I was in the first grade when my father moved our family from a city apartment on a postage stamp size lot on a busy street out to the country. Our new home was on a dirt road and sat atop a high hill. It was a large farmhouse with white clapboards and green shutters on forty acres of rolling hills.

As part of the bargain, the previous owner had left in the barn old wooden skies, snow shoes, two toboggans and an assortment of sleds - an American Flyer and several flexible flyers of various lengths. I thought my father was a genius. Winter was never the same.

After a good snow storm with the road plowed and firmly packed, sledding started right out our front door. The first two hundred feet of road sloped gently. With a runninKids Sleddingg start we would throw ourselves onto the sleds as they hit the snow. With enough momentum we could make it to the big pine tree where the hill and road dropped steeply. As a sixty-three-year-old, I am amazed that any human being can survive the physical punishment an eight-year-old can endure. We would go at it for several hours in the morning, stop and do lunch, then go back and keep at it until the sun went down. We lived outdoors on winter weekends.

The pine tree was where the magic began. Snow bankings on either side of the road were often eight to twelve feet high. The land on either side of the road was naturally high on this portion of the road. Snow would drift in from across the open fields and fill the road. The town often had to plow daily to push the snow back. The snow bankings towered above the road. As the winter weeks passed, the banks got higher and the road narrowed further until only one car at a time could pass through. The pine tree marked the beginning of our almost-perfect private luge run.

Great sledding, the steep narrow road, and high bankings drew guys from surrounding farms. In the afternoons as the snow got sticky, we would build forts on opposite sides of the road, choose up sides, man the forts and lob snow balls across the road. We would send raiding parties down our embankment and up the other side to attack the opposing team’s fort, while both sides would rain a barrage of snow balls down on any afternoon sledders who dared pass between.

As I look back, I see it all in color with lots of white snow, blue sky, yellow sun and the big green pine tree.  In memory, our days look like a cross between a Currier and Ives print and a Norman Rockwell painting of kids with ruddy cheeks, barking dogs and flying snow balls. Looking back now I know those were some of the finest moments of childhood and the truth is as kids, we knew it then too.  I wouldn’t trade those winter days for anything.

The sled pin is a hybrid of all the sleds I grew up with. Every time I look at it I think about my winter days on the farm. I think it’s a great piece with great memories for any of us northern kids over fifty.

-RHP

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Do you have fond sledding memories? Share your sledding story with us at info@CrossJewelers.com

American Flyer™ Sled Pin X2931
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