One of the truisms about getting older is that everything was better when we were younger.
Being a Chapel Hillian just compounds this feeling.
(Q: How many Chapel Hillians does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: At least four. One to get up the ladder and actually change the bulb; three sitting around in rocking chairs to sip iced tea and talk about how much better the old bulb used to shine.)
But I am under few illusions that snow days used to be better when I was a child. I was well aware that it’s really my perception that has changed.
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Randy Young recently wrote an excellent column ( CHN 02/05/14) about snow days and his pleasant memories of those – everything from his delight to hearing the forecast the previous night to making snow angels.
I was never big on snow angels, but I certainly enjoyed snow in my childhood.
Getting an unexpected day off from school was nice, although we had to make those up later.
But for me, the No. 1 delight was sledding. If anyone had better sledding hills in their neighborhood than we did, I’d like to know where they were. As good? Sure. Better? No way.
We had a wide variety. Short and slow. Long and terrifying. Short and terrifying. Curves. Straight. With dips and rises. Without. You name it.
The undisputed king of all hills was Glenhill Lane.
The fact that at least one child every year came away from Glenhill with a good scrape or even bloody testified to the greatness of the run.
Glenhill is steep the way the sky is blue. Its incline defines its nature.
It’s so steep, with a bow inwards halfway down, a young sledder could not see the bottom before launching. Setting off required a Satrean leap of faith.
The speeds were fabulous, and Glenhill ends with a gentle turn and leveling off, much like what one sees at the end of ski jumps.
Climbs back up the hill were helped by the way accompanying Glendale Drive curves with a much gentler slope from the bottom of Glenhill back to the top.
And one of the best things of all: when other streets were being cleared, snow plows stayed off of treacherous Glenhill, abandoning the owners of the nine houses along the steepest part to fend for themselves.
This was great for us as children. Now that I own a house, I have a different view of unplowed streets.
When I was a child, my concerns on snow days were limited to getting dry socks and gloves for each foray outside.
My mother supplied the dry clothes, and the hot chocolate and tomato soup.
Now, I’m the one who runs to the grocery store to make sure we have bread and soup.
Even after I make it home along snowy roads, murmuring “Don’t stop, don’t stop” to the cars driven by mindless yahoos ahead of me on slippery inclines, I fret about power lines going down, or the pipes freezing.
It now takes much more than hot chocolate to make me feel all warm and fuzzy on a snowy night.
I wish my advancing maturity would include some wisdom. After all this time, one would think I would recognize that fact that the snow always melts, the ice falls from the power lines and the streets dry.
I need to forget about the slush and just enjoy the snow.