Winters on the farm always produced some different entertainment for farm kids. Of course, there were always school activities, but Saturdays, we normally came up with things to do.
When the river back of our woods was frozen over, we could hardly wait to go ice skating, but, of course it must be frozen very solid, and my father had to give us permission.
I recall one Saturday that I had hoped we could skate in to town, but the river wasn’t frozen deep enough as yet. We had a lot of snow, so we got out our homemade sleds, and spent the afternoon sledding down a nice hill fairly close to our house.
My brother Gaylord, seemed to be able to get his sled to go very fast, but he did a much better job controlling it than I also.
I discovered that if I ran a ways down the hill with my sled, and jumped on to it, it would go faster and farther. I was getting pretty good at it, and then, it happened…..I didn’t do well at controlling the direction, and ended up several feet out on the river.
Now I’m not sure just how deep it was frozen, but Gaylord yelled “lay still, don’t’ move. You might break through the ice and drown!”
Since he was 5 years older than I, I was certain he knew what he was talking about, and I lay very still. Gaylord found a long branch that had fallen from a tree, and pushed one end out to the sled so I could reach it. He said “Hang onto the branch, and I will pull you off of the river.” He proceeded to do just that. What a relief that was. I certainly learned to be more careful from then on.
Now, Gaylord often teased me, and as I’ve grown older, I’ve wondered if I was really in danger, or if he was trying to scare me. At that time, it all seemed serious to me!