Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Sled

Each year I like to remember this piece I wrote about a time with my father walking through the barn. A memory of a sled.
Peggy, June, Merrill, Geneva, Me, Marilyn

It hung in the milking parlor all covered with dust and cobwebs. Boards were broken, held together with wire. The rope tied to it was knotted by my father's hands. Dad and I walked through the barn remembering other days. He loved to share his stories. "That's my old sled," he said pointing to the greyed sled hanging in the corner. "I got it for Christmas when I was boy." He told me about the Loxley boys sledding on the snow, he on his new sled. The same sled we sat upon, racing down the hill back the lane on Neff Road. The old sled now resides in the corner of my living room. A sled from Ohio to Oregon. From father to daughter.

It was my father's sled. There. There in the corner. Ages old and weather worn, a remnant of the past, a remnant of my father.

Too soon the earth captures her own, holding in her bosom the babe who played in her leaves, who fished in her ponds, who loved her earth, who fed and nourished the very soil of her cloak, who saw his own returned to her loving arms.

Death, you are a blackness that comes quickly when least expected, silently hidden in the final assault. Your vengeance is cruel, your methods immoral. Yet you will not leave your throne until all have tasted your sword. Your shadow encompasses all who pass too closely. You, the victor over all who taste your wrath.

Me on The Sled
But you cannot take away. You cannot erase the moments, the memories of the immortal soul. Listen. Hear the laughter of a small boy running to meet the first winter snow. Running to try his new sled on golden planks atop freshly waxed runners. His face is red, so bundled he can hardly run. Yet he laughs dashing to try his new Red Flyer. Listen. No darkness. Only memory.

In the corner sits that once new toy. Now the runners are rusted, the lumber grey. Here and there broken pieces are held together with wire and dowel. Each scar a memory of a young boy's adventures. A fairly new rope knotted by old gnarled hands readied the craft for another pair of small hands. A small child eager to meet the first snow.

It is a fine old sled that once, when new, held a fine young boy.

We are all memories in the making. Memories saved for other generations. May your Christmas memories be many and the joys of each day be yours. Merry Christmas from the girl who lived back the lane on Neff Road.

On A Grandparent's Voice: The Ornaments of My Life

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