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Neighborhood Sliding Party

December 27, 2013

The winter of my tenth year was particularly snowy.

My brothers and I liked to have sliding parties back then, but with no great hills around, we had to improvise.

Our father had just purchased his first snow blower; a machine capable of blowing snow quite a distance.  Dad aimed it at the southeast corner of the yard, right up against the garage.

Soon, that snow bank grew high.

Since us kids no longer had snow to shovel, we had plenty of time on our hands, especially during Christmas vacation. Back then, we weren’t allowed to watch a lot of television and we had no video games. Mom chased us outside every day for fresh air, sunshine and the ever-popular exercise.

We built snow forts and igloos in the yard and eyed the growing mountain of snow in the far corner.

Soon, we became inspired…

We huddled together in the yard planning our strategy, much like a football team before a big play. We were bundled up in snow pants, jackets, hats, scarves, heavy woolen mittens hand knit by our grandmother, and bunny boots… those off-white winter boots with leather soles as smooth as glass.

Darrell was our self-appointed job foreman, being the oldest and most experienced, he felt he was most qualified, and he was probably right. He instructed Dale and me to use shovels to carve stairs into the east side of the snow pile, then stomp the snow and pack each step down real solid so we wouldn’t break through as we climbed to the top. It wasn’t long before we built a flight of stairs high enough to reach the edge of the garage roof.

We climbed that newly constructed flight of stairs and cautiously stepped up onto the roof, crab-clawing our way to the top where, if we stood with one foot on either side of the peak, we could survey the entire neighborhood. From the summit, we called out to friends in nearby yards, inviting them to bring their sleds and join our party.

We lugged our flying saucers and mini-boggans, those yellow flexible plastic sleds from the sixties, behind us. The last kids to arrive had to settle for a good-sized hunk of cardboard to use as a sled. Grandma gave us that idea long ago, and despite it’s ugliness, it worked almost as well as the commercial counterparts.

My brother Darrell, job foreman, eldest, and most daring of all in attendance, took the maiden voyage. His chosen mode of transport: the flying saucer… aptly named for it’s ability to zoom erratically down a grade, spinning its occupant until dizzy and unable to stand alone once it finally came to a halt.

Dale and I held the yellow disk as Darrell climbed aboard; we pushed him off at his command…

He zipped down the roof, picking up speed as he went, became airborne as he cruised off the eave, landing in a whoosh of snow before accelerating even more, careening down the slope, across the yard and nearly to the crest of the opposite bank before he slowed enough to gently glide back to level ground and come to a stop.

“Whoa!” He exclaimed as he staggered to his feet. “That was fun! Just wait ‘til you try it!”

Soon, every kid in the neighborhood was in our yard, some on the garage roof, some in the yard, a few on the snow stairs, and the rest zipping about on various types of sleds.

Then mom happened to look out the window…

Her jaw dropped, and her eyes grew large. Once she recovered from the shock of seeing a gaggle of kids, all shapes and sizes, sliding off the roof of her garage, she stepped out onto the porch, broom in hand, and shooed children home to their respective parents… sternly warning them not to return. Informing them that this winter attraction was shut down for the remainder of the season. And that we three would not be playing outside in the foreseeable future.

Oh, but what fun it was while it lasted…

  1. LoriG permalink

    Love your story:)

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