By Martha Reed
In case you’re not from around these parts you may have missed yesterday’s big snowfall. We’ve had a mild December so far with one bad day of ice but there’s nothing like one bad day of zero degrees to remind you of just how warm forty degrees can feel. Yesterday, however, was one long day of falling snow and since I’ve done my Christmas shopping I settled in and decided to spend the day home (an extreme rarity any day) working on Chapter 24 and watching the kids tear up the snow in the ballfield next door. The under 12 crowd went sledding while the older boys divided into two camps: one for flag football and the other for hockey. Those kids were at it all day long and it reminded me of the energy of my youth.
For a short period of time in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, I lived an ideal childhood. We had a neighborhood full of young kids my age and we all lived around a small lake which provided endless entertainment opportunities – some of which our parents knew nothing about. Oh, I’m sure they knew we went skating once the ice was pronounced sound enough by a group of Dads and of course we went swimming as soon as possible once the ice melted and the water warmed up. But I’m pretty sure they never knew of our pre-spring season game where we rode our bikes across the ice to see which one of us would be the first to fall through the softened ice and I often wonder why our parents never asked us why we came home sopping wet on occasion or why my sister’s Banana Bike went missing until it was warm enough for us kids to send one of the Streeter boys down with a rope so we could haul my sister’s bike back to the surface.
The adventure that scares me now to think of it is that we went sledding on the lake’s spillway – the one place where the ice was never solid but boy! That hill was steep and you could really fly. I remember six of us kids piled onto the Rudolph brothers’ wooden toboggan and we took off downhill and with our combined weight the momentum carried us right out onto the middle of the pack ice before we all tumbled off and lay scattered across the pond. As we lay there, dazed and breathless, the ice slowly sank beneath our weight as it flooded with freezing cold lake water. It was truly a team effort to work our way out of that mess since each one of us had to crawl very slowly for shore completely aware that with each tiny movement we made we impacted the kid next to us on the ice. Somehow we all worked our way safely to shore, soaking wet but laughing and delighted with our success and with such a sense of satisfaction that we had tried something crazy fun, gotten into serious trouble over it and overcome the very real danger. I don’t know that kids these days will ever know that feeling of satisfaction since we’ve become such an indoor species lately with this newest generation and besides, if I saw any kids these days lining up to pull a stunt like that I would have to stop them!
Which got me thinking: what is your favorite winter memory?