I enjoy reminiscing about the past. Lately I’ve been browsing through binders and bins of old photos. I’m searching for a memory – an image of something significant and meaningful. Inspiration of a sort that will spark my creativity and ignite me with new-found enthusiasm! It seems I’m in a bit of a slump. We are living through very difficult times. At this moment in history, our world is not OK; we are not OK. Oddly, I feel lost as I glance over tens, even hundreds of images of the not-so-long-ago 20th century. A look back at my childhood, my family, happy occasions and events; wonderful places of real natural or historic significance. I attempt to focus on the stacks of small rectangular glossy snapshots that I’ve horded away throughout most of my life. After a while my frustration begins to fade and happier times begin to take shape in my minds eye.
I can see clearly now as my story unfolds. It was July 1985…..Missy and I had just moved into our dream home. A great location, built for a family, in a blue-ribbon school district and with a backyard that overlooked the 18th fairway of the Highland Country Club Golf Course. I didn’t golf , but I could envision the tranquil pleasures of sitting on my deck and watching the four seasons as they turned. One of my favorite times of year is winter.
During the winter months in Northern Kentucky you can expect some good snow and the rolling hills behind behind our home were ideal for sled riding.
Our three kids were always eager to seize each and every opportunity to “sleigh the slopes” especially if it snowed overnight and school would be closed! We always had plenty of long plastic toboggans, giant rubber tubes and an assortment of old wooden flexible flyers.
Our backyard was a gathering place for the entire neighbor hood. Three of my brothers-in-law lived very nearby and that first winter we custom-made for each of our families a classic wooden “Vermont Clipper”. Tony, a true visionary and a mathematician paid close attention to the details. Barry, the carpenter, selected the finest wood, measured and cut each board with precision. Danny put his engineering background to use by ensuring the sleds most efficient ergonomics for top speed, along with me, the artist in the group. I sketched out and painted the vintage snowflake graphics for each sled. Those were some terrific times. Bundled up carefree cold days playing in the deep snow with our young growing family. To this day I still treasure that old hand-crafted sled.
Year after year when winter weather snows arrive, I’ll bring the old Clipper out of it dark corner of the shed and put it on display beneath the decorated tree where colorful bulbs cast light across its scuffed and worn away surface. A lasting testimony to the joy it had given to so many children as they held on tight while gliding with lightening speed on those polished rudders of steel. Always the first to arrive at the foot of the hill. Oh, how I long for someday to travel home again and a brisk morning to ride those boundless snow covered hills with my children’s children!