Past Presents

Contrary to first glance — the title of this post is not a new English grammar tense. Rather it’s a brief exploration of the memories prompted from a local winter decoration.

Imagine a little girl growing up in 1950’s Wisconsin. What would she want for Christmas? A outside toy — one that would let her follow her big brothers for fun in the snow.

The year I received my sled — I’m sure that Santa, my parents, and any adult that inquired knew what I wanted that year — we lived at the bottom of a steep, wooded hill. It was the best sled run in the village. Pull the sled up as far as your courage and legs permitted. Then plop down on the hard pack and follow the trail. Follow the trail! Steer! Ooops! Missed the turn and rolled off in time to watch the sled dart under the barb wire fence and stall.

Fast forward a few years and we live on a farm. Geography is different here — no good slope for sleds or the antique skis in the shed. But the neighbor has a pond. The year my mother thought my feet were done growing I got my skates. Prior to that I experimented with family cast offs and multiple pairs of thick socks.

Walk down to the corner. Cross the road. Duck under a fence, tramp across a field and navigate a second fence. The pond sat within a woodlot. The sheep that resided during summer months were gone now — in a shed near their owner. Snow on the ice didn’t present a problem. Neither did rough patches. A lone girl skates in a circle. Tries going backward. And dreams of gliding like the Olympic hopefuls on television last week.

Memory Prompts

Memory Prompts

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