You’ll Figure It Out!: Snow Day Fun

John Sheda

Well, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, we are in the throes of “old-man winter.” The snow, the cold, the wind, and we’re in the middle of winter. February is just starting, and not sure at this writing if the groundhog saw his shadow or not, but to be fairly honest with you, I really don’t rely too much on him anyway. Heck, wondering how he even knows? Guess I’ll figure it out. Since we are smack dab in the middle of winter, I thought of my wintry days’ eons ago. Yea, I mean eons. Those days when school was never canceled. But on those rare days when we were granted an extra Saturday in the week, boy, did we have fun. No cell phones, no texting, just plain old winter and snow day fun such as:

We’d all grab our snow shovels and shovel snow for people and maybe get fifty cents or even a buck. Every kid in Chelsea had some kind of shovel, but we hated shoveling our own sidewalk. No money there!!

We enjoyed going to a pond east of town, especially on Friday nights, and having a skating party. About 15-20 kids would just skate around the pond and perhaps play some hockey. Some of the older boys would bring a couple of old car tires, and we’d have a huge bonfire. Watching that old black smoke spewing into the clouds was something to behold. Then about 9 pm, we’d all head home—have frozen to death, even with the fire.

We also enjoyed sledding. Ledvina’s had a huge hill north of town, and sometimes, we’d go to Clay hill, south of town. If we could get a ride there and back, we’d spend most of the afternoon sledding–again until we were frozen to death.

Sometimes several of us would be welcomed into one of our parent’s homes and enjoy an afternoon of Monopoly. The correct rules! It could last for hours.

And at other times, as we dreamed about summer, we might even all go home, get our stacks of Topps baseball cards and have what you might call a “trading party.” “I’ll trade one of my Hector Lopez cards for that Ryan Duren card you have.” This, again, could last for hours.

Now, as I looked back on those good ‘ol days, I remembered TV with only three channels. And just like today, with ab out a hundred channels, there could have been better. Mom’s favorite show was Perry Mason, and Dad enjoyed Gunsmoke. But bedtime was always 10:30 pm, just as Conrad Johnson gave his predictions of tomorrow’s weather and the television was turned off, the lights out, and we all went to bed.

Sometimes, however, I enjoyed reading. Not a cultural reading, of course. Nope, I enjoyed the early days of comic books with Superman, Batman, Kid Colt, and Sgt. Rock and Archie & Jughead and the gang. I never could really understand how no one knew that Clark Kent wasn’t Superman. Did Clark’s glasses make that much of a difference? And eons ago, comic books were only ten cents.

But one final thing we enjoyed was reading these same comic books at Swalm’s Drug Store. Truly a fascinating store, especially for a ten-year-old kid. Remember the crows that spoke????

Well, that’s just some of the stuff we did back then. But every once in a while, I’d whine and complain to the old man (never said this to his face), but us tough kids back then referred to our dads’ as our old man. Anyway, I’d complain to him, telling him how bored I was. He simply looked at me, smiled, and said, “Get outside and do something. You’ll figure it out.” I usually did. What were your winter days like? Call me at 319.327.4640 or email me at jsheda@indytel.com