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Saturday, December 26, 2020

Love and Romance in the time of CORONA

It was their first date. They sat at the table half inside the restaurant, half outside, inside a plastic bubble. The large plastic barrier sat between them. Tara thought Daniel was cute, what she could see behind the mask and plastic shield. She worried that the plastic face shield made her look fat.

The waitress came over in her Hazmat suit, a whiteboard in hand.

Can I take your drink order? She wrote.

Daniel looked to Tara, "Would you like a beer?"

"I'm 22 years," Tara replied.

"Beer?" He gestured like he was drinking, "Wine?"

The waitress wrote Would you like a beer or wine he said, then showed Tara the clipboard.

"Oh! Beer is fine," she shouted back.

"Me too. Sam Adams," Daniel said.


He wrote Sam Adams on his whiteboard. The waitress nodded and went away.

Daniel turned to Tara, "I'm glad you came," he shouted.

"Me too," she yelled back.

The waitress came back with long metal rods with clamps on the end a beer on each one. She stepped back and put one in front of Daniel and one in front of Tara. Can I take your order she wrote on the whiteboard?

Daniel started, "She will have."

She gestured wildly with the whiteboard, "You can only order for yourself. We cannot let diners talk too much it could aid in transmission of the disease. You better hurry and order dinner ends in 30 minutes. She wrote sloppily.

Daniel said, "What? It's only 530?"

The waitress adjusted her plastic shield, "Curfew starts at 6." She wrote.

He looked at the menu, "I'll have the burger."

Tara said quickly, "I'll have the salad."

"I'm sorry, we are not serving greens tonight. The newest study said that if we carry greens the virus could be in the water droplets." The waitress wrote.

Tara frowned, "Then I'll take a burger also."

They took their beers and toasted in between the plastic between them. "So what do you do?"

"Do I have the flu?" Several patrons at the restaurant looked their way in terror. Daniel looked around, held his hands up, "NO! NO! I don't have the flu!" He looked over Tara, "What?"

"Work? Do you work?"

"OH, yeah. I sell cars."

"You're from Mars?" 

"Cars! Vroom! Vroom!" Daniel replied as he sighed.

The waitress came over with take out bags and put them on the table. Tara and Daniel looked at them confused.

"A customer tested with a temperature and they were inside the front door, so we have to close and sanitize," she slapped the check on the table and put a piece of plastic over it. "You can pay online when you get home."

The plastic between Tara and Daniel slowly went up as a voice came over the loud speaker, "MASK UP!"

They put their masks on, lowered the plastic over their face and picked up the take out. Daniel took a picture of the check with his phone and left it on the table.

There was a mad rush out of the restaurant, Tara got pushed into Daniel and blushed at the contact but he couldn't see it under the plastic. They walked back over to her car six feet apart not touching each other.

Finally, at her car, she turned to him, "I had a really good time."

"No, I don't have a dime."

"Time," she pointed to her wrist, "Time."

"Oh, can I Zoom you so we can finish our date together," Daniel asked?

"Yes, I would like that," she screamed.

They leaned in close and kissed mask to mask, plastic to plastic.

"I'll Zoom in fifteen minutes," he said and turned and walked down the street.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

WTF - God Winks

It is such a special place when one of  your loved ones gives you a little "God wink" when they have passed on.

It is those subtle reminders that you are loved, that you are thought of, that you are still waiting until it's your time to give those "god winks."

Most of the one's from my parents are funny. A "How sweet it is," from some random person that has you smile. Or when you say, "how sweet it is" when you get that random parking space right in front at the ski resort.

I've had rings fall out of my jewelry box, my Dad's rings. I've laughed when the hotel my Mom and I stayed at in Myrtle Beach shows up as a sponsored add, begging me to book a weekend! I remember telling Mom, "We're just walking in here to use the bathroom, act like you own the place!"

She fell into the door walking in, fell out of the door walking out but we still had a spot to pee.

Then I'm dusting things and a vase falls over with a bunch of Irish money in it. My memory is clear. My Mom at the grocery store trying to buy a bottle of Irish whiskey. (Go figure - you can do this in West Virginia Slainte!) When presented with the total, she pulled out a big purse of coins and dumped them all over the counter. My sweet husband died a thousand deaths as the line formed behind her while she asked, "Now what is this one? And what is it worth?"

She finally paid for the whiskey (we needed some by then) and asked for a bag to put it in. "Oh Lord," the lady said, "That's another 10 pence."  They both sighed as my mother dumped the bag of coins on the counter yet again. My sweet hubby walked out of the grocery store.

So these little reminders are joyful, they are still here, they still see us. I got up this morning and asked Amazon Alex to play music. For some strange reason she (because she is now part of the family and actually argues with me) decided to play a big band playlist. Well that's different. I thought then the first song was Glenn Miller and In The Mood.

Best memory every of Father/Daughter dances and the song that will never end. Each year either me or one of my girlfriends would have to dance with my dad to this song. Just when you thought it was done, it would start all over again. Such great memories. Oh and by the way for all you political correctofobes, they actually served pitches of beer at the Daddy/Daughter dance and my dad COULD DANCE!

I'm at Goodwill and nestled in the albums left behind is several of the Mario Lanza collection. We drove to the Army Navy game and the only tape available in the car was Mario Lanza! We ended up at a bar my father left over 30 years ago. He walks in and says, "Damn, I left this bar 30 years ago and Sullivan was sitting there at the end. I come back 30 years and there he is in the same seat. I guess alcohol is a preservative!"

Two songs later as we get ready for school, the song So Rare comes on from Jimmy Dorsey. This is my father in law's song, the one he always talked about. It didn't matter (did it) that it was a stripper song from the long ago Baltimore Block/ Blaze Starr days? The highlight of a city that created those stories that still roam around. Burley Q is an amazing book about these days, the movie is amazing.

Every time the Melang family would get together, we'd always play this song. Every time my immediate family would get together we'd play In The Mood, Mario Lanza or just for fun Mother Macrae. (I'll never forget my father looking at me and saying, "I've never sung this song sober?" at my Great Aunt's Funeral)

So look around daily and I'll bet your see those God Winks, those little reminders that they are OK and don't fret about them. Just raise a toast and sing that song and figure out the one's your going to wink with when you're in heaven singing the old tunes.

What are your little God Winks? You know they are there!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

WTF - That Perfect Ski Day

Many consider themselves “snow chasers” spending the winter season in search of the “perfect snow day.” Living in the High Country of North Carolina, I can guarantee that every day here is a perfect ski day.

There are still many that live in our great state that doesn’t realize you can ski in North Carolina, that there are seven ski resorts in the state. That’s not including the tubing resort of Hawksnest that was once a ski resort.

So what constitutes the perfect ski day? Any day on the snow!

You can’t wait for the perfect ski day, you get out there and ski. I have friends that tell me, “I only ski out West.” My answer to them is, “Oh yeah, how many days did you ski this year?”

“4,” they reply.

“I skied 118,” I state. Are the days perfect? Yes! Because I am out on the snow!

“But you can’t ski out West,” they counter.

“Really? I skied another 10 in Utah and Colorado, and guess what, I kept up with the locals just fine. In fact, there were a few days that I was better. You know why? Because my perfect Southern Ski Days sometimes include powder, snow, granular snow, ice, mud, dirt, grass, rocks, and I made it through every single day. A 65-year ski patroller once told me that if you can ski in the South, then you can ski anywhere. I believe that statement!”

But some days can be better than others, truthfully. In Randy Johnson’s new book Southern Snow, he puts together those days that us snow chasers love, the best-kept secret of the Southern Skiing. A storm rolls through the High Country, which starts with rain. Everyone else sees rain, but we watch closely at the temperature after the storm moves through the High Country. If there is a drop in temperature, then the storm will likely end with snow. So while it’s raining, we’re waving and tuning and hit the slopes while everyone else stays home and complains. The perfect ski day!

My perfect day is as close to the first chair as possible. We have an ongoing battle for first chair amongst my friends. The rush to the lift resembles a Who Concert! First thing in the morning means you get the best snow. Freshly groomed, untouched and super fast. We find that weekends are great from 9-11 or so when it gets a little crowded. We then retire to our favorite Mountain Momma’s slope-side house to watch the “flying squirrels” dive down the mountain. What’s a flying squirrel? Usually, someone from Florida, on rental skis, with their jacket unzipped, flying straight down the slope. The unzipped jacket makes them look like a flying squirrel! Most of the crashes at the bottom are harmless but fun to watch!

So get out your board, or your planks, and plan a trip to some Southern Snow. Pad in those perfect days, and include that trip out west, get the best of both worlds!

A side note to those visiting, how to get your perfect snow day. Plan ahead!

If you are driving, rent your equipment ahead of time. There are local ski/board shops that rent equipment, along with several along the way. If you are renting at the resort, arrive early!!  AND I MEAN EARLY!

Ticket windows open at 830am for 9 am lift start. Get to the resort at 8 am and save yourself waiting forever like the people that get here at 9 am. If you are renting equipment, you have to have a lift ticket before rentals. Put one person in the rental line and one person in the lift line. 

How do adults have fun on the snow with little children? All-day Ski/Board School. Snow School is one of the best deals of the High Country. For one set price, you get all-day lessons 830a-400p lunch, helmet, slope pass, instruction, skills assessment, and rentals included. Children are in age-appropriate groups and spent time on the snow in small doses along with playing with friends in the Snow School. Snow School makes the first experience FUN! 

Beech Mountain Resort :

SnowCamp 3-6 years $135/weekday and $150/Weekend
SnowTraxx 6-14 years $100/weekend and $120/Weekends
Burton Learn to Ride 6-18 years $135/weekdays $150/weekends

Or course there is Snowflakes Childcare in the village.

The best part of these packages is the children let out at 4 pm. They can then show you their skills from 4-430p on the slopes!

They do sell these packages online, but they sell out very quickly. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

WTF - Cold vs. Cute

There's a light dusting of snow on the ground here on Beech Mountain. I'm sitting in front of the fire dressed for warmth.

We have a saying in the Melang house, "There's no such thing as being cold, just inappropriate clothing."

On Beech, we have a culture ware when it comes to the tourists visiting our mountain for the winter. There is a definite difference between being warm and being cute.

Being warm means you don't worry about hat head because you'd rather wear a hat.

The tight underlayer could show your "I've had two children" belly but it doesn't matter when that wind whips you don't feel it.

Your pants do make your ass look big because there's long underwear underneath them and a few pairs of snow socks.

No one can recognize you because everything is covered. I like to call this with my husband, the slow tease of taking it all off when we are home for the night. Usually, he's asleep by the time I get down to my long underwear.

Being Cute:

Walking through the resort in high heels. Sounds easy right? No, there's ice and snow on the ground plus all the gravel you pick your way through. 

Short shirts - have you ever had the wind whip up the skirt on a cold winter night? Especially if you are one of those free the asset types? 

Tank tops - tank tops are the perfect underlayer but when that's all you got, I'm thinking you're planning on showing off those puppies barking all night long.

I watched a poor woman tourist (from Florida) walking behind her boyfriend/Husband in that short skirt with the thigh-high boots that included a high heel. She had her hair perfectly done, makeup on and a short little tiger print puffy vest with a tight shirt and camisole.

What I actually saw was a poor woman who'd upper thighs were bright red from the cold. Her perfect hair was covered in snowflakes and when she tried to fix it in the restaurant it plastered to her head like a drowned rat. The short puffy vest didn't have pockets so her hands were between her bright red thighs for warmth. One spiked heel of her boot had scratches all over it from the gravel. BUT....her makeup was still perfect.

Just remember that on Beech Mountain we prefer warmth over cute, we prefer logic over hormones, we prefer moisture wicking over clinging. Come to our parties dressed for warmth and you'll have better luck with the guys as they don't see you as some crazy lady out in a short skirt is 12 degrees with a wind chill of 4 degrees.

Or do what all the locals do - a combination of warmth and cute. Walk up to the concert looking like the StayPuff Marshmallow Man in your down puffy onesie with snow boots and a hood that covers your beautiful hair but doesn't flatten it like a hat. Get inside and ditch the onesie to show off the shirt and top, change out of your moon boots to your spiked heels and dance the night away.

What's your preference?

Cute or Warm?