Remembering and reminiscing about the many snow days when living in Michigan bring a smile to my face more often than not.

As a kid, there was no such thing — even during an ice storm. Once, it was literally freezing rain, which we scraped off our faces before shedding our winter gear at school. It was slip, slide, fall, and start over again all the way, bracing ourselves against the wind.

Most parents wanted their kids in school, but not this gal. I cherished every day we had, and becoming snowbound together was pure heaven to me and dwelling in a cold climate we were always prepared to hunker down.

Aside from typical snowman construction and snowball fights, we baked cookies, made soup, played games, and just enjoyed the snug comfort of home.

Aside from the Blizzard of 1978, which is deserving of a closer look at some point, snow was simply a way of life from late autumn through March and sometimes beyond. Driving in it — not so much fun, as my preference is the coziness of home.

Of course, hubby’s life on the road often put him in warmth and sunshine while we kept the home fires burning.

He missed out on a lot of things and we missed him most of the time, but he was a good provider and we each knew we were loved and adored by our hardworking patriarch.

When the grandchildren came along, we made even more memories. Being a Grandmam is one of my favorite roles and definitely the best gig in the world.

On those rare occasions when hubby was home with us, we made lasting memories. One year he built us a makeshift skating rink. Jaws dropped when I started doing figure eights!

We lived on a hill with a river crossing at the bottom. There were lots of young trees, but hubby and son had cut a wide path from the house to the river. They left small, short stumps to be removed as a spring project.

Following a lengthy storm, the sun finally came out, and so did we!

Hubby had sledded down hills his entire life, but that year we obtained a toboggan — not the cap worn on the head — rather a long, multi-passenger wooden sleigh.

An expert at sledding, he convinced us that it’s impossible to get too much wax on those runners. Well, he was the expert — sort of — though he had never ridden a toboggan. He was used to sleds or make-do ones from cardboard boxes, wooden butter bowls, boards, inverted washing machine lids, and the like.

Steering a sled is easier as we lie face down and grip the steering bar at the front. Typically they are single-passenger. Toboggans are almost entirely made of wood, including the runners, with a looped strap to hold on with and very little control over direction. It’s best to aim it straight at your target from the beginning.

We took a few trial runs with up to three of us riding at once. It was pretty straightforward and easy enough.

Of course the youngsters challenged their dad to take his turn. He accepted, but first he really, really waxed the bottom and not only the runners but the entire underbelly of the contraption.

The weather was just cold enough that the snow had frozen. The kids had it packed down pretty good before we even started. It was slick — as slick as snot on a peeled onion as my uncle used to say. Eeeww!

Hubby knew what he was doing and ignored any counsel from the rest of us.

Well, he got it into position at the very top of the hill, climbed on board and asked one of us to give him a little push.

He took off like a bobsled at the Olympics. The sound of the wood on the ice rumbled and echoed through the outdoors.

He was whooping and having himself a big time … until he tried to steer it back on course!

Obviously, he had zero control. Always the daredevil, he continued to grin until it took off so fast it flung him onto his back. He raised his head ever so slightly to see what lay ahead.

Stumps! All those little stumps about six inches high seemed to appear everywhere. Then he shouted, “Help! I’m going to castrate myself!”

We tried to feel for bad for him — we really did — but he was laughing hysterically, so we joined in.

He finally tried to roll it onto its side and succeeded as he careened to a stop unharmed.

Still laughing as we all cracked up, he puffed up the hill exclaiming, “Boy, that thing really moves!” Ah, the good old days.

A coal miner’s daughter born in Appalachia and schooled in Michigan, Hill currently lives in rural Athens. She describes herself as a cook and cookbook author, jack of all trades and master of none, a Christian mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. 

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