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My Flexible Flyer

Long before iPhones, Playstations, and Facebook, we had no choice but to play outside. I had this old rusty sled passed down from my brother and sister or maybe one of my cousins. It was a cast-iron beast attached to stained wood that I remember pulling out of the barn every winter. Part of the adventure was locating this metal monster from within the structure surrounded by other relics. Either I couldn't remember where I put it from the year before, or my dad tried to hide it in fear of me killing myself racing down a hill. The barn was a massive spectacle built a hundred years before I arrived on the earth. Anyone who explored the loft had to be extra careful and watch their step closely. One year my leg fell through the rotted floor; I thought I was a goner. Once I safely removed my Flyer from the catacombs of the Great Pyramid, the dangerous stuff was soon to follow.




The cord was the only thing on the sled in decent shape. I know I tied a new one on myself once or twice. I borrowed the rope my mother used to secure tomatoes to wooden sticks. I spent a great deal of time tying several strands together to make a worthy tool for pulling my chariot. My journey began across the Tennessee arctic, pulling my sled behind me. The only protection against harsh elements was warm clothes handed down from an unknown relative and thin socks to keep my hands dry; this never works for very long. Occasionally thoughts of how I would be impossible to find until the spring if I lost my way in the wilderness flashed in my head. The falling snow covered any trace of existence. Of course, we are all invincible at that age, so any worries vanished as quickly as my footprints.


Once I made it to the mountain peak, a quick pause followed by a deep breath was all I needed before making my descent. The slope in itself was an experience, but the real roller coaster began as I entered the woods. Please understand something; I didn't pull my sled through the woods. I never got off; I would only build momentum. My Flexible Flyer approached light speed before I even entered the forest. It was a lot like the speeder chase on Endor from Return Of The Jedi minus the Storm Troopers. Trees would zip and wiz by as if they were running toward me as my knuckles grew white from holding on with every ounce of energy. If I was lucky enough to make it past the trees and boulders, the cliff required some fancy maneuvering.


(Hear me tell the story)

Once the final obstacles were behind me, I'd take a moment to breathe in the crisp, clean air using my Flyer as a bed. Steam rose like it was adrenaline escaping from my veins at the end of my courageous battle to the bottom. Snowflakes danced from Heaven, landing on my exposed cheeks before vanishing down the side of my face into my clothing. Chunks of snow fell from the towering trees and disappeared onto the ground, making no sound at all. My heartbeat was the only noise allowed to invade the silence of my surroundings. A cold wind blew over my body while wood and iron protected me from the frozen ground. God commanded the bitter breeze to leave me alone as I absorbed this perfect scene from a Rockwell painting.


Everything was just as it should be; within this small snapshot of my life, I learned that tiny moments are often better than grand adventures. I'm glad God taught me that lesson early because I eventually grew up.


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