Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Stopping by My Memories on a Snowy Evening

Yep, a little play on Frost's words.  I can't help but have my thoughts drift that direction on just such an evening as this.  The snow falls outside my window, silent as prayer falling from heaven.  The skies are heavy and thick--the night enveloped by a darkness that denies moonlight.  And the world outside has the kind of hush brought only by snowfall.  While the voice is silenced, the mind is brought to a raucous.  We turn inward, and look at ourselves.  We stand on a precipice; behind us--the daylight and the frenzy of getting ready for the snow.  Before us, the darkness that hides what our imaginations can only picture of the morning light.  Hmm...  Little children we are, waiting for snow angels, and snowmen, and a sled or a toboggan.

Okay, little children forever in our hearts. But, my grown up imagination is picturing the morning light, birds in a frenzy at the feeders, while I watch from the warmth of my kitchen,  the snow fall. All this as I sit in my rocking chair with a cup of hot tea in my hands, feeling unbridled pleasure at the world in front of me.

Snow quite effectively transcends time.

When I was young, it was such a thrill to get a big snowfall.  There were sleds in the yard--we lived on a hillside--and some have said (my father among them) that we grew up with one leg longer than the other from trying to stand level.  We would dash outside and get the sleds, and the one old aluminum flying disk, and proceed to turn the path to ice.   I know; we were to ride down across the "pathless" area beneath the big maple tree, but the path was just so perfect for riding sleds.  Then dad would "holler" at us.  We would scram to get away from his unhappiness, then reappear later to do it again. But, <sigh> dad had the remedy for icy paths, the cinders from the fireplace.  Since we slacked it down with coal at night, the cinders were the perfect grit to make a human move across ice like a goat moves across a mountainside.  But, alas, cinders stopped a sled in its tracks.  Unfortunately, just because the sled stopped didn't mean that the person on the sled stopped with it.

Years went by as years do--in a perfect life.  We were a little older and had graduated to riding the sleds outside of the yard.  There was the hill behind the outhouse.  If you did it just right, you didn't hit the old Case Tractor or the pile of pipes beside it--or worse, that big rock in front of the corn-crib.  But if you went too far the other way, you could actually hit the barn.  The broad side of the barn. :-)  My brothers were masters of maneuvering just right. And that hill was steep.

It was only a couple of years until we began a new winter sport.  There was the hillside across the little "crick" that flowed through our hollow. No-not-never mind that it had big rocks at the bottom, and if you made it around the rocks, the creek was waiting for you.  We had no toboggan, and with eight kids looking for a way from the top to the bottom--with little effort, car hoods turned out to the just the ticket. Those old hoods from junked cars...I tell ya! The front of the hood was upturned just like a toboggan, once you laid them upside down.  And all eight of us could fit inside one. And the best part for me was that eight of us just could not pull it back up the hill.  There was not enough room for eight strands of braided binder-twine with a kid tugging on each.  So we younger ones only had to drag our little butts and short legs up the hillside. The older sisters and brothers tugged the hoods back up to the top. Little effort flying down the hill, but not the case going back up.  We didn't go out and ride the hood all day like we did the sleds.  My goodness, it wore out the older kids.

Then...at long last, we were old enough to ride down the "big hill" on the lane.  The one with the bend at the bottom. The one with the big old hollow oak tree on the outside of the bend at the bottom. The one with the deep and wide ditch just past the oak tree at the bottom--and the big rock setting on top of the pipe that fed the big wide ditch at the bottom. 

I know...they were "steering" runner sleds.  But, in hindsight, that "steering" part of it was advertising propaganda.  There wasn't much steering to it.  I think we had to drag our legs with our toes scraping the ice beneath us to get any kind of directional change.  And...sometimes the change was too late, or just as bad, not the direction we needed to change to.

We had to take turns on the "steering" runner sleds, and I don't think that I ever actually went the whole way up to the field lane--a half mile from the house. But others did.

And others bled at the bottom of the hill. And sometimes, others cried the whole way to house.  It lasted long enough for them to get patched up and then head back out to do it all over again.

Ahhh...when you're a kid, ain't life grand?

Memories...they make me smile, make me shake my head...

I think tomorrow, I might just venture out and be daring.  I might give it a try again.

Making snow angels. 

Maybe not.  Pretty risky. I could get snow up my back... or anything.

Must be a reason that as we get a little older, on a snowy evening such as this, we excitedly picture the morning...the snow, the world magically transformed beyond yesterday's precipice...the birds in their feeding frenzy...hot tea...the rocking chair...  ;-)


  1. Enjoying your memories of a time long since passed. We had those hills and sleds also or was I using yours? Good memories of wearing enough clothes and snow suits that you waddled not walked. Inevitably your fingers and toes still froze no matter how many mittens or socks you put on. Go in the house, unthaw for an hour and back at it again. Simpler days. Thanks for the nostalgic moment my talented friend. Without your reminders, my memories. would stay hidden in the cobwebs of my mind. Love you. (hugs)

  2. What an enjoyable glimpse into your past! Had some similar adventures in winter wonderland, many, many moons ago, but, the car hood thing is ingenious! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I can remember we used to have a sled when I was young, as we don't have hills in my town, we had to pull or push to let it slide. As I became older I began to dislike the cold weather year after year. For those who like playing in the snow it is great fun, which I had too, when I was young.

    Have a pleasant weekend Teresa.

  4. Marsy, yes! lol...the memories! You are quite welcome, dear girl. Thank you for reading this :-) And...I do still have a big old wooden toboggan. It needs to be waxed with paraffin...but, that baby does fly. It was probably nearly a decade ago, I had no one to ride it with, so decided I would just ride it alone. The hill below our house--yep. I laughed so hard, with not a soul around to hear. It is still fun. But I am far too old to dodge rocks and creeks at the bottom of the hill ;-) Maybe, some year after you move back to the states, you and the bindi girls can come ride the toboggan. We can all bring our grandchildren :-)

  5. Hi Debbie--thanks for giving this a read! Isn't it funny--the things that take us back in time--like snow falling down overnight. :-) The car hoods...they were big, old, heavy things back then. I don't know how they would fare as sleds, nowadays, lol, but they would be a whole lot lighter to drag back up the hill. :-)

  6. Hi Jan. Thanks for stopping by and reading this. There are aspects to winter that I enjoy less and less as the years go by. I do like to X-country ski, which your part of the world was made for, I think. I have taken some tumbles trying to X-country. :-) lol...oy! I am getting too old for tumbles, too ;-) I never gave a thought to the Nederlanders not having hills. But, after viewing your 11 city tour video, now understand how ice-skating is a matter of national pride in competition. :-)

  7. Ice-skating is the national pride indeed, it goes back many many years. I never put on any ski's, but I know there are some activities here with X-country skiing. My energy went to Judo and biking when I was younger, nowadays biking is enough for me.

    Enjoy the upcoming week Teresa... take care.

  8. I'm soooo glad to meet you! I love your name! Yep, because it's my name. I can't help it. :)

    I really like your post. I wish all children could say "life is grand". (I am a school social worker.) We all deserve a childhood worthy of a child. It is many of those fond memories that help me write. It is those days that I share with my children and grands.

    Thanks for coming by to see me at Journaling Woman.


  9. A lovely story filled with vivid images from your childhood. I will think of this the next time I'm frustrated with the falling snow. Thanks for following me, and I look forward to seeing more of you. Julie

  10. Jan, thank you...I hope you have a wonderful week, as well! ;-)

  11. Teresa, lol, I caught the name too! I don't think there are as many of us with the "H" omitted from the spelling. When I was in Catholic grade school, there were three other girls named Teresa--in my class, but they were all actually named Theresa. My mom said my dad picked my name and the spelling of it. He was devout, and chose it by the spelling of his favorite St. Teresa. When someone misspells my name, I add an apostrophe before the "a".

    I wish that too for children. You surely must come home from work with a heavy heart, now and again. Only so much that you can fix...but rising to the task of fixing what you can is a magnificent accomplishment.

    Thanks for visiting and reading this post. I will stop back again!

  12. Julie, thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read this. I just visited your blog again and read your "origins" story. How sweet--your mom was your best friend--even if she didn't save the gold star paper! Thank you for the follow back. :-)

  13. A wonderfully descriptive post, Teresa. I remember those sledding days while living in Canada. So much fun! :)

  14. Thank you, Nancy. And thank you for taking the time to read it. Childhood...fortunate we were that it was so much fun. Fertile ground from which stories spring. :-)