We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our backyard hill was the best sledding spot in the neighborhood. Most of the kids in the area would be there on any given winter afternoon and a Snow Day assured a packed house. Flexible Flyers when the snow was packed enough, "saucers" and even cardboard boxes were popular as well. No innertubes. Those were rare and valuable, saved for summertime river tubing.
Jumps were laboriously fashioned at the bottom and bragging rights for length and height were taken seriously. One metal saucer was tied to a tree with a length of clothesline. About 3/4 of the way down the line would pull tight, ejecting the rider in a flurry of parkas, mittens and boots lined with Wonder Bread bags.
Mom would make real hot cocoa, warm milk and Nestle's Cocoa, with just a bit of sugar, thick, gooey layers of Marshmallow Fluff on top.
Good clean fun, outdoors in the brisk winter air. Rosy cheeks and runny noses. Soggy mittens and cold hands wrapped around warm mugs. Competition and fellowship, mixed with the sheer joy of being young and having no more responsibility than having the best time possible, for as long as possible. The streetlights coming on was the universal signal that the day was done; best be home before Mom had to come looking.
Aside from some bumps and scrapes, no one was ever hurt. The idea that we should wear safety gear and establish rules would have been greeted with the special kind of derision that can only be practiced by the very young or the very old.
Nowadays? Not so much...
Don't worry. Even the shallowest of slopes can become "dangerous" as the kids make up challenges. We used to snowball huge jumps into one the "baby" hills. Thunk. Thunk, thunk. Those were the days. You had to have a hard head.
Yes, NC. Marshmellow Fluff. Pure sugar and the reward for a hard day of sledding.
The backyard of my childhood home bordered a swamp. My father made us a toboggan run by clearing a 10-15 foot wide swath on the hill above the swamp and enough of the swamp for toboggans to stop before hitting the bushes. Good times.
The mother of a friend sprained her ankle by sticking her foot out to stop the toboggan.
Dearly departed Dad, thanks for your hard work leading to our fun.