Peter Shelton

Chooglin’ On Down the Road

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Personal History, Watch columns by pshelton on December 30, 2011

Don’t you know it’s gonna be – all right. Shoo-bee-doo-wah. – “Revolution 1” by The Beatles

It’s not always easy these days to believe the John Lennon of 1968. Is it going to be all right? I’m not sure he believed the lyric himself. Despite what the Maharishi was telling him. (more…)

Christmas Tree of Life

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Watch columns by pshelton on December 24, 2011

Cecily showed me a picture of their Christmas tree, a scrawny little thing with branches on just one side. It’s so crooked it won’t stand up on its own, so they attached it with monofilament line to a hook in the ceiling. “It kind of rotates a little bit now and then on its own,” Cecily said. “But it’s good; Boden can’t pull it down.” (more…)

What Really Scares Us

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Watch columns by pshelton on October 28, 2011

I’m sick of shock, sick of gory . . . Is anybody here wise?

– From “Wise to the Ways,” by Catie Curtis


On the phone last weekend 3-year-old Alex told Ellen he was going to be a pirate for Halloween.

“Arrrr,” I said, eavesdropping in the background. (more…)

Time Travel: Crosscuts of the Day

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Watch columns by pshelton on June 9, 2011

In a bit of serendipity across decades, a high-school friend of my brother’s wrote recently to say she is now singing in the choir at a church in Berkeley, a church my grandfather founded, and did I have any memories, any souvenirs, to share.

My mother’s father died up north in 1966, and, since we grew up in southern California, we hadn’t visited all that often. So, any memories are necessarily distant. Mainly I remember Easter – which seems to be the time we visited most – my sisters in rustling dresses, me in slippery, polished leather shoes and starched collars (stiff anyway) that pressed into my neck as we sat for what seemed an eternity in the wooden pews.

Rev. Laurance L. Cross came from a long line of Alabama preachers, a Presbyterian who found that denomination constricting. (more…)

Bring Your Grandbaby to Work

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Watch columns by pshelton on March 20, 2011

Here’s a column I wrote for Nurture, a new monthly supplement to The Watch newspaper.

I’ve got to be one of the luckiest grandpas around. Anyone who becomes a grandparent has been given a great gift, but I’m extra lucky, because I get to go to work nine-to-five with my newest grandson, Boden. (more…)

Pilgrim’s Progress

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Watch columns by pshelton on January 20, 2011

Ah, New England.

I had to call Adam when his Patriots lost to the New York Jets on Sunday. I knew he’d be devastated. (more…)

Out of Joint

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Ski evolution by pshelton on January 17, 2011

Here’s an essay I did for SKI’s January 2011 back page.

I had hip replacement surgery one month before my first grandchild was born.

The decision to do it, to go for the new hip, had not come easily. Back and forth I went over the previous winters: I’m too young. I can still ski. (I was 59 at the time.) I can barely walk back to the car after a morning on the slopes, but I can still do it, damn it! (more…)

Surfing the avalanche

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Road Trips West, Watch columns by pshelton on January 7, 2011

Ellen thinks maybe the second avalanche was still moving when we drove through it. (more…)

The Family That Sticks Together Gets Sick Together

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Watch columns by pshelton on December 17, 2010

Cloe stuck the digital thermometer in one of Alex’s ears: 101.7 degrees. Then in the other one: 102.4.

“Not!” Alex said, good-naturedly, as someone scrambled for a Kleenex. Two clear rivers migrated down his upper lip.

Adam had been sick for a while, too. No fever, but lots of “not.”

Cloe had been coughing for days. Her chest was so tight, she said, it felt like a vice. She convulsed with tight little explosions that didn’t break anything up, didn’t get anything out. Little underground nuclear tests. (more…)

Thanksgiving Circle Game

Posted in Confessions of a Grandpa, Ski history, Watch columns by pshelton on November 25, 2010

During the ski school years, Thanksgiving was lost to us. Mostly.

We’d get together with other twenty-somethings if we could, friends from the ski area, fellow instructors, patrollers, lifties. And, assuming we had Thursday night off, we constituted a sort of substitute family. Nobody had time to cook, so our gatherings were more like impromptu parties where we might put together a baña calda: massive amounts of garlic and anchovies in hot oil; dip strips of cheap steak; retrieve. It was fun. It helped to be drunk. (more…)