Winter in Greenwood, Maine /Early Morning Flight

s1Today is Saturday and I don’t have to roll out of bed for school. It’s cold here in the attic or I would lay and read awhile before going down by the wood stove. Sometimes I read my books over and discover things I didn’t notice the first time.

There’s snow on the ground and Twitchell Pond has frozen. Dad says it is thick enough for skating, but watch out where the brooks come into the pond and watch for air holes.  I have been skating on the little bog beside the road next to the cousins’ house since Thanksgiving.

Roland built a ski jump on the side hill, but I won’t go over it. I would rather take our Speed-Away sled and go to the top of Grammy’s pasture hill, get a running start and throw myself down on the sled and go all the way to the road.  It is especially fun if there’s a bright moon. The air is very cold, but Ma gives us some cocoa when we come in right before bedtime.  She uses canned milk, but I am so cold, I don’t notice the taste I usually hate.

I hope my brothers don’t make the same mistake they made last year!  When any of us are through with the skis, we are supposed to take care of them by leaning them against the house or sticking them in a snow bank.

Well, last year I was up early one morning and had breakfast with Ma and Dad. This time of year, of course, it is dark when they leave for work and Dad always goes out to start the car and warm it up for Ma. Dad had his lunch box in one hand and out over the doorstep he went. Unfortunately,  one of my brothers had left the skis right in his path and of course he couldn’t see. All of a sudden, there was an awful yell and Ma rushed to the door and saw Dad balancing on a ski down the slope in our yard. She said later she thought he was going clear to the pond! Oh, no! I peeked out the window,  but couldn’t see much, but boy did I hear a lot!! He yelled something fierce with his arms waving in the air swinging his lunch box. He finally came to a stop and staggered around in the snow a bit. Then he put down his lunch box, took both of the skis, one by one, and threw them as far as he could into the woods.  He picked up his lunch box and crawled into the car and I guess he was still cursing.

The strangest thing was that Dad never mentioned the ski flight. My brothers never mentioned the skis or going skiing. I decided it was best that I not mention the skis and had the suspicion that as loud as Dad yelled, my brothers heard him from their bed up in the attic. The rubber bands, cut from old inner tubes to hold the skis on their boots, lay on the stairs the rest of the winter and no one went near them.  Neither brother asked where the skis were..not even as weeks passed.  When the snow melted last spring, the skis were found under a pine tree at the edge of the woods.  I imagine they will take care of their skis in the proper manner this year and I am still surprised that Dad did not sputter. Maybe he figured by keeping still, it would be punishment enough. I’m not sure. Parents are strange that way.

I think tonight Roland might build a fire on Twitchell Pond and we will skate.  He bought a pair of second hand white ladies skates for me which look wonderful. I just wish I could skate better, but I kind of push myself along. My cheeks always prickle in the cold, so I stay pretty close to the fire. The tires burn really well but boy do they smell!!  Grammy and Uncle Louis sit on their porch and watch us as we skate around the fire. No one in the neighborhood complains that the smell is awful or too much.  I think they are glad to see us having such a good time.

It’s time for me to go downstairs. I can hear Curt and am sure he is through with his bowl of Puffed Wheat and is ready to make a snowman or a fort.  Sometimes winters are very pretty after a snowfall, but not when the roads drift around the ponds so hard the plow can’t go through. That is when they come to get Dad and other men to shovel through the drifts.

My favorite place in the winter is sitting in front of the stove with my feet in the oven, but the only bad thing about that is the smell of wet mittens drying on the stove shelf!  Ma says she can’t wait til spring comes and I don’t blame her one bit!


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