It happens about twice a year. And when it does, Katie bar the door. SNOW. Just watch how loudly you utter that devilish word here in Oklahoma. I've heard many a Sooner decry it as a four letter word. Okay, it does have four letters, but you get the point.
I don't share the agony many down here experience when it snows. I chalk it up to the fact that grew up in Indiana. Snow country. As kids, my brother and I lived for that glistening white magic. We were the meanest sledders in our whole backyard (not to mention Suicide Hill where we sledded with all the other crazy people when it snowed really hard.). However, I did grow so daring one winter - we'd had a lot of snow - the regular sledding down the backyard hill got kind of boring. I decided to experiment. I think I was one of the first snowboarders. Mind you, it wasn't anything fancy. I just tried standing up on my sled and using the pull rope attached to the front for balance.
I flew down that hill. Screeching. Cheering my own ingenuity. I was on top of the world. Until I barreled into the bush at the bottom of the hill.
Yeah, I hadn't seen that one coming. I even slit open my forehead.
I was ten and my fury unfathomable. I swore to cut down the bush that night. But my mom made me come in for dinner instead.
As the days passed, though, the scar across my forehead became a badge of honor. I was the kid who'd sledded standing up...and lived to tell about it.
So you can imagine my chagrin when it began to look more and more like we wouldn't have any snow before Christmas this year. We've had a very dry winter so far. And then, last night, that blessed cold front came down from the north. We didn't quite get snow. It was 75 when the cold front pushed through, after all. But we did get ice. Enough to cancel schools.
I wish I'd come up with the name. I'm a writer after all. But I give full credit to my firstborn daughter and her best friend from across the street. They nicknamed our red Radio Flyer metal runner sled the Demonator two winters ago when, according to them, all on its own, it took them sailing down the hill out in front of our house, down the long street, and right up the driveway of the house at the bottom of the hill, straight into the garden. Both girls were thrown clear of the sled when it crashed intothe brick walkway around the garden. No one was hurt. More frightened out of their snowsuits. So of course, the incident immediately became legend.
The story gets better each year (I've heard it told that sparks were flying off the back of the sled when it hopped the curb and flew over the drive and into the garden). The sled, for its part, plays along. It it unpredictable, like a bucking bronco. Kids get thrown every year. Which means the line to ride it gets longer. And what started as a nickname is now a permanent title of honor and fear.
Which makes me more curious each year. I haven't tried the Demonator out alone. I've always been forced to take a kid along. But when I got up and saw the ice this morning, I wondered, how bad could it be? I mean, what would it be like to stand up on that puppy and sail down a hill? The kids are watching a movie and drinking hot chocolate after all...
Causes Stacy Nyikos Supports
ASPCA, Humane Society, Wildlife Federation