- Last Updated on 08:05 AM 03/06/13
- BY Doug Ford
It was up to WHLF radio announcer Ken Parton to make or break every school-age kid’s day way back in the 60s when snow was predicted.
“There will be school/no school today,” he would proclaim,” with one pronouncement resulting in an attitude akin to an upcoming dental appointment.
The other pronouncement, “there will be no school today,” sent shock waves of joy through the sledding community, with kids around the county warming up for the trek to their favorite sledding spot.
I imagine Greenway Drive in South Boston and any other street with nice hills would have been popular, but there were multitudes of other sledding paths throughout the county.
A favorite in my neck of the woods was an old trail in back of a farm that winded downhill across a creek with a few half-rotted out wooden slabs that served as a bridge.
A group of us would fuel up early and then wrap up before making the 15-minute trek to the sledding site, crossing a barbed-wire fence along the way.
A wet snow made packing ideal, and that was the first order of business, as a packed snow would more than likely freeze over after nightfall.
The result was a surface as shiny and slick as glass, with ruts to the side for walking the sled back up the trail for another shot at glory.
Lunch was an afterthought as the group made individual runs and occasionally dared to ride tandem on a sled “made for two.”
The challenges were many, the ice-covered bridge being one, followed by a sharp curve with failure to navigate that obstacle being a slide downhill into another barbed wire fence.
Most of us “wiped out” before we became a pin cushion.
The ultimate reward for a successful run was a tiny creek at the bottom of the hill, with just enough icy water to make it interesting.
Rosy-cheeked and tired from a day of sledding, we all trudged home to stomp out the snow at our respective back doors and hang out gloves, stocking hats and other wet clothes to dry.
Unfortunately, we all grow up, and now we have to go to work in snow instead of play in it, and in my case write stories and take pictures of it.
My two antique sleds occupy the loft of my workshop, having been retired for at least 40 years, but I’m keeping my options open.