once upon a time, I went sledding

Hubby likes to watch those videos full of biffs and bad decisions. Sometimes, he shares the ones he finds particularly funny with me. He showed me one earlier that included a sledding biff. It reminded me of one of my very few experiences sledding.

We moved from Texas to Michigan when I was 14. This happened the following winter, so I was 14 or maybe 15 at the time. We were home on a snow day. A friend from school had asked if I’d like to join him and his younger brother sledding down some big hill that was the optimal spot for sledding.

This city girl had read stories about those country towns and their sledding hills. I was intrigued. I told him I didn’t own a sled. He said that they had a spare. It was probably about half an hour later when they swung by my house to pick me up. I bundled up as best as I could with the winter gear I had.

It was cold. Michigan winter is cold. I was younger then, and perhaps a bit more durable, too. My cheeks were rosy, and I couldn’t feel my ears, but I was ready to tackle this hill. I was excited. I could barely remember the few times I’d been sledding as a young girl in Illinois.

He drove us down a dirt road where he pulled off and parked on the side. There were a ton of kids of all ages gathered around. They were bundled up like Randy in A Christmas Story. Everyone’s taking their turn going down this really long hill.

I stood watching for a bit. My nervousness grew as my turn drew nearer. I passed the first time it came around. Stood watching for just a little bit longer.

Friend’s little brother was probably about 12. He was so excited to be bringing a girl sledding, even if it was his brother’s friend. You know the age. So he was excited to show off to me just exactly what he could do.

“Watch me,” he said in a sweet boy voice. “Then you’ll know what to do, and you can do it.”

And so I promised to watch him that time, and the next time I would go too. He made it look so easy, and so very fun. I was totally pumped when my turn came around again.

I swallowed my nervousness. I sat down in my borrowed sled. It was the rectangle type with the rope reigns. I screamed with joy and exhilaration as I flew down that snowy hill. All too soon I had reached the bottom.

I grabbed the rope of my sled and began the long trek back up the hill. I didn’t know all the rules of sledding. I wasn’t focused on everyone else. I was still pumped up from my trip down.

I think they were shouting at me. I think I even heard my name. It all happened so fast, though.

There was a kid. He was on one of those big blue saucer type sleds. He was booking it down that hill. His eyes met mine. We probably wore equally matching masks of horror.

He struck me hard just above the ankles. I flew up into the air. I flew over him. I landed on the other side of his sled. I slid back down the hill on my belly, feet first.

I lay there. I didn’t want to move. I was so cold and numb I was worried I wouldn’t feel if anything was broken. I wiggled my fingers and toes. I started laughing as I eased myself into a sitting position.

By then, everyone is running my way. No one knows, yet, if I am okay. Heck, I wasn’t even certain myself. I’m sure they couldn’t even tell if I was laughing or crying.

Everyone gathered around me. I got to my feet. We got me and my sled back up the hill. I wasn’t seriously injured. I was, admittedly, a little embarrassed. The accident had been completely my fault.

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