My Family (a long time ago)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Joy of Sledding

This past week, we got our second blizzard in the last couple of weeks, about a foot of snow. We haven’t got this much snow this quickly in a long time. As I was outside cleaning off the cars and clearing the driveway with the snow blower, it reminded me of when I was a kid. It just seems like we got more snow back in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Maybe its just selective memory, but I remember us having more snow back then.

We loved when it snowed when we were kids. After helping shovel the driveway and the walkway, we could do whatever we wanted. We’d make little snow forts and have snowball fights, sometimes just in our yard and sometimes with our friend across the street. I don’t ever remember anyone getting hurt, but I do remember people, including me, taking a snowball right to the face. After shaking off the realization that I was stupid enough to stick my head up at just the right (or in this case, wrong) time, I’d wipe my face off and make a couple of tightly packed snowballs to get my revenge. By tightly packed, I mean hard. And if someone was cackling a little too loud about their strike, I’d make a couple, take off the gloves and rub them up a little to make ice balls. You get hit with one of them and you’re gonna know you got hit!

Then my son came out (no, he wasn’t helping this time, but he did help last storm) and asked if he could go sledding with some friends. Sledding, that was something we did all winter and right in my backyard most of the time. We had a hill in my backyard that we thought was as big as Mount Everest; it was actually more of a molehill than a mountain. However, that didn’t stop us from having the time of our lives out there. We’d be out there for hours, taking our 15 – 20 second runs down our “hill”. That is not a typo; it took about 15 seconds to go from top to bottom. We usually used plastic saucers or these plastic sheets that rolled up with handles to hold onto. I have no idea what they were called, but you probably couldn’t buy them today due to liability concerns. We did use sleds sometimes, but the other devices made the hill packed, smooth and fast. Toboggans were too big for this hill.

We had our course mapped out and named after us and our friends. At the top, you had Steve’s Start, named after my younger brother. Steve’s Start led into Smitty’s Straightaway, which was just a part that went, you got it, straight. Then the course went either to the left or the right. If you went over to the left, you went into Carl’s corner, which we built up with snow to keep you from going into some thorns and bushes, and then went down into our back yard. If you went over to the right, you went off Joe’s Jump into Kevin’s Canyon then down into the backyard. Joe’s Jump was just a part that dropped about a foot, but we’d build up a small snow ramp right before it so that when you went over it, you felt like you were flying! When the snow got packed and hard there were quite a few sore rumps from hitting Kevin’s Canyon on those plastic devices.

After spending hours outside in the cold and the snow and being chilled to the bone, we’d go in and have some hot chocolate. Before there was Swiss Miss, Mom made it on the stove with milk and cocoa in a pan. If we were lucky, they’d even be a fire in the fireplace to dry us out and warm us up even more. I don’t know which was better, the hot chocolate or the fire. Ah, those were the days.  

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