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Winter fun lurks around the corner

Nov. 7, 1997

The air is beginning to smell like winter is around the corner. It's almost time to WD-40 the runners of the sled and drink cocoa by the fire.

Although I am a devout native Texan, winter is just more fun up north. For five years, my family was transplanted in northern Oklahoma. There, I experienced winters where turtlenecks were mandatory and driving in the snow was not unheard of.

One winter, we missed close to a week of school due to inclement weather, so my snow buddies and I hit the slopes.

Our hilly neighborhood attracted daring sledders from around the town. Suicide Hill was one of the better slopes, possibly rated a 'black diamond' in sledding terms.

My friend Nate and I would trek up the slope, mount the sled say a prayer and let her rip. The only obstacles were cars and a cement embankment off to the right of the hill. On the first sledrun down the mountain, I made Nate drive. What a mistake! We crashed right into the cement embankment and vaulted from the sled into a nearby snow drift. Guess who drove the next time?

Nate and I were famous for snow igloos scattered around the neighborhood and messages left on snowy hillsides facing the highway. One message was even published in the local paper with a cutline attributing the art to anonymous authors. Must have been a slow news day.

Nate was the only one allowed to drive in the snow, so we'd pile into his mom's mini van and hit the streets. For some reason (anti-lock brakes, I think), we had to do doughnuts in reverse. One of the local grocery stores had a parking lot covered with snow doughnuts.

It was a trick to get home because our houses were located in a ravine. Every street in the neighborhood was a death trap. Nate picked the steepest one for kicks on a random snowy day. Once again, he managed to find the only cement embankment on the road. I guess that's good, because otherwise the mini van would have been wedged in a forest of trees.

Those were the days of wet clothes and drippy noses. Nate's mom and my mom would take turns on hot cocoa detail and drying our clothes. We would sit in front of the fireplace and gaze out the windows at the snow, longing for more winter adventures.

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