According to the manufacturer’s specifications, this sled was really only built for one.
But unlike most of the paper-thin, disposable sleds you see these days, this one was long and sturdy, and it looked like it could easily accommodate two riders. So only stood to reason that friends as close as these three would fit with no problem!
The snow was still fresh at Park Avenue Park, and the boys waited impatiently behind the children, dads, moms and occasional grandpas that lined the skinny lane to the top of the sledding hill. The fence kept order for a fair, even pace … except for those exuberant teenagers who ran outside the fence to skip the line. These three Walker School boys would try to avoid those troublesome older kids at CHMS next year.
Holding tightly to the fence rail as they slipped their way up the icy path, the boys watched row after row of giggling toddlers in brightly colored snow pants sail down the hill. These babies didn’t really know how to sled; they took whatever path the hill chose for them! But the boys knew better.
You see, the hill had three courses. Sure, they all started at the same place … but each had vastly different results! One took you off to the right, usually ending in a slow slide toward a snowbank. (Snore.) The second was a faster (but still safe) run that took riders to a flat, open spot. Snow hill aficionados knew that this route would produce the longest run — which, by the way, was the goal of the ongoing competition between most of the sledding hill regulars.
The third route, however, was the granddaddy of them all. Known as “Flying High” (or “Airborne Death Trap,” depending on who you asked), this route had a hidden bonus. Sometime in the middle of the night, a few Hinsdale Central students brandishing shovels had fashioned an enormous bump at the bottom, right in the middle of the run. Any riders who took that route performed towering, death-defying stunts … whether they wanted to or not!
Of course, no Walker School kid who valued his life ever took that route. That was reserved for the crazy teenagers with nothing to lose. But as these three boys reached the top of the hill and plopped their sled down on the snow, they had one goal in mind: to sled a longer run than any Walker kid in history.
Unfortunately, they didn’t count on the unforeseen variable: one of the boys’ big brother at the top of the hill. Older, stronger and very mischievous, he gave the boys an unexpected shove-off not unlike the ones you see on TV in the Olympic downhill luge.
Screaming in terror, the boys careened down the hill on an entirely unplanned course. Picking up more speed as they hit a patch of ice, the sled skidded a bit, and then — to their horror — found the one rut that they were secretly hoping to miss. They were on course for the death trap!!
The next few seconds were a blur. One moment, the boys were hurtling downhill toward imminent doom. The next, they were suddenly and silently airborne, with blue sky below and snowy ground above and red sled flying out of reach and the terrified faces of concerned adults looking on from afar. All were spinning uncontrollably.
Then … miraculously … there was an earth-shattering thud as all three boys landed squarely on the sled, knocking the wind out of them and sending them flying to the flatland at the bottom of the hill. After a few miles of coasting, they finally, mercifully, came to rest.
The hill fell to silence in expectation of screams for help. The silence hung for a few seconds, and then … laughter filled the air. As the crowd breathed a sigh of relief, the boys euphorically rolled off the sled and, all grabbing the rope at once, pulled it toward the top of the hill for another run.
Mike is a Clarendon Hills
resident; husband; Indian Princes; Indian Guide Dad; a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker. Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around Clarendon Hills. It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings. He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting Clarendon Hills residents and even a little about Clarendon Hills history
. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.
Park Avenue Park Clarendon Hills Snow Hill
Park Avenue Park Clarendon Hills Snow Hill
Building the Bump! Park Avenue Park Clarendon Hills Snow Hill