2018-01-10 / Community View


Many fond memories of sledding after heavy snowfall

I sometimes watch the Alaska Channel on TV just to see how the folks living there survive the brutal cold of the winter months. Interesting to find so many spending the best years of their lives wanting to take themselves off into the frosty life of Alaska.

Some of the old timers with their beards covered with frost go out into the wild to set their traps for beaver. This takes some doing to find a spot to cut a hole and set their trap. Some of the men walk miles to find a good location for their traps, and then the next day they have to walk the same miles to check traps. One fella built an igloo of a sort to stay in if he was caught after dark and miles from his shack. It’s quite an accomplishment to see his blocks of frozen snow cut in perfect size and to fit each section. His hands were ready for frost bite and so he built a fire to help from that happening. Any way folks if you want to see the folks of the wild watch and be amazed at their smart ways to exist in the frozen Alaska.

I remember when we were kids and living on the farm across from the golf course. Sliding down hill was fun for us and all neighbor kids. We would find some the old sort of rusty sleds in the garage, we wiped them off and found some warm mittens in the house as well as snow pants and warm hats. Mother sputtered a lot telling us not to get wet and be careful we didn’t break something going down those hills. After a good snowfall the neighbor kids arrived and some with a pair of skis, others with long sleds and the fun began. Kids piled on a sled and then another kid laid on top and away they went laughing and screaming as fast as the snow would take them. The skis were another story, it took a good balance to get down the hill without ending face down in a snow bank.

After spending and afternoon doing this everyone would be tired and one by one the neighbor kids trudged for home and we went in our house to face mother who was sure we were going to end up with sore throats, frost bite or worse. It was comforting to have a cup of cocoa put in front of us as we dried out at the kitchen table. The oatmeal cookies were a nice treat and appreciated.

And so when I watch the Alaska people do their thing I like to think about all those swell friends from way back when we were young and fun was a snow filled afternoon on a snowy hill.

Best wishes to all.

Doris Burke writes “Lapeer Memories” for The County Press. She can be reached at burke.doris@gmail.com.

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