Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tin Toboggan

It was a few weeks after Christmas and it was very cold. The snow that fell was light and fluffy. It wasn’t good for sledding, building snowmen, snow forts, or even making snow balls. When we tried tramping it down to go sledding, it made only a thin crust that crumbled easily and riding on the slender runners nearly impossible.
We were starving for things to do in this winter wonderland. We were dying to play in the snow. Flinging fluffy snow at each other was no fun at all. This was a time before the disc sleds and no one was rich enough to own a toboggan. Heaps of snow was around us and it almost seemed like we were in a icy desert.
My dad decided to visit one of his friends who owned a large dairy farm. He had three kids, although they were older my brother and me. When we got there, dad’s friend said they were sledding in one of the fields, “Just follow the tracks.” he directed. We hurried out to meet them.
As we approached, my brother and I watched in fascination as the toboggan swept down the steep hill and shot out into the flat field below. We hurried to join them, thinking “Wow!”
“Can we ride?” we asked as we followed them back up the hill.
“You’re too young.” was their answer. We were disappointed, but we trudged along to the top of the hill with them.
The toboggan was home made. It had started out as a twelve foot long piece of corrugated aluminum roofing and was about thirty six inches wide. Someone had curled back thirty inches of one end to form curved front, just like the wooden toboggans. It had a folded piece of burlap sack sewn onto the sharp edge. Binder twine passed through punched holes in the metal held it in place.  Two pieces of binder twine was fixed between the top edge and the bottom surface to keep the curved shape. The seating on the sled was more feed sacks fastened together. They ran the entire length of the toboggan.
We made it to the top of the hill and they all climbed on the sled. We asked again, “Can we ride?” The only response we got to our question was “Give us a push. Come on, push us.”
I looked at my brother, shrugged and thought, “They didn’t say we couldn’t ride.” We began to push. The toboggan picked up a lot of speed before my brother and I jumped onto the back. Now with the extra weight and the shove we had given it, we went flying down the hill. The slope was whizzing by us.
We were at the bottom in no time at all, but the story and the ride doesn’t end there. The extra push and weight propelled us out farther into the field than they had ridden before.
Meandering across the field was a small stream. Its banks were about two feet deep and almost four feet apart. We weren’t slowing at all and the stream was looming closer and closer. Everyone aboard was beginning to panic. It was cold and no one wanted to go swimming, especially at this time of the year. In an instant the edge of the ditch was in front of us and in the next moment, it was behind us.
The momentum of the extra push and weight had caused the toboggan to shoot over the ditch and went another thirty feet beyond the stream. Everyone was upset with us and yet exhilarated at the same time. Whether they had planned the ride to be their last for the day before we came or not, the kids decided that it would be the last ride for them.

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