Venator Goes Downhill



This is Venator with his dog, Kate. He's my good friend and guiding client. We've known each other for more than thirty-five years and are always kidding around. My son and I were visiting with him in the great white north during the Christmas holidays.


Venator and my son heading for the sledding hill.


Being born and raised in Florida, my son had never seen a snowstorm before and had never been sledding.


Heading downhill and things are going well.


Heading downhill and things are not going quite so well.


The process of the separation of the sled from the sledder has begun.


The sledder is not far from an involuntary departure from the sled.


Yep, the sled and sledder have parted ways and are heading down different paths.


We still have forward motion.


Pilots will tell you the definition of a successful landing is any landing you can walk away from. The same goes for sledding.


After my son's first run downhill, and his less than graceful landing, Venator suggested I should go up the hill with the sled and demonstrate the proper form and technique of downhill sledding.

It went like this:

"John, go up that hill and show your son how to ride a sled the right way."
"No."
"What, are you afraid? Get up that hill and show your son how it's done."
"No."
"Why not?"
"Because I've done enough of it before and I don't care to do anymore of it again."
"So, it's going to have to be me that shows your son the proper way to sled?"
"I don't care one way or the other."
"So that's it, you're going to leave it to an old man to show your son how to sled?"
"Go for it."
"This could be something your son will remember all his life - that you refused to do the fatherly thing and demonstrate your vast knowledge of proper sledding. Doesn't that bother you?"
"Nope."
"Alright then, I guess it's just going to have to be an old man that shows your son these important life-lessons because you're not man enough to go up that hill and do it yourself."
"Let 'er rip."
"Well here I go."
"See you back here at the bottom."


So Venator, while clutching his hophornbeam walking stick, and doing his best Gandalf imitation, pushes off and heads downhill followed by Kate, his trusted sidekick.


Venator is off to a good start.


Venator is really moving out and looking good.


Uh-oh, things are starting to go awry. Venator is beginning to list to port and is having to apply hard left rudder to compensate.


Venator is in a desperate struggle to maintain control.


Oh no! Venator has left the sled.


That's it. Venator and Rosebud go their separate ways.


Flying downhill sans sled.


Venator is still clutching his hophornbeam walking stick, the only thing he's in control of.


Oh, this is bad!


Not good.


Finally starting to slow down.


At last Venator and Rosebud have ground to a halt. Kate is catching up to see if she can help.


Venator shaking it off.


Kate wants to help.


Venator is down.


Venator finally got back up and on his feet. Turns out he hurt his back. But his landing still qualified as a good one though. Here he is walking through the long shadows and heading home.