When our son Matthew was six, we bought our first Lehmanâ€™s Racer. (Yes, even Lehmanâ€™s owner has to pay for the merchandise he takes home!)
Owning a sled called the â€œRacerâ€ was a source of pride, but I planned to double that racer pedigree with some secret ways to make it go faster. After we gave him the sled at Christmas, we went out in the farm shop beside our garage. First, we took sandpaper, and ground off all the paint on the bottom of the runners. Next we took canning wax and gave the runner surface a thorough rub down. After that, there was nothing to do but wait on the first snow.
Running through the middle of Kidron is a winding creek called the North Fork. In fact, part of our store is built right over that creek.
South of town, that creek cuts a deep valley through the low hills around our little town. One side of that valley forms a popular sledding hill near the site of a nearby metropolis known as Jericho.
OK, I guess I have to honest. The â€œmetropolisâ€ of Jericho exists only on old plat maps from the 1800â€™s. Today, itâ€™s little more than two or three farm houses gathered around a crossroad along the North Fork.
Old timers can tell you where the Jericho flour mill used to stand. For the rest of us, Jericho is just the home of the best sledding hill around. Itâ€™s short enough that you can drag your sled up in less than five minutes. Itâ€™s long enough to give a thrilling ride.
The shape of the hill adds to the fun. A gentle decline for the first 30 feet or so, it suddenly drops off fast enough to make you feel like youâ€™re going straight off a cliff. With a running start, plunging over the crown at the edge of that sudden drop consistently produces a moment of pure terror that only the best roller coasters can duplicate.
That fast part of the hill lasts at least another 50 feet before it tails off to a shallow meadow that forms the floodplain of the North Fork. At the edge of creek on the far edge of the level flood plain is a barb wire fence. Of course, our sleds always stopped long before they reached the fence.
It seemed like our chance to get that first sled ride would never come, but Continue reading