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A little slip on the ice, and welcome to Mister Toad's wild slide

The Bright Side: Joe Bushue


It apparently happened overnight, because I certainly wasn’t prepared for it. I just went outside to go across the street to get the mail and soon found myself on the equivalent of Mister Toad’s Wild Ride.

As I walked out from my covered entryway and hit the sidewalk, I realized that during the night the erroneously romantic-sounding “silver frost” had occurred and everything had been covered in a half-inch of ice. Sure, it makes for a beautiful sight, but I was using my cane then. It was all I had for brakes and rudder to navigate myself with, and frankly, wasn’t worth a darn for either.

About then, a gust of wind came up and turned my coat into something like big sails on a schooner ship, propelling me down the slippery walk. Since my house was on the high side of a downhill grade, the combination of the wind, ice and gravity sent me on my uncontrolled ride. As I started heading down my icy slide and realized my cane was really of no use, I made up my mind that there was no way I was going down.

Since my basic coordination (or lack of) didn’t allow me to end this slick slide by just jumping off the sidewalk to the grass next to it, I quickly decided I was going to have to end the ride somehow. I saw a chance when I saw a low tree limb that I could grab coming up. Only problem was that I just slid by it before I could grab it.

To keep my balance so I didn’t crash, I found myself performing a series of Olympic-style ice skating moves. I saw a hedge of the house next to mine coming up. All I would have to do to end my X-games ice marathon was somehow edge myself toward the hedge and grab onto it.

In what I can only describe as some fantastic moves (modesty prohibits me from exaggerating) that would even draw praise from Dorothy Hamill — which I’m sure included a couple of double axels — I finally was able to fall into the hedge.

When I gathered myself for my walk back on the more traction-friendly grass, I stood and expected to hear cheers and applause for my wild ride on the ice. At least the judges’ scores. Nothing. Then I realized absolutely no one had witnessed this legendary athletic event.

I soon found out no one I told would believe me, and also they couldn’t care less.

Even though I knew it happened — and it was pretty amazing — I realized trying to tell somebody else was the equivalent of telling them about “the big one that got away.”

Now, let me tell you about the time I single-handedly stopped a possible ski disaster that no one else witnessed. It all started ...

Joe Bushue is a travel agent and lifelong Gresham resident who has been tolerating multiple sclerosis for 30-plus years. His column recounts some of the humorous sides of his disability and his slants on life in general. Email him at joebushue@live.com.