Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sibling Assignment #80: The God Machine of Snow Speed

I gave this week's sibling assignment. It's offbeat. I hope it works, or at the very least, I hope my sisters and I have fun tackling this one.

Take a picture of something weird or of something not weird in a weird way.
Try to make the subject of your picture either unrecognizable or take a picture of something really odd that your viewer won't know what it is.

Post the picture and write a post about it in whatever way you want. You might try to identify what's in the picture or you might write what the picture makes you feel or think about or whatever.
Silver Valley Girl posted a Pulitzer Prize worthy poem, "Keeping My Eyes on Kellogg", here. Go right now and read about the great ice cold slug bait beer search in Mom's garage, courtesy of InlandEmpireGirl, here.

Here's the photo Silver Valley Girl sent me and my story follows:

"Do you think it's big enough?"

"Yeah. It's big enough. How big you think it needs to be?"

"Big enough for my ass, I guess."

"There ya go. So put your ass on this sucker and let it rip."

I have to admit: I was apprehensive.

I'd waxed the rails of my not quite flexible Sears and Roebuck Flexible Flyer knockoff and flown down Chestnut Hill plenty of times. I'd borrowed the Morgan boys' Flexible Flyer and marveled at the whiplash eccentricities of its touch runner power steering and just last week I screamed down Chestnut with Cara and Mary and Jim on the monster logging truck inner tube Randy Dolphin's dad hauled over in the back of his three quarter ton burnt sienna Ford F-150 pick-up. Last year Randy Winterowd brought his turquoise Wham-O Spinmaster Tilt-a-Whirl Flying Saucer and when I dizzied myself through the Chestnut and Mission Street intersection, I never enjoyed throwing up hot chocolate and marshmellows more.

But what was this? It was not a tricked up ride, no maple polish, no Arctic lightning bolts tattooed across its top, or flashy Northern Lights color design.

It might have been a paint pan. It looked like the underneath of a ditto machine. It was as flashy as the front strut-mate mounting kit Dad bought last month when he and Art Listoe tried to shore up the suspension of our Chevy Impala.

But Lloyd promised me a great ride.

"Okay. I'll give it a try."

I dragged Lloyd's ride to the top of Chestnut Hill and then went a bit farther on a trail we'd built between the bushes on the little mountain above Chestnut Street hill. It meant barreling a few hundred feet down the mountain and then taking a hard right onto the Chestnut Street hill itself and screaming three steep blocks to Mission Avenue at the foot of Chestnut.

A wind had picked up and it blew the snowflakes like pine needles into my face. Whizzing down Chestnut on Lloyd's faceless snow glider was going to hurt, but if it was a great ride, it would be worth it.

I hit a couple bumps coming down the mountain that lifted me off the ground. My heart leapt into my eyes. The wind and snow wet my eyes, but I managed to lean into the hard right onto Chestnut. I laid back, just like the lugers in the Grenoble Olympics. My face felt flat. I zoomed by Carol Lee and Suzie Mac and the Absec boys and roared past Lennie.

Some of the kids stopped in their tracks. Later they told me that I streaked so fast they could barely tell who I was. Other kids quit climbing Chestnut and started to run to the foot of the hill to see me when I finished this run.

I'd ridden the Jack Rabbit at Nat Park and water skied behind the Ross's inboard/outboard on Beauty Bay and I'd cannon-balled off the high dive at the city pool, but nothing compared to the feeling of speed and power and dominance I felt as I flew down Chestnut Hill and blew through Mission Street and rocketed all the way through Mullan Street and finally came to a stop at Riverside.

No one had ever sledded down Chestnut Hill and made it all the way to Riverside. When I came to a stop, I looked back and all my friends were running toward me, hollering, whooping, laughing, jumping up and down, speechless in their ecstasy to have seen me achieve the impossible.

I never rode Lloyd's slate king of speed again. After my ride, Lloyd took his snow glider home and never used it again.

"I wanted my god machine of snow speed to go out on top," he told me a couple of weeks later. "No one will ever match what you did that day on Chestnut Hill."

I almost retired from sledding myself after that ride. I didn't, though. I went back to riding, savoring every ride from then on.

I never expected to have a ride like that again.

And I never did.


Inland Empire Girl said...

I remember taking on that hill again when CR lived up above. I don't think I even made it across Mission even...Mom said be careful after P Jacobs cut herself open running under a car. I was too careful back in the day.

Silver Valley Girl said...

I wonder if kids still sled down Chestnut Hill in the winter. It was always so fun, and it is a wonder no one ever got hit by an oncoming car. I guess most realized that kids were sledding (and there wasn't even a sign to warn them!!)

Great use of names from the past, and I can't wait to show you the actual object in the photo.

Great post, and I'm so glad you are now in the Ripley's Believe It Or Not book!!

Inland Empire Girl said...

ooops... I meant CF.... of course after J. Beckwith lived there.

Inland Empire Girl said...

Silver Valley Girl.... you don't remember the famous P. Jacobs accident on Chestnut Hill? Even though it was before your time I thought Mom would have used it to remind you to BE CAREFUL!