Book Shelf Writers logo

The Clearing

From the BookShelf Writers

The BookShelf Writers consist of four Estero Bay women who have been writing and critiquing together for over five years. For more samples of their work, please visit www.the

Each issue, this column will feature one of the BookShelf Writers: Debbie Black, Catherine “Kiki” Kornreich, Judy Salamacha and Susan Vasquez.

September 10, 2021

By Catherine “Kiki” Kornreich

Sandra has come as a guest of my sister’s, but she ends up skiing with Steve and me. This proves to be the beginning of a wonderful friendship, and the start of a fruitful ski history.

She has me doing jumps. Well, she and Steve jump. I bounce. Well, I guess they jump and I really squat. But in any case, she has me doing something, and has all of us laughing like lunatics!

Now, as all serious skiers know, in the 80’s a boda bag filled with red wine is a must on the slopes. Between the three of us, we have to do quite a bit of refilling, but the stops are worth the effort.

As the wine warms our cheeks, we ski harder and faster, taking more risks, and taking more falls. But youth has a way of keeping you upright…even on the slopes.

By now I’m certain that my jumps are of Olympic magnitude, not the quarter inch of air that they find so hysterical. 

Another thing that all skiers know, is, if you drink while skiing, one of the downfalls is the frequent need to use the bathroom. After our lunch break, we swear that we’ll hold it until the last run so we can get in as much skiing as possible.

Easier said than done.

Steve, being a faster skier (and a man), is able to pull into the trees, take care of business, and be waiting for us as we sail past, none the wiser.

As we’re getting off the chairlift in the late afternoon, Sandra and I both agree that we aren’t gonna make it til 4:00. In order to get to a bathroom, we’d have to ski to the bottom of this run and take another chair back to the other side of the mountain. “Too much time. Let’s just go in the trees.”

Again, easier said than done.

Sandra and I are both wearing bib-overall ski suits (quite the rage at the time). Quandary number one. We also know that if we step off the skis, we’ll sink pretty deep into the ungroomed snow. So we both decide to stay perched atop the skis, pull the suits around our ankles, and just carefully squat between our boots.

Men don’t know how good they have it.

So there we are, hidden in a pretty deep forest, bib-overalls bunched below the knee (any higher and you can’t get a clear squat while balancing atop skis), trying to pee. Of course we both struggle with performance anxiety. And our butts are cold. And we start to giggle. And can’t stop.

Sandra, always able to concentrate better than anyone I know, finally succeeds at the task at hand.

As I turn away from her, forcing my own concentration to kick in, my skis turn in the same direction. Which is downhill.

The weather is sunny and warm, creating a crusty surface on the brilliant white snow under the trees, making it quite unmaneuverable. 

So there I am, in a little tee-shirt, ski suit around my ankles, big ole bare butt pushed out behind me, squatting over my skis. And I’m picking up momentum!


“Oh my god! Stop! Stop!!!!” she’s screaming as she struggles back into her ski suit, trying as quickly as she can to come to my aid.

And now I start to pee.

And now I’m coming out of the trees.

And I’m screaming.

And I’m drawing the attention of everyone who’s on the chairlift, directly above the clearing that I’m entering.

And there’s a little steaming yellow trail, following me every inch of the way.

Catherine “Kiki” Kornreich is a member of The BookShelf Writers. To see more of her work, visit

You May Also Like…

Junkyard/Backyard Dogs

Junkyard/Backyard Dogs

By Lisa Ellman Have you ever wondered why “junkyard” dogs always seemed so vicious? It’s not because they were ever...

Here I Come!

Here I Come!

By Catherine “Kiki” Kornreich The oft admonished “don’t wait for illness, to value wellness” hits us all at some...