December 30 – So here I go to tell you about a few bits and pieces of our lives during the last couple weeks. Didn’t get much writing done except for that sent to family and friends and Christmas and musical programs. The weather has been very strange for this last month of the old year of 2015. Absolutely no snow and temperatures in the seventies at times. I jotted down a note about that several weeks ago. “Talk about strange weather. In the beginning of the week the thermometer registered 72, and just several days later, we found that the more seasonal 40 degrees had appeared.” This has been a very strange winter, but if I had my choice we wouldn’t have any snow or cold at all. I know that wouldn’t be appreciated by kids or those who skate and ski or even like to have a snowball fight now and again. How do I know? As a kid I could stay out all day sledding down the hill, making icy snowballs to hurl at my brothers, and trying to move with my feet strapped to skis for use on the hills or skates that were much too big for me.
Fortunately the ice on the pond didn’t break up when I landed on it time after time. When my older brothers offered to pull me along with my hands in theirs, I didn’t agree. The old “Me do it mineself,” had now become, “Just let me go! I KNOW I can do it without help!” Then after falling time after time and crawling back to the edge of the pond so I could more easily push myself up, I was back on the ice again—for a minute or two! That little exercise continued until even I couldn’t take the punishment any longer, and I had to sit and watch my brothers go whizzing by until I was ready to try again.While teaching at a small country school, I never missed a chance to be outside with the kids for recess and lunch break, not just in warm weather, but in the cold winters of Pennsylvania where lake effect snow could always be expected. Quite a long hill stretched from the road down to the school. Most of the kids had their own sleds, but I brought several of ours to the school so all could enjoy the zip down that hill. This teacher did not stand by and watch, but took a “belly slam” right along with the kids. Sometimes we might hit an icy spot. The sled would react to that, and either throw us right off or make us use our skills at holding to the course, icy or not.
One little first grader from the middle of the city, had never been sledding before. Talk about an experience! Some of us went along with him for a time or two showing him how to steer and to drag his feet a bit if he were going too fast. After keeping to the course a couple times, he stood tall (well, as tall as a first grader could) at the top of the hill. “I’m pretty good at this ain’t I?” he said confidently. “I’m goin’ down again, and I don’t need any help. Just watch me!” With a big proud smile, he lay down on the sled, propelling himself toward the snowy hill, and he was off!All of us at the top watched as he zig-zagged down the track. At the bottom, he missed the turn to the right that would have led him to a smooth stop. Instead, he and the sled continued past the swings and right into the woods. Jumping onto my sled, I zipped down the track till I came to the swings. Right ahead of me I could see Joe, still on the sled that had bashed into a tree. “Are you hurt?” I called. His answer? “Well, maybe my leg’s a little sore.”
As I thought of what might have been if his head had hit that tree, I was really thankful. As I lifted him off the sled, he asked, “Didn’t I go straight and fast?” Well, really it was the sled that went straight and fast, but the poor sled didn’t get another chance to go down the hill that day. I had to take it back home so Dale could fix the runner and the front of the sled when that tree was in the way. I guess if something had to be repaired, it was better for the sled than for the little guy’s head.
And so as I look out the window this morning at the beautiful scenes created by the ice and snow we saw yesterday, I really do think that snow is pretty. But if I were outside shoveling, I’m sure that would be a different story! – CHRIS