I’m standing at the front door watching my neighbor shovel his driveway down to the black. By the time he is finished there will not be a more pristine, blacker driveway in the neighborhood. That is until the plow comes by again.
I’m clutching a cup of hot coffee close to my chest hoping the heat will radiate out and melt all of this winter wonderland nonsense. The warmth rising out of my cup does a steamy tango with the cold air and fogs up the storm door. Out of sight, out of mind. I close my eyes trying to recall when it was that I actually loved this stuff, lived for its arrival and mourned its passing.
We were lucky enough to grow up across the street from a playground with a sledding hill.
I think my parents were sold on the house before setting foot into it, based on that fact alone.
We spent a lot time covering every square inch of that playground, and I assure you, there isn’t a blade of grass in there that we don’t know about.
The first decent snowfall was an eagerly awaited event for every sledding enthusiast in the neighborhood, which was pretty much every kid. We’d suit up with socks under our mittens and bread bags lining the inside of our boots, 3 pairs of pants and a few sweatshirts.
That’s how we rolled…err… sledded in the days before active outdoor outerwear “systems”.
We rode Flexible Flyers, Eskimo toboggans and those flying saucers that were kind of uncool to be seen riding.
Our parents didn’t tag along and micro-manage our sledding activities and arrange hot chocolate playdates. My mom would send us out with a thermos of Nestle’s Quik (made with hot water because she needed to save the milk for dinner and the baby) and peanut butter crackers. We would take turns drinking out of the cup from the top of the thermos, and yeah, we’d accuse each other of hogging the cup, but that’s just the way it was and we dealt with it. No running home to tattle-tale because you’d miss out on sledding!
And the sledding was sweet.
The middle part of the hill, the crown, was the steepest part. The left part, headed toward the tennis courts, was suicide and the right side, a gentle slope, was the baby hill. We’d build jumps out of mounds of snow down the middle of steepest part of the hill. Some serious air could be had there if you were going fast enough. The toboggan rocked on the jumps! It was clearly the ride of choice. And if you were going solo on the toboggan? It was like flying! I remember feeling that cool “pit of the stomach” dropping sensation taking those jumps.
We spent hours on that hill. Up and down with our sleds hundreds of times. We all were saddened when the snow pack started to melt and dark scars of earth started peeking out.
It meant the sledding was done until another snow storm.
And to think, I used to pray for that!
I stand here now, staring out of my front storm door, it’s still snowing and it’s starting to get dark. I smile, not so much at the current situation but at the memories of the past.
That’s the way it was then and this is the way it is now.
I gotta deal with it. 🙂
Peace ~ Rene