Ellen was in charge of the ski cabin for the Inskiers in San Mateo. Mark joined the Powder Hounds even though he was just a beginner.
Mark called Ellen to arrange for a room in the Inskiers cabin. Ellen had a cold and sounded like Lauren Bacall when she answered. He liked that.
On New Year’s Day they were both at Homewood and decided to ski together. The sky had dumped eighteen inches of Sierra cement the night before, so skiing was tough. Mark was a green-run guy, and Ellen was a black-run gal, so they compromised and skied the blue runs.
People kept falling and losing their skis in the thick snow, and Mark would ask the crashed skiers where they went down. Then he would climb up to the spot and retrieve their skis.
Who does that, Ellen thought. Mark does.
Mark would snowplow down to the next crashed person, would ask, would climb up to where they went down, then do it again.
What a kind man.
Mark and Ellen ended up carpooling back and forth to the ski slopes. She helped him learn to ski. He called her the doctor of ski-ology.
They drove Ellen’s blue Volkswagen Bug to Tahoe. It choked at high altitude, and the engine would flutter. In order to get up the pass, Ellen would have to open the butterfly valve to give the engine more air. Sometimes they drove Mark’s Datsun.
Over several trips to Tahoe, one thing led to another. They got married in Yosemite.
Couldda Wouldda Didda
Just like a long playing LP’s revolutions per minute, Mark and Ellen’s marriage has lasted thirty-three and a third years, and is still spinning.