The Frozen Tundra

I haven’t seen great snowman snow like this since I was a kid. Remember when we were in school and the school closings were by name: Woodrow Wilson, Camden, Woodrow Wilson Junior High, Northeast High, Rhawnhurst. Of course they were in alphabetical order, perhaps by county, but we would hunker down by the AM radio, for me usually the old WFIL and listen for that school name. Whoo-hoo! Wilson Junior high CLOSED! I don’t remember makeup days for the snow days. What I do remember is Burholme Park. It has got to be THE best sledding hill in the entire region. I remember at least once, my cousins who lived in Olney, meeting us at that awesome slope. Even today, it is one of the greatest sledding, tubing, “saucering” hill EVER.

I had a red, plastic saucer; sort of a precursor to today’s snow tubes only without the puffy comfort.   I’d get a running start at the tippy-top of the hill just below where the gorgeous Ryerss Estate library still stands today. My feet would leave the ground as I plopped down on my saucer and go speeding and twirling down that glorious hill, savoring every bump and slide. The hill flattens out on what are softball fields in the warmth of spring, summer and fall. After gliding as far as I could on the flat section, I’d jump up and scurry back up that steep slope to do another run on my saucer or mix it up using the wooden sled we had.

My cousin Paul once  sent himself flying down that snowy slope at what seemed like the speed of light. He was much taller and stronger than me. Somehow, he wavered off to the right instead of heading straight down the normal route. He went, “SPLAT” into a tree way over on the side of the large, hilly area. Blood seemed to be everywhere. Thank goodness, it looked worse than it really was. Paul just had a bloody nose. I seem to remember him laughing the whole time. I’m sure our moms were freaking out just a bit.

On a day like this, during a winter like this, I really miss the Burholme Park slope. It was and still is, pure, free, outdoorsy fun. Long live that grand hill and may many more generations of kids on their sleds enjoy that slope as much as I remember enjoying that white monster!

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