Friday, January 3, 2014

Baby It's Cold Outside
     When we were young, I can remember long cold winter days and much more snow than what we've had for many years. One memory was riding in the back seat of my dad's car. I was sitting tightly against the door with my face pressed against its cold smooth surface. I had to press my face to see the sky. The snow had been plowed to a height that it was necessary to look up to see anything but snow.
     I can recall several times when one us kids were sick that we drove to Dr. Eleanor Morris' home to be seen. We were greeted by a sign at the end of her drive that said, "Pair o' docs." She and her husband were physicians.
     The snow was always neatly plowed from her long drive, but what impressed me the most was that she had her groundskeepers cut the snow in blocks from her walkways and haul them away. There wasn't the snow moved to the side of the walks, it was gone and the snow was waist high on my mom.
     At my grandfather's funeral, the snow was so deep and the temperature was so cold that there were no graveside services. While we were there, one of my cousin's kids was commenting that her friends wouldn't believe her when she told them about the snow. She was from Florida. I got the bright idea to take her boots and to place them on pieces of kindling from the fireplace. I stuck the kindling in a snowdrift that was nearly six feet high. The photo looked like she had jumped or had fallen into the snow and only her boots were showing. It made her laugh and I hope it impressed her friends.
     There were days that we would spent hours sledding on Coal Bank Hill Road. It was steep, windy, and covered in snow, ice, and cinder clinkers of the anti-skid material that the road crews spread for traction. Most of the times we'd avoid those clinkers, but occasionally, the runners would grind on one and the sled would do an immediate stop and the unfortunate kids would slide off into a face filled with snow. That wasn't bad enough, not only did he have to clean the snow off his face, he usually had to search for one or more buttons that had been torn from his coat scooting off the sled.
     It's a wonder that we were still alive. When we'd sled there, we had to dodge cars, shooting off the road into drifts or into the woods. When we reached the end of Coal Bank Road, we had three choices. The first was the most dangerous. It was to shoot straight across the bare concrete of Rt..711 with sparks shooting from our runners, praying there was no traffic. The second was the most skilled route. That was to swing your sled hard and run the berm of Route 711 without going into traffic. The third was the safest and most used. That was to throw yourself from the sled into the plowed snow at the side of the road while hanging onto the sled's tow rope to avoid choices one and two.

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