If I Were You: My Memories of Ed Chase

First, it is hard to have to gather the words twice in one year for the important men in my life. I never wish this experience of losing two loved ones on my worst enemy. I have learned that my family (of all women essentially now) are stoic, and strong beyond words. 

 If I were you....that my friends is the most famous Ed Chase statement in our family. Ed sure did love to give his opinion - whether it was inquired or not - I loved that about him...matter of fact I loved everything about Ed + the relationship, bond, and love that our family was easily able to share with this 6 foot plus gangly standing, adventure seeking, EuroVan driving, proud mustache owner that he was. 

It has taken me several weeks to muster up the words, shed the tears - and let my strong guard down.

Ed came into our amazing family of 3-hard headed women around 2002. His son Peter and I had quickly become best friends - boyfriend/girlfriend - whatever it is that you call two youngsters obsessed with each other. I remember it clearly - it was dawning upon Thanksgiving (also my mother's birthday), I had invited Peter to dinner, and we felt so bad that Ed would be alone up on the hill. So, our solution: Invite him too! Of course none of us thought anything of this, however, this would lead to the most unconditional love any of us would ever imagine...within an instance my mother, Betsy, and Ed quickly became each others sidekicks - let's be honest, they were perfect for each other. Absolutely-fu**ing-perfect. As their relationship grew, the love they had for each other permeated anyone close to them.

Ed bravely stepped into the Lauder-bunch made up of all women, about 8 of us to be exact, and he came in with open arms. He immediately took Sarah + I in; he was the dad that we yearned to have as a constant in our lives - he was the man that would guide us through thick and thin - he was the man that tossed us on hockey skates + threw a golf club in our hands while calmly saying we would figure it out. He was the instigator of teaching puppy Banxie the sentence "where's Nemo (the cat)?" leading to pure chaos in the house and everyone running everywhere chasing the dog, trying to save the cat - laughing our asses off. He convinced us that clam spaghetti was a meal, and that you didn't have to always hit a driver; a 9 or a 6 iron could easily get the job done - and golf was a game that we needed to learn for the advancement of our adult careers. As I twiddled my way through high school and beyond Ed became my human spellcheck and resume reading extraordinaire; I swear he was the reason that I suddenly went from a C to an A in English.

The Whirling Dervish - that what Ed called me. After googling what a whirling dervish was I realized it was fitting with my personality. Then he just shorten it to: the dervish - it took some growing into, but, I eventually became proud of my nickname. Seldom did he call me just Bud, it was always Miss Bud when I wasn't running around like a tornado trying to pack in far too many activities into one day.
Ed is the unsung hero of the ski industry; or in retrospect is the mayor of the ski world, I guess it depends on whom you ask. Ed...or Sleez as they called him those days - was the magician of ski tuning. Ed guided the Mahre brothers through numerous triumphs in the global ski racing world. But, more importantly Ed was my personal technician - he taught me how to put the absolute perfect tune on my race skis. When Crested Butte Academy was being revamped, there was a gigantic cutting board table being tossed - we quickly acquired it as the perfect tuning bench and then it was appropriately outfitted with the latest + greatest Swix grips and iron. We had a selection of brushes that were foreign to most people, but Ed had mastered their exact purpose. I went from mediocre tunes to the perfect wax and suddenly I had the fastest skis on the hill. He was the wax chemist in my world - he always seemed to get the combination correct - we would always have some crazy mixture that he would pull out of his magic box of wax + tuning equipment; or he would have the right person to call to get what he thought would be the key to competing. When he introduced me to a panzer file I may or may not have gone completely overboard because I was convinced I need to theeeeee sharpest edges...turns out, if you panzer your edges too much you'll need new skis.

Ed tried to teach me how to parallel park in the Euro-van which was rightly named MIGHTY  (and I stubbornly tried to re-dub as the silver bullet that is a story in it's self) - however, now Ed would be glad to know that I no longer hesitate tossing Ingrid into a parallel parking position - but will gladly take a nose in spot (still).  That silly van has so many memories - like when Peter and I would floor-it to see how quickly we could go from 0 to 60, it was surprising quick, probably the fastest van on the market. Prior to moving to Nevada for college Ed offered me MIGHTY - I quickly declined - seriously, what college sorority girl drives a van!?! Instead I went in an outback which ended up blowing its engine in the dorm parking lot. Then about halfway through my college gallivant, I remember calling Ed and telling him how cool it would be to have a van - insert the Ed Chase: I told you so! On May 27th he sent a text that he had donated MIGHTY. I hope that the person that has MIGHTY now is taking care of 'er - is proudly driving 'er around - and you better have a mustache ***damnit!

When we lived in Crested Butte, one of Ed's favorite things to do was skin ski up Crested Butte Mountain in the depths of morning which equally encompassed freezing cold temperatures. Every few days, he would accompany his same group of friend to climb from the base of CBMR to the top of Paradise Bowl + beyond - where I would be for early morning training. The pure amount of excitement and happiness Ed got out of this winter routine cannot be put into words - he lived for these early morning sub-zero mountain explorations. Every time he reached the top of Paradise Bowl, he had his BRIGHT Ed smile - the smile that made you feel content - proud - all around happy - the smile that you couldn't resists but smiling back at. And of course, I was elated because he would watch me power through the start wand, and hustle around the first few gates of the course before sailing off into an abyss - then, he would continue his skin ski to the top of the  mountain.

Ed was my secret keeper; he helped me plan the most surprising trips home, gifts + other little perks. We shared a lot of the same concerns, thoughts and wandering. I fear I will never have someone like this in my life again. Coming home to a house filled full of love, excitement + adventure was the best! Finding a gentlemen like Ed that could put up with three strong-willed chicks firing at him constantly was unimaginable - and he did it with love, contentment + no stress (or at least he didn't show it) :)

Ed had a mean collection of sunglasses. I honestly think that this is one of the major reasons that we bonded. My hunger for fashion, art + creativity and his retro stash of Ran-Bans - let's just say, whenever he would clean out his office and come across a few new pairs of stunna shades I was never upset. I treasure those glasses more than ever - I wear them like I am more beautiful than a Kennedy or M. Monroe. Sunglasses, my love for organizing (...oddly enough) + fashion were never a dull point of our conversations. 

But, the best part of Ed? Like I mentioned earlier: the unconditional love he had for my mother Betsy. I like to think of relationships as puzzle pieces - sometimes they work immediately, sometimes take some forcing - flipping the pieces different directions, and sometimes are just the wrong piece all together. Well, Ed + Betsy were the perfect puzzle piece for each other the moment that they oddly met during our Thanksgiving dinner. I honestly was so angry about this for a while, but then I took a step back and realized my mother's happiness, Ed's happiness and the family feeling that we all finally found because of their bond.This is a love that I hope I am blessed with someday - a connection that I hope I can emulate.

This world is a little bit less exciting now that Ed has departed. However, I think that we can all agree that he is watching us now, with a full-glass of Rex Goliath in hand, laughing at us and secretly sending us "if I were you" messages.

If I could tell Ed anything right now, I would say: Thank you, and I love you to the moon + back.



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