Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Put The Bowl Out

These are the words spoken at our house whenever it starts snowing. Usually it's one of the kids who sound the alarm and rush a bowl outside. There is good reason for the urgency. The more snow they collect, the more snow ice cream they'll be able to eat.

When it started snowing last night, Lilah put our big green plastic bowl in the front yard. This morning the bowl was nearly full, so we had snow ice cream for breakfast. A little pancake syrup, milk and vanilla turns snow into a yummy frozen treat.

It started snowing again around midday, so once more Lilah put the bowl out. But this time the snow was too wet to accumulate, and all that filled the bowl were melted snowflakes.

But all the snow was making our street a slippery challenge. The Deffenbaugh trash truck got stuck going up our hill. One of the men had to go buy rock salt to put around the tires. We passed by them trying to dig out while we were walking Cheri. I asked one of the men how it was going. He thought they just about had the truck free. We walked on, and kept looking back to see the trash truck still parked, all crooked and quiet on our hill. Halfway through our walk the liberated truck finally caught up with us and gave a honk as it went on its way to pick up more garbage.

It was still lightly snowing around 3:00, when we left to go sledding on Suicide Hill, between Brookside and the Plaza. Sledding crowds are the best --people feel good being outside, gulping fresh gobs of winter air, and zooming downhill. Folks take the hill on every type of sled, they're wiping out, eating snow... and loving it. We had a blast. We even stayed after dark. But my butt is really sore. And my noggin' feels like it's been through the tumble-dryer.

I had a bit of an accident. I went down a hill that had a punishing succession of bumps. The impact of each bump felt like a terrific sledgehammer on my skull, and I yelled out, "I shouldn't be doing this!" But I was on a saucer sled, spinning like mad, and the momentum from each bump made it impossible for me to stop. Suddenly, I hit the hardest bump of all. It felt like my head would pop off, and I heard something snap. As I finally slowed to a stop, I grabbed my head and held it, waiting to see if my neck was broken or I was paralyzed. After I determined that nothing was broken and I could see straight, I carefully got up.

Lilah walked with me and started talking about some teenager on the hill, and how foolish he had been. I said, "It's not his fault. Those hills were really tough. " As we both continued to review what had happened, it came to light that it wasn't a big hill I had hit at the bottom---it was that kid. Lilah was like, "You didn't know you had run into him?" I had had no idea. It was a case of literally not knowing what had hit me. All I had known was speed, more speed, and being slammed over and over again until the grand finale of slams produced stars and the obliteration of all my senses, except my sense of pain.

I went to the kid to apologize. Fortunately he was young and tough. He was still sledding. He was tall and lanky. Lilah thought he was six feet tall. Now the fact is I had waited and waited for him to get out of my way before going down. He was having a hard time climbing up the slippery hill with his sled. Finally, I figured he could see me and would step out of my way, so I pushed off and proceeded on my torturous trip down. But Lilah said that as I descended he turned around and stood with his back to me, so he didn't see me coming. Which is why Lilah thought he was foolish. Both Lilah and Annabelle screamed at him to get out of the way, but he didn't hear, and so I plowed right into him from behind. Apparently his feet were knocked out from under him and he fell on his back.

As I was climbing back up the hill, he was at the bottom again, having sledded down, and he asked if I would help him carry up his sled. I said it was the least I could do, and he acted like getting plowed into was no big deal.

Before the hill from hell, we had been sledding another bumpy slope, that had also sent me flying, but where the pounding had been less severe. But after my head-knocking and butt-breaking ride, I was ready for the bunny slopes. So we went over to the far southern corner of Suicide Hill, where the descent was more gradual and the grade was smooth.

It grew dark and the crowd thinned considerably, but not having exhausted the possibilities of our new slope, we stayed. The sky was grey and misty, but in the distance the lights from downtown Kansas City gave off a pretty glow.

I saw a couple of tiny tots on a sled with their dad, getting ready to take off. The little girl was worried. "What if we run into a tree, " she asked. Her father said glibly, "Just jump off before." We saw them go down. Their sled followed the slant of the hill, which naturally aims the unsuspecting sledder right for the aforementioned tree. We watched as the father put his arms out to gain control, to steer away from the tree, which he barely avoided.

I stared down that same tree when I went down, putting my legs out to keep from piling into it. Those saucer sleds are notorious for spinning you around backwards, at the most crucial moments. What I learned today is that the best way to ride one of those saucers is head-first and on your belly.


  1. awww. this post started out so gently, speaking about snow ice cream, but it quickly became a harrowing read! yikes! glad you are okay, simone. they apparently ain't jokin' about suicide hill, eh?

  2. No they isn't jokin'. My butt still hurts, but Lilah's doesn't. Could it be because I'm OLDER?!! Yikes. The suicide hill is a truth-teller.

  3. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that you. hit. a. person! WTF?! Scary! No wonder your head was ringing! I miss sledding....I need a sled. All this snow and cold has to be worth something--good crazy fun...and hopefully no one gets hurt :) I like this post and suzanne's comment as always.