So it’s been a while since I’ve shared a childhood memory or story. While I’ve mentioned them here or there in different posts, I have not focused on one particular one for a while. Well, today is that day. The other night while sitting around talking to my family we were recalling some of the ridiculous things we all did when we were children. A lot of silly stories were exchanged and memories were shared. Of course in the middle of this, I brought up my death defying tube ride story and had a good laugh at my near death experience at the hands of a simple inner tube. Let me explain.
Years ago when I was just barely figuring out how to be a crazy teenage girl, I went to a church activity up in the mountains. It was not uncommon during the winter for the activity planners of my youth group to do something like skiing, snowball fights or anything else to do with the powder all over the ground. For this particular winter, the boys and girls got together and made their way up the mountain to go tubing. It was a blast!
Nothing exciting happened during the actual tubing adventure. My good friend Karen and I went up and down the hill multiple times, dreading the time when we’d have to go home. When that time did finally come we grabbed up our tubes and made our way towards the exit. Now to give you an idea of how covered in white this whole place was, even the trail down and out towards the cabin was covered in white powder. So to two young women with not enough brain cells between them, saw an extra ride attached to the short hill that we had to trek down.
In my mind the walking path went down and then right so of COURSE if I put the tube down and ride it, it will follow that path, right? Wrong. Suddenly both Karen and I are starting down the hill too quickly for us to really stop and we find ourselves going straight for the orange construction fence that keeps anyone from falling off the small cliff. To Karen’s luck, her tube slammed into the orange plastic fence and bounced back out. To my lack of luck, I went flying through the ONLY hole big enough to fit a tube. I was suddenly airborne.
If I’m honest, I kind of blacked out. All I recall was being airborne, realizing I had no idea how far down it was and was suddenly aware again when I was a good 50 feet away from the initial hole I had fallen out of and still sliding across the snow towards the only highway in and out of the canyon. When my instincts finally snapped back into place I tried to put my hand down and stop myself, causing my glove to come free and starting my tube into a spin. As the tube continued on its journey I realized that nearby on the highway with no overhead lights to warn a lone driver had a set of headlights coming my way. Still, I couldn’t stop.
By some kind of miracle of sorts, my tube slid across the two lane highway a few feet away from the, most likely, terrified driver who had just barely missed out on hitting a girl on a tube. I came to an abrupt stop when the tube finally found the trunk of a tree. I was alive with a very road burnt hand, a butt that had skidded and torn up my snow pants and a good goose egg from bumping the tree. But I was alive! As I looked up I saw my youth leaders attempting to climb down a nearly fifteen-foot drop to get to me, shouting and asking if I was okay.
It became the story of the year, retold and retold by leaders and other youth alike. While I laugh at the situation and how hilarious and dumb I was, the reality is that I was incredibly lucky I didn’t end up a skid mark on the road. So the lesson of the day, don’t tube down a path you don’t know where the end is!