Before I talk about growing up in Atlanta, I’ve got to clear up one thing. Although three of the four Scott kids were born in Atlanta, we were born on Texas soil. This is a detail my sister NEVER leaves out when people are shocked that we aren’t “Texas born and raised.” How, you may ask? Our family’s Texan pride is
so real that my dad dug Hearne, TX dirt up from my Meme’s back yard, put it in a gallon Ziplock bag, and took it back to Atlanta. That bag of dirt was under each hospital bed that we were born on. So technically, I was born in Atlanta but I was born on Texas soil. Gotta rig the system somehow.
Anyways, I was born in Atlanta, GA where the pine trees are tall and the peaches are sweet, or so it’s stereotyped. We moved to Texas in 2002 but I can still remember a lot from when I still lived in the suburbs. Clothes couldn’t constrain my inner country girl and our two Great Danes, Zach & Clyde, were my best friends. I laid in the dog house with them, ate dog food as a snack, and roamed our one acre like it was forty. I could climb our back-porch fence as long as I was bare footed, using only my hands and toes to grip the wood. My parents had a reputation on the block for having their children running around in underwear with two Great Danes since that’s what Georgia-born, but actually Texan, kids do.
When we moved, I honestly didn’t miss it. I got to be around my cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, which I didn’t have in Atlanta. We also got a new house with 40 acres instead of one. Zach, Clyde, and I were finally free. As I got older, things changed. I started wearing more clothes, my two best friends passed away, I got another brother, and I stopped eating dog food. However, one thing that didn’t change was my love for pine trees.
Obviously, we don’t have many here in Central Texas so when I find some, it’s one of my favorite places to visit/drive by. Like the first 3 holes on the Caldwell golf course and the drive heading into Bastrop when you head under the “tunnel” of pine tree branches (i.e the picture above).
They remind me of my childhood but they also remind me of memories I’ve had post-Atlanta. Many of them are good and happened as I was growing up but inevitably, I’ve had some bad ones too:
** Side note: I know the pine trees in Texas & Georgia are different than the ones in the Rocky Mountains. But they’re still a type of pine tree which I love. **
We have a biennial (I honestly had to look up this word but it means every other year) ski trip that my family takes with close friends. We switch up where we go depending on lift passes, pricing, and sizes of houses to fit our big families. The ski trips are something I always look forward to because it’s full of funny moments on the slopes, bonding, and breath-taking views. Not to mention that there is always snow, pine trees, and mountains. Any place with that combo is automatically one of my favorite places because it’s a constant reminder of how beautiful God’s creation is.
I’ve played a lot of golf in pine trees which any course with a lot of pine trees is already a good one in my eyes. I’ve shared lots of laughs with friends and strangers in a good round of golf. Or bad, depending on the day. Golf balls ricocheting off pine trees is always kind of funny and if you don’t think it is, you’re playing too seriously.
When we lived in Atlanta, Mom worked for East Lake which is a private golf course and the home course of Bobby Jones. It hosts the PGA Tour Championship and as a kid, I usually tagged along with Mom as she worked the tournaments. One year in particular, I walked around bare-footed because as a kid, golf was boring and I still tried to wear the least amount of garments possible. However, the commentators saw me, panned the camera over, and filmed me as I walked under the pine trees. They talked about how carefree I was being as a kid and that folks, was the peak of my child stardom.
Our 2018/2019 ski trip that we just took to Angel Fire, NM was a good one. I decided after 10 years of skiing, it was time to learn how to snowboard. I’ve never been so sore in my life but it was worth it, especially since I felt 10x cooler as a snowboarder. And to top it all off, Mom had the confidence to ski after THE accident.
This year was the four-year anniversary of our 2014/15 biennial ski trip in Angel Fire. It was on this trip that Sami (my sister) and I wanted to take my mom on our favorite runs. If you’re familiar with Angel Fire slopes, we’d go down Glory Hole (black) and catch Lower Free Flight (blue). Lower Free Flight was our favorite because you’d go down a hill with a little dip at the bottom and if you hit it going fast enough, you could catch a little G-force. In golf terms, the trail dog-legs to the left a little bit and you can continue to fly down the run as long as you’re able to keep control. The dip was our favorite part and the sole reason we wanted Mom to try it.
My Mom is a good skier so she could keep up with Sami and I pretty well. However, she’s always trying to be the “cool” mom. This contributes to her stubbornness when it comes to being able to do something with her kids since she always trying to keep up. She never admitted that she was getting tired as we skied down these difficult runs. I had been leading our little pack with Sami and Mom close behind us. We turned down Lower Free Flight, went down the hill, hit the G-force dip, and skidded to a stop so Mom could catch up.
Literally right as we stopped and turned around, Mom came flying down the hill, hit the dip but instead of slightly turning left, the G-force caused her knees to buckle. She fell into a squatting position but was still upright on her skis which sent her flying towards the trees. Before she reached the trees, she tried to fall over to stop herself but all that did was launch her head first into one.
It happened so fast, I couldn’t believe this was actually happening. We yelled at her but she just laid there, not moving. The two of us popped our skis off and ran to her which took a second because ski boots are nearly impossible to even walk in. When we reached her, she’d woken up but said she couldn’t move. I asked if she could move her legs or arms and slowly she tested them all. The verdict was she could move everything but her neck and head. I called 911 but when they asked where we were and what trail, we didn’t even know. We always just flew down our favorite trails by memory and never looked at the names.
A young guy with red hair, a red beard, and ice hanging off his mustache stopped and asked if we were okay. Mom wasn’t. I was starting to panic. And I think he could tell. He gave mom his jacket and took off towards the steep hill to see what trail we were on. I tried to follow behind so I could feel like I was helping but this guy was in way better shape than me. After what felt like hours, the ski patrol guys with the hurt-people sled found us. Within seconds, they knew it was serious, put a neck brace on her, asked that we carefully dig her out of the snow and worked to get the stretcher under her. Once we carried her to the sled, they literally buried her in wool blankets and headed down the mountain.
When she reached the bottom, they had already called the airport to get a helicopter ready to air lift her to Santa Fe. It was there that they x-rayed her and determined she’d broken her C1 vertebrae in two spots. Looking back, I don’t know why I never looked up what a C1 vertebrae break meant but I am so glad I didn’t. No doctor in Santa Fe wanted to operate on her since she was considered a high risk. Before they transported her to Albuquerque in hopes of finding someone who would operate on her, me, Sami, and Carl & Sheila Homeyer (our friend’s parents) drove 2 hours to go see her. She was high on morphine which was the best thing I’d seen all day.
Dad went wherever Mom went so my siblings and I stayed with the Homeyer’s. Mom insisted that she didn’t want her accident to ruin our trip so our orders were to stay in Angel Fire to keep skiing. What a woman.
It was probably on purpose but Dad kept me out of the loop when it came to updates on Mom’s condition. He’d tell the Homeyer’s and to this day I don’t know if I got the sugar-coated version from them or if no one actually knew what was going to happen. I knew it was bad, I just didn’t know how bad. I tried not to think about it but it was
my Mom that had doctors scared to operate so it never left my mind.
Although the whole situation was literally any family’s worst nightmare, I could walk outside, look at the trees and mountains and know that everything is going to be alright. I can’t really explain it except that I knew it was God telling me it was going to be okay. The peacefulness of the glittery snow, huge pine trees surrounding everything, and the quietness of the mountains was always reassuring. I was in a place that I loved with people who loved me.
Several days post-accident, there were still no doctors wanting to take a risk in operating on Mom. The hospital had even been searching to fly someone from out-of-state in but still no luck. Our Pastor from back home called to see what needed praying for. Of course, finding a doctor was #1 priority. About thirty minutes later, we had a doctor willing to do it.
Picture on the left is a low quality picture I took when it happened with my iPhone 4S. The picture on the right is from our trip this year. We went down Lower Free Flight to see
Four screws and four years later, she finally had the courage to ski again as we made our biennial ski trip with the Homeyer’s to Angel Fire. That trip rocked our families and the view we had on each other’s lives. It also rocked me spiritually because when I thought about the whole incident, it was miracle after miracle with friends investing into our family in between. I never felt scared of the outcome because I felt God’s hand over the whole thing. He took such good care of us through other people and their compassion. We had friends and family who dropped everything to care for us and I’d never felt so loved in my entire life. To this day, we are the tree. so grateful.
His love is way bigger than a pine tree and that might be why he let me keep my mom after hitting one. So, if God calls me somewhere in the mountains or a place with pine trees, I’m there in a heartbeat.
P.S. Sometimes it’s really weird because I’ll be listening to music and I’ll hear a song that I haven’t heard in awhile but it goes almost perfectly with something I’m writing about. Like this one called
Old Pine by Ben Howard.