December 24, 2000 saw this poem and a photo in the old newspaper style GRIT. I received a check for my submission, but it is still my poem–my property–so with our second 4-inch snowfall of the season in north-central PA–pretty much within the space of a week, here’s a glimpse of days when the whole winter was a kid’s wonderland. This sled has decorated the kitchen entry for more years than the poem has existed, but I offer full disclosure here even tho it makes me sound a tad daffy. When my late husband, at my request, hauled the sled down from storage in the garage rafters, I actually asked him if it was the sled my sister Barb and I had shared as kids. “No, it’s my old sled,” is what he said. Ha! I should have known when I saw how very precisely and neatly the rope had been wrapped for storing. So like my Frank. The Flyer style had fooled me into hoping it could have been something saved from my own youth. It did, however, inspire the poem:
Mariam Davis Pineno
I fear to ride or slide for spills,
but well remember when
we’d glide on Flyers down slick hills
and drag them up again.
I mostly sat, a scaredy-cat,
for fear I’d smash my face.
But others belly-flopped (kersplat!)
and won most every race.
In half an hour with dripping nose,
while sobbing I fought the pain
of frostbit fingers and tingly toes
that forced me home again.
Big sister walked me to the door.
Hers was a heart of gold.
I never understood, for sure,
how she withstood such cold.
Our old Heatrola’s coal and wood
fired off an awesome heat.
I pulled as close as ever I could
with my bunny-slippered feet.
Then, just as soon as clothes were dry
I’d beg to go again.
And Mom, ‘tho patient, wondered why?
Well, I felt fine by then.
Now if I rode that sled today,
no telling where I’d land.
But fair to say, I’d rue the day
but for a helping hand.