When I was growing up, a big snow was a lot of fun. On snow days, we would drag out the wooden sleds with the metal runners.
The Ozark hills provided perfect sledding terrain. The road formed a long sloping hill on the north side of our house and a short, steep hill on the south side. The problem with the north hill was the long walk to the top before the downhill ride. The other hill was a shorter walk and a faster ride.
It wasn’t long before we figured out we could fairly fly downhill if we kick started the sled and plopped belly down and head first. Well, there was the time my brother, Donnie, ran his sled off the road crashing headlong into the barn. His broken nose ended his sledding that day, but it didn't slow the rest of us down.
All this reminiscing began this morning when the forecast called for five inches of snow, and I needed to be in Fulton, MO, for our Lifelines for Women program. Earlier in the week we had seventy-degree weather, and I breathed a sigh of relief that Cate and I weren’t out of our minds when we selected the last day of February for the retreat.
Yesterday, I heard the forecast—snow, snow, and more snow for Sedalia. I woke up this morning relieved to see the predicted snow had not fallen. I showered and relaxed for a few minutes until I noticed the ground was white. By the time I left home, snow salted the earth and began to accumulate to fulfill the meteorologist’s prediction.
I expected the side roads to be slick, but was confident 65 Highway would be clear. Wrong. It was snow packed and traffic was running a smooth 30 miles per hour. OK. Surely, the Interstate would be plowed. Wrong again. The ditches were littered with cars, trucks, and trailers. I got caught behind a vehicle traveling so slow that a snow plow passed us. Have you ever been on the wrong side of a snow plow? I might as well have been in a blizzard. My wipers iced up and left blurry streaks all over my windshield. Eventually, I drove out of the storm and onto beautiful, dry pavement.
The drive home was normal until I turned off the highway. The gravel road was challenging with its two beaten paths and pile of snow in the middle. The closer I got to home, the deeper the snow.
Finally, I pulled into my detached garage, put on my snow boots and tromped through six inches of snow to my door. Is it my imagination or is walking in deep snow a lot like walking in quicksand?
Snow just isn't as much fun as it used to be. Or, are my memories a little deceptive? If I thought hard enough, would I recall numb fingers and toes from the bone-chilling cold? I have forgotten any spills, bumps and bruises, but recall the fun of outdoor wintertime activities. In my memories, I don't think about lugging the sled to the top of the hill, I only remember the thrill of the downhill ride.