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...

Image via Wikipedia

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?


Author: Susan Shay

For as long as I can remember, I've loved two things--reading and people--and that led me to become a writer. Many of my stories are set in Small Town Worlds. I'm a wife, mother, sibling and an aunt. I have a deep faith in God, and an exciting life in Christ. Maybe I shouldn't be (after all, he's God!) but I'm constantly amazed at the things He's up to. :)

10 thoughts on ““Sleddy” Memories

  1. I don’t remember us ever having a sled but we used whatever we could find. Old cardboard made a nice sled. More than anything I remember skating on the frozen ponds near us with my go-go boots for skates. There was a pond so big that it had a fence through it. We would actually hold on to the fence to skate across it. Thankful for angels and cold winters that made thick ice. We were carefree!

    • Cardboard makes for good times, too!!

      • Very true Sharon and Terri. It’s often better than a real sled because it skims the surface and you don’t have to have a lot of snow.
        Marilyn Pappano says she had one of those old round Coke signs and used it for a sled. How cool is that?
        Everyone has such fun sleddy memories.

  2. Oh, I know Terri. If it weren’t for angels, we’d all have died a long time ago! We used to skate on ponds, too. So much fun! When I finally tried a pair of skates, I couldn’t do it. Ouch!

  3. Snow & Sledding – Great childhood memories – you had some great memories to share, Susan!

    Sleds mady by dads must be the best! My Dad made us a sled one time in old Mannford & pulled us & the other kids & cousins in town around behind his car. Fun, fun times. Our “sled” was made of an old discarded wooden door that Daddy put runners on, & it worked great. The weather & the roads were so bad that year that Daddy couldn’t get up our car up the slick hills to get to work in Tulsa from Mannford. But, his forced day off from work made for a great time of sledding for us kids. 🙂

    • Those beautiful memories bring tears to my eyes, Sharon. Parents (okay, families) such as ours are like haven’t a foretaste of Heaven, aren’t they?
      I’m so glad your memories are beautiful, too.

  4. what wonderful memories, our lab used to pull us down the street. haha… not quite as dangerous as a car, but fun!

    • How fun was that, Jess? We always had Toy Manchester Terriers. They looked just like Minpins, so they didn’t pull us anywhere. My bb has a Great Dane. If he ever gets married and has kids (which will be soon, I hope!) they can harness their dog for sled rides. (He could probably pull the entire car if he wanted.) LOL

  5. Pingback: Snowing and Blowing « Small Town World

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