My daughter and I decided on a whim last weekend, that despite the fact we had less than 48 hours to go and get back .. we’d make a run for the plains of South Dakota.
The Cowboy’s twins were having their birthday party. And we didn’t want to miss that time with them all. The kids had talked on Friday night. They were all bummed it sounded like we were not able to make the trip.
As the Cowgirls daughter asked, “Please? Please come?”
My daughter asks, “Mom, why can’t we go?”
I felt like a heel.
I had a work related event on Saturday morning I didn’t feel like I could miss. And I didn’t want to put her through the long drive each way for only a few hours with them. But I know how even though a few hours can be precious time.
“Let’s think about it and talk in the morning,” I told her Friday night. “If you still really want to go”, explaining to her how long the drive would be each way (although we’ve done it plenty of times now) and how long we would actually get to stay there, “we’ll go. And surprise them.”
We did. It was wonderful. Absolutlely shocking someone in a good way can be wonderful.
“Tomorrow will be fun,” said the Cowboy as we drove back to his place Saturday night after presents and cake and a lot of the kids running around like crazy all excited to be together again. It had been awhile.
“I’ll take them sledding,” he said.
We used to have this great hill near our house growing up. It seemed HUGE when we were kids. No matter what you used to go down it, a sled, a saucer, a toboggan or a cardboard box, you felt like you were flying. And there was this rock sticking out of the ground toward the bottom, just enough, that it created a great jump. We used to go there ALL the time whenever there was enough snow, and played for hours. If not, there were several other hills nearby, including the street we lived on. Thankfully the traffic was light enough usually if we decided to take to the street, we had plenty of room too.
We used to go sledding in college. We’d take the trays from food service and go down any number of really steep hills near the dorm and in the heart of campus.
I’ve taken my daughter now as a mother. There are great hills everywhere .. where we live. We go a few steps in one direction, a hill. A half mile in the other, another great hill. There’s this one near where our home is where we’ve gone for years. Everyone in the neighborhood can be found there on a snowy weekend day. Dogs in tow. Kids in tow. With sleds, snowboards and sometimes even skis. Because, it’s a hill.
There are no hills anywhere near the Cowboys place. Not as far as the eye can see.
“Sledding?” I ask.
The Cowboy says he can’t remember there ever being any hills where he grew up.
Well, maybe one, he says. Toboggan Hill. But they only went there a couple of times, he says. And then the family moved away.
SO.. they created their own sledding experience.
And, as he and his brothers got older, they went from being pulled behind anything that may have been deemed safe (like he was planning to do last weekend with the kids)..
To, (he is laughing hysterically as he recounts last night for me, how he got started sledding this way) “You can start driving at 14 here. And we had this hood from an old car. I found it in a tree grove at the house where we grew up. I just took a rope and strapped it to the truck and it became our sled.”
The cousins would apparently come over and go with them. And they would all take turns driving out the field behind the family’s house.
He’s still laughing. Mostly because no one ever got hurt.
“I never really thought much about how dangerous I guess that probably was,” he spits out between cackles.
I have to say I was a bit concerned about how this all would go.. and if I should let my daughter hop in the sled that day.
I had horrible visions of what could happen.
Fortunately though, nothing to worry about.
Everyone had a blast. Including myself. Around the house. Down the drive. Along the road. Back through the summer pasture. Even winter pasture as the horses, pony and goat stood a bit in shock over the scene unfolding before them.
And it was all she and the Cowboys kids literally wanted to do, until the very moment we left for home.
For so many reasons … glad we made the trip.