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Snow Days of Yore

By Staff | Feb 3, 2011

Do you remember when you were a kid and had a snow day or two to yourself? It seems to me we didn’t have as many snow days back then as we do now. Were we tougher? Is it “climate change?” I don’t know, but I do know that we had plenty of winters where the snow pile at the end of the street got mighty high.

On those “no school days,” friends and I would haul out our sleds, either one of those plastic saucer types or one of the really ancient wooden sleds with the steel runners. Remember those? Being a child of the 80s, I was sandwiched between the old and new. It’s funny how no one really wanted the old wooden sleds. Everyone always grabbed the plastic ones. If I recall, those older sleds just didn’t build up the speed like the plastic ones did. You had to have a really hard packed, ice-topped snow for those wooden sleds to be preferred.

We’d climb up the perilous snow mountains that the plows and front-end loaders had created and head down-headfirst for the truly daring, feet-first for the more sensible among us. It was usually a bumpy ride until we had made a well-worn path. Those snow piles contained a lot of boulder-like mounds and there were usually some icy shards thrown in for good measure, too. More than once I remember a bloody nose and twisted ankle because of those sledding days.

Do today’s kids even go sledding on a regular basis anymore? I rarely see a kid with a sled in tow.

After spending a couple hours outdoors, coming inside felt goodafter you got over the initial searing pain of the warm-up. There were cups of hot chocolate topped with mini marshmallows to start the process. Usually, on those snow days when it was too nasty for my folks to drive to town to work, the house would smell incredible with the aroma of a beef roast in the oven or a roaster full of beef and vegetable soup. I remember my dad called it “stew,” but there was nothing stew-like about it. It was just morsels of slowly simmered beef and whatever vegetables we had on hand in a flavorful broth. Such a simple dish never failed to warm me up.

After refueling, it was time to head back out. Of course, this return to the cold world was never entered quite as enthusiastically as the first time. With full bellies making us a bit sluggish, we’d slide down the snow mountain a couple more times before collapsing on the ground to make lazy snow angels. Usually, we’d end up lounging in the snow at the bottom of the mountain, tasting mitten-fulls of it, and talking about whatever kids talk about, before realizing we were soaking wet and cold.

This time, we’d return to a friend’s house where a parent (usually a mom) would be baking cookies. Another chance to refuel, warm-up, and enjoy playing indoors before heading home.

I don’t know if kids nowadays have as much fun as we did back then. Somehow, TV, video games, and the Internet just don’t hold the same promise of warm memories in the future.