Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Did you get the memo?

Rounding the bend as I drove to work the other day, I noticed a twin mattress frozen in its tracks at the bottom of a steep hill.

This hill is off-limits to sledding, or so the large red letters on the sign state. That doesn't seem to ward off daredevils, who frequent this spot after a thick blanketing of new fallen snow.

At first, it didn't register. A mattress? Then, I quickly realized the mattress was used as a sled, and I smiled broadly with a deep sigh of contentment.

This morning, as I watch snow delicately descending from the sky, as a confetti memo, I imagine each flake bearing the same timeless message, "Let's go sledding."

This inexplicable bliss speaks in a dialect that is understood by all who know the lighter side of winter's temperamental disposition.

Seeing that mattress conjured up memories of sledding times, spanning my childhood in one fast moving rerun of some of the happiest moments in my life.

I am grateful for my ever-so-brief sideways glance at that crusty blue and white mattress, helplessly lying there, its guilty trail leading directly to the top where this story began.

As children, we would ride toboggans teeming with three, four, sometimes five.

Within moments of push-off, we were flying down the icy slope, polished by hundreds of other runs before us. Moving so fast, we were airborne on flatbed speedsters. No controls, except for turning shoulders, pulling ropes and shifting weight, right, then left.

Time and time again, at the mercy of glorious gravity, we boarded flying saucers, wooden fliers with iron runners, cafeteria trays and even flattened cardboard boxes.

Relinquishing our power, what little we had of it, to an invisible force that pulled us ever faster down the steep incline. A hill that in summer tickled our toes with lush blades of grass as we frolicked in June's warmth.

Now, wearing a scratchy winter overcoat, the sledding hill sent us sailing on our bottoms all the way to a sudden end.

In our landing, our previously loud guttural cries of freedom and bliss, part of a grand chorus of sledders, subsided into deep sighs of relief, interrupted by exhaustive laughter.

As we gathered our wet snowy selves, with rosy windburned cheeks, frozen toes and numb fingers, we rushed to the top again and again.

This morning, as I watch snow delicately float from the sky, I see a heavenly memo, each flake bearing the same timeless message, "Let's go sledding."

Not just any memo, it is a love note.

2011 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took five first-place awards. To contact her, email pauladamon@iw.net, follow her blog at http://my-story-your-story.blogspot.com/ and find her on Facebook.

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