I dropped into my oldest uncle’s home today for a chat. Uncle Mike is 88 years old, and has more than one story to tell. Mike is the youngest in my grandfather’s family, and the last one to survive.
When I got there, I exclaimed at how much snow had fallen in the last little while. “What a pack of snow we got out there!” I yelled loudly. Uncle Mike’s hearing isn’t what it used to be. (neither is mine, but I have hearing aids, he doesn’t)
“Thas nothing!” he said. “When I was a kid, we had snow banks the height of the house!” he said.
He is right. I can even remember those days, and I am only 49. I remember mom warning us not to be walking along the tops of the snow banks touching the bottom power line. I remember when I was 17 and had my first car. I blew the motor in January and needed to replace the engine. Luckily I had bought a scrap car back in November and parked it in Dad’s driveway. Unluckily, Dad had a hundred foot driveway and the car was at the other end, covered with snow. The two of us shoveled the entire driveway by hand, with each an iron shovel. (they never had those lightweight plastic jobbies back then)
It took us five days to dig out the driveway. We worked so hard that when we finished, it was as if a long tunnel was created from the road to the old car. People commented on our work, and even a campaigning politician dropped by to have his picture taken in the tunnel. He won, but that’s another story.
Back then we went everywhere on ski-doo (back then, all makes of snowmobile were referred to as ‘ski-doos’) and there was always plenty of snow for sliding, snowmobiling, and snowball fighting. (the three ‘S’ of winter)
When we got a winter storm, we got a winter storm. None of those ‘snow squalls’ we get these days. We always managed 5 or 6 snow days where we couldn’t make it to school. These days a kid is lucky to get even one.
Every kid had a toboggan or at least a Krazy Karpet. We used to spend hours on the steepest hills, ones so steep and long that we climbed the hill for fifteen minutes for a two minute slide down the slope. These days kids very seldom slide, partially due to the fact that there isn’t as much snow as in the old days, and partially due to the fact that kids those days are damn lazy. I seen a few kids on a hill the other day. They would slide down the hill, and wait at the bottom until someone brought them to the top with a ski-doo. Damn that’s lazy. Where is the fun and exercise in that? No wonder our kids are so fat those days. (Oh Oh, Now I am beginning to sound like my uncle!)