a breakfast serial

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

Archive for winter

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.