Photo Courtesy of my mom, Brenda Roth
Winter is a time for sledding. If you’re an avid sledder, or just a seasonal participant, sledding is the winter activity for you. Last weekend, my family decided that I was to go sledding for the first time because this one shared experience was something missing from our lives and so we settled upon searching for the toboggan. Eventually, after digging through our garage for the better part of nine days, we found our toboggan, a rigid, moldy, poorly roped together collection of wooden stakes, which was constructed around the 1900s and is about as stable as a teeter totter.
The drive to the hill was filled with proper sledding etiquette and safety tips: don’t throw snowballs at other sledders, always let the younger children sled first, and finally, don’t run into other sledders. These rules were carefully spelled out as if they weren’t already obvious.
The hill wasn’t the biggest that my brother had apparently “shredded.” There was a negative slope that then ended in a large expanse of flat snow to slow those sledders to a stop. It was a crowded and brisk morning. Exhausted parents ran to and fro to fetch hot chocolates and Bandaids for their children that were injured in the acclaimed sport. After lugging our piece of history to the edge of the precipice, it was clearly visible that our sled was older than some of the parents in attendance; most children had the newest model flexible flyer, saucer, inner tube, or the expensive Mountain Boy from Wall Street Journal’s “The Five Best Snow Sleds.”
It wasn’t that our “piece of junk” didn’t look nice; the Millennium Falcon doesn’t look nice-it just didn’t perform well and was unreliable. When my sister attempted to ride the sled by herself, it seldom moved, but when my dad stepped on the toboggan it rocketed away. After long time sled rider, my sister, took a look at it, she deemed it safe to mount and so we all boarded the toboggan, bubbling with anticipation. That’s where everything went south….
Getting into the “seats” was difficult. Arms and legs were aplenty as we crammed into the ancient wooden slab of history. With a coordinated effort of pulling and shouting we were settled in our makeshift death machine. “Ready?” my dad asked us as we slowly lurched forward. At this point I’m compelled to inform you that there was a child, maybe four feet tall, sulking up the hill and not paying attention to the 30mph battering ram hurtling forward. Despite our shouts and the waving of many arms….. there was a collision and the boy, Jerry, was propelled over our toboggan to his inevitable conclusion, a hard face plant on the ice.
We haven’t been tobogganing since.