Radio Flyer brings back memories of a winter on the fast track

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 8, 2003

Here it is, the first week of February is in the books, and we now have a little snow on the ground, ice on the lakes (and some streets) and everything looks pretty much like a normal winter.

Fishing action has been spotty all winter. The unusually warm first part of winter has been a contributing factor to the mixed results.

According to some reports, walleye fishing has picked up on some of the larger northern lakes like Lake of the Woods, Leech and Winnie, but the walleye bite has slowed on Mille Lacs since the onset of colder weather.

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The season for walleye and northern closes Feb. 16th, so there is just a week left to snag that &uot;lunker&uot; you’ve been searching for this winter.

Panfish and perch are still fishable after that date as long as you can find a chunk of ice that will hold you.

After watching the light snowfall this week I was reminded of the days on the north end of town when we kids would always try to find a new way to put some speed in our sledding.

When thinking of this, I went into my garage to see if my old Radio Flyer sled was still hanging there. It was.

I got the sled for Christmas one year from my mom and dad. It was probably my most prized possession while growing up. At the very least it ranked right up there with my Red Ryder BB gun, Tobin Rote football and my first new bike, a Coast-to-Coast model.

Getting back to the sled, it was supposed to steer with that cross piece that had two holes in it for the pull-rope. I have to say that short turns were never going to happen with that thing. I found that dragging a toe and leaning worked just about as well.

Roger, one of the older neighbor kids, lived on the end of the row of houses and there was a hill leading into a field that wasn’t real steep, but the sledding wasn’t too bad.

Roger probably liked speed about as much as he liked beating on chubby little neighbor kids. He decided to gather all the troops to help him build this masterpiece of a sled run. We worked on this run every night after school for quite a few nights until we had what we thought would compare to any Olympic bobsled run. It was packed down and watered to give it a glare ice effect.

Roger was the first to try it, and I have to say he really flew down that thing. The rest of us finally got to go, and it was quite a trip to the bottom. If you wiped out on it you paid the price because there was no soft cushion of snow.

We enjoyed this sled track for about a week until one of the kids wiped out and another one of us hit him with the old Radio Flyer right in the cheek. He had a nasty gash, and I think he needed stitches.

Once the word spread through the neighborhood there was a ban put on the track by all the moms to protect their little angels from the dangers.

Once again the art of creating our own form of fun was dealt a blow by the keepers of little kids called moms.

I wonder how many times I heard those famous words, &uot;It’s for your own good.&uot; I’m sure I began to wonder how much fun it would be if it weren’t for my own good.

I believe that we always felt that things were a lot more fun when there was a little danger involved. I remember playing the game &uot;Stretch&uot; in the summertime. Looking back, I have to think that whoever came up with this game wasn’t hitting on all cylinders.

Give a boy with bare feet a lazy summer day, a pocket knife and a bet on who could beat who, and the fun would begin. I don’t think I stuck myself more than a couple times, but there were a lot of close calls. For every dangerous thing we would get caught doing there were probably 10 times as many things we got away with.

Once I got married and had kids of my own, I could hear myself saying a lot of the things that were said to me when I was growing up. I also remember hoping that they weren’t doing some of the &uot;fun&uot; things I did when I was their age.

To me, a light snow on a winter night has a cozy feel to it and it also makes me want to reflect on times and people that have become part of the past but can always be remembered in the present.

Speaking of the present, I guess it’s time to go shovel some of that &uot;cozy feeling.&uot; I think I’ll break out my trusty old scoop and have at it.