Hey, ever see those bumper sticker's that say stuff like: I'd rather be Fishing... or I'd rather be on my Harley?
Well it is snowing really hard right now and frankly I'd rather be sled-riding...
So your probably wondering: "Well why don't you go?". Good question...I actually don't own a sled any more but that is an easy enough problem to rectify. Go into town and buy a sled. There aren't any real sled-riding hills nearby but I could go over to the golf course across the street and sled down the hill on the 9th fairway. It's not a very big hill but I could get my Ya, Ya's out.
So why don't I? Ha, Ha...I knew you'd ask!
Because when I say that I'd rather be sledding it's a bit more complex then that. It means I want to be that certain 10 yr old kid again. And I want to sled down the ravine at the school behind the house where I grew up. I want my old mittens and pair of beat up, second hand boots. I want my old sled, with the front end completely bashed in from hitting trees. I want all the kids from the old neighborhood to join in the fun. I want my mom to have hot chocolate for us when we are ready to take a little break and thaw out for awhile.
Sometimes she'd even make soup or hot dogs and feed the frozen horde as we all stood outside on the patio...I can still picture the steam wafting off the top of those super hot mugs of vegetable soup!
I can still picture Mike, Charles, Ralph and I trying to see who go go farthest down the hill while standing on his sled. I don't believe any of us made it all the way to the bottom with crashing and burning...
These were the days of the "real" sled, with 2 metal runners, not the smooth sleds they have today for sliding. Nope, you could steer these babies...sort of!
Boy what fun we had. I think it was almost a requirement to lose feeling in your fingers and your toes before you could be considered a member of the neighborhood sled-rider posse! Also, no snow pants and fancy winter gear for us. At best I might have worn long-johns under my jeans, my winter coat and a wool stocking cap. Also the previously mentioned boots/mittens.
We would ride for hours each day. Creating new trails through the ravine, over the frozen creek that ran down through the middle of it. We built jumps and high banked turns...it all seems quite ingenious now but back then we just did it for fun.
But that is my desire, to go sledding there, at that place and at that time...
Of course there is major irony to this fantasy:
That ravine no longer exists. Nope, in the early 1980's the school bulldozed all the trees, re-routed the stream into an underground pipe and filled in the ravine. Now it's a landscaped yard...no one looking at that large expanse of grass on the west side of Worthingway Middle School would ever have a clue that a ravine used to exist there...the happy, excited voices of those 10 yr olds have been silenced in that place forever.
And that isn't all...no, seems that 4 teenagers back in 1979 rolled their Dodge Dart down that Ravine, flipped it end over end while out Booze Cruising (drinking beer and driving around, obviously drunk). None of them was hurt very seriously...bumps/bruises, so it was thought.
I've always wondered what role that accident played in the school's decision to bulldoze that ravine, if any. But I suspect it was a factor which make all this even more ironic considering we were the kids in the car and I'm on disability for life with a permanently damaged back...