The following article by David Strange was originally published on 1 Mar 2015. It is archived here for your reading enjoyment.
Most memories are tinged with both joy and drama. It's why we remember them. Just think of the memories that you have collected through this winter. Some are no doubt pretty serious; hopefully some are at least touched with joy. For me, I have many winter memories. At my age now, one of the delights of semi-retirement is seeing no tire tracks on my snow-covered driveway... and knowing that I don't have to make any.
But times were different when I was young. Back then I loved the snow.
One snowy winter day, when I was maybe eight years old, our neighborhood group of kids was playing together, pulling each other on sleds along the icy road. When it was my turn to ride, I jumped onto the little iron-railed sled, and giddily sat my new little collie puppy in my lap for the ride. It was such great fun speeding along the bumpy ice, feeling the brisk wind across my face. But suddenly, my puppy slipped through my grip and fell under the iron rails of the sled. Before I could understand what had happened, I heard the pup yelp, and saw blood drops on the snow. Fortunately, the injury was minor. The rail had only run across the dog's tail, neatly cutting off the tip. But over fifty years later, I still remember those red drops sinking into the white snow.
A big snow storm came along in 1968, or so, that provides one of my fondest winter memories. I was a teenager by then. The snow came down hard all day Saturday and into the night. On Sunday morning, phone calls went out saying that church services were called off. Everyone agreed that the roads were surely too treacherous to attend.
The funny thing was that other phone calls soon followed. "Everyone's going out to Lee Hester's farm, out on West Hebron Lane, for sledding," they said. "Come out if you can!" Me being me, I of course noticed the irony. No one could make it to church, but there seemed to be more members at the sledding hill than would attend church on a good day!
Oh, but it was so grand! Friends came from all around; a huge bonfire was started; people brought hotdogs and hot chocolate and snacks of all kinds. Sleds of every variety appeared, including improvised ones. One of the best sleds was a large old Coke sign sort of shaped like a big bottle cap, on which five people could ride as it spun its way down the hill. An additional thrill was the risk of going into the old baptizing creek at the bottom of the hill, if you went too far. Indeed, a couple of years later, the old Coke sign was lost in just that way, never to be seen again.
Some older boys proudly showed up with an old car hood that made a perfect sled. They had found it "on an old junker in a barn", they said, wrenches still in hand, and had removed it for us all to use. I think maybe ten kids could ride on that old hood, with it laid upside down. I remember riding in the front while holding on to the curved-up front of the hood as we sped down toward the creek. We took turns riding on it most all day, ten at a time, until it finally buckled in the middle, beat up almost beyond recognition. We later learned that the "old junker" was really someone's antique car, and that the owner was not happy at all about what had been done with the hood!
Whether a memory is good or bad, it seems, depends on the one doing the remembering.
Copyright 2015 by David Strange, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.