“In New England we have nine months of winter and three months of darned poor sledding.”

Today is dreary and wet. The rain started last night and continues. It will be in the mid 50’s today and for the next few days. There will be no white Christmas this year in New England.

I have a picture of me standing on the front steps of our house holding on to my new bike. The picture was taken a couple of days after Christmas. I was glad for no snow that year. Had I gotten a new sled, I wouldn’t have been smiling.

The sleds we all used had metal frames, metal runners and a steering device near the top we could move from side to side though it didn’t steer all that well. The rest of our sleds were wooden slats we’d lie on to ride downhill. We had to bend at the knees so part of our legs and our feet were in the air. If we needed them, our feet acted as brakes though most times the hill ended and so did our ride. I was lucky to live on a hill, a really good hill. I could choose to walk to the top or just go from my street which would still give me a good ride. We had to be careful at the bottom because our street was perpendicular to another street, and if we slid across that street, no cars could see us. Sometimes one of us would stand there and give warning if we needed to stop. We all hoped to keep going because sledding over that street into the field was the best and the longest ride, and having the longest ride was in no small measure a matter of pride.

I remember getting dressed for sledding. I wanted to be warm but not bogged down by clothing as I did have an uphill trek pulling my sled behind me after every ride down. We all wore leggings tucked into our boots. They were waterproof and made that swishing sound when we walked. Our jackets sometimes matched but most times didn’t as we’d grow out of one or the other. The jackets had zippers and were always hard to zip so my mother would do the honors. Our hands stayed warm in mittens. Most of us avoided hats, but if my mother insisted, I’d wear a wool hat which mostly covered the back of my head and tied under my chin but would ditch it as soon as I got the chance. I didn’t care if most of my body heat escaped through my head as my mother claimed.

I remember speeding down the hill and thinking this is what flying must be like. I never wanted to go inside, but when I was chilled to the bone, I dragged myself home, parked my sled in the pile of snow by the back door, went inside to the cellar, got out of my wet clothes, hung them up to dry and went upstairs for a cup of cocoa with marshmallow floating on the top. That was the perfect ending to a day of sledding.

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14 Comments on ““In New England we have nine months of winter and three months of darned poor sledding.””

  1. rk2000 Says:

    you have to come in fl then if it is going to be in the lows of 40s:)

  2. olof1 Says:

    No white winter in most parts of Sweden either, just the most northern parts and the high mountains of course. I don’t mind but it would have been nice if it was a bit colder than it will be.

    Yes I remember that sound, it was always disturbing in the beginning but thankfully we all got used to it fairly quickly. I lived just beneath a hill sothe last race down the hill always led to home. That one was a bit tricky though since we had to go downhill on a street where the occasional car could come but then again it was rather exiting 🙂

    Cocoa was also waiting when we came home and mostly two cheese sandwiches 🙂

    Have a great day!


    • Kat Says:

      I’m not unhappy with the warm temperatures given the winter we had last year. It was dreadful and filled with snow.

      Most times on the hill we were safe enough, but it was that bottom where we had to be careful. My house was almost to the top of the hill so no sledding to get there.

      Toasted cheese? I love toasted cheese sandwiches. My mother served them with tomato soup. Yum!!

  3. Birgit Says:

    60°F this afternoon and we’ve had a nice outdoor tea break. I think I’ll declare my blooming white rose bush as white Christmas. Advent calendar update: A snowman ?!

    • Kat Says:

      54˚ here today but it feels colder with all the dampness. We need rain so I won’t complain.

      Advent calendar here was really neat. Yesterday was a man looking through a hand held telescope. Today was a meteor with a tail right above the man.

  4. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    My house is on sloped land so that was our sledding hill and our skiing hill. It was a decent run down the side lawn and a long flat run into the swamp at the bottom. If there was enough snow to sled, there was little probability that we’d get wet in the swamp but sometimes a good run would take us into the squishy parts.
    If there was a really big storm and no school, sometimes the town would close Otis Hill to traffic so we could sled. It’s a steep double hill so you got a long fast ride followed by a short uphill run followed by another short but steep downhill run. The town hasn’t done that since I was in grade school which is a very long time ago now.

    The rain didn’t start here until after noon. It was cold and damp outside anyway. But no jacket was necessary to take the dogs out for a few minutes every so often. After the rain started neither of them wanted to go out. I booted them out against their will. 🙂
    But I gave them a short blow dry when they came in which they loved.

    Enjoy the evening.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      Our hill had that road at the end and across the road was a field. It was flat so we’d end there if we got across the road. Behind my house was the hill the little kids went down. It was safe and surrounded by houses. The daredevils went down the big hill.

      The rain just stopped a little while ago, but it is still warm enough that my heat hasn’t come on much at all tonight. Gracie doesn’t mind rain as long as it isn’t a torrential downpour.

      My sister said it was 19˚ last night.

      Enjoy the day!

  5. Bob Says:

    During the Cold War a friend of mine was stationed at the K.I. Sawyer Air Force base which was located near Marquette Michigan on the upper peninsula. When he arrived he was told that they have winter sports ten months of the year, the other two months it’s too cold. 🙂

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