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A Christmas Story: The thrill of 3 Mile a cherished memory
"Frozen, absolutely frozen” is what I said to my dad as I poked at his ice-laden beard.
It was our third run of the day down 3 Mile.
Mom was getting tired of driving us up the hill and she was anxious to get home and start prepping for our annual Christmas Eve party.
But, what seven-year-old cares about a boring adult Christmas Eve party when you can rush down an icy hill while all your friends and family are screaming and cheering as they slide down beside you?
The 3 Mile run was a family tradition.
Wake early, wrap up every exposed body part with as much winter gear as you could find, pray you didn’t have to pee and head out.
Most moms drove.
They would huddle into groups, sitting on tailgates, sipping hot chocolate at the bottom of the hill and taking bets on whose kid/husband would crash first.
Dads were more active participants.
My father would place my older brother onto his fancy red Xtreme GT and I would follow on my purple crazy carpet.
Now, the key to the crazy carpet is weight distribution.
Sit straight down and you may go faster, but your bum will take a bruising.
That’s why many of us opted for the more controlled and less painful approach of bobbing down the hill on our knees.
I’m sure orthopedic surgeons collectively cringe at the idea.
Anyhow, Dad would then grab another crazy carpet and start off right behind me, making sure I wasn’t going to run directly into the first tree on the hill.
3 Mile was infamous for broken bones, cut-up hands and concussions.
It ran through dense forest at the end of a dead-end road, winding, twisting and rolling through the trees until you reached the lake.
I loved the rush of gliding down the hill surrounded by trees, snow-covered branches slashing against my arms and screaming at the top of my lungs.
Nothing has been as fabulously exhilarating and scary as the first sled of the season down 3 Mile and I haven’t found a comparable hill to take my own children down since then.
Sadly, the land that made up 3 Mile has been broken up, fenced and sold off, yet I still fondly remember frozen fingers and toes, the burn of hot chocolate on my tongue and the thrill of beating my older brother to the bottom.
For me, the best Christmas memories involve friends, family and fun.
Merry Christmas and may you all find delicious hot chocolate and a bandage at the ready when you reach the end of your own Christmas run.