I've been waiting since January to write a little winter themed deal about where my friends and I used to go sledding as kids. But, winter has fizzled out and my attention has turned towards planting seeds for the spring garden. This week I've been bringing trays of broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower, and kale starts outside to get a taste of what wind and squirrels are like, before transplanting them in early April. Maybe it's because I was raised in a place where gardening was next to impossible, but growing vegetables from seed to fruit still captivates me like a magician changing an egg into a live dove with a wave of his wand. In both cases, I have an idea of how the tricks are done, but I love them just the same. I remember my mom trying to grow some beans outside our apartment window in Evanston, Illinois. They survived in the sun starved shadows, and had just begun to develop skinny little inch-long fingers that I recognized as beans, when they were unceremoniously killed by the building super who had the all the apartment's window frames (and our bean plants) spray-painted battleship gray. As much as the blooming of the first daffodils around town lifts my spirits, I wish it had wintered more. I don't feel I've fully hibernated yet, and the bugs are bound to be hellacious due to the mildness. It's also been the first year, I can recall, that I haven't gone sledding even once.![][1] When I was growing up in Evanston, we used to sled on a snow covered hill of garbage called "Mt. Trashmore." The hill was owned by the city and was part of a big park where I played baseball in the summer. Rising on the horizon like a pregnant pimple, the 'mountain' was really just a bump with a staircase cut into it made out of railroad ties and one tow-rope for the kids who wanted to try out their new skis before they hit the big slopes in Wisconsin -- or if they were really lucky -- in the upper peninsula of Michigan. Although Trashmore was probably no more than 50 feet tall from it's base to it's rounded peak, it did have a nasty vertical drop that gave us kids a five second moment of glorious, out of control terror. The only drawback to the hill, as a winter resort, was that snow always seemed to melt twice as fast on it's face compared to anywhere else. We couldn't figure it out back then, why all over town snow piled up in sub-zero weather, but Trashmore always turned to slush in a day or two. Years later, a friend I grew up with told me that the pipes conspicuously poking out of the unused southern face, of our town's only mountain, were there to release warm gases from decades worth of disposable diapers, orange peels, used condoms, and other good stuff. On my last trip north to visit my dad in Evanston, a few months ago, I found the bedraggled old hill out of commission. 'No Trespassing' and 'Keep Out' signs littered the barren slopes, and there wasn't even a hint of snow. There were, however, people working in the community garden adjacent to the mountain. Incredibly, it looked like many gardeners had been able to grow a few greens and such through the winter. I don't know if all this muddy sprin-ter weather is due to global warming or what, but the winters I recall along the Lake Michigan shore were full of ice floes, snow, and wind chills that froze spit before it hit the ground, and I miss them...a little. [1]:


Dave Loewenstein 11 years, 6 months ago

Jill, I hear you. After that December storm, I sanded the rust off the old Flexible Flyer in my mom's garage, but I guess runnin' it will have to wait til' next year...

Jill Ensley 11 years, 6 months ago

I bought new sleds and only got to use them once. As per usual, I am totally pissed.



Michael Austin 11 years, 6 months ago

The only night worth sledding, and I had no one to sled with. I do remember curling up with a bottle, reading a book and watching the snow come down.


now tubing in Nebraska, that was where it's at. Though, they didn't get a lot of snow either this year.

Jill Ensley 11 years, 6 months ago

Dave, the way things are going, you may be able to use it in July.

Dave Loewenstein 11 years, 6 months ago

Deb, I remember the deal on Ridge too. But it was just a mole hill compared to Trashmore - the mountain. The skating rink I recall was at Crown Center on Main & Dodge?. I'm all for the freak SNOW storm, but please no more micro - tornado - bursts or whatever they're calling what happend last Sunday.

Michael Austin 11 years, 6 months ago

Just put a sail on it, next storm comes through and we can sled through the sky.

Heh, I might draw that...

Dave Loewenstein 11 years, 6 months ago

And what did I hear the other day - some place maybe in Israel where they've built an INDOOR snow covered ski slope. 87 degrees and sunny outside - Let's go sking!

thetomdotdot 11 years, 6 months ago

Hear, Hear. What a tease that storm was. I made up xmas cards with my kids playing in the snow. By the time they were mailed (oh, 3 days or so later), the snow was gone forever. But for a day and a half they had a blast sledding (or whatever you call those giant walmart garbage can lid thangs) down the banks of Freedom Creek which is the drainage ditch that runs through my development. You know, I've been in Lawrence for 3 years now, and I can tell you seriously, I've had harder winters in Florida.

Debbie_Gottschalk 11 years, 6 months ago

I got your "Mt Trashmore" reference immediately. Rumor was it was a dump covered with dirt.

I fondly remember sledding there too, but there was also a hill at a playground along Ridge Rd that had a slide at the top to give you momentum.

Is there still an indoor ice skating rink at the base of Mt. Trashmore? I attended several birthday parties there.

Out here in Delaware we were fortunate to get 2 significant snowfalls. It is almost as hard to find hills for sledding as in Evanston.

maybe you'll get a freak snow storm in May!

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