I pride myself on my thriftiness--growing up, a common refrain heard on Christmas morning from my brother (partly in jest...maybe) as someone opened up a lovingly handmade present by yours truly was "Another cheap gift from Annie!" Sometimes, though, the perfect presents are those that can't be bought at Target or Best Buy. A couple of months ago, I had the good fortune to spend the day at Hunter S. Thompson's Owl Farm in Woody Creek, Colorado, drinking and exploding things with Hunter's favorite nickel-plated shotgun. Did I mention this was a business trip? It's a hard job, being an attorney for a brewery, but someone's gotta do it. Anyway, Hunter happens to be one of my investigative reporter brother's idols, so while I walked around the property, I scooped up a small handful of dirt and brought it home with me. Heck, since Hunter's ashes were blasted from a 153-ft. high cannon on his property, there may even be a little essence of Hunter mixed in there as well. Placed in a cool glass jar with a label, it made a great gift for my brother to keep on his desk at work for inspiration. Yes, another cheap gift from Annie, but a pretty cool one.
A week after Christmas, the last thing I was thinking about was buying a present for my children, but when I saw that a cool, independent store down the road from me was having a closing sale (and getting rid of everything at cost!), I had to stop in. And there, gleaming at me a la the Red Ryder BB gun in the Higbee's department store display, was a lovely Mountain Boy Sledworks Classic Flyer wooden sled.
Normally retailing for $159.99, this one could be mine for the low low price of $72! I went home and casually mentioned to Sam that I had seen a pretty cool sled for really cheap. If Sam read Look magazine, I would surely have slipped in an advertisement to dupe him into reading a Mountain Boy Sledworks sales pitch. Lucky for me, he also had visions of sleds dancing in his head, and yesterday we became the proud owners of the Classic Flyer.
We walked the two blocks over to the snow-blanketed City Park Golf Course, where the mini-hills were just steep enough to do some nice test runs. The air was crisp and cold, but the electric blue skies made us feel less chilly and being a few thousand feet closer to the sun really does make a big difference in feeling its warmth. An elderly woman watched us from her front porch across the street, smiling and waving as she enjoyed the boys' glee. Nearby, a couple cross-country skied with their dog running along beside them, and I suddenly felt so lucky to live in such a great area.
Folks, this ain't no plastic or foam sled that will last a couple of seasons before cracking, twisting, or falling apart. I fully expect my boys to take their children sledding on this very sled, while telling them stories of how much fun they had on it when they were little. Though it is arguably foolish to spend $72 on a new toy right after Christmas, it will be worth a lifetime of memories.
And seeing this face after sledding? To me--priceless.