Why am I obsessed with sledges, can you tell me?
I tried in vain to understand the whole story. In everyone’s life there are moments that count and significant others leaving their prints in memories, beliefs and feelings.
Maybe you can tell me what a sledge means for you. I can guess that each of you has a special story, a different story about sledges and I am sure that for each of you a sledge has a different meaning. This is my story.
I was raised in a house with a big courtyard and two gardens. The house and the streets nearby were on flat ground. Nonetheless my parents bought me a sled when I was little, a real sled with polished wood and green metallic tracks. This stirred my imagination and my need to ride that sled more often than my relatives were disposed to drag me around our house. I was little and our dog was big, so I tried to make it haul my sled. It was impossible to convince the dog to do that. I found refuge from my disappointment reading Andersen fairy tales about ice lands and children traveling in sledges driven by raindeers far from home.
When I was about twelve years old I went in the countryside one winter, where my grandparents had their house. There the road was sloping right before reaching home and maybe, I say maybe, I was playing with my sled there among other children. My memory is blank about this, blank as snow. I remember only the fact that my grandfather brought out from the old attic an old sled made of wood from head to tails, the sled that once carried my mother. I was so impressed and happy to see it tied with hand made ropes.
Then, one Sunday afternoon, a neighbor came to visit us with his horse driven sledge. It was also entirely made of wood. He was going with his wife to visit another friend of his in another village. And my grandparents let me go with them. That was my only sledge stroll in my whole life. We arrived at the destination and everything was so beautiful along the way. We returned late at night, but the driver was unfortunately drunk. His wife never took the harnesses in her hands before and she couldn’t do that then. She was listening to her husband’s demands. I must admit that I was scared. But in the same time all the road back was so beautiful, billions of stars were shining above and below in the snow. I felt a kind of ecstasy admiring everything in that cold starry night, when…the man began to argue with his wife. She was pestering him to pay more attention to the road. And he got angry. I was in the back seat, with my feet covered in woolen cloth. And he hit her a few times and I believed we were about to fall together in the snow because the road was descending. Yes, I was frightened after all that excitement about snow, stars and gliding so rapidly downwards. And I felt such pity for that woman…Thanks God we arrived home without any other accident.
Some people say that man is caught sometimes between hammer and anvil. Many situations in life are like that and one does not know what to choose…the least of evils like they say. I think that woman was then in such a situation and me the same. And I don’t remember what I did afterwards, did I tell what happened to my grandparents or not? All those blank pages in my memory are like snow where sledges continue to glide. Or life’s and neighbor’s sledgehammers continue to hit and flatten my emotions.
But even though I don’t know for sure why sledges still impress me so, I can say that that trip in the sledge was one of the most magical moments in my life. Maybe because of that I am still happy to listen to children carols about Santa Claus and his sledge. A part of my childhood is there, the best part of it, my dreams, my wishes, my disappointments and my first life lessons.