Snow-covered disk of death

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Dad was really mad this time. He sat all of us down on the snow-covered curb in front of our house at 110 Flamingo Street. We were in big trouble, but I must admit it had been really a cool thing to see.

Older Brother Richard, Big Brother James, Twin Brother Mark, Neighbor Thomas, Goofy Steve, Booger, Bubba Hanks and I sat next to each other. We all talked at once trying to explain what had happened down at Old Mrs. Crabtree’s house while trying not to laugh as we watched the snow fall and collect on Dad’s bald head.

The day before Christmas, it had started to snow. James and Richard woke up first. After looking out the window and seeing the blanket of white that had covered everything during the night, they excitedly ran down the steps to the basement to dig out the three-seater sled. Mom cut them off at the basement door and told them they must wait to go outside until everyone was awake and had finished breakfast.

When Mom walked away, they snuck out on the back porch, made a few snowballs, and happily used them to wake up Mark and me. Snowballs are really cold when you’re in bed wearing only Batman PJs.

After a breakfast consisting of pop tarts and syrup, we got dressed to brave the great white snow storm. Mom met us at the door to check and see if any skin was exposed. Wearing boots, coats, gloves, and ski masks, we all passed her inspection and were soon out the door, slipping down to the end of the driveway to meet the rest of our snow-sliding friends.

Thomas was dragging the new Red Lightning sled he got for his birthday, Booger had brought his old two-seater sled, and Bubba Hanks dressed in his red and white coat brought the metal Disk of Death: a metal lid off one of his Dad’s trash cans, minus the top handle, of course.

It was fun sliding down the street on the Disk of Death, aptly named for what happened last year to a couple of slow squirrels. You couldn’t steer, you went much faster than any sled, and it was awesome spinning around totally out of control till you ran into something. As for Goofy Steve, well, Goof just barely brought himself.

Goof’s Mom was one of those overly protective moms. She had made him wear two pair of socks, a pair of rubber boots over tennis shoes, two pairs of pants, two undershirts, one long-sleeved flannel shirt, a coat, a ski mask, a scarf, and a pair of gloves. Poor Goof; he could hardly move.

No one had to ask where the best place to slide on Flamingo Street was. We just all turned and started to walk-slip-slide up the hill past our house. Halfway there, we had to wait for Goof to catch up. When he did, we made him lie down on the three-seater, and Bubba pulled him the rest of the way. We would be the first kids to slide down the long, steep hill that bellied out into a cul-de-sac just in front of Old Mrs. Crabtree’s house.

Thomas went first on his new Red Lightning sled. He went so fast down the hill he almost didn’t make the turnaround, swerving to the left, barely missing Mrs. Crabtree’s mailbox. He skidded to a stop as we all cheered.

Richard, James and Mark went next, sitting on the three-seater. I gave them a push, and they tore off down the hill. They leaned left and right, cutting a deep S-track into the snow all the way down till they came to a skidding stop, kicking a soft powdery snow cloud up in the air.

Next up, it was Bubba Hanks’ turn with the metal Disk of Death.

Last year Bubba was too heavy for even the three-seater sled. When he got on, the tracks cut too deep into the snow to move so his dad came up with the idea of the metal trash can lid. He cut the handle off, drilled two holes on both sides of the lid and threaded a small rope through them to make handles.

It worked great; all Bubba needed was a little push, which I was happy to supply. Bubba went flying down the hill in a straight line for Mrs. Crabtree’s mailbox.

At the last second, he leaned to the right, barely missing the mailbox, hit the driveway and went airborne.

Bubba flew through the air and dove into a snow bank next to the house just before the metal Disk of Death went crashing through Mrs. Crabtree’s living room window, coming to rest right under her Christmas tree.

Bubba got up laughing as he dug snow from his pants, unscathed from the ride. Not so for Mrs. Crabtree’s living room window. The rest of the winter, we all took turns shoveling off her driveway and sidewalk to pay for our fun.

After the white wintery blanket last weekend, I found that frolicking in snow has not been lost on our young, but for some, any concept of safety certainly has.

Pulling a sled on the end of a rope around the yard or on the street behind a 4-wheeler has taken fun in the snow to a whole new level, one of stupidity.

I’m afraid, with a single mishap, the price the kids I saw will pay could be a lot higher than just shoveling snow off a driveway.

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