|Enjoy it now. It'll be gone tomorrow!|
Even though it was winter.
Oh, it snowed.
Sometimes a lot.
But then the famous Chinook would blow through, drastically raising temperatures.
And melting said snow.
Let’s face it. When the temperature goes from minus ten (14F) to plus twenty (68F), snow disappears fast.
In a few hours, any accumulation would be limited to the ditches and snowbanks.
So when it snowed, and if one wanted to enjoy it, one had to move quickly.
On with my story . . .
Someone was out in the yard.
I looked out the window onto a scene of glistening white.
And my oldest brother, Jerry, holding the family toboggan.
Squealing (and I do mean squealing) with eight-year-old delight, I donned snow pants, parka, boots, mittens, scarf and toque (it's a Canadian thing).
Remember what I said about the snow lasting a short time?
I donned them quickly.
In no time I was out with my brother.
All of our siblings joined us.
Well, all but tiny baby, Anita.
She wasn't coming.
Jerry sat our youngest brother, two-year-old Blair, on the toboggan, then turned and started pulling the sled toward the river.
The Stringam ranch proper had been built in a bend of the south fork of the Milk River. Any sled-able hills were on the opposite bank.
We trudged along behind Jerry and his sled across the frozen river to the hills opposite.
Then, for the next couple of hours, we towed up and slid down.
The older kids choosing the steeper slopes.
The younger crew sticking with the gentle-er.
Our shouts and screams of sheer happiness echoing across the wide, open prairie.
Finally, it was time to head home. Dusk comes quickly in Southern Alberta and, trust me, you really don't want to try to walk home in the dark.
We crossed the river once more and climbed the hill to the house.
To be greeted by the warm, amazing smell of . . . baking.
In the entryway, we peeled off layer after layer, laughing excitedly and telling Mom about our adventure.
She just smiled and nodded.
Then surprised us with warm spudnuts (doughnuts made with mashed potatoes in the batter. Yum…) fresh from the oven, and gallons of hot chocolate.
The very best of days.
A little addendum:
I still go sledding. And there is still hot chocolate and doughnuts in the program.
But, as when I was eight, I choose the gentle-er slopes.