For those of you fortunate enough to enjoy the winter season, do me a quick favor and step outside, take a deep breath, and smile. Can you smell the crisp air? When it is less than forty degrees outside, my sense of smell takes me back to elementary school. With each deep breath, I picture ten-year-old me, running outside at 2 a.m., praying that school will be closed for the best snow day ever.
One particular snow day sticks with me and always will. My brother and I woke up to no school and without hesitation, we chucked on our snow overalls, a hoodie, then a jacket, four pairs of baseball socks, and finally, our snow boots.
Ryan always had to use the bathroom after putting on his many layers, but our sled was much more important to us than a bathroom break before even stepping foot in the freezing, white, soft, powder-like, blanket of snow covering every inch of ground for hundreds of feet. Even the snow plows hadn’t made it through our neighborhood, so we knew that sledding was going to be PERFECT.
We grabbed our sleds, waved goodbye to our mom and dad, and WOOSH… we were out the door faster than anything. After we took a long trek up our neighborhood hill (picking up a few friends on the way), it was time for the first run down the greatest sledding hill you could ever imagine. This hill wasn’t too steep, but it was just steep enough for great speeds. What made this hill so great though, was the ditch at the end. This ditch essentially was a ramp that led to the woods. Unsafe. Risky. But exactly what every kid dreams of using for their sledding hill.
Ryan and our neighbor typically blazed the path first. They were much older and could weigh down the already fallen snow. I can see it all right now.
“Ready, Ryan?…. ONE! TWO! THREE! GO GO GO!”
They were off! Even with the path not quite slick, the boys had great speed. One long step at a time, they made their way back up the hill to do a final run through before the entire neighborhood joined in. This time, the path was ready to roll.
“Okay, Krick. You and me this time. Hold on!”
Down we went, full speed ahead, and into the ditch. We tumbled over before flying into the air towards the woods. Two people in one sled was no the best option, but it was still a blast. For riders who wanted to soar off the ramp, it was best to go as a single.
Our neighbor decided it was time for him to go alone. He was a pretty skinny guy, so we anticipated that he would go a long distance after the ramp… boy were we right. All I remember is him flying down the hill, then for a split second his body was hidden at the bottom of the ditch and he pops up and out of the ditch, into a tree. He was down for the count for at least ten minutes.
Every kid at the hill laughed harder than we ever have before. What a rush! Snow days, particularly at a younger age when sledding with neighborhood kids and school closings were frequent, are the absolute best. No matter how old I am, I will ALWAYS have those incredible memories with each breath I take on a cold winter’s day and with each snowflake that falls from the sky.
What snow day stories do you have? Please let it snow this winter…