This past week brought a snow day for our school district, and evoked so many memories of joyful freedom.
With my kindergarten-aged grandson and his little sister playing in my living room, I watched our Amish neighbors pop over the western horizon, hiking through the snow across the open field. As they came closer, cutting through our lawn, I could see that they were pulling their snow sled.
The three children were heading out on the long walk to their schoolhouse, and the sled carried their lunch baskets.
I can remember so well the feeling of excitement when we awoke to enough snow to get our sleds out. Even better if school was closed, meaning we didn’t have to wait for a bit of free time to try out the sledding hill.
We learned through experience that the round saucer was the best way to prepare the hill for better sledding. We would fly down the snowy hill on that lightweight saucer, hike back up and repeat the thrill over and over again to pack the fluffy snow down a bit.
There is such a thrill when the conditions are just right, sending happy kids sledding with speed and gleeful shouts. Climbing back uphill, dragging a sled, is never a high point of the day, but it is a great conveyor of the motto “it’s all worth it in the end” to children still learning this lesson.
We would fly down that hill with wild abandon, oblivious to the cold. There were times Dad would come to check on us and insist on a trip to the house to warm up.
There is no better mug of hot chocolate than the one served at the end of an afternoon of sledding. Simply holding it in our cold hands was delightful.
Mom would stir it up for us, and let us add little marshmallows to our heart’s content. Our frozen fingers and toes warmed as we gathered around the kitchen table, nibbling on buttery cinnamon toast which tasted like a delicacy fit for a queen.
The sight of a simple sled on a snowy morning carries so many fond memories, clear and strong and sweet.
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