|Not exactly like my trusty Western Flyer Sled, but close!|
Ah, Snow! I have always loved to watch those beautifully formed flakes falling from the sky. Whenever I see snow, it always reminds me of spending the night at my grandmother's house, all cozy in a feather bed under the weight of many quilts. My bedroom was upstairs and there were double windows looking out over the front yard and a big maple tree. During the night, the temperature had really dropped, so it was freezing in the bedroom since there was no heat upstairs. I slowly came awake when I heard the "chunk" sound of Grandpa putting wood into the old tin heater. There was such a blend of aromas in the air. The tang of kerosene, which Grandpa used to get the fire going. The smell of wood smoke. The smell of Grandpa's percolating coffee which was probably strong enough to fuel a transatlantic flight. And bacon. Glorious bacon sizzlin' away in the pan. By then, my nose was plenty awake! My eyes were next and what a beautiful awakening! The maple tree was sagging under all of the weight of the heavy, wet snow! And, the snow was still coming down!
I hopped out of bed and rain downstairs, still wearing my nightgown, to stand in the circle of warmth by the wood stove. I immediately started pestering Grandpa to go get my Western Flyer sled out of the grainery building. Since it has been stored all summer long, there were a couple of maintenance issues that would need to be taken care of. Grandpa would first lightly sand the runners to remove any rust that might have accumulated. Then, he would go get his trusty bar of Gulf Petroleum Wax to wax the sled runners. By this time, I was bundled up like the little brother in "The Christmas Story," ready for sledding adventures. My neighbors, Ricky & Shirley, were headed out with their sleds too.
Fortunately for me, there was a gravel road that went by my grandparent's house. When it snowed, there was never any traffic on it because it was almost never plowed. And the hills!!! There were several perfect hills for sledding! One was long and steep and at the bottom there was a sharp curve and another hill. We would be flying by the time we got to that curve!! The level of danger was quite elevated because if you didn't steer the sled and lean into the curve just right, you would have a nasty encounter with a barbed wired fence around the cow field. We were all quite skilled at steering our sleds, so we rarely had any issues with barbed wire. You learn early on that it is better to roll off of the sled and get snow burn than get tangled up in the barbed wire!
After hours of sledding adventures, we would trek back to Grandma's and stand near the wood stove to thaw. I remember my legs would be so cold that they were bright red and numb. As soon as we were thawed and our clothes were dry, we headed back out for more sledding adventures.
When I sold my Grandparent's house several years ago, my trusty sled was still hanging in the grainery building, neglected and dust-covered. I took it out with the intention of packing it up and bringing it back to Roanoke with me because it held so many memories. I ended up not bringing it with me, but left it hanging on the wall on the enclosed back porch. I hope that the people that bought the house gave it a good home and maybe it will get to see more sledding adventures with them than it could have with a middle-aged woman living in the city.
Copyright 2012--All Rights Reserved--The Wheel & Distaff by Kimberly Burnette-Dean.