Sledding and Screaming

When I was between the age of seven and ten, my parents used to take me to sledding during the winter season. Within an hour drive from our new home in the suburb, there was a small mountain called Mt. Izumigatake, which was high enough to carry sufficient snow for mountain skiing in winter. Neither of my parents knew how to ski, so they took me to the sledding hill instead in the same ski resort.

I had a bright pink large sled that my parents had bought for me at a local DIY store. Covered up in a pink ski wear, I would always be too excited to sit still in the backseat while driving to the ski resort. I would know that we were close to our destination when the snow on the roadside became deeper and started to form a thick wall.

Once we got there, I would run to the sledding hill with my bright pink sled. It was my father who usually gave me company on the sledding hill. My mother couldn’t handle high speed and she opted to watch us at the bottom of the hill.

My father led me to the very top of the sledding hill, high above than anybody else. Then he made me sit in the front while he sat behind me in the pink sled. Then we both held the reign tight.

“Are you ready?”

With my “Yes!” my father and I would kick off the ground and leave ourselves to the lead of the gravity. We sped down the steep hill, faster than anybody else, flying over any bumps with joyful screams. At the end of the hill, there was an artificial snow bump designed to bring us to a natural halt. My father and I would come down to the bump at the maximum speed, climb up the bump, then get thrown backwards, finally coming to a halt. I loved this final part, too, since it gave me a lot of thrill.

Every time I stood up and walked back to the hilltop, I told my mother how amazing the ride was and that she should also try it. At first, my mother would laugh and shake her head saying that she was happy watching. But as I became more insistent, she agreed to try it once with me.

Jumping with joy, I was going to take her all the way to the hilltop, but my mother didn’t let me.

“No, we will start from HERE.”

The sledding hill consisted of two parts: a gentle slope followed by a steep slope. The place my mother pointed was at the end of the gentle slope. It was still at the beginning of the hill.

“Mom, you won’t experience any fun if we start here. We should start from the top!”

But my mother was adamant.

No. If you want to do it with me, we start from HERE!”

I looked at the hilltop, which seemed a world away from us, then reluctantly accepted my mother’s request. At least, I could have a ride with my mother.

“All right, Mom.”

I placed the pink sled on the ground. I sat in the front and my mother sat behind me. The slope was so gentle that our sled didn’t start sliding even when we removed our feet from the ground. I kicked the ground as hard as I could. Finally, our sled started to move downwards.

However, the moment our sled started to gain speed, my mother pressed her feet against the ground in an effort to slow down the sled. Our sled, which was travelling slowly from the beginning, lost momentum and floated in the snow like a boat on the lake.

“Awww! Awww! Awww!”

I heard my mother screaming in the back supposedly due to the speed. But when I looked around, we were sliding more slowly that the people who were walking up the hill with their sleds. My mother continued her scream until the very end when our sled came to the bump and gently stopped.

As soon as we finished, I got up and said to my mother,

“That was SO boring!”

“I told you I don’t like speed,” replied my mother calmly. “And you still insisted!”

“But that was slower than the walking speed! And you were continuously stopping our sled!”

My mother wasn’t offended. She shrugged and laughed, satisfied with her epic ride.

It was an epic ride for me, too, the incredibly slow sledding down the hill with the most dramatic screaming on my back.