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Hunker Down with Kes

Hope it’s Not Too Late

By Kesley Colbert
kesley45@aol.com
Posted 2/20/19

Nonnie got a call from our nine year old granddaughter. Hannah was excited about being out of school because of the snow. They talked way past “for a while”. I just shook my head and …

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Hunker Down with Kes

Hope it’s Not Too Late

Posted

Nonnie got a call from our nine year old granddaughter. Hannah was excited about being out of school because of the snow. They talked way past “for a while”. I just shook my head and wondered what in the world was happening to this younger generation.

When Ed Perkins gave us the news over WHDM radio on a snowy morning when I was nine that school was closed for the day—the last thing on my mind was my grandmother! I was tearing out the back door pulling that wool cap down tight. We had a whole complete entire “free” day waiting! I loved Granny “a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck”, but there is a time and place for everything!

I raced David Mark down to the high bank on the other side of the road past Aunt Jessie’s house. We didn’t have a fancy sled, we just flung ourselves over the edge and rolled and tumbled all the way down to the big ditch. We didn’t waste time with snow angels. But we did flatten out lots of snow patterns as we fought our way back up the embankment.

We’d scrounge up a cardboard box or a garbage can lid, make a quasi sled out of it, and see who could slide the greatest distance down the bank. We’d build snow-forts fifteen feet apart and throw snowballs, dirt clods, rocks, pitch forks and our shoes at each other till our arms gave out!

If the snow was deep enough we’d chase rabbits. Having to hop up to clear the snow really slowed them down. We’d run’em from up near the back of the swimming pool all the way out the Como Road. We never actually caught one, but I’m telling you with my hand up, we’ve come awful close.

It was an extra bonus when the little stream in the big ditch froze over. You talk about Olympic speed skating! And, although the stream was very narrow and we didn’t have sticks, helmets, skates, pucks, nets or official looking oversized gloves, we’d play hockey for hours on end. We didn’t score much. It was hard to control a Pet milk can with a tree limb while you were slipping and sliding in those old brogans. But we had some fights that would make the Chicago Blackhawks sit up and take notice!

I’d skip lunch (you could always make it up on a school day) and head over to Forrest Avenue. Ricky Hale had a genuine store-bought sled and if it was really cold and the snow stopped, the street would glaze over with a perfect icy layer. We’d come down that big hill where Forrest curves into Main Street doing ninety miles an hour...and praying nobody would be foolish enough to be out driving a car in this terrible weather!

There was no slowing down, steering or getting off once you left the top of the hill. And the only way to stop was the crash landing when we hit the curb on the far side of Main. It was not a trip for the faint of heart. I’ve seen guys flying over hedges, flailing into mulberry bushes and ramming into leafless dogwoods.

Only a complete idiot would make that trip twice!

We’d do it over and over until we thought about the traffic light up town. We’d pile up a stash of snowballs and hide behind the World War I Monument and wait for an unsuspecting vehicle to slide to a halt. While the occupants waited for the green light, snowballs from “out of nowhere” would drop in, on and around the car. I can still see those faces today peering skywards out of a foggy window…..with the most quizzical look!

The memory is almost as much fun as it actually WAS in 1956.

First thing Mom would say as I rushed into the kitchen eight seconds before dark was, “Where’s your hat?”

I didn’t even know it wasn’t still on my head. It could have fallen off in the first fight with David. Or the twenty-third time we hit the Main Street curb...

The point is I’ve got to make an emergency trip to Tennessee. Hannah’s in dire need of a “snow-day” tutorial! They’ve built so many houses down by Aunt Jessie our bank is gone, it’s doubtful Ricky still has the sled, but I know that Monument up by the light is still standing stately on the square...

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