Here's one for all the skiers out there.
Dick Perkins, 78, and Tony Carleton, 80, have been friends and ski buddies since their days on the Dartmouth College ski team in the 1950s. Over the years, both built successful careers in the Boston area, raised families, and kept skiing their adopted home mountain of Wachusett at a manic rate.
However, life caught up with Carleton about two decades ago, when he was hit with a permanent neurological disorder that inhibited the movement of his upper body and forced him to walk stiffly. Normal activities became difficult and awkward; amazingly, though, he could still ski. In fact, Carleton says it's one of the few things he feels graceful doing anymore, according to an interview with WBUR.
The duo's run nearly ended again a few years ago, when Perkins was left legally blind. Unable to see the slopes he had considered a second home for so many years, the 78-year-old was regretfully considering hanging up his skis for good.
Then Carleton came to the rescue.
With no experience in the field beyond teaching his kids to ski, Carleton volunteered to act as Perkins' guide, helping his friend navigate the hill with voice instructions and a brightly colored ski suit. From the video account below, the system seems to work quite well.
"People are really shocked," says Carleton in the interview. "When they're modest skiers and we go flying by them at twice their speed and the second guy has a big sign that says 'visually handicapped'—and they say, 'What's up? How can that be?'"
The two enjoy confusing people, but are mostly just thankful to spend time out on the hill together doing what they love. As far as friendships go, what more can you ask for?
Catch the whole WBUR interview here. Seriously, do it.
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