July 16 06:44 PM

Recalling the old ski slope at Sand Hill

March 03, 2010
Have you been hooked on the Winter Olympics? I have, sort of. The downhill skiing especially. I get all excited, my heart races and I am all tired out. I make all bedtime preparations except dragging Daisy's bed into the bedroom, then drag myself into bed when it is over.

Way back when, I wanted a pair of skis. My father fashioned a pair out of barrel staves for me. I was telling Alan about them and said I wondered if they got the idea for snowboards from barrel staves. He answered rather chucklingly that he doubted if they even knew what barrel staves were. Goodness sakes! Cider barrels, rain barrels, a barrel to keep the horses' oats in, a barrel for hard cider (not in my Daddy's basement, except he did tell of his brother Roy and he sneaking a barrel of it in his father's basement but my Mama done tol' him, not in her basement!)

Back to my skis. Christmas of 1933 found a pair of skis for me under the Christmas tree. Wow! They were chosen out of the Montgomery Ward catalog and came by train to Imlay City. No bindings back then, just a strap around my galoshes, a piece of paraffin in my pocket to wax the bottoms and I was off to Sand Hill with my neighbors and friends from town who sometimes walked the distance or were lucky enough to hitch a pull behind a farmer's sleigh full of grist from King's Mill.

We would trudge up the hill, skis over our shoulders, glide down and then trudge back up. Remember Kenny Mosher who worked in the bank? One time he complimented me on my a little high school girl and he was the pride of Almont??? Wow! Talk about a swollen head!

My precious skis are enjoying retirement. Grandson Curt Willing asked if he could have them to decorate their dreamed of cabin or cottage. In the meantime they are carefully cared for by his mother, Carol.

A week ago today I had a Valentine's party for four of my great-grandchildren, Jordan and Taylor Lampton and Jager and Tanner Land who live close by. What fun! It is always too quiet when they leave. I am thankful to Paula Alfonsi for my doggie companion Daisy. She talks to me with her tail and those pretty brown eyes.

—Country Cousin

P.S. Applause, applause to Almont DDA Director Nancy Boxey, teacher Michelle Pascal and the young artists who decided to brighten up the vacant storefront in Almont with their artwork. It brightens the four corners of my hometown, but how I wish for merchants to once again take over. Remember when all our needs, from a pair of shoes to yard goods and groceries, were met right up and down Main Street? I sure do enjoy the hometown feelin' of shopping at the Country Corner.

Gertie Brooks is a lifelong Almont area resident. A 'farm girl,' Gertie is the premier historian for the Almont area, and frequently offers her memories and first-hand accounts in her 'Country Cousin' columns.
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