Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


“Sleddy” Memories

The picture in my header is right–today anyway. We had our first snow of the winter yesterday and the whole world is c-l-e-a-n–for now.

I haven’t checked the weather report or TV yet, but I warned my boss (Dad) yesterday, “If the roads are bad, I’m staying home!”

 He answered, “I don’t blame you.”

I don’t have a fire burning in the fireplace, but if it gets any colder, I might have to rouse myself and get one going. (With a gas starter, it’s not that hard.) Or I might have to put on a sweat shirt.

Remember how exciting it used to be when you were a kid and the first snow of the winter fell? Oh, my goodness!

I grew up back when the police weren’t quite as worried about saving us from ourselves. My dad took a video of a train of sleds all hooked together, being

Old fashioned wooden sled (or Toboggan without...

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pulled by a pickup down our snowy streets. Every time I watch it, I’m amazed by how much fun those kids are having. So much so, I’ve never looked to see who all is taking the ride. 

One year we begged for a sled for Christmas, but for one reason or another, Mom wasn’t able to find one. We probably didn’t start begging for it until the week before the big day, and C-Town was probably sold out. (This doesn’t really look like our sled–ours was flat and the boards between the runners didn’t leave a gap.)

Anyway, Dad decided to build us one. He used two-by-sixes for the runners and nailed planks across them. Then he drilled a couple of holes for a rope for us to pull it with.

When it was finished, it was more of a toboggan than a sled. We didn’t paint it (couldn’t wait long enough for the paint to dry before we took it out to play)and there was no steering mechanism, so if we rode it down a hill, all it did was go straight.

And I remember it being a little bit heavy, but we really didn’t take it to a hill for playing. Instead, Dad connected it to the back of the station wagon and pulled us around town on it. 

A little scary to think of three little kids skidding around in traffic with nothing to protect us but the courtesy of other drivers, but we had so much fun! The kid who rode in front had a frozen face by the end of the ride, and as the number one kid, I usually got the privilege, but I didn’t care! 

I had a knitted scarf that was made so it actually fit on my head (the “pocket” made for the head must have been created by making short-rows, but I honestly don’t remember) and I’d wrap that thing around my face until only my eyes showed. It was great! 

The only trouble with the sled was that the neighborhood dads (we all belonged to the same church) liked it even more than the kids did. (Funny, I don’t remember the Moms ever getting on.) Some snowy nights we’d all get together at one family’s house, eat chili or beans and cornbread, and ride that sled. 

On one particular night that stands out in my memory, the dads gave the kids a short turn, then they were off. Of course, we didn’t know it at the time, but they were playing games like the big old kids they really were. They’d put chains on the station wagon so they had a little traction, and they whipped around corners, trying to dump one another off the sled into the snow–or bar ditch. 

I have no idea how many times they succeeded, but that night, us kids got a little miffed because we’d been promised another ride. And our dads hadn’t come back after what seemed like a really long time. 

There were no cell phones back then, so we had no idea what was going on. By the time they came limping home, us kids were all asleep in front of the TV. Naturally we asked for our last ride (after all, they promised!) but we didn’t get it.

They’d been at the chiropractor’s for the last couple of hours, having knocked our preacher (also one of those “boys”) into a deep ditch. He’s been a baseball player before he starting being a minister and must have had a bad back because his ditch landing sent them straight to the doc’s office. Late. At. Night. (C-Town didn’t have a hospital at that time, and a snowy drive to an emergency room in The Big City took a long time.) 

Thank goodness for small town docs! Since that was probably a Friday or Saturday night, we were lucky to have a guy like him around so us Christians could still have church that Sunday.

We enjoyed the sled Dad made until those 2 x 6 runners wore down to nothing. I’m not  sure what happened to the sled after that. Dad probably made it into kindling for the fireplace but, oh! The wonderful memories a snowfall brings of it.

It wasn’t a Christmas present, but it was one of the best gifts I can remember.

About the time the runners wore down to nubbins, we had a Highway Patrolman move into town, and he put a stop to cars pulling sleds in the streets.

G-Man pulled our kids around the fifty-three acres we lived on when they were small behind a motorcycle that my brother kept at our house. Being the mom, I didn’t go out and take a turn.

And G-Man didn’t have a group of friends who came over and tried to dump each other off it, but I have a feeling he had plenty of that while he was growing up in that small town world just to the north. 😉

What does the first snowfall bring to mind for you?


Practicing My First SSMT Verse

Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...

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Have you learned your Siesta Scripture Memory Team verse? I think I know mine. I’ll give it a shot.

Here we go–“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, have the power along with all the saints to grasp how wide and deep and long is the love of Christ.” Eph. 3: 17b-18. NIV

I’ve definitely been rooted and established in love. My parents rooted us in love if nothing else, which makes my childhood one of the happiest I’ve ever heard of.

That kind of pure love should give me the power to  grasp the dimensions of the love of Christ, shouldn’t it?

But can I? Can anyone grasp the absolute, pure and selfless love of Christ, who not only lived his entire life for us, He laid down his life for us!

And then, being God, He had the power to take up his life again.

I’m humbled that the creator of the universe would lay down his life for me. My sins were enough to send Him to the cross–which he suffered for me.

The wages of sin is death. Spiritual death. Hell. But because Christ took my sins to the cross, I have Life eternal.