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Memories of Winter

Cold, snow, snow forts, tobogganing and a dislocated shoulder

By ShadowsPub Published 4 years ago 4 min read
Original Image From Pixabay

I have spent all my life within spitting distance of the north shore of Lake Ontario. Winters were cold and long with lots of snow. We lived in the country. Other than plowing the driveway and the road, snow stayed where it fell.

There was never a question about having a white Christmas. They were always white. The only question was, how much would be on the ground or would there be a storm? Would travel be a problem?

On Christmas day we’d have to leave our toys behind and trudge off to Toronto to visit our grandparents. A storm, a really good storm, would let us stay home.

Snowstorms with blowing snow always meant we’d find snowdrifts to play in. The bigger, the better to build snow forts in. Really strong winds would pack snow hard into the drifts and we cut bricks to build with. We’d hollow out the drift and put up bricks to create a wind-free area to play in.

Just down the road from home was a farmer’s field. During most of the year, he pastured cattle in the field. Woods in one corner sheltered them from really hot weather. A narrow creek meandered across the property providing the cattle with a water source. Along the west side of the property was a very steep hill keeping the cattle down in the valley.

In the winter he pastured them closer to his barn.

That lovely steep hill became a playground. We'd spend hours tobogganing down the hill. The creek was mostly out of our reach. Mostly. It became a challenge to get enough speed going down the hill to at least reach the creek.

It never occurred to our unformed brains that landing in the frigid cold creek was at all dangerous. Who cared if we got wet? We’d go home and change. Well, our mother would be angry at us. But, that was nothing new. Fun in the moment mattered most.

The only time we really grumbled about the cold was when we had to go to school. We attended a public school in the country. It sat between two concession roads just shy of two miles from home.

Two miles was a magic number. If we lived more than two miles from school we would be able to catch a bus to school. Less than two miles, you found your own way.

Our neighbours were bused, we walked. Sometimes, the driver would beckon for us to walk to the neighbours and then let us on the bus. But, drivers varied so we couldn’t count on it every day.

When I started grade one there were two classrooms and eight grades. That year they built two more classrooms and a gymnasium onto the school.

My next elder brother was tasked with walking me safely to and from school. There was a busy highway to cross and I was not allowed to do so alone.

One day on our way home from school my brother and two of his friends started playing on top of a huge snowdrift. I watched from the roadside, growing colder by the moment. Suddenly, the sounds of their play died, replaced with the sound of my brother groaning as he lay on the snow.

He told them he couldn’t get up, his arm hurt. The two boys glanced at each other in fear before running off, leaving him lying there and me standing terrified at the roadside.

I tried to help him up. He screamed with pain when I tried.

“Get mom” he yelled. I ran off, not even thinking about that highway. I walked and ran the road passing several homes. It never occurred to me to knock on their doors. We had been taught not to talk to strangers.

Approaching the highway, fear filled me. I'd never crossed without someone older. This was a busy country highway. Vehicles swooshed by, turbulence created in their wake threatened to pull me along with.

I took a deep breath, reminding myself to watch both ways for an opening. When it came, I ran as fast as my feet could move. As I cleared the traffic, I felt the fear of my mother's anger at me crossing alone.

I’ll never forget the look of shock on her face as I burst through the door yelling she had to save my brother. It took a few moments for her to grasp the emergency and to calm me down enough to learn where he was.

Without a word about the highway she put me in the car and we drove to where my brother was. By then she had the story from me of what had happened. She was furious at his friends running off and leaving us.

For once, I wasn't in trouble.

My brother had dislocated his shoulder. A few weeks with a sling on and bragging rights. And then, we were back on the hill with toboggans shooting to reach the creek.

It was winter in Canada. What else would we do?


About the Creator


ShadowsPub is a Canadian writer who writes on a variety of subjects as she explores her way through the world. She enjoys creating books like journals, notebooks, coloring books etc where she can use her creative skills.

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