Like many, last Saturday I spent a considerable amount of time shoveling snow. The third time I ventured out to clear the sidewalks I was taking it a little slower. As I piled the white, fluffy stuff high, I thought to myself ... This is perfect snow for sledding.
After I finished up, I went back into the house and asked the boys if they would like to go sled with their dad. Cody responded with a resounding “yes.” His older brother, who had just returned from a speech meet that took all day, decided he would pass this time. I couldn’t blame him.
I went down into the basement and started to dig around through my hunting camo to find some good sledding apparel. Cody was dressed in seconds. About halfway through my layering process I started to overheat. I mean, I was getting really hot. I flashed back to my youth when mom would wrap me in layer-upon-layer of heavy clothes and I would be begging her to let me go, so I could get outside and cool off. I was at that point. Besides, I think the thermometer was reading somewhere in the 20s. That’s like shorts and T-shirt weather this year.
By the time I got outside, Cody had already procured a sled and asked me where we were going. The nice part about where we live is that there is multiple sledding opportunities right in our own yard. There is no need to drive somewhere.
I thought about it a second and that it hit me, “How about going down the beach?”
Cody piped right up, “Awesome!”
Our beach down to the lake, is pretty steep and would make the perfect sledding run. The ice on the lake is tremendously thick and is piled high with soft snow. It would be exactly what I was looking for.
I held the sled steady and Cody loaded up. I stress the word careful because the last two winters he wasn’t careful. He had jumped onto the plastic sleds and busted them – twice. After a discussion of proper sled care, maintenance and loading procedures, he was ready.
He had the opportunity for the run-of-runs. The first run. The run that blazes the trail for all following runs. The run where fresh, light, powdery, snow blasts its way up and over the sled. As I used to call it when I was a kid, he had the chance to “break the smooth.” I was a little jealous.
I gave him a mighty shove, pulled a muscle in my back, and watched him traverse down the slope into a pile at the bottom, where he ceremoniously rolled off the sled sideways and collapsed, face down, into the snow. Why is it that we always like to get off of a sled by rolling into the snow? Once immersed in white I could hear him laugh.
I caught myself smiling and telling him to hurry up so I could try. As I took my turn loading onto the sled it suddenly hit me that I’m not 12 years old anymore and this is not that easy. Cody held me steady and waited for my signal to go.
It was at this point I realized, or remembered, that the left side of the beach slope had an overturned john boat lying there and the right side was lined with huge rocks that I had placed to stop erosion. It occurred to me that both of these obstacles could possibly send me to the hospital. Oh well. “Go!” I shouted.
The wind smacked me in the face, the snow flew, and of course I screamed. You have to scream. All too soon the ride was over, and I got to take my turn at unloading by rolling off and doing a face plant in the snow. After a brief rest, I worked my way to my feet, looked up and realized, this is the not-so-fun part; the walk back up the hill.
After sucking in massive amounts of oxygen I finally made it. When I did, I saw my wife was sporting her snow clothes and was anxiously awaiting her turn. We spent a few more minutes sledding as a family, laughing, enjoying the snow and making snow angels. It was a tremendous amount of fun.
I know that next summer, as we are standing in the boat fishing, looking back at the beach that will be adorned in its summer attire, I will flash back to our sledding escapades and smile.