Sunday, February 3, 2013

Thanks for joining us winter, Love, Chicago...

It's February 3rd and yesterday was the first time we had a measurable snowfall in the Chicago area.  I don't like when it's below 20 outside but I LOVE SNOW, I always have.  Who doesn't like playing with kids and dogs in the snow?  I grew up in Chicago so there weren't that many places to find a big hill, we're pretty flat.  I've never skied in my life, had never even seen a mountain until this summer.  But making snow angels, having snowball fights, skitching on the back bumpers of cars, building igloos and snowmen were some of my favorite activities.

But my FAVORITE winter activity is SLEDDING!
I get it from my mom.  She loved sledding.  She kept my old sled in the trunk of her car for whenever the urge hit her.  She was 72 in January, 2010 when she was driving past the big sledding hill at Pasfield Golf Course in Springfield, IL and saw kids on the hill.  She pulled over and climbed up the hill, to the surprised looks of all who saw her, and went sledding.  She proudly told me all about it.  She died suddenly 3 days later.  She was young at heart to the end.  I hope to be the same way.

Yesterday it felt like Christmas morning when I looked outside before dawn and saw all the snow.  I had butterflies in my stomach. I could hardly wait to go sledding.  My kids are 19 & 20 now and refused to go with me.  I was sad thinking I couldn't go alone, and then I remembered my mom, and decided I didn't need anyone, but I should probably wait for the sun to come up.

So I played in the yard with the dogs. We have a new 11 month old puppy we adopted from Oklahoma who had never seen snow.  I let them in the yard to play right at daybreak.  This is Scout seeing snow for the first time yesterday morning:

Then I drove to the sledding hill with my daughters camera.  I have my old sled that my mom used right to the end.  It's gotta be about 40 years old.  My maiden name is written on it from my days of winter camping with the girl scouts.  

It was still pretty early and so there was only one kid there with her dad and grandpa.  I raced her down the hill.  It was instantly a competition to me, and I won!  I was really proud of myself for winning, even though it was against a small child, I didn't care, even raising my hands in the air in victory at the bottom of the hill.  Sledding will do that to you...or maybe just to me.  I did, eventually, feel bad, and so I told her I only won because of the extra weight in my backside so she wouldn't feel bad that I smoked her on that hill, tehehehe.  I probably shouldn't feel to proud, gravity took over and I kept ending up backwards with my ass leading the way down the hill each time.   

Here is the video I took of my 47 year old self with my left hand, while holding the sled with my right hand, sledding down the hill yesterday morning:

I had a blast.  The hardest part was climbing, clawing and crawling on my knees, up that hill.  I only went down about 5 times.  It took too long to catch my breath at the top of the hill after each time.  

This year has started off pretty bad for us.  But sledding down the hill it's easy to forget all of your troubles, if only for a minute.  At the bottom of the hill I was laughing a secret kind of laugh.  Snickering under my breath, embarrassed.  I was thinking people my age shouldn't be out here doing this, I have no business being this happy with all of our problems.  Yet I couldn't help laughing like a kid at the bottom of the hill. I was back there this morning, before any kids, sledding again.

The year I was born Frank Sinatra sang: "Don't you know that it's worth, every treasure on earth, if you're young at heart?  For as rich as you are, it's much better by far, to be young at heart."

Sledding down that hill, 
with butterflies in my stomach, 
I know, 
I still remain, 

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