Maybe it’s because this winter has been so relentless and it has felt like it’s beating me down that I had the most unlikely thought the other day about how I could emerge from this season victorious. I could take on winter and slap it into submission with my leather glove. Maybe that’s why I had the crazy and powerful urge to go tobogganing.
When you’re a kid, winter’s wrath isn’t a deterrent to outdoor fun. It’s a modifier. And as a little kid I recall spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow.
I have one particularly vivid tobogganing memory that took place in Grimsby’s Centennial Park. Our Dad was our guardian for the afternoon (and I now know that our Mom was probably enjoying a rare, precious afternoon off duty!) and my brother and I were sliding down the long hill on our wooden ride.
There were a few other families out enjoying the hill and it was a long walk back up, dragging the toboggan behind us. Dad stayed at the top, watching.
I remember it so well. We headed down the hill, Kevin in front, me on the back. The trip ended after the vessel glided across the ice of a frozen little creek. As we got closer to the bottom I could see that a bit of water had pooled on ice but didn’t have time to process it before CRACK, we were through the ice and were stuck.
Two teenage boys were walking past at that time and ran to pull our soaked little bodies out as Dad jogged down the hill yelling to find out if we were okay. I even remember the look of embarrassment Kevin gave me and I’m sure I presented a mirror image. Dad thanked the boys profusely and gave them each $5.
It’s doubtful that we would have come to serious harm but it’s certain that it would have taken Dad a lot longer to get to us and we would have been a lot wetter and colder. Maybe I’m going crazy from cabin fever but for some reason, my current tobogganing itch wants to be scratched at that same hill. I haven’t been in that park in decades so I don’t even know if you can still toboggan there but I’d like to find out.