It was December. My family was going to visit Montana for Christmas, where we would stay in a condominium and ski for a week. We had decided to take the train for a new experience. Unfortunately, that experience was only the first of our Montana mishaps.
The Amtrak pulled in to our station at midnight, four hours later than it should have. The ride was twenty-seven hours long, and we arrived in Whitefish at 3:00 the next morning. We stood in the rain as our luggage was pulled off of the train, and a taxi drove us up the mountain to our ski resort.
Despite the late night, Dad set out early. When he came back, he announced that the visibility on the mountains had been terrible because of the fog and that he had broken his sun glasses.
We watched Santa ski down the slopes on Christmas Eve, and my sister Claire was excited for her birthday the next day. I awoke to the smell of blueberry muffins on the 25th, and we had a nice morning opening stockings. We skied for a few hours, and were planning on attending a church service in the evening. My mom, Claire, and I decided to go back to the condo to shower while Dad skied one last run. It would be his last of the season.
I heard the telephone ring over the sound of the bathroom fan. It was followed by Mom’s panicked voice. “Hurry up,” she opened the bathroom door and demanded. I jumped out of the shower, confused but obeying. “What’s going on?” I asked through the door. “Dad’s hurt.”
I have never gotten dressed so fast in my life. Within seconds I was watching Mom frantically put on her shoes. She left to ride with Dad in the ambulance.
I found out later that Dad had gotten a concussion, and other skiers had found him unconscious on the slope. He has no recollection of the accident.
When they finally arrived back at the condo, Claire and I pitied Dad’s swollen face and broken glasses. He apologized for “ruining” Claire’s birthday. We sat around a table and ate cold chicken fingers. We never made it to church. And on the way home, the train was late again.
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