(I'm the one in the pink coat on the front sled with my dad and little brother.)
One winter, when I was in second grade, my family went sledding with two families from our church. We've always done a lot with these two families- even now, we eat pizza once a week with one of them, and see the other family at least twice a year for camping and winter camping (they now live in a different state).
At home, I live just down the street from a park with plenty of great sledding hills. They're usually packed full of people after a big snow, but we would usually walk down there, too. This particular year, we'd met up with the other two families and we'd all spent a few hours careening down the hills, fighting over who got the good sleds, trying to see who could get the farthest, and steering to avoid trees and other sledders.
Finally, the parents told us that it was time to go. All of the kids, of course, were numb to the cold, too- but didn't want to leave. We begged for one last run down the hill, and the adults relented. "Just one last time," they reminded us.
I took off down the hill, sitting in a long, orange sled, enjoying the feeling of the wind and snowflakes in my face as I slid over the snow. When I'd finally reached the bottom, I trudged back up the hill, pulling the sled behind me by a rope attached to it.
As I walked up the hill for the last time, as I'd done so many times just that day, another sled came barrelling down the hill diagonally, almost running into me. The sled narrowly missed me, but the rope of my sled caught on their sled. Their sled kept going, and my rope tried to go with it, yanking my arm hard.
I started crying almost immediately, and hurried up the hill, holding my arm. The parents regretted letting us go down "one last time" when they realized I needed to go to the emergency room.
I only ended up with a badly sprained right arm. The doctors said it was almost broken, and so for weeks afterwards my arm was wrapped up and put in a Snoopy sling. I got out of doing some handwriting assignments at school, and I remember thinking that was awesome.
Since then, my family went sledding one more time together. On that trip, my older brother chipped a tooth badly. After that, my parents decided it was best to take a break from sledding for awhile, and we didn't go for a few years. And after that, we were old enough that we sometimes preferred hanging out with our friends to our family, so we've never really gone again. I did go once with friends in high school, but it's been awhile since I've gone sledding.
Last week I started going into an elementary school for my teaching classes. The first day we went, there was a small amount of snow on the ground, and the kids were so excited. My third graders were all telling me stories of playing in the snow in the past, or writing about what they were going to do after school.
It's snowing again today, and I overheard some college students making plans to go sledding. It reminded me of this story, and made me smile.