Whenever I go to a new place, I particularly enjoy discovering things that are different there. I grew up in the Mid-West where we had enough snow to go sledding every winter. In fact, I grew up feeling sorry for people who lived in places where they didn’t get snow and didn’t get to sled. Having recently moved to Chattanooga, I assumed it was one of those places. I have yet to discover if there will be enough snow for sledding in the winter, but what I did discover is that, in Chattanooga, no one actually needs snow.
Here, grass sledding appears to be all the rage. The sled of choice is a simple piece of cardboard. Perhaps there are high-performance grass sleds available–teflon coated cardboard or maybe graphite would be slipperier–but I haven’t seen any so far. What I have seen is people having a ball sliding down grassy slopes on 95+ degree days without spending a penny. To boot, grass sleds are 100% recyclable. Now that’s what I call inventive.
I watch groups of children with their parents sliding down the grassy slope from my balcony. Summer fun at it’s finest. They begin to gather in the afternoon, making the most of the last days before school restarts. I think back to my own childhood summers. They lasted forever. Hanging out under a shady tree–or, more often, up in it. Once, a summer storm was blowing in, whipping the branches of our giant silver maple into a frenzy. I followed my brother high on the limbs, riding the tree like a crazy swing swaying frantically in the wind, our mother below yelling up at us to be careful. I remember seeing her face and recognizing her indecision–torn between letting us have fun and calling us down to safety. Then there was a bolt of lightening and her face shifted instantly into decision–she hailed us back down to earth.
I imagine the parents on the hill and their relief at having something to offer their children that is both fun and safe. After all, what is childhood without a few grass stains?