Michele Savaunah Zirkle Marcum
A giggling bunch of girls go sledding past my window and down the small hill on the remnant carpeting of snow behind my house, and it reminds me of my sister, Pam.
Sled-riding was the only time she didn’t seem to mind actually wrapping her arms around me.
Back when the snows were deeper and the winter’s longer, Pam and I would round-up the neighborhood kids and trounce off for what seemed like a mile hike to “Thomas’s Mountain.” The hill was actually only a block away, but it was our Alps, complete with snow-covered chalets where neighbors from Maple to River streets gathered for the warm cider and the company as much as for the thrill of descent.
A spackling of brightly-colored coats and toboggan’s against the backdrop of white gave the appearance that the slope was decorated with moving, dancing bulbs. Pam would sit huddled tight between my legs. The next in line behind us would give us a push, and we were off — flying, tears streaming as the cool wind stung our eyes. On the tightly packed snow, the red sled with metal rails would transport us all the way to the edge of the road. We weren’t always this lucky, but for one successful trip, we would try ten times.
Mom would be home reading with a meat loaf and cream pie in the oven. Even though she wasn’t out frolicking in the snow with us, we knew she would be there, ready to listen to our ramblings of snowball fights and sled-tippings into the frosty bath of white.
During a big snow, when I was a kid, it seemed every hill and knoll around burst with activities from snowman-building to snowball-throwing. Nowadays, I’m surprised when I notice a stray group of any age taking to the hills in delight of the snow. When I do, I silently applaud the rebels who escaped the grip of their electronic devices.
The world seemed to revolve a tad slower when I was young. Maybe that’s because there were no high-speed Internets or highways, or maybe it was simply that I indulged in the moment easier without the responsibilities brought on by adulthood.
Whatever the reason, I want to follow the planet’s lead, slow my spinning head. I shut my laptop and run outside. Lifting my face to the sky, I open my mouth wide and swallow a few snowflakes full of memories.