Earlier this year my wife and I visited Art Hill in Forest Park to watch people using their sleds, snow disks, snow boards, and other things (even just sheets of plastic) to slide down the hill below the Art Museum. Surprisingly, with the number of people trying to use a relatively compact area, there didn’t seem to be any arguments, disagreements, or serious collisions. The hill was used by people of all ages and sizes and all seemed to be having a great time. As I watched, it brought back memories of my childhood in the (flat) rice farming area of Arkansas.
When you grow up in an area that is lucky if it snows over an inch more than once or twice a year and the land is so flat that you can easily see several miles when weather conditions are good, there is little need for sleds, snow shoes, or skis. Still, I had a cousin who asked for and received a sled for Christmas one year. And, of course, when the next snow arrived, later that same winter I think, a group of us decided we should test the sled. After all, why should a lack of hills matter? We looked all over for a place to use the sled and the best we could find was a neighbor’s storm shelter which was covered with a mound of dirt. It created a “sled run” that was about six feet tall and was a bit steeper than 45 degrees. While I can’t remember the specifics, I’m almost sure that using the sled that day was a complete failure and I really don’t remember the sled ever making another appearance. Still, like many other things we did as kids, we had fun, we were out in the fresh air, and we made memories that will last for many years. Who knows, maybe the sled is still in a garage somewhere and will come out again someday for a new generation.