Driving on a rolling 9 mile stretch on Rt. 23 in Lancaster County on Sunday morning, it was hard for me to not notice the snow-covered hills and valleys that covered the landscape. I also noticed there were no sledders anywhere on that stretch. Perhaps it was the earliness of the morning and/or the fact that it was a worship day in a county in which church attendance is common.
I’ve made it no secret how much I’ve come to dislike snow. The aggravations of shoveling walkways and driveways, cleaning off cars, driving behind partially clean cars that throw off hardened chunks snow on those driving behind them, walkways with snow melt that freezes overnight and the risks of slip falls, rock salt and sand that stains cars and windshields all accumulate to make snowfall something I can do without.
It wasn’t always that way. When I was a boy, one of my favorite wintertime activities when it snowed was to spend as much time as possible on Sand Hill. At age 10 and 11, Sand Hill looked more like a small mountain and when it snowed, the hill called to me to all of my friends. We prayed for deep snow, and it seemed every season our prayers were answered two or three times.
With our sleds, we would make our way to the top of the hill. Whoever had the toboggans would go first to compact the snow. When it was my turn, I would take a running start and leap onto my American Flyer and fly down the hill, maybe an eighth of a mile long, landing in a ditch that kept us all from sledding into the street. And then I would climb back up the hill and do it again…and again…and again… We all did until our fingers turned blue and we had no more feeling in hands or feet. When we could stay no longer, we would slowly make our way home. If it was a weekend or if school was still closed because of the weather, the next day would bring a reprise. I loved it!
It is now mid-afternoon, and I am writing this from home many miles away from those snowed hills and valleys. When the snow is gone, I won’t miss it, but I have to wonder if there are any kids climbing those hills with their sleds to do what only seems natural when it snows.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2021. All rights reserved to text content unless otherwise noted.
My best memories of sledding as a child was when my family visited my grandparents dairy farm in Maine during the winter. Their farm was located at the top of a large hill and we had pastures in which we could sled down. The walk back to the top was long but the ride down made it worth it .Great memories! It was very disheartening to accidently leg go of your sled at the top and watch it travel down the hill without you. So, we would get it by riding down with another sledder.
Yeah Bob. Accidentally letting go and falling off wasn’t fun. You’re right though; it was worth the trouble. Good times!