when it comes to self-amusement, but you can only find so much to stave off the boredom after four days together in a confined space. We were going stir-crazy. Cabin fever had set in.

MY WIFE was the first one to crack. She said she was going to strip naked and run around the outside of the house in the snow.

I said, "Oh, you're full of shit."

She was as good as her word, though, albeit with boots and a Burberry scarf. After making a circuit of the house - with me inside going from window to window, unbelievingly following her progress - she came back in and said it was invigorating and great and then started calling me a series of unmasculine names, in an attempt to goad me into doing it also. Well, I'm easily goaded, I guess. I stripped down, too.

As she jogged out the door the second time, I followed her. Of course, I didn't have boots or a Burberry scarf, so I wasn't nearly as dashing. And the one lasting impression I got from the whole thing - aside from the sight of my wife's lovely ass bobbing through the snow in front of me - is that the ancient Greeks, who supposedly did all of their athletic contests naked, must have been built entirely differently than I am. I was extremely uncomfortable running, what with things bouncing up and down and side to side.

(But this is all probably too much information, eh?)

When we did it, I was thinking that either the train would pick this inopportune time to come or, worse, some freakin' hungry bear with insomnia, just happening to amble around the other side of the house searching for food, would run us off onto the main road. There would have been no good explanation in either case. And what if we were running around, bollicky-bare-ass in the snow, when Smitty decided to start plowing? Luckily for us, none of those eventualities... eventuated.

When we got back inside, we were invigorated. I, personally, found a new desire to do many interesting things other than eating and sleeping. It certainly shook out the cobwebs.

That night, around 10pm, we heard this big rumble and at first we thought it might be some sort of avalanche nearby. However, it got closer and we soon saw the headlights on Smitty's plow. He cleared the driveway and, huzzah, there was much rejoicing! Even though the way was cleared, we stayed for the night, since it was so late to start traveling.

And that's the story of COED NAKED SNOW JOGGING. So far as I know, we're the only participants in this sport, either amateur or professional, so we're thinking of petitioning to have it included in the next Winter Olympics. Since we're the only ones with any experience, we should be good for the gold - as long as I can keep that bouncing thing under control.



Stu said...

While the jogging was a great story, what really touched me was the tale of Sullivan Lane. Really a beautiful memory of your Dad. Thanks for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

haha, awesome :-D

Nice job setting up all the background information without getting too long-winded. That's something I'm still working on :-p

Suldog said...

James - Thank you, but I far more often include too much useless information than you give me credit for :-)

Stu - The final sad thing about that little story is, a couple of years ago, the state renamed the damned thing themselves, for some unknown damned reason, and it is no longer Sullivan Lane. Whatever the state named it, though, everybody still has to say "Behind Smitty's" in order to get anyone to know where it is :-)

BklynSoxFan said...

Great story, Suldog. I second the notion of adding it to the Winter Olympics. That would get me glued to my TV!!

Anonymous said...

Naked Jogging in the Olympics? I'd definitely tune in!

Stu said...

Well, with regard to The Olympics, it depends who the athletes are. I would not tune in if the contestants were Gilbert Gottfried or Delta Burke or Ken Howard or Julie Kavner.

Peter N said...

Great stuff! And this gets us ready for the upcoming winter? Right? Hello.....right??? Oops ....oh well, have a great weekend. My worst fear realized..I one reads. And I hope you know I'm just kidding. Good stuff, as I said earlier. Take care. Enjoy the weekend while the Sox toil in NYC. Check my writing out....I think...I'm always not sure. For real. See ya Monday!

John-Michael said...

You, My Friend maintain the sole possession of A#1 best of ALL classes! Superb entertainment, Jim.

Thank you!