By Mark Barnes
I ran in to Elmer at the local sandwich shop while picking up some grub the other day. While waiting in line before selecting our toppings I took the opportunity to chew on his ear a bit. I knew I could get our genius loci going with just one sentence.
“Are you watching the winter Olympics,” I asked?
I could see him start to bunch up like a snowstorm crossing the Owyhees.
“I ain’t gonna watch that crud,” he blurted. “First off, I ain’t gonna support a bunch of Ruskies by watching their games.”
“Don’t you want to root for our team,” I asked. “U.S.A. has quite a few great athletes and there are many from right here in Idaho.”
“Now don’t get me wrong,” he said softly trying not to let his anger begin the runaway cascade of an avalanche. “I really like the summer Olympics and I think our folks should try to beat them folks from other places. But when you look at it, there’s only one sport at the winter Olympics.”
I got confused. He could see it on my face.
“If you’re good at sliding on ice, then you can win,” he said, visibly proud of his observation.
He could see I was about to defend America’s best.
“Now I look like Don Knotts in a room full of banana peels when I encounter an ice patch, but them youngsters know how to slip ‘n slide around all fancy like,” he said. “You’ve got to practice a long time to get that good. But it’s still all just slidin’ on ice.”
I could see his point about ice skating, not one of my favorites. I think it’s the hours spent during prime time learning about froo-froo costumes and overcoming childhood obstacles on their way to the top that turns me off.
“But what about biathalon,” I said?
“Slidin’ and shootin’,” he responded.
“Slidin’ fast. Slidin’ pretty. Slidin’ curvy. Slidin’ ‘n jumpin’. Slidin’ back and forth. Slidin’ along ways.”
“Slidin’ with sticks.”
My argument with him began to weaken and I realized I wasn’t going to win.
I tried one more.
I had forgotten my previous lessons learned with Elmer. He may sound a little rural but Elmer had a point under that John Deer hat.