When I was a kid, I didn’t spend my holidays or weekends indoors during winter like kids these days. We went outside slidin’.
Behind my grandfather’s house, across the cow pasture, there was a gigantic hill, about a mile long. the hill was created when my grandfather took his dog team up the mountain to haul firewood during winter. He cut the path out and from then on, it became ‘Teddy’s Hill’. My dad used to slide there as a kid, and so did I.
The hill wasn’t without danger, as halfway down there was a giant rock that stuck out. When the kids played on the hill, my grandfather would first go out and using his shovel, he created a bank around the rock. When kids hit the bank, they made a jump that led them over the rock and on down the hill. My dad said that they couldn’t afford sleds, so the made due with the hood from one of Grappy’s old pickup trucks, waxed with animal fat.
Of course, we didn’t need the truck hood, we had modern sleds. First we had wooden toboggans. I remember climbing on a ten foot toboggan, along with six or more other kids, and flying down the hill. The walk back up wasn’t easy, and took almost twenty minutes, but it gave us kids time to chat and plan our next trip down the hill.
During the later winter months, when the snow became sticky, we fashioned jumps toward the bottom of the hill. Again, several kids on one sled, the added weight hurling us even faster down the hill, but when we hit our ramps, kids went everywhere. Can you say FUN?
One Christmas, I was lucky enough to get a Krazy Karpet from Santa. Whoa! This thing was cool! A thin piece of space age plastic that rolled up under your arm until you were ready to use it. No longer did I need to drag a heavy wooden toboggan up the steep hill, I could walk effortlessly with my sled rolled up under my arm. And Go! Did it ever go, it flew! The trip down the hill went at least two times as fast. I was the envy of the other kids. Imagine, me being the envy…in no time, all my friends had these cool Krazy Karpets, each a different color.
One day I seen an ad on television for the newest sliding sensation. The ad was from K-Tel, and it was the latest craze for kids. Mini-Skis.
Those short plastic skis were made from the same space age material that made the Krazy Karpets fly so fast, but molded in a tough, sturdy style. The skis were red in colour and although they were only about a foot and a half in length, standing on them was fairly easy….at least they were in the ads.
I asked mom and dad for a pair, but being so poor, I had to wait for Santa. On Christmas morning, I was the first to get up, and the first under the tree. I ripped my gift open, excited to find my cherry red mini-skis, only to find…..
Sno-Skates. Stupid Sno-Skates. Essentially Krazy Karpets that tied to each foot. I remember the ad on TV. A kid headed down a hill, a terrified look on his face. He only had a few teeth in his mouth, possibly from some Sno-Skating accident. I almost cried.
“Mom, what the hell?” I pleaded.
“Santa said the store was sold out, but these are better.” My mom assured.
Reluctantly, I headed up the hill that Christmas day, trying to make the best of my disappointing Christmas morning. The other kids laughed their asses off at my stupid gift. Like the kid in the ad, I too headed down the hill with a terrified look on my face. I only wish I would have made it to the bottom of the hill. I didn’t. I went face and eyes into the rock. The same rock that our Krazy Karpets and our toboggans and even our cheap plastic sleds were able to avoid. The Sno-Skates took me head on into the rock. When I was dug out of the snow by laughing kids, I was surprised to find that one of my Sno-Skates had broken. I wasn’t all that sad.
Later that winter I did manage to buy a set of Mini-Skis. Well they weren’t actual Mini-Skis, at least not the ones made by K-tel. They were called Super-Skis. Some Japanese knock off of the originals, but it didn’t matter, they were all that I expected them to be. Down the hills, over jumps, even being towed across the fields by a ski-doo, I used my Super-Skis until the bottoms were all but worn out. What fun.
Ah to be a kid again.
These days the hills are but barren mounds of dirt. Kids these days don’t ski or slide. They play video games. Boring!
What I Wanted
What I got