In the heavy snows of the mid-90s, when my husband and I were new as a couple, we rode our sleds down car-free Grandin Road at midnight and on to the busy sledders’ hill in Memorial Avenue’s Ghent Park. Snowboarders built a wooden ramp onto the high stone wall there; people set their dogs free, blasted the air with car stereos, built bonfires. My over-50s man was still crazy enough to ride his Flexible Flyer down the hill standing up.
Now, the only snow is on the funny pages. It lives on like a fantasy in Red & Rover, Mutts, Frazz, and a few others. I nostalgically study their sleds and mittens, their caps with ear flaps, their breath drawn in puffs.
Oh great spirits of meteorology, give us one more chance to be wild children in the snow – while our bones and our hearts are still young enough.Â –Mary Bishop, “Corner Shot” Mini-Essay, January 12 Roanoke Times
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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.
Well, that pretty much sums it up. I’d love to have at least one good snow. I’m dying to take the dogs on a snow hike, sled down our hill, build a snowman, make snow angels, and then go inside and sit by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa.
I’ve lived in southern Cal. too long to have dreams of enjoying snow myself, but that sure doesn’t deter me from greatly appreciating Mary’s mini- essay reminiscing about snow fun in her past. She wroites as good as you, Fred! (Well, almost as good.)