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Memories are those special treasures we save and collect over the years. Think of them as tiny grains of sand, collected, compressed, then carefully polished and perfected. Slowly the grains of sand build, improve, and become a flawlessly alluring pearl. We keep our pearls safe and secure, tucked away in the vault of our mind. Frequently pulling them out to admire and view in just the right illuminating environment. We treasure our pearls, appreciating their smooth perfect texture, and comforting appearance. Sometimes we even share our pearls of thought, nostalgia, increasing their value by doing so.
This is the time of year when that small town in the mountains of Colorado would place barricades at the top and bottom of 4th st. One of the steepest streets in town. Only the resident on that street were allowed to drive down it. It provided one heck of a sledding hill. The street usually had a pretty solid base of packed snow, turning to ice on top.
We would break out the old sleds, wax up the runners, being sure there were no burs to slow it down. After bundling up against the cold, we carried the sled to the top of the hill. It was a short walk for us, just 2 blocks, but always seemed to take an interminable amount of time to get there. Once at the top, we sat on the sled, lined up as close to each other as possible, and let her rip. Racing down the hill as fast as gravity would propel us, screaming, hooting, and generally making as much noise in the process as we could. Then back again to the top to do all over again.
When we tired of sledding, at the bottom of the street, the town had a large vacant lot. They had built up an earthen dam all the way around a very large portion of the lot. The Fire Department would hook up fire hoses to the hydrant, and fill the whole thing with water. It took some time for it to freeze over, but eventually there was a very nice and large ice skating rink. It was large enough you could play a game of hockey if you wanted.
I remember vividly all the towns kids spending every available minute at these two places in the winter. I learned how to ice skate there, not very well mind you. There was something comfortable and warming to the soul about the winter fun in our small little town. There was a fire barrel there to provide heat. I can only think of a few times when there was no parents around to supervise. Winter was such a large part of our life’s, that everybody took part in the responsibilities of keeping all of us kids occupied.
Unfortunately, at some point in the early 80’s, someone at the town decided there was too much liability attached to the activities. From that point on kids were not allowed to sled on the street, and the ice skating rink was never filled again. It’s sad to think that some silly little word like liability would take away the good wholesome fun of local kids.
We wonder why our kids get into trouble these days, go figure.