First Snow – Ah The Memories
When the first snow flies, I think of sleds and mittens and long sloping hills. My brothers would take me – Mom said! – up the road and over the train tracks to the golf course. That winding hill off the seventh tee was the best sledding run ever made.
Before we had aluminum “saucer” sleds, we used an old stone boat – a heavy wooden platform with runners underneath. Farmers would hitch one up behind a mule or work horse and go into the fields to clear out field stones before plowing.
Once we had that stone boat heading down hill there was no stopping her until she came to rest at the bottom of the hill, or sometimes, against a big old oak. Steering was out of the question; just hop on and hold tight. The only way to avoid a collision was to roll off into the snow which always worked its way down our backs and up our coat sleeves. The hours of fun, our frozen gloves, cold shivers and sweet memories were a gift from Mr. Cornell, the old farmer who lived across the road.
It seemed like we would sled for hours and I’m sure mom was glad to have her three rambunctious children out of the house, at least for a while.
By the time we had had enough of sledding and were headed home, I was chilled to the bone. My legs, above the tops of my unlined rubber boots were chaffed. Inside my mittens, which were often a pair of dad’s old socks, I would curl my fingers into my palms trying to find some escape from the cold.
I remember my brothers being scolded for keeping me out too long. “She wouldn’t leave,” they said, and they were right. I’d begged for one more run down the hill. But mom made everything better by heating up some Campbell’s tomato soup on the stove while she helped us out of our wet and frozen clothes. Our fingers and toes were red and tingled fiercely as the warmth returned.
We sipped the hot soup out of coffee cups, telling of our sledding adventures, always looking forward to the next new snow.
Copyright November 18, 2019
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