The Sled

There’s another story involving my uncle Reed in the wintertime, but I’m not quite sure just when it occurred. We were living on the farm, of that I’m sure, because it takes place on the farm.

I pulled up a satellite image of the farm as it looks today, and I barely recognize the place. I tried to annotate the house where we lived and a few other places, but everything looks so different. No outhouses, for example. And there is no longer a creek running through the twin meadows, which apparently aren’t meadows anymore. In fact, it looks like it’s no longer even a dairy farm. The times they are a-changing.

The sled I had looked a lot like this one

The sled I had looked a lot like this one

Anyway, one Christmas in either 1955 or 1956 I received a sled as a present. And I was eager to try it out, so when we had a sufficient snowfall, probably in January, Reed came to visit, and the two of us took the sled to the nearest slope.

There were two suitable places, one being an open field and the other being a meadow where the cows would graze in warmer weather. Since the open field overlooked a dirt lane, we had probably been warned to avoid that, even though there was next to no traffic on it.

So we took the sled to the top of the slope, and both of us climbed aboard. Reed, being three years older, naturally took the lead and got in front to steer, and I got on behind him.

With this arrangement we managed two or three thrilling rides down the slope and prepared for another.

But this time something went wrong. Halfway down the slope we hit a bump of some sort and—

Well, this is where the stories diverge. I say Reed jumped off; Reed says he fell off. Whatever.

The point is I was left alone to finish the ride down the slope by myself, and I really didn’t know how to steer the blasted thing. I was too busy just hanging on as the sled continued speeding down to the bottom of the slope.

The farm has changed a lot since the days when we lived there

The farm has changed a lot since the days when we lived there

Did I mention that we were in a meadow? Oh, I did?

Well, for those of you unfamiliar with dairy farms, one of the unavoidable by-products of cows is their excrement, which is typically gathered on what are generally known as manure piles.

And there was a manure pile at the bottom of the slope which Reed had managed to avoid when he was steering the sled. I was not so adept.

This led to much shouting and accusations on my part, and much laughter and jollity on Reed’s. Which continued when we got back to the house and he told everyone what had happened.

“Maybe we’ll start calling you Stinky from now on,” said my mother.

Now I can hear you say, it was wintertime. There was snow on the ground. Surely the manure pile was frozen and covered in snow.

To which I can only reply, “Yes, that’s all well and good, but I Crashed Into A Forking Manure Pile!!!!

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