Syracuse on Ice

This winter, so far, has been one of the coldest in my opinion.  I don’t know, aside the obvious, what would make it on that list, but it just seems to be that way.  It goes to show attacking it head-on makes this long season tolerable.

I have honestly have not had this much fun in winter as I have in years.  The fun seemed to stop after high school.  Even in high school, joining ski club was not at the top of my list; this was neither an activity I wanted to try, nor spending time in the snow being desirable to begin with.  Although, “fun winter activities” ended a few years prior, we had our ideas of killing winter’s blues.  Brian, Matt, and I were inseparable while playing music, attending concerts, and going to see movies.  Jimmie’s Chicken Shack opening for 311 at Syracuse University was a treat and a half.  When we went to go see Next Friday (2000), there was a trio of older ladies, at least in their 60’s, who felt it necessary to give us looks of death.  What these caucasian, older ladies were doing at a movie like this and give us hell for joking around, I have no idea.

Snow tubing yesterday was a blast.  Kim and Bob, two of our friends, invited us earlier in the week to partake in this activity.  Seeing the hill we were to be sliding down looked minimal in slope and short in distance.  However, my skepticism was proven incorrect.  We tubed for almost three straight hours.  Boy, did it bring back memories.  Bob mentioned wanting to build ramps and jumps:  incredible idea.  Unfortunately, the slope was so regimented and actual playing on the hill was forbidden. 

Sarah and I keep busy this season, which is definitely new to me.  It’s a reintroduction to taking the dreariness out of winter, making it go by much faster.  We have new snowshoes, which will definitely get worn in.  She bought me new winter-friendly clothing, so I don’t go outside in just a hoodie and a coat.  I bought new boots, so my toes won’t freeze. 

Not only will we have the snow-tivities, but we have Senaca Lake Wine and Chocolate coming up the weekend before Valentine’s Day, the following Monday.  We have SU games to attend and concerts to look into.  Plus, having pairs of active parents, we have no problem doing things with them.  Beating winter is never a solo effort.  Sitting in coffee shops before I was with Sarah was only a temporary enjoyment.  Granted, I got some writing done, but I’ve been doing that a lot lately.  I knew what the weekends held for me, and although the anticipation for the weekends were there, it was too predictable.

As kids, I remember Mr. Collins taking us guys (Steve, Jim, Dan, Mike, and I) to Burnet Park.  The uneven hills make tubing/sledding a treat.  The only downside is having to walk all the way up.  I’m not lazy, but it just tires one out faster.  Granted, it’s not as steep as the resevoir, I don’t think, but it’s not as easy as the moving platform.  With a place like that, one would want to have as many runs as possible.  The next step is finding quality modes for sledding. 

Growing up we had our hills around the neighborhood.  There was the hill in the neighborhood next to ours.  It was the most inclined.  There is some sadness regarding this place, that of which I may or may not mention in the future, but the available water source allowed us to mold perfect jumps.  The glazed snow mounds glistening in the sunny, snowy afternoon during Christmas break were the perfect time killer between lunch and dinner.  The four of us, a Collins and a Volles and both Malone boys, had our fun for hours prior to going in, enjoying some cocoa, and playing video games.  We could get away with it, because it was winter.  Otherwise, especially in the summertime, we’d have to get our butts outside. 

Second, before we utilized the first hill, the neighborhood kids used the hill behind Eassa’s house.  The third hill sat behind Collins’ house.  This hill, was most optimal for for the fall and leaf piles.  The last was Zajac’s front yard.  Although, the land was flat, Mr. Zajac designed well-constructed courses for everyone’s enjoyment. 

The most important aspects to winter fun were the snow Glinden snow hills.  Living on a cul de sac, as far as snow “removal” went, the plows pushed all of the white powder covering the streets to the center of the circle.  The snow would mount up to over 15 feet tall, encouraging winter entertainment.  The Eassa’s once dug out the structure, creating a cave with available seating.  Sure, it was dangerous.  Sure, the potential of the structure caving in was inevitable.  Sure, we still had a great time.

Our snowball wars were a little more than just throwing balls.  The group of kids were split up, having home bases.  Since Glinden held two snow mounds, each at opposite ends, the scenario could not have been more perfect.  Pembridge also had it’s own snow hill, but that was farther to get to.  Steve, living on said street, having his house situated in the middle, had a choice to make:  he was equidistant between upper Glinden and Pembridge.

Often, the original four, we would have to defend the mountain, upper Glinden usually, from the Creatures.  Yes, the Creatures who tormented us throughout the year.  Just when we thought it was safe to put the air rifles and battle gear away, out came those invisible bastards.  But that’s another story…

The only problem with winter fun was making time for it, especially during the week.  We had homework:  that awful thing teachers would give us to prevent boredom while we were at home.  It was as if we had nothing better to do.  We only could limit ourselves in between coming home from school and dinner, because it was still light out.

The woods, our dear old friend, allowed us to explore more easily during the winter.  Aside the snow-covered paths, seeing the layout of the land more easily was what it was about.  We’d stop on the hill near Bog Pond and look over.  That was your stereotypical lookout:  a hill over a “body of water.”  There was a couch up there, provided not by us, but we took care of it.  Next, we would travel to Snake and Turtle ponds, the given names made up by us.  The ponds would be frozen over and we could walk across them, testing for areas weaker than most. 

Nothing would get accomplished, but we enjoyed exploring and wandering in the woods.  In retrospect, it was our getaway from reality; although, we never really viewed it that way.  We were grateful to have something to do.  It was aesthetically valuable to us, to look back on when we were older, as we do now, questioning how on earth we got to where we are today.

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