We've started out the winter season a little slack on the snowfall in our area. Predictions have ran high for the past two weekends, but alas, it always seems to go around us. We've really had nothing so far but some icing, which is never good to have or fun to get around in. I always dread the forecasts of ice, but snow? Oh yeah, I'm as bad as my grandchildren waiting with anticipation for a "good one"!!
As a kid growing up here on the 40, ice skating on the pond and sled riding on the hill was just a no brainer for entertainment. You didn't set inside in front of a tv or computer whiling away the hours being bored...ohhhhh no!!! You strapped on every article of warm clothing you owned and headed outside...and depending on the temperatures, sometimes for hours at a time (or at least until your gloves were frozen solid!!).
"The Hill" was the place to go for sledding! Back in my day we were the only ones who lived here at the end of the road so there was no need to worry about cars running in and out...you just got on the sled and took off! Also back in the day the Hill was not quite as "gentle" as it is now either...this was before the county decided that curve at the bottom was dangerous and needed to be smoothed out! The Hill used to be one looong straight stretch with a "dead man" curve at the bottom which shot you across the creek if you were lucky enough to make the curve! The creek also had no fancy concrete slab to cross...strictly gravel and water, so you always hoped (if the temps were up!) you could stop before hitting the creek and that ice cold water! Of course, if it was frozen, the goal was to make the curve AND see how far across the creek you could get!
We didn't own those plastic saucer things, or those bright yellow toboggans they now try to pass off for sleds...it was Radio Flyers all the way! With a hill like ours you had to be able to steer, whether by feet or by hands, steering was an option you didn't want to be without! You also didn't want to be without lard...yes, I said LARD!! A good slathering on the bottoms of your sled rungs made those things just fly down the hill, plus it also kept the steering mechanism in good working condition. Since early winter was butchering season, you always had a good supply of lard (at winters end they received another good greasing of lard to keep the rust off!).
After the niece and nephew moved down here from the city sledding became even more fun. They'd tromp the half mile down the road to my house with their sleds in tow and back to the hill we'd go. Sometimes we'd double up on the sleds...the more weight, the faster you went! That was usually me and Bub, we were always trying to come up with some great feat of dare devil-ness to beat the Hill! Sissy would ride double, but only if we sat upright and she rode behind. After losing her once at the curve, that pretty much decided her on riding single from then on and she normally didn't start until halfway down! Bub and I always started at the top and sometimes with a running jump as well!
Not much sledding gets done on the Hill nowadays...not for lack of wanting to, but because of the almost instant removal of any and all snow by the county road graders! My grandchildren know if they have any hopes of sledding they have to get out early for a couple of runs, otherwise by day's end it will be gone. They always hope if it snows it will happen on a Friday night, because then they have the chance of an entire day without fear of the grader taking it off before late afternoon! As a kid, I never had to worry about the road grader, they rarely made it down our portion of the road...sometimes I think they forgot we even lived down in here! I don't recall many snow days from school either...buses drove the roads no matter what, so I was always assured of many days of sledding. Of course, I was also assured of many days of complaining since sledding made the Hill even slicker!!
I also don't do any sledding myself these days, I leave that up to the younger generation, mainly because of a not so pleasant sledding accident several years ago that left me slightly banged up for a few days (but that's another story!!). But that doesn't keep me from looking forward to a good "sledding snow"...the kind that falls softly, with huge flakes...the kind that piles up quickly and is perfect for building snowmen as well. The kind that blankets everything in pure, clean white...mounding around and over any obstacles that gets in it's way and adding such an abundance of sparkle that you could believe you are walking on diamonds with every step you take! It's that kind of snow that seems to soften the world and covers the harshness that surrounds us...for me, it's calming and peaceful...and beautiful!
We're still early yet into our winter season, so I still have hopes of a "sledding snow" and I for one, along with my grandchildren, will continue to wait in anticipation through every forecast we hear. I'll turn on the porch light in the early hours of the morning in hopes of it's arrival and if it comes? I'll pull back the curtains, pour me some coffee and set back and smile!