The Hill

Nowadays kids are so lazy. If there isn’t some sort of visual stimulation such as an X-Box, a Nintendo DS or a movie involved, kids claim to be bored with everything. Even during the Christmas holidays, when they have so much time to have fun, they are bored.

This morning in particular was a great example. The temperature was in between freezing and mild, perfect day for tobogganing. Our little guy got the snow board he had been asking for, the Hot Wheels beginner snow board, complete with all the ‘sick’ (his words not mine) graphics. First thing he does when he gets up out of bed is attempt to spend yet another day staring at the screen of his DS and end up with yet another headache. I suggest that he go sliding, or snowboarding on the hill behind my mom’s place, the same hill in which I spent untold hours perfecting my mini-ski talents. Remember mini-skis? The little red plastic K-tel skis that laced onto your boots and allowed you to reach dangerous speeds down any incline you dared to attempt? He would only go if I gave him a ride. The hill is less than a thousand feet of paved road from our front door, approximately a five minute walk for even the laziest kid.

When I was a kid, we used to spend hours, maybe even days sliding on the hill behind my grandfather’s barn. The hill still exists in memories of myself and my friends, all of whom  are in their late 40’s and early 50’s today. We had so much fun, sliding on our Krazy Karpets and toboggans, as well as our before mentioned mini-skis. The hill was long, steep, and relatively dangerous, given that there was a sharp curve midway down the hill, and a sharp boulder sat directly on the curve. Many a kid narrowly escaped broken bones as they flew past the rock, but we all had fun doing so.

On days like today, we made jumps at the end of the hill, and we flew high in the air, only to come crashing on our bums at the end (possibly the blame for the sore backs I get from time to time) The hill was a long one, the ride only lasting about five minutes, and the walk back up taking us at least fifteen minutes; but this gave us time to talk, and plan for our next adventure in the coming weeks.

One one occasion, we had a rainy spell that lasted three days, in the middle of February. Back then, our winters were harsh, and getting rain usually resulted in a storm afterwards. On Sunday morning, after church services, I grabbed my trusty wooden sled, and took to my grandfather’s hill. ‘Grappy’s Hill’ as it is still referred to in our memories today, was at the end of the community road. To get there, you had to walk past my grandparent’s house, climb over the fence, pass the old barn, walk across the meadow, climb over a few more fences my grandfather had built to protect his fruit trees, cross a small creek that rose when it rained (and it had really rained hard) and climb the hill. On this particular day, the river was raging, but luckily, where the bridge laid, the river was still frozen with a thick layer of ice. I took my time climbing the hill, and since there were other kids sliding at the time, I had to watch for sleds zooming down the hill. When I got to the top of the hill, I took a look at the wonderful view of my grandfather’s meadow, complete with cattle strewn throughout the area, the river, and the many kids at the bottom of the hill. The kids looked like ants at the foot of the hill and I was anxious to get started. Just as I was about to push myself off on my well waxed sled, some big kid we all referred to as ‘Moose’ pushed me with all his might. I took off down the hill, heading for the dangerous curve, and leaning to the right as far as I could, I quickly cleared the danger zone, and headed for the bottom of the hill, when I reached the bottom, I noticed that I had been going far too fast. The little wooden sled quickly passed over the old bridge my grandfather had built many years ago, across the meadow, and bam. I landed face first into the udder of a cow who had been standing in my way. She ignored my screams, the snow had hardened like ice, and I had no control of my sled, but slamming into the cow’s udder stopped me cold. It is a wonder I don’t have a breast complex from all this. My friends still laugh at this today, they said that it was like something you see in a movie, a comedy movie.

The hill is gone now, the result of expansion and an over zealous land owner. The snow covered rocks, the trees that dumped snow down our backs when you tapped against them, the dangerous curve and the even more dangerous rock, the bridge, and even the cow and her sled stopping udder are all gone as well; but our wonderful childhood memories of a time when things were easier will live on forever in the minds and hearts of the children who spent their Sundays on Grappy’s Hill.

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2 thoughts on “The Hill

  1. When I was a kid, we had a lot of gulleys around my house and my cousin’s house. We would go out with a couple of shovels and try to get the hugest clod of dirt to fall down into the gulley. That was entertainment. Also, street skiing behind a giant bulldog. In the summer I would mow a 2 acre hilly yard on a riding lawnmower at age 9-10. Now, I wouldn’t let my sons anywhere near a lawnmower.

  2. Youth is wasted on the young. We had a golf course a mile away with the local winter Suicide Hill. we’d drag ourselves a mile in the snow, sled, buy a hot chocolate form the van and walk home.
    Ah, good times…

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