It’s this time of the year when I harken back to the sleigh riding or sledding days on the Scheckel farm in the middle of Crawford County near Seneca. Home from school, do the chores of gathering eggs, feed and water for the chickens, slop the hogs, pitch hay down the chutes for the cattle, feed and water the horses, tend to the younger livestock, and bring in firewood. And that was before supper. After supper, it was out again to milk the cows.
One winter was quite memorable. It snowed about six inches in early January, 1952. A few days later, an ice storm moved in from the West. Sleet formed such a hard crust atop the snow our feet would not break through. We had unbelievable sleigh riding conditions the rest of the winter.
We would go out into the fields after evening chores. With the moon high overhead, the countryside glistened white. The moon was so bright off the reflecting snow, we could read a book outside at night.
Phillip, Bob, and I took long rides over the farmland that winter. We went up and down those hills for hours at a time, sledding over the hibernating fields. The friction between sled runners and the glare ice was almost non-existent. It was so smooth and glossy that we had some difficulty getting back up the hills, pulling our sleds behind us.
Atop of the hill we would fold the rope lengthwise across the sled platform, grab the sides of the sled, give a run, go belly-slamming on the sled, and yell “Geronimo” and away we would go, making big swoops across the ice surface, daring to run into each other, pulling up side by side. Oh, we couldn’t believe our good luck! What did we do to deserve such great sledding conditions? Memories of that 1952 winter linger with me still.