Whenever the weather forecast calls for snow, thoughts turn to Forest Drive in McCracken Heights in Sanford. The slope isn’t very steep and the distance is not too long, but when it snowed, before the city trucks could make it to the outskirts of town to make way for cars, it was a sledders delight. Most of us had Flexible Flyers made by S.L. Allen & Co., of Philadelphia and sold locally at the Western Auto store and Gallup’s Hardware, both on Wicker Street across the street from each other.
We started at the top of the hill between the Golden and Clark homes, running with sled in hand long enough to get a fast start before throwing the sled onto the track and jumping on. We glided past the Keith, Taylor and Cragan homes on one side and my house and the Palmer and Baroody homes on the other side before reaching the bottom in front of the Cox home just as the street started slightly uphill. Sometimes, not very often, someone would make it over that rise and down the next hill past the Stewart house before stopping. The walk back to the top was tiring but quick so we could do it again.
The approaching sound of the large trucks , the snow plows, was disheartening. We knew their work would quickly end the fun. We discouraged the drivers from their work including lobbing snow balls but that didn’t stop them. Once, a driver’s window was slightly lowered, just an inch or two, and a snow ball made its way through the opening, into the cab and to the neck of the driver. It caused a little ruckus, nothing that resulted jail time or community service. But, the plowing was over for the day. At least once, my Mom convinced the snow plow operator to skip scraping Forest Drive.
We were just kids, having fun in the snow, upset that the adults were taking away our winter wonderland. Once that happened, the snowball fights ensued until a mother asked if anyone wanted hot chocolate. Then it was inside to shed wet clothes and to warm feet and hands, until we started getting restless and were encouraged by that mom to vacant her home and to venture back into the snow to play.
Dictionary.com word of the day
ballast (noun) [bal-uh st]: anything that gives mental, moral or political stability or steadiness