Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Winter Has Arrived

I woke up yesterday morning to a fine dusting of snow creeping down the hills across the lake. Does this mean no more shorts? Jack would be bereft; he hated to put his shorts away for the season.
   For some reason, when winter comes adults tend to talk about times gone by. I'm no different. At the sight of the snow, I started thinking about winter on the small acreage in Ontario where our family lived until I was twelve.
   In those days farmers didn't mind if you went across their fields to get to the tobogganing hill. We had a long toboggan; eight feet if I recall correctly. It was Dad's job to pull it up the hill, and then sit in the front to steer, but his real role was snowcatcher. By the time we came to rest at the bottom of the hill, his face would be covered with snow.  Always goodnatured, he'd shake it off and trudge up again.
  Some years the creek would flood just before the temperature dipped. Those were great times for skating. The ice would freeze, and then the water level would go down a bit, creating shallow dishes of ice suspended from clumps of grasses. It was like skating in a fun-house where everything is distorted. The grasses gave us something to skate around.
  We lived in an old two-story farmhouse that Dad worked hard to modernize. A bathing tub upstairs! What luxury!
  As dinner hour approached, our mother would call us. Normally we could hear her clearly, but some days when we were having a particularly good time her voice didn't carry. She solved that by hanging a rug over the railing on the top floor, but sometimes we simply didn't see it.
  I suppose we got scolded for those times we were mysteriously struck deaf and blind. If so, it was worth it. Those winter days are some of my most treasured memories.

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