Just watching some of the olympic events this weekend, and I have to say, after watching Luge, Skeleton, and the bob sledding events, I realized how popular sledding really was if I knew sliding would be an olympic event, I would have continued sliding on my Krazy Karpet!
What fun we had as kids, sliding on ‘Grappy’s Hill’. The hill was a twenty minute walk to get to the top, but the ride was well worth it. The narrow trail, created by my grandfather as he hauled firewood with his old Ski-Doo Elan, wound up a steep hill, through trees and brush. In the middle of the winding trail there was a giant rock with sharp edges that us kids somehow avoided even though we flew down the hill. some kids made it a challenge to see just how close they could come to the ‘Big Rock’. Luckily, none managed to hit it.
In the spring when the weather got milder, we used to build ski jumps at the bottom of the hill. We just used snow, and brought water from the river to pour on the jump, and make it icy. We used K-Tel Mini Skis, which were short plastic skis with laces for bindings. They strapped to your boots.
It is hard to believe none of us got killed, as we soared down the icy hill, onto the icy ski jump, and head first into the fields beneath the hill. I had gotten quite good at jumping, but as we got older, we all grew out of sliding and moved into other things, like girls.
My first sliding adventure was the time I visited my older cousins, who lived down the road from me. My oldest cousin Raymond spent hours removing the hood from his father’s ’52 Chevy truck. The thing must have weighed over a hundred pounds, and was slick and shiny from the numerous times his dad polished the thing. He would have killed us if he thought we planned to make a sled from his pride and joy.
We attached a piece of chain to the front of the hood, and the three of us hauled the thing up the steep hill across the road from their home. When we got to the top, the thing felt like it was exited to take off. Given the weight of the thing, the slippery surface, the steepness of the hill, and the enormous push my cousins gave the sled, one could only imagine how fast we flew down the hill. We thought we had prepared for everything when we realized there was no way to stop this thing, as it hit the edge of the hill, and flew across the road, and onto the driveway. We continued sliding at an enormous speed until we brought up solid, into the side of the old truck.
I ran home the minute we stopped, leaving my cousins to deal with their dad and his now badly damaged truck. I think he grounded them for a month.