I love snow and I say bring it on. When I wake to see a white landscape, I feel a touch of the first joy of winter and I want to don my winter garb, find a hill, and slide down it all day. Now that my children are grown and gone, I do not act on this impulse, and besides, there are few hills in central Ohio. This place is not like the landscape of the river town, Dayton, Kentucky, where I grew up.
When it snowed in Dayton hoards of kids converged on the riverbank where the best hills were. They came to our side of town from as far away as the railroad tracks with sleds and toboggans in tow. There were several excellent hills, but the best by far was the one at the end of Vine Street, just a block from our house. The paved street ended at the riverbank and became a dirt road, which continued downward right into the water. The wet cold fun went on for hours halting only when parents called out the names of their children to come in for supper.
Most of the kids sliding on our hill had magnificent Flexible Flyers or shiny red toboggans. We, my sisters, brother and several of our friends, had nothing store-bought to slide on, so we improvised, using whatever was available. One year I remember my brother slid down the hill over and over again, curled up like a turtle with nothing but the slick pelt of his faux leather jacket between himself and the frozen earth. To my parents’ dismay, he destroyed his coat, ripping it in tatters before the day was done.
There is one winter afternoon that stands out in my mind. That day I was in no mood to stand around and wait my turn on someone else’s sled, so my sister and I went looking for something to slide on. When we came upon the old ringer-washer that had been standing in the alley awaiting a trip to the dump since the previous summer a light bulb went off above my head. I grabbed the wood knob on the lid; a porcelain covered inverted dish, and lifted it free. My sister held the lid upright, while I banged on the knob with the rock knocking it off. Walla!
Away we flew with our new sled.
Rita was the braver one, so she did not hesitate to sit in the middle of the white metal dish with her legs crossed, holding onto either side with clenched fists. I put both hands on her back and gave a big heave hoe, pushing her down the first hill. Away she flew. She had no controlled of the vehicle whatsoever, but she laughed and screamed with delight, as the saucer spun around and around as it careened down the hill.
We were ecstatic with the results. Our saucer was the star of the day. Not only did we fly down the hill over and over, but also for the first time, we had something the others envied. And with this honor came the pleasure of divvying up rides to the line of kids who patiently waited their turn on the flying saucer.