Our family went to Colorado during the Christmas Holidays in 1970.  We drove the 1966 Air Force Blue Station wagon my dad bought as a surplus from the NASA Guard motor pool.  We visited some longtime family friends in Evergreen, Colorado.  Our friends loaned us some ski gear to go to Breckenridge to learn how to ski.  The first day my brothers and I learned how to use the T-Bar to climb to the top of the bunny slope.  An instructor showed us the basics, like the snowplow and parallel skiing.  I rarely used the snowplow; I went straight to parallel since the snowplow hurt my ankles. 

Towards the end of the day, we ended up on an intermediate slope where we could build up some speed.  It was great feeling the cold wind on my face as I slid down the hill.  At the bottom of the hill was the parking lot.  One time dad was watching us from the bottom of the hill when he saw me going straight and fast directly toward him.  He looked around to see where he could get medical help since he was convinced I was about to go out into the parking lot.  I turned sideways and came to a stop next to him as my skis threw snow all over him.

We later said goodbye to our friends and packed into the station wagon for the long drive home.  We drove through snow all the way until we got to a small town in Oklahoma.  As we were about to leave the town to get back on open road, there were roadblocks stretching across the highway.  Dad rolled down his window to find out what was going on.  The police officer said “The road is closed due to the snowstorm.  It is too dangerous to continue.  You will need to stay the night here in town.”  Dad asked, “Ok, where can we stay?”   The officer replied, “All of the hotels are filled up.”  “So, what are we supposed to do?  Sleep in the car?”  The officer replied, “You are welcome to stay in our jail. No one else is there and the place is warm.  We have plenty of bunks for you to use.”  Boy that that catch the attention of my brothers and me! We get to stay in the jail!!

We followed the Officer to the jail house where he led us inside to the jails.  We all were carrying what we needed for the night’s stay.  The place was warm!  My brothers and I had a blast locking each other in the cells after the police officer left.  We finally settled down and each claimed a place to sleep.  My brothers and I slept on the bunks in one cell, Mom and Dad slept in the next cell over. 

The next morning it had stopped snowing, so we packed up the wagon and found a place to get some breakfast.  As we left that small town the road barriers were pulled to the side of the road.  The Officer waved at us as we drove past.  I heard him say “Safe travels!” even though our windows were up. 

The drive was slow due to the amount of snow still on the road.  We saw several cars that had gotten stuck in the snow where they wondered of the road surface.  It was difficult to see where the road was, and they ended up in the ditch.  They were not going fast so there was no damage to the cars.  After what seemed like a forever drive, we pulled into our driveway where our hound dog Eva greeted us.

I was in sixth grade at the time and one of my favorite teachers was my Science teacher, Mr. Brinkley.  I told him of our adventures over the holiday.  He laughed at the part of us staying in the jail overnight.  The rest of that year, he called me jailbird.  Mr. Brinkley would call roll to see who all was in class, and when he would get to my name, he would call out “Jailbird”