We went back to Mel Allen Hill today.
For those of you new to this blog, Mel Allen was the sportscaster who narrated This Week In Baseball back in the 70s, and sometime during the inevitable montage of collisions at the plate, run-ins with the outfield wall and infielders getting "the wind knocked out of them" by short-hopped ground balls, he would invariably - and, in retrospect, far to cheerfully - blurt out, "Ooooooh! That's gotta hurt!"
I have found this to be a useful line, in my career as a parent.
After we got all that snow earlier in the week the temperatures plummeted to the point on the thermometer where they no longer print numbers, just artistic pictograms of morose-looking brass monkeys. The schools even opened an hour late on Thursday due to the 20-below-0 windchills.
Part of me just shrugs this stuff off now, having lived in Wisconsin for fourteen years. You get used to it.
But part of me just looks at those poor brass monkeys and fires up the tea kettle, glad to be inside.
So the fact that it warmed up to around freezing this weekend was good news. It meant we could go out again. And the girls were seriously jonesing for some sledding time.
Except that nobody these days has an actual sled anymore. When I was a lad (hey - what are you doing? - get off my lawn! - sorry, where was I?) we had the old-fashioned sleds with the wooden decks and the steel runners. They were beyond cool. They had just enough steering to give you the illusion that you could avoid obstacles and not enough to actually do so, so it was never really your fault for running into things. And there was enough sharp steel that you might even hurt someone. How could you not love these things?
But now everyone has glorified beach rafts - inflatable things that have no steering capacity whatsoever and glide easily over any kind of snow at speeds approaching Mach 3.
You know, after setting that up as a rant about how good things were in the Good Old Days, well, never mind. Those inflatable things are just as cool, if not more so. No steel, but far less steering, so we'll call that even.
So we drove over to Mel Allen Hill and trudged dutifully up to the top.
Mel Allen Hill is in one of the many parks in Our Little Town. It has an assortment of trees to smack into at the bottom, a bowl-like depression at the top where you can toss unused sleds and inflatable things when not in use, and - invariably - a homemade ramp of snow about halfway down where you can go flying elbows over teakettle and tumble the rest of the way down.
Ooooh, that's gotta hurt!
We spent a good hour there this afternoon. Both Tabitha and Lauren went over the ramp and neither smacked into any trees, so we'll call that a success. And it was warm enough that you didn't have to worry about frostbite.
It must officially be winter by now.