Laetitia was excited as she and her group waited on the helipad for the Bell 212 helicopter that was taking them heli-hiking in the Purcell Mountains. When it arrived they climbed aboard and soon were off on the day’s adventure. As they flew, Laetitia’s mind drifted to one of those interminable extended-family slide shows relatives endured until digital photography made slide film obsolete. She remembered a youthful Uncle Ralph in olive-green fatigues standing next to a helicopter similar to this, which he called a “Huey.” Where members of her group now sat were grim-faced machine gunners in jump seats. Uncle Ralph often talked about how they flew with the doors open. She was glad she didn’t have to experience that. Her mind drifted back to the present. They were landing.
The region of the Purcells where they hiked is called the “Bobbie Burns,” a name scorned by Scots, who prefer to call the Ayrshire bard “Robert” or “Rabbie.” They hiked above the treeline along a mountain ridge covered by pencil slate. Slate usually cleaves into flat plates, making it a useful material for chalkboards, tiles, and shingles, but when it forms under certain geologic conditions, this metamorphic rock breaks up into pencil-like fragments. It was like walking on roller bearings.
The local guide said they were at 9,000 feet. There were stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Those with binoculars or cameras with telephoto lenses stopped to view or photograph a moose standing in a lake far below. There were, of course, no facilities for potty stops on the mountain ridge, nor any trees nor bushes, so Laetitia warned her guests to bring toilet paper and a plastic bag. Etiquette demanded that hikers walk with eyes forward as group members occasionally dropped behind and caught up again. At noon their helicopter returned with a crew and equipment for preparing a barbecue lunch.
At Laetitia’s happy hour sojourn, after hearing that she had been heli-hiking, the man on the next bar stool regaled her with a litany of graphic descriptions of athletic and dangerous sex practices, each of which had the name “helicopter” somewhere in the title. He called his bawdy collection the “Helicopter Kama Suture,” because of the likelihood that some of these pursuits might necessitate a date with a surgeon. “I’ll bet he tells this to all the girls,” Laetitia thought while she wrote down the limerick of the day as a cautionary tale, smirking as she mispronounced haute couture the American way.
If a damsel wants love play haute couture
From the “Helicopter Kama Suture”
Heed: a helo’s a “chopper”
Watch out for your whopper
Or a surgeon may be in your future.