Smelly Socks: Male bravado at its finest

Jan. 30, 2014 at midnight
Updated Jan. 29, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

My husband, John, and Jamison, my 9-year-old, are the picture of caution. They are slow and steady. Every move they make is thought out and weighed. After much consideration, they make a decision to do or not do something, and nothing will make them sway.

Me and my 13-year-old son, Austin, are more impulsive and often jump into things without thinking. My impulsiveness is usually linked to purchases or last-minute getaways. However, Austin is more of a risk taker. He'll try things that makes all of us just shake our heads.

Every year when we head to Colorado in search of snow, we have our usual snow activities that everyone looks forward to. Making a snowman, lots of skiing and sledding, are always on their list.

However, John and the boys spent so much time at the ski slopes that our vacation was almost over before we realized it.

On our last day, late in the afternoon, Jamison reminded us that we hadn't gone sledding, built a snowman or thrown one good snowball at each other.

So, the snow pants got put back on. We drove around to the back of the condo where there is some open space. We attempted a snowman, but the snow was as hard as cement and thoroughly iced over. Then the boys spied the most awesome sled hill, complete with various sleds and tubes left at the bottom.

"Well, what are we waiting for?" Austin called as he was running to the abandoned sleds. He grabbed a sled and climbed the trail where you could vaguely see that others had sledded.

I have a flair for the dramatic, but I promise you, this sled hill was no ordinary hill at all. It was a serious mountain. The boys have sledding experience, but they have never attempted anything so high. The walking trail led halfway up this mountain, and the sled area went down from that halfway point.

Of course, Austin got to the sled area ahead of everyone. He sat himself on the sled, pushed off, and all I saw was a flash as he sped past us down this mountain.

At the base of the sled mountain there was a "bump," which propelled my boy high through the air. While he clung to the sled, in true ranch fashion, he hollered, "yeehaw."

"Did you see the air I caught? Whoa, I went high." An excited and flush-cheeked Austin informed us as he was running back up for another attempt.

Next up was Jamison. He changed his mind several times before we reached the sled area and finally decided that if Austin could do it, so could he. He smiled and laughed the whole way until he hit the "bump." When he caught air, he let out a blood-curdling scream but quickly recovered, and his smile returned.

The boys decided that the tubes would offer more cushion on the landing. As I was standing at the sled area, I saw John grab a tube, and without saying a word, he walked up the trail.

However, he didn't stop at the halfway point where I was, he smugly walked to the very top of the mountain with Austin following him, chanting, "Do it! Do it! Do it!"

"John," I calmly asked him, "Are you crazy? Come down from there. You are way too old for this. Think about your bad back. No. Please, no."

Then a little more sternly, I said, "Act your age."


Jamison and I were hugging each other tight in support. As John flew down the hill and was heading toward the bump with such speed, I closed my eyes. Then I heard the loud thud of his landing. Jamison reported "He made it Mom, but he hasn't stopped rolling yet."

My eyes quickly opened and Jamison and I ran down the mountain after him. When we got to him, we saw his eyes wide open and a pained grimace on his face. I went to help him up and was told in a whisper, "Don't touch me. I just want to lie here."

I managed to get him back to the condo, where he stayed hunched over, moaning. I suggested the Urgent Care Center at the ski basin but he refused to go. He clutched the Advil bottle with a death grip and asked us not to touch him.

"Why on Earth did you do that? That is just so unlike you," I questioned him.

A slight smile came to John's face and his eyes brightened, "A man's got to do what a man's got to do."

Austin was greatly impressed and spoke the rest of the afternoon about how his Dad should be on the American Ninja Warrior television show.

All of this talk made John smile as he held back grimaces of pain.

"It was so cool, Dad. You caught so much air, and you rolled hallway down the mountain. You looked like a stunt man in the movies."

Catching his breath, Austin continued that he would have caught much more air if he would have been allowed to attempt it instead of us stopping him.

"Man, Dad, you are a lean, mean sledding machine."

Jamison, in all his childhood wisdom summed it up, "Boy, Dad, I wouldn't have done that. I am smarter than that. You should have known better."

John somewhat humbly responded, "I thought that I was smarter than that, too."

Johanna is a proud seventh-generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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