Winter in a Village in Michigan
Way-Back-When, we kids didn't let a little snow and cold keep us inside. We lived in a village set in a river valley, and the park made and maintained a skating rink each year - nothing fancy, you understand. It was outside! But there were overhead lights and a couple of benches for switching from boots to skates and back again. It was free and full of both kids and adults. I never was able to stay on my feet for more than a short length of time, but it sure was fun.
My family lived on top of what was referred to as "the small hill," up near the school. We would start up there on our sleds, on our bellies and sometimes piled two or three kids high, and start down, faces full of the snow which was thrown up. At the bottom of that first hill, you had to be prepared to make a sharp right to proceed down the second hill, then another very quick right onto the hill which ended up at the river. If you missed either of those turns, you smacked into a snowbank and kids would fly off in every direction. We'd just pile back on, but it was a small problem because the speed we had built up was lost, making the rest of the trip more difficult. This was usually done after supper and homework, but it would be very dark, except for streetlights, at that time of year.
Wet from head to foot and mittens frozen stiff, going back home, dragging the sled, was admittedly a longer trip than going down had been. Omigoodness, it was fun! Not even blizzards detoured us, and our bright red faces and running noses were proof of the good time we had. Living in a river valley (we were referred to as "river rats" by those in other nearby towns) was full of adventures year-round. I must share how this figured into our Christmases in another post, but I feel sorry for most of the kids in the neighborhood we live in today, who are scarcely seen all winter long.