Posted tagged ‘Sledding’

“Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, its bobsled time!”

March 11, 2017

The snow is deeper on the lawns and gardens. The streets and walkways got wet before they got snowy. I took Gracie out front this morning because the back steps were covered above my shoes. My feet got wet anyway.

It is the brightest of days. The sun shines off the snow. The air is so clear even the smallest pine branch is having its day, its place in the sun with a blue backdrop, deep and cloudless. If it weren’t so cold, this would be the perfect day. It is currently 19˚with an occasional wind strong enough to sway the top branches. I have to go out later, but I’ll bundle up and I’ll put Gracie in her coat.

I figure kids are sledding at the golf course. It is one of the few places around with a good hill that’s safe from cars. I’ve stopped to watch a couple of times. The kids were using all sorts of sleds. I saw the traditional wooden ones like I used to have, but the plastic sleds far outnumbered the wooded. The circle sleds, the ones we called saucers, are still circles but are now plastic. Plastic sleds resembling toboggans had multi-riders, mostly smaller kids. Inflated inner tubes give a great ride but a wild ride with little control.

I loved sledding especially on the hill my house faced. Every kid in the neighborhood would be out either sledding or walking back up that hill. I always think sledding is as close as we can get to flying while staying on the ground.

The clock goes one hour forward tonight. I never understood daylight savings time when I was a kid, and I’m still a bit confused. Everything I’ve read says the energy savings are only negligible, and some have even found that costs are higher, since people in hot climates are more apt to use air conditioners in the daytime. The original reason was WWI and conserving electricity for the war effort. Daylight savings was repealed after the war but reinstated during WWII. After that war, it was never repealed. Some states honored the hour; other states didn’t so in 1966 Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized daylight saving across the country except in Arizona and Hawaii which didn’t choose to honor it. After all the reading I did, I’m still confused as to why. Tradition? Habit? Laziness to change the status quo? Nobody cares?

“What a severe yet master artist old Winter is…. No longer the canvas and the pigments, but the marble and the chisel.

January 17, 2017

We’ve lost the sun. It’s a gray day with no wind. Rain will be here tomorrow. You’ll hear no complaints from me. It isn’t snow.

When I was a kid, I loved winter. I sledded and went ice skating at the town rink and at the swamp. I built snow forts in the tall piles left on the sides of the road by the plows. My friends and I had snowball fights. We’d build a short wall in front of us and across from each other then start making ammo, snowballs. When both sides had enough made, the fight began. I don’t think there was ever a clear winner. We’d finish the day so soaked and frozen that even the shoes inside our boots were filled with snow. My mother would sometimes make us cocoa with Marshmallow Fluff on top. I remember watching the Fluff spread from the heat of the cocoa. When I drank the cocoa, I always had a Fluff mustache.

At some time in my life, winter got boring. I started dreading snow. I hated scraping the ice off my windshield and driving to and from work in the dark. I admit snow is pretty especially right after a heavy snow storm when the tree branches and streets are covered. I do like watching the snow fall. I turn on the backdoor light so I can see the flakes, delicate and lacy. When I was a kid, there was a streetlight right near my house. Even back then I loved watching the flakes under the light.

I never knew the temperature when I was young. In my mind it was winter and winter was supposed to be cold. Now I asked Alexa the day’s weather and watch the news. I want to know what to expect. I’m happy when I hear 44˚ and groan when it is in the 20’s or even lower. I stay inside on the especially cold days.

I don’t think I’ll ever reconcile myself to winter. It had its time when I was young. Now  I accept summer as the season for we who are growing old.

Summer is the season of inferior sledding.”

January 5, 2017

With the back door open, I can feel the cold coming in through the dog door. I think Gracie will have to ring her bells to go outside as I’m shutting the inside door. She’s already been out three or four times, once just to bark, so I figure I won’t be jumping up and down to let her out. Snow is coming tomorrow. A winter weather advisory is in place for the cape. The snow should start after midnight so I’ll be waking up to a white world. We’re expecting 2-4 inches from this storm then more on Sunday. This is the first snow of the season for us.

When I was a kid, the TV didn’t have a rolling list of no school announcements. We listened for the horn from the fire station. I don’t remember what the pattern of beeps was, but back then, we all knew and we waited then cheered after we’d heard it. We were all familiar with that horn. It blew every day at noon and for any fires. In the town phone book was a list of what the beeps meant, where in town the fire was. We all used to stop to listen and count.

Snow is never a burden to a kid. The more snow that falls the better the sledding. My street was never plowed all the way down to the road so the hill made for a great ride. The cars going up and down the hill helped. Their tires would tamp down the snow. The sun would sometimes melt the top layer which would freeze at night when it always got colder.  The first rides down were at blazing speeds on the ice cover. Sledders at the bottom would warn us if a car was coming on the cross street below the hill. We’d use our feet as brakes or, as a last resort, we’d throw ourselves off the sleds. No one ever got hit, but I think it was mostly luck because we hated stopping our sleds. They’d whiz over the cross road into a field where the higher snow would finally stop us.

We’d sled all day long. Our mittens got soaked. Our boots always had snow inside them because we’d walk through the high snow on the field to get back to the hill. Our cheeks got red and so did our legs under our ski pants. Late in the afternoon mothers started yelling out front doors for us to come inside. We’d sneak one more ride pretending we hadn’t heard them. When the yelling got a bit louder and more strident, we’d walk to the backyard, jam our sleds upright in the snow then slide down the snow covered stairs to the cellar. We’d leave our wet clothes on the lines so they’d dry overnight. We wanted to be ready for the next day and the ice on the hill.

“The Harvard Law states: Under controlled conditions of light, temperature, humidity, and nutrition, the organism will do as it damn well pleases.”

July 22, 2016

Last night I went to bed early, around 10:30, but couldn’t fall asleep so I decided to check out Netflix as my iPad is beside my bed. That was a huge mistake. I started watching Stranger Things and was hooked. It was close to 4 o’clock before I put down my iPad and went to sleep. Episodes remain, and I’m thinking I’ll watch them this afternoon. I won’t do that late night binging again. Okay, I admit I probably will.

As of late yesterday afternoon, the house was closed again, and the air conditioner became a necessity. All of a sudden it was very humid, and the breeze did nothing to cool the day. Poor Gracie was panting, a sure sign the house was too warm. Today is also hot and somewhat humid. Boston is officially in the middle of a heat wave. We are not though heat wave or no heat wave it is still a really hot day.

I don’t remember when the weather started to bother me enough I complained. When I was a kid, the weather never mattered. Summer was for being outside as long as I could be. I always dreaded my mother yelling out the back door for us to come inside the house. Snow was always fun. It was for sledding, making snowmen and building forts. Sometimes snow even gave us a free day from school. Where I lived in Ghana was the hottest part of the country. It was savannah grassland with few trees. I could look across the fields to the horizon. Nothing stood in the way. I was hot in the 100 plus degree heat, but I found ways to be cool. At night I’d take my cold shower and not dry off. The air cooled and dried me and I easily fell asleep. After every snow storm, I used to shovel my walk and driveway. Now I pay someone and wait patiently inside until he comes. My house has central air conditioning. I used to have a fan I carted from den to bedroom at night, and I was cooled enough to sleep. Maybe this intolerance is because I am getting older or maybe it is because I no longer want to abide too hot or too cold. I aim for comfortable.

Tomorrow is our first deck movie night. I have several from which my friends can choose including Charade, The original Thomas Crown Affair, Cabaret,  the Equalizer, Three Days of the Condor and Beginning of the End, our awful science fiction B movie for the summer, a movie where giant grasshoppers wreak devastation wherever they go. I’m serving grilled sausages and sauteed peppers and onions and fresh bread for sandwiches. I’m making a couple of appetizers and a new drink, a blue drink. I have my shopping list ready.

Gracie is sleeping and is snoring. I envy her the nap, not the snoring.

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

February 4, 2016

Some mornings I am Cinderella. Blue birds are singing and helping me get dressed. They alight on my shoulder and tweet a lovely song. The world is a happy place. Today is not one of those mornings. The phone woke me up, but I didn’t answer. I knew it was the first robocall. Several more will follow. I went back to sleep. Fern woke me up with her constant meowing. I tried to ignore her, but she was far too loud and grating. The meowing was my fault-the water dish was almost empty. I filled it and went back to bed. Gracie then got restless and went downstairs. I tried to go back to sleep. It didn’t work. I went to brush my teeth and found a cat had been sick on the hall floor. I cleaned it up. Next I went downstairs, ran out into the pouring rain and got my paper. I then noticed the dog had gotten sick on the rug. She always aims for that rug. I cleaned it up. The coffee went on. I started to read the paper and then I realized it was quiet: all the animals were sleeping. That was my morning.

On winter days the choices were limited. After school we’d bike if the weather was winter warm. Snow still on the ground meant sledding but only for a few runs. The dark came early. By twilight we were done. On really cold days we were stuck inside school during the day and in the house the rest of the time. The walk home was our only outside and it was freezing.

Most times I never minded staying inside. I’d cozy up with a book. That was all I needed. Sometimes, though, I’d get bored. There was nothing to do. I couldn’t go outside and risk frostbite. Good TV was an hour or so away. I didn’t want to read anymore. I didn’t want to talk anybody. I didn’t know what I wanted.

I still get bored. Sometimes I just throw up my hands in surrender and go take a nap.  Other times Gracie and I go for a ride. I never stay bored long. There are so many choices now, but I usually seem to choose the standby, reading. The afternoon disappears while I’m caught by a book. I forget about boredom.

“I bought a big bag of potatoes and it’s growing eyes like crazy. Other foods rot. Potatoes want to see.”

February 1, 2016

My neighbor is taking her citizenship test tomorrow. She is a bundle of nerves even though she knows all the book answers and speaks good English. Her only speaking problem is the agreement of subject and verb, especially has and have, which throws her off every time. Nicee had only one question for me today which was how to pronoun Eisenhower. After a couple of run throughs I told Nicee no more studying: take the day off today and enjoy yourself. I know she won’t.

February is usually our snowiest month so I’m in a wait and see holding pattern. Today’s 51˚ could be a smokescreen for a blizzard. I am skeptical of a warm winter’s day. Something has to be afoot.

February is a month of expectations. Valentine’s Day is close and February vacation is not long after. When I was a teacher, I just hung around the cape or took day trips over the bridge. The joy of the week was in not using an alarm clock, staying up late and having no papers to correct or plans to make. During vacation when I was a kid our daytime plans depended upon the weather. A day like today meant bike riding all over town which gave us such a sense of freedom. We could ride anywhere we wanted, and bulky clothes were gone for the day. I could freely move my arms and legs, and my clothes didn’t make a swishing noise. If we had snow, we sledded until our lips turned blue. The actual bed time was arbitrary but mostly later than usual. Lunch was catch as catch can. Mostly it was a sandwich grabbed on the run. The week always went quickly.

There are a slew of things I never saw my mother do. She cleaned and did washing when I was in school though I do remember her taking dry clothes off the outside lines. When I left for school, my bed was messy. When I came home, it was neatly made. I figure my mother must have taken a bath at some point but I never saw her take one. The only task I was around to see was my mother making dinner. She was always peeling potatoes, endless bags of potatoes, or so it seemed to to me.

“There is nothing in the world more beautiful than the forest clothed to its very hollows in snow. It is the still ecstasy of nature, wherein every spray, every blade of grass, every spire of reed, every intricacy of twig, is clad with radiance.”

January 24, 2016

“We’re happy tonight, walking in a winter wonderland.” I’m lying. I’m not happy. Here I am stuck in the house, and from the window I can see way off to the driveway where the blue plastic sleeve of my newspapers is clearly visible. I know if I really wanted the papers I could put on heavy shoes and some warmer pants then trudge my way through the deep snow to the papers. I think I’ll choose to be patient and wait for Skip, my factotum, to come to plow and shovel.

We didn’t get as much snow as I expected. I think maybe we got only 8 or 9 inches. The problem is the snow is heavy and wet. Branches and bushes bow under the weight. The sky is still grey. I was hoping for some sun. Nothing is prettier than untouched snow glittering in the sun.

My dad was one of those shovelers who went out during the storm hoping to stay ahead of the snow. I used to watch him from the picture window. He’d do the front steps first then the path then the three steps to the street and finally his car. Sometimes the snow was so high I couldn’t see him, but I knew where he was because I could see the snow flying left or right off his shovel into the air.

The plows left layers of snow on the street. Sometimes the first layer would melt just a bit from the sun then overnight it would refreeze and produce the perfect hill for sledding with a layer of ice on top. This happened every day until the streets were down to pavement then we went sledding on the grassy hills.

Today I have football, the Pats against the Broncos. The winner will be Super Bowl bound.  I’ll be cheering and clapping the whole game; at least, that’s what I expect.

(P.S.  Skip has come and gone. Yippee!)