Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Lonely Old Hill

Holy Crap...My last post, on January 21, I have just realized, was my 300th. I didn't even do my celebratory "We Made It!" Blog. Oopsie.

Well, despite the fact I've left you dangling here in the Blogosphere for much of '09, thanks to those of you who continue to hang out; who still check in once in awhile. Y'all are the BEST!!

So, today I'm going to get a little nostalgic on you. A few weeks ago, the Annual Trickle Creek Lodge Sliding Party came and went, and while I didn't actually attend myself, it got me thinking about my childhood and the good times spent up on the hill behind our house, sliding for hours and hours on gloriously sunny Winter afternoons.

I couldn't remember the last time I saw a kid out with a GT or flying saucer on that hill. Now, I know that the number of kids on our street has dwindled, and the few who do still reside on Stanton Road can definitely be seen out enjoying the snow quite frequently.

But it still made me sad to think that that wonderful, powder-covered hill that was the site of so many fun-filled days of sliding, now stands lonely, no trails running down it, no jumps built by thrill-seeking boys, no shouts of laughter and excitement echoing around it.

And seriously - I started to think - do kids even own sleds anymore? I've seen the little ones across the road sliding on their little sloping hill, but whatever happened to the older kids? Do they know what a GT looks like? What about those amazing flying saucers that would hurtle me, a self-admitted fat kid, down the hill at blinding speeds? Anybody even ever heard of a freakin' Krazy Karpet??

These slides were constant fixtures in our garage, from the time Dad would take them down from the attic in early December to the day the snow officially melted for another year, and they were packed away again.

Seems like these days, kids need a reason to go sliding. Like the Trickle Creek Lodge party, or a school trip to go tubing in Colounge. Most of the older kids are more interested in snowboarding, it seems. GTs are lame to the tech-savvy kids of today.

Now, I was a couch-potatoe girl. I didn't really like being outdoors, or doing anything that I considered being "active". And if I'm being entirely honest, while I have fond memories of those afternoons out on the hill behind our house, I do believe at the time, I was probably the one complaining about how hard it was to trudge back up the hill after the thrill of sliding down it. And usually, when I got just about to the top, I'd somehow manage to let go of the saucer and watch it slide back down, and I'd burst into tears because I had to start that long trek up all over again.

I hated deep snow, I hated it when it when up the legs of my snowpants, or down the back of my coat, or somehow got into my boots or mittens. I hated when the boys threw snowballs and they smashed in my face. I hated scarves and how the never seemed to cover the cold parts of my cheeks, but got all wet from me breathing into them. I hated getting all bundled up and sinking through the drifts in our back yard and through the fields, up the hill, only to be so friggin exhausted and out of breath that I'd have to spend a half-hour just sitting on my slide at the top of the hill and resting before I finally shoved myself down for my first trip.

Truthfully? Probably the only reason I even went was the promise of hot chocolate and a grilled cheese when I returned.

Now, though...Now I'd love to go sliding. But it appears to be a dying form of winter entertainment.

At least, I thought so. Until yesterday.

On my Monday off from work, I decided to go for an afternoon walk. The sun was shining brightly, so I donned my tuque, mitts and winter coat and headed out. I strolled down street, around by the ferry, and just as I was coming up by St-Mary's Church, I heard it.

The sounds of children squealing and giggling.

At first, I thought it was the kids out for recess at St-Mary's school, a little further down the road.

But as I turned the corner to head up a back street, I caught my first sight of Krazy Karpets and GTs - they DO still exist!! And kids were actually sliding down the church hill! No, it wasn't my beloved hill in the field behind our house, but it was the hill that many of the kids in town spent hours sliding on when we were kids.

It was the first time this winter that I'd seen anyone on it, and I grinned from ear-to-ear watching them sailing down it on their sleds.

Who knows, maybe I just haven't been paying attention or looking at the right times. But I felt a giant sense of relief and satisfaction knowing that those kids weren't in front of TVs or video games, or even ignoring good ol' fashioned sliding in favour of snowboards or snowmobiles.

They were out having fun, and their loud shrieks of happiness were a testament to that.

I only wish I had some snow pants with me - I probably would have joined them.