Tuesday, January 27, 2004


Those of you that grew up in more temperate climates missed out on sledding which is one of the great childhood winter activities.

During my second and third grade years we lived in an apartment complex in Traverse City, MI. My mother does not have fond memories of living in these apartments. I'm pretty sure she saw it as a step back socially since she had had her own home a few years earlier before she and my dad had their big ugly split.

I loved living at the apartment. Before that we had lived in a trailer and before that in the country. Having a bunch of kids around to run with was my idea of heaven. After my mother hooked up with my future step father we moved back to the country where you only saw friends in school or had to arrange to get driven to their homes or vicey versey.

At the edge of the complex, opposite the drive, was a hill covered in trees with a two-track road that curled around the hill. The road was lined with the trees and emptied into a marshland that froze over in the winter. We called the hill and it's curving downhill trail Deadman's Hill. I am sure every neighborhood in this country has a certain hill in which bikes or sleds are piloted down that is known by that name. Our hill was infamous because a kid once broke his arm sledding. It was one of the older kids so it much be dangerous is this larger proto-adult got bit by it.

As the winters would wear on the snow would get packed and would be perfect for runner sleds. Runner sleds were fast and turned really badly and I was scared of them. I stuck with the basic plastic sled you could stear with your gloved hands. Besides a runner sled really couldn't take the jump we had built at the bottom of hill. As far as I was concerned if a sledding run didn't end with air and a face full of snow it was a waste of time. I had also seen plenty of kids take their ill stearing runner sleds too wide in the turn and into the trees. Fuck that. Fun is fun but I crash into snow and ice, not trees.

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