Posted tagged ‘Sled’

“The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind.”

October 19, 2017

I admit it. I am addicted to YouTube’s black and white science fiction movies from the 50’s. No more MSNBC for me. Give me flying saucers, creatures from other worlds, space ships, really bad special effects and even a Nazi scientist. He was in The Yesterday Machine and unsurprisingly, wanted to save Hitler. The opening scene in that movie is a majorette twirling a baton, and that’s a highlight. I’m got to break this addiction. Library here I come.

Today is beautiful, the first in a string of beautiful days. It will be in the high 60’s, even reaching 70 by next week. Despite that near week of rain and clouds, this fall has been a delight.

When I was a kid, I had all the kid things every other kid had. I had a bike, roller skates, ice skates and a sled, something for every season. My bike was my favorite. It took me all over town and even far out of town. Unless there was snow, I could ride. My first bike was blue. It had a wire basket in the front and a bell on the handle bars. I loved that bike.

I remember a tingling on the soles of my feet when I roller-skated. I remember the sound of the skates. They were the loudest on the street and the quietest on the tar parking lot near my house. I carried the key on a rope around my neck. I’d sit on the curb to reattach the skate to my shoe. The skates were heavy.

Like every other girl, I had white ice skates. We all carried our skates tied together on our shoulders, one skate in the front, the other in the back. The trick to skating was always to make sure the laces were tight or I’d have to stop to retie them. My best skill was skating backwards.

When I was in Ghana, kids played with hoops and sticks. They’d use the sticks to roll the hoops. The first time I saw the kids playing, I remembered seeing the same game in old pictures. I never saw bought toys there. I saw cars and planes made from tin cans. Ghanaian kids are ingenious. I did see bicycles, lots of bicycles, but mostly adults rode the bikes as they were dear, expensive. I would borrow a bike to go market. It was an easy ride downhill from my school compound, but going home uphill was, at first, difficult. I had to walk part of the way pushing the bike loaded down as I was with vegetables, fruit and even a chicken from the market, but soon enough I could ride all the way home.

I have a bike but haven’t ridden it in a long while. It has gears. It doesn’t have a basket or a bell. It’s a good bike, but I’m still partial to back pedal brakes and no gears. They were more than enough to whisk me away!

“The best Christmas trees come very close to exceeding nature.”

December 8, 2016

I think the sun went on vacation. Yesterday it rained in the morning and stayed cloudy the whole day though it was warmer than I expected. Today is also drab and gray. I am so glad that I was out for quite a while on Tuesday, the first sunny day in a while. I took the highway down cape but came back Route 28. It was a beautiful ride. I passed the ocean a few times. It was low tide and the water was still. It had a grayish tone. I saw a wild turkey fly. I hadn’t ever seen one fly before. It took a lumbering leap into the air and over a fence. I wasn’t sure the turkey had the height but it did. When I was passing the cove, the only boats moored, other than a single sailboat, were fishing boats. Most needed paint and had nets and lobster traps on deck. They all looked weathered and old. In Chatham, the store where I wanted to shop was gone. It didn’t matter. I really enjoyed the ride.

Last night my house was aglow. The front fence has strands of colored lights. The gate has a huge white star on top with trails of white lights coming from it. The top of the fence to and from the star is also white. Beside the driveway, bare branches on a bush are covered in huge Christmas ornaments. A floodlight shines on them. My deck rail has strands of colored lights atop it. I added bows to the three wreaths, put balls of colored ornaments in the basket on the steps and put my old sled with my ice skates beside the step. When it got dark last night, I went outside and stood on the street to check out my house. It is beautiful.

I did what I thought was quite a bit of wrapping yesterday. Come to find out I have so much more. All of the gifts are now downstairs filling the den and the hall. Maddie, though, is complicating the process by lying on the paper. She looks so comfy I don’t want to disturb her. I’ll probably just use different paper.

Tomorrow I’ll get the tree, the highlight of my Christmas. I love to sit in the living room just to look at it. Its aroma fills the house. I have a couple of new ornaments from Ghana. They aren’t really ornaments, but they’re big, round and colorful. They’ll do just fine.

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”

April 25, 2016

The day started grey but it is now sunny, not bright but sunny. It is also noisy with birds singing and calling. Monday always seems quiet to me. It’s the day to recuperate from the weekend and all the errands and chores and evenings with friends. I spent the morning with my neighbor. We chatted in English to improve her skills. The have/has problem is the one she can’t seem to shake. I explain it. She thinks about it, repeats it a few times, then a bit later says she have when telling me a story. I want to bang my head on the table. Maybe she’ll connect my head banging with has.

When I was a kid, it was easy to be happy. I had everything I wanted. I had a bike, ice skates, regular skates and a sled. The library was a good walk away but worth the walk. It was filled with books so I never wanted for something to read. I liked school so going every day was no big deal. I loved learning new things. My friends were neighborhood friends so we saw each other even day walking to and from school and on Saturdays for whatever we decided to do. I think it was when I was a teenager that I started to want more.

Clothes became important when I was older. We all wanted to look alike without looking alike. It was a strange conundrum. Transistor radios were a must, the smaller the better. Saddle shoes were in for a while, and I still have a pair of them. Maybe I ought to wear them. My Easter bonnet was a hit so maybe the shoes will be too. Back then only white sneakers would do. We wanted more. Discontentment replaced happiness. Envy was big.

I went through a few more transitions. One of my favorites was my overalls-flannel shirt phase. I wore them with high tops, pink high tops. Individuality had become more important.

I think the Peace Corps made me brave. I was living in a far different culture where I had to do most things on my own including traveling. I learned to be self-sufficient and a bit daring. When I told my family I was going to Morocco by myself, they chatted among themselves and were quite nervous. They even designated my brother-in-law Rod as the rescue person should I break a leg or need saving for some reason. They told me this when I got home. I thought it was pretty funny. I think, though, I should be thankful for a family with emergency back-ups plans for me when I travel. You never know!

“Keep some souvenirs of your past, or how will you ever prove it wasn’t all a dream?”

January 3, 2016

Today is sunny and in the high 40’s. I have no complaints about this winter’s weather, at least not yet. We’ll see what January and February bring. A New Englander is an eternal skeptic about the weather.

When I went out for the papers, I found one of my decorative vases broken into several pieces all over the middle of the road. It had been taken from my front garden and smashed. I picked up the pieces, and in typical fashion managed to cut myself three times.

Every kid had a sled and a bicycle. Some of us also had roller and ice skates. These were all every kid needed, the rest was just icing. If stuck in the house, games kept us sane. We got a new one every Christmas so we had lots of choices. I still don’t like Monopoly. It took too long and was boring. My favorite from back then which we still play today is Sorry. I have even introduced it to my friends who are now fans in a Sorry kind of way. It’s a game you love because it can change in a heartbeat, and it’s a game you hate for the same reason. My sisters used to cry when I’d send one of their pieces back to start. My friends curse. It’s a grown-up game of Sorry.

When I was young, I had scrapbooks filled mostly with newspaper articles. I remember one book was all about the new Pope, Pope John XXIII. That was a huge thing in my life, the death of one Pope and the election of another. I sat in front of the TV watching the smoke and hoping for white.  That was the last Pope inspired scrapbook I ever made. I had one filled with articles from the paper which mentioned my name, no matter how slight the mention.  The drill team scrap book had programs, local articles, pictures and articles from the Globe when we won big.

I still have a couple of those scrapbooks. The tape no longer holds the pictures to the page. Where the tape was is discolored in the shape of the tape mostly in the corners. Every now and then I pull one out of the eaves and carefully turn the pages. At the playground one summer, I was the checkers and the horseshoe champion for my age group. I do have hidden talents.

December 6, 2015


“With luck, it might even snow for us.”

December 27, 2011

Okay, I finally figured it out. The sun has gone on vacation somewhere warm and left us with gray skies and temperatures in the high 40’s, which really aren’t so bad, but it would nice to see the sun again.

Today I have a couple of errands to do so no lolling around for me. Yesterday I watched a few movies, took a short nap and was totally unproductive.

After Santa’s visit, Christmas vacation was always my least favorite when I was a kid. There was nothing to do unless there was snow or a new bike needing breaking in. It was just too cold to play around outside so mostly we played our new games inside, and I read my Christmas books. If there was snow, we were out all day and only came in when we were totally soaked and our lips had turned blue.

Our street was the best one around for sledding. It was a long hill. In those days, no salt was added to the roads so the hill always had a layer of snow. The first few sledders helped pack down that snow, and soon enough, the hill was perfect for a mouth dropping ride. Our sleds were the wooden ones, and the runners used to get a bit rusty over the summer so the first few runs down the hill had brown blade marks as the rust wore off in the wet snow. At the bottom of the hill was a street so we used try to stop before we’d cross the the street, but if the sledders at the bottom signaled no cars we’d let our sleds zoom across the street to the field. Then it was walk back up the hill holding the icy rope and dragging our sleds behind us. At the top of the hill, we’d hold the sleds on each side, quickly drop them to the ground then jump on them, stomachs down and feet in the air, to ride down the hill. Our feet were the brakes. We’d drag them to slow the sleds down.

Once we’d had our fill of sledding, we’d stick our sleds upright in the pile of snow left beside the front steps from my dad’s shoveling, and we walk around to the back to get into the house through the cellar. Our wet clothes went on the line. I remember my legs were red from the cold and my fingers were always stiff, but that never mattered. It was all about those slides down a really fast hill.

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