In summer I would race down The Hill on my Cabbage Patch Doll Big Wheel tricycle or my brother’s red Big Wheel with the black handle bars. In fact, we had an entire arsenal of Big Wheels. My parents hosted an annual Indy 500 party every year and while the adults watched the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, the kids had our very own Indy 500 in the front yard.
When I outgrew my Big Wheel, I sped down The Hill on my purple “big girl” bicycle with pink tassels that whipped around in the wind. After the purple bicycle came the pink bicycle with handlebar brakes. The last bicycle to take a trip down The Hill with me was my 10 speed green bicycle. Oh, how I loved that bicycle. I remember going to the Schwinn store to pick it out – my first non-fixed gear bicycle. It was the only girls bike in my size that wasn’t pink or purple. Green was my favorite color. I loved it. I had to have it. It would take me down The Hill and chip and seal country road to my best friend’s house. That bicycle was my first taste of independence.
While I loved spending the summers racing down The Hill on my Big Wheel and bicycles, the best time of year to live on top of The Hill was winter and the greatest way to speed down The Hill was on a sled. I dreamed of snow. I prayed for snow. Every day that it snowed was the greatest day of my life.
I was an early riser. Before my mother would wake up but after my father had already finished reading the paper, I’d stumble out of bed and turn on the news. I would stare at the school cancellation ticker without blinking, waiting for MSD Martinsville to scroll across the screen. As soon as it did I’d run to the closet, take off my footie pajamas, and start putting on my snow gear – long underwear, two pairs of socks, sweat pants, sweatshirt, snow suit, coat, hat, scarf, and boots. Unfortunately, by this time Mom had gotten up, poured herself a cup of coffee and demanded that I take everything off because I was not allowed to go outside until the sun came up. I’d pout, undress, lay my snow gear by the wood burning stove (our primary source of heat) and scarf down a bowl of Maple and Brown Sugar Quaker Oatmeal. As soon as the first ray of sun peaked through the dining room window I was out the door, hearing nothing but the snow crunch beneath my boots.
Nothing felt as good as that first breath of cold, crisp winter air; nothing was as peaceful as the quiet solitude of the untouched snowy morning; nothing was as beautiful as the patterns of each unique snowflake that landed on my coat sleeve; nothing made me feel more alive than speeding down The Hill on my favorite sled over the clean white snow with the wind in my face and soft “wooossshhhh” in my ears.