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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Tuesday, March 13 2001

Winter fun

Second to "the woods," nothing about living where I have for the past 29 years (the urban section of Santa Clara County, Calif.) has been missed more than winter fun. (However, I have to own up to the fact that winter fun is usually balanced with "winter woes," which aren't missed and which help people like me stay put once transplanted to a warmer clime. And this current topic is open to entries on both "takes" on winter fun, the literal meaning and the tongue-in-cheek use of it.)

In my first Belsano Forum memoir, I recalled the first snowfalls and freezes in elementary school days, when we would spend recesses creating and skating on "paths" of ice that we either found on the playground or made by warming the precip enough by our feet to melt it a bit and then let it freeze again. This was a freeform cross between sledding and ice skating, using the leather soles of our clodhopper shoes or the rubber soles or our galoshes. It was sort of an equivalent to what "body surfing" is to real surfing, which my children's generation knows well.

On the family farm there was a small hill we could ski, and brother Gary got skis for Christmas one year. I remember trying it without mishap but not being much impressed. We also had a small pond to skate on, but tried that only once, using a pair of clamp-on skates borrowed from our cousin. That didn't work out any better than you'd expect.

The biggest event was sled-riding, and the worst snow storms could be redeemed by getting a sledding party together. We had "Smith's hill" right out of the front door, and the Red Mill Hill about a mile's walk down the road for serious, all-evening soirees. The worse the storm, the less traffic, which meant more sledding. Of course it also meant harder walking through the snow, but that wasn't a factor in our youthful thinking.

Ironically, in that period, sledding was a children's thing to do. I don't remember ever seeing an adult sledding, nor even an "older" teenager. I don't remember ever doing it, in fact, after about age 12. In those days, too, which seems incredible now, bicycles were for children; at about age 13 or, surely, 14, being seen on a bike would have had you labeled childish, or at least that's how I perceived it. It was surprising a few years later to see college students on bikes at the Penn State campus (I don't recall seeing any on the Pitt campus, but it's a different world, as you know). Later, most campuses worldwide had, and still have, bicycles everywhere. By the time I was living in Cape May, NJ, the attitude toward bikes may have changed, or maybe at the shore resort towns adult bike riding was always accepted. I bought a bike while living there and loved not only riding the boardwalks but touring the flat nearby countryside on it. And now, of course, my sons in their mid-20s spend thousands of dollars on their mountain biking avocations.

What thoughts come back to you on this winter topic? Have attitudes on sports, fun, play, really changed? Why?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Traffic Stop

A police officer in a small town stopped a motorist who was speeding down Main Street. "Officer," the man began, "I can explain."

"No explanation needed!" snapped the officer. "I'm going to let you cool your heels in jail until the chief gets back."

"But, officer, I have to tell you something." The man tried again.

"Just keep quiet! You're going to jail and I'm not interested in what you have to say!" the officer barked. A few hours later the officer looked in on his prisoner and said, "Lucky for you that the chief is at his daughter's wedding. He'll be in a good mood when he gets back."

"Don't count on it," answered the fellow in the cell. "I'm the groom."

Sent by Mike Harrison

Lenten meditation

You, O Lord, according to your great goodness have promised repentance and forgiveness to those who have sinned against you; and in the multitude of your mercies you have appointed repentance for sinners, that they may be saved. Therefore, O Lord, God of the righteous, you have not appointed repentance for the righteous, for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, who did not sin against you, but you have appointed repentance for me, who am a sinner."

The Prayer of Manasseh

Sent by John Stamps
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