Monday, February 7, 2011

Past and Present: Snow Daze

Man, we've been blasted around here with snow lately. That's one of the perks of living in this part of the US; snow. Not to mention the lack of sunshine, temperatures barely going above 30, slush, shoveling, freezing, scraping, school closings, accidents, power outages... need I go on? But before I talk about snow, I have a question that no one seems to be able to answer. This area was very rich in American Indians. Chippewa, Shawnee, Delaware, Ottawa and others called Ohio home. Since we know that winter was a difficult time for Indians, do you think they ever knew that they could walk about a month south and never brave another Ohio winter? Hmmmm...

OK, now to Thoreau Ave. in Akron, circa 1968 or so. All of us kids on the street LIVED for the snow. Our street was somewhat of a hill so if it got real slippery, you could ride your sled down the middle. Granted, it wasn't much of a hill so you really didn't go very fast but you did move some. The best thing though, was the woods that surrounded our neighborhood.

Thoreau Ave. dead-ended right into the woods. You could walk into the woods on level ground for several hundred yards, but then the woods dropped steeply into a valley type of thing with a creek at the bottom. This made for some killer sled riding hills - right in our own backyard.

Back in those days, there were no plastic sleds and everyone had the wooden-slatted sleds with metal runners on them. You could either lay flat or sit upright with your feet on the steering handles. We would go blasting down the hill in the woods and have to be careful we didn't fly into the creek at the end. Now this happened to me once. I couldn't stop and my sled and I went out onto the creek and my foot promptly broke through the ice and my boot filled up with freezing creek water. Well, that was the end of my day of sledding, and I cried all the way home with a frozen foot while the neighborhood kids laughed and laughed.

Another time, my good friend Lori Vannatter and I had an accident on one of the hills in the woods. If I'm not mistaken, she ran over my ankle and somehow my sled cut her ear open - hahaha! I can't even imagine how that happened! I think we both stomped out of the woods mad at each other.

Ahh, those were the days. We would literally stay outside from morning till dark and play in the snow; sledding, shoveling driveways for cash, building snow forts and snowmen and on and on.

For some reason, the snow isn't that fun anymore. How about you? I'd love to hear your comments and snow stories!