Crunch the Cracker This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     There are many terms used to describe the residents of certain states. For example, in Utah we have women called Molly Mormons, in Florida there are conks, Texas has cowboys, and from Georgia come the crackers. One of the really fun things to do with people from other areas of the country is to give them a taste of Utah, particularly when they are king of the jungle in their own back yard.

Such was the case with a friend of mine from Georgia, a real country bumpkin who could hunt and fish with the best of them and thought he knew all about snowboarding. Now, what could a good old boy from St. Simons Island know about snowboarding? According to Brooks, it was pretty much the same as riding a skateboard.

Brooks had spent all of two days on the slopes at Park City mastering the snowboard; his only partners were his parents. His father had been on skis twice and his mother was taking lessons. I received a call from Brooks asking that I take him somewhere to test his new skills where his parents would not hold him back.

Now who am I to hold back a future Olympic star? Just like a master fisherman, I started to bait the hook. I told Brooks the best snow and slopes could only be found at The Canyons.

I was curious to see the tools of this master’s trade and arrived at his condo bright and early. To my surprise, Brooks did not have a snowboard but assured me he would rent the very best one. He was dressed just as you would expect a Georgia cracker to dress, except he planned to snowboard in this outfit. I must admit that he was wearing a really nice Columbia coat, but the baseball cap, blue jeans and motorcycle gloves were a real shocker. Maybe he was planning to become a trendsetter.

We arrived at the rental shop and his drawl was a slight setback in communicating with the salespeople.

“Hey, you all, I need a board for the day.”

The clerks stared at him as if they were waiting for a wad of chewing tobacco to fall from his lips. No one said a word.

“Excuse me, ma’am, could someone size me up for a snowboard?” One of the women finally asked if she could help and instantly received the answer, “Yes, ma’am.” Obviously this hillbilly was not from Utah, where no one is called sir or ma’am.

“I need one of your finest boards to take on these hills for the day.” What a communications gap. I don’t believe those working in the store would have had more difficulty translating French, German or Chinese than they did Southern redneck. They finally got Brooks fitted with a board and as we headed for the lift, I overheard two of them betting that the ski patrol would bring him down on a stretcher.

Brooks had more bull to spread about his snowboarding abilities than you’ll find in a cow pasture so I figured there was no need to start him off on the easy blue slopes. Nope, I headed straight for the black diamonds. It was no surprise to see Brooks’ face turn various shades of green as we climbed higher. The altitude must have affected his vocal cords, too, since he talked less and less.

When we reached the top and got off the lift, I was stunned to find Brooks was not right behind me. As the lift came to a stop, Brooks was still sitting on the seat. It took a few minutes to convince him not to ride back down. After all, I had a couple of surprises in mind for the trip.

We made the first turn and suddenly there was a straight drop in fresh powder. The quick descent must have spiked his adrenaline because he began screaming like a little girl. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone fall and roll head over heels so much and still get back on his feet. I must admit Brooks worked really hard to stay in control and if it had not been for sailing over a 20-foot cliff and landing face down in the snow, it might have been a good day after all. But alas, I decided I had put him through enough.

Brooks’ pride would not let him quit and he managed to last for three and a half hours before tossing in the towel. His lips were blue and he could barely speak because he was shaking so much. His many falls had soaked his clothing.

We left the resort and returned to the condo, heading straight for the hot tub. After warming up and regaining his sense of humor, Brooks could only say that he’d had enough of The Canyons and everyone there was nuts. When I last saw him, he was back on the sidewalk with his cracker skateboard.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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