During most of a southern winter these days, I’m pretty safe and warm right here in Indian Trail – I don’t need LA for that. The sky isn’t gray – it might be grayer there than here, given the smog.
But it wasn’t always that way. I remember everything, except when I don’t. I remember multiple versions of my childhood, except when I don’t. I remember things that haven’t even happened yet – and maybe they don’t.
Somehow – to steal a bit imprecisely from Harper Lee – it was colder then, at least in one of the versions of my memory. I remember frequent snows and snow days and sleds and snowmen. I remember boots that buckled and gloves with holes and coats that didn’t make me sweat.
I remember tagging along after my brother – small sled in hand. He had the big one. We trudged up the busy road – now eerily quiet because in those days no one drove once a flake had been sighted. We didn’t have to go far, just up to the neighbor’s property. And when I say property, I mean farm. And when I say farm, I mean pasture.
We didn’t ask permission – we didn’t need to. There’d be plenty of kids there – taking on the big hill. It was our preferred place to sled. I remember it being the more Matterhorn than hill – it’s one of those tricks our memories play; in truth, it was more gentle slope than hill. But it was enough to bring gravity into play, and we’d go down it for hours.
I was always looking to swipe my brother’s sled – it was longer and could go faster. It terrified me, but I wanted it badly.
We’d finally get too cold or too wet or too hungry to stay – never too tired. In those days, in my memories, I never got tired. We’d arrive home to hot chocolate – not the powdered kind. Later, my mom would break out the milk, sugar and vanilla and gather some “clean” snow from the front steps and make snow ice cream. Somehow we never got sick from it.
Southern winters aren’t like that anymore. You can’t just go sledding on someone’s property. My kids had a saucer but never a sled. Snow’s more a chore than something to adore.
But those memories, some of them even true, in my mind are Frozen. Let It Go? Snow Way.