a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

the flying saucer

< by Jill, top right >

When my mom recounts the day I was born, she always begins like this: “It was the coldest day of the year.” Specifically, it was January 21, 1986, and the winds swirled at more than 30 miles per hour. The Farmers’ Almanac recorded a low of 28ºF and measured 7.9 inches of snow.

Throughout childhood, my after-school schedule consisted of sledding, drinking hot chocolate, and frolicking in the snow. To keep pace with this schedule, my parents converted the main-level bathroom into a snow-gear drop-zone. They also supplied a continual fleet of sleds. Early on, they stocked up on canoe-stye plastic sleds, then switched to one-man discs, and finally, tubes.

For my 10th birthday, I received a brand-new tube pumped to the brim with my dad’s breath. On the day of my party, I took it for a few test drives on my favorite hill — the one with the steep drop, slight incline, and long, treacherous descent.

After verifying the tube’s sturdiness, I decided to take a running start. I stampeded through the snow with high knees, reaching the cliff just as I dove headlong atop the tube. The tube heaved on impact and spun me backwards, sliding down the first slope before pitching up the incline. As it released from the ledge, it soared upward and I lost my grip. We sailed through the air—me, hovering a foot above the tube; the tube, hovering about two feet above ground—until the momentum broke and we dropped downward. THUNK—I landed atop the tube—POP!—it exploded beneath me.

I went home that day with a bruised rear and a new reverence for gravity. Still, you can always find me out sledding on the coldest day of the year.


  laceyjbrown wrote @

Sounds like fun to me! Gotta love 90s snow gear. 🙂

  Larry Who wrote @

Minnesotans generally keep their Farmers’ Almanacs on top of the toilet’s water tank. I think it’s a feng shui thing.

  amphomma wrote @

Yes! The Snow Tube!! I grew up in Connecticut in the 80’s/90’s…many, many trips down hills on the tube and a little orange sled with hand brakes and a blue/white rope…one vivid memory that your story reminded me of was my mom warning me that the snow wasn’t fluffy enough for sledding–it had iced over, and I shouldn’t go. Being a stubborn girl, I was determined…I shot down our front hill like a rocket on top of the icy snow. Our neighbor’s mailbox stopped me. Mom was right, of course. I can’t wait to take my kids–and husband–sledding…we are all thin-blooded south Floridians (it’s been too long since I’ve lived in the north!)!

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