by Mitch Lee
My eight-year-old brain worked so much different than my brain does today. Back in 1974 it really wasn’t all about mischief, catastrophe, misconduct, and devilish behavior.
It was more about playfulness, misfortune, and inquisitiveness.
I often looked at my world and found a new use for a mundane tool or item that somehow resulted in near atrocity, sabotage, and mild injury.
One late November day we received a good eleven inches of thick, heavy, wet snow.
The ground was not completely frozen yet and the snow underfoot felt squishy.
While standing in front of the garage, I surveyed the possible uses of this type of snow.
I noticed that my bike was not yet hung from the spikes my father pounded into the rafters to separate the summer stuff from the stuff we would use in the winter.
And this is when mischief, inquisitiveness, and thoughts of possible injury flashed in and out of my brain.
My dog Mutt was busy rolling in the snow and scooting along on her side to scratch an unreachable itch.
The snow was spongy beneath her and bubbled out like toothpaste.
I began to wonder what it would look like if my front bike tire tore through it.
I sat for a moment astride the seat at the opening of the garage, then plunged out with both of my boot-covered feet pedalling for all I was worth.
I looked down and saw that the snow had been eaten and destroyed by the hard rubber, creating a two-foot-tall spray in both directions like the bow of a motorboat.
Then I looked over my shoulders to see if I was making a good wake, and BAM, before I knew it I was spinning, sliding, and skidding on my side, then my back.
I came to a halt when the snow had invaded every opening in my clothing.
As I looked back behind me I could see I had only traveled thirty feet in an upright position and another seven or so wrapped in the devilment of that bike.
Mutt chomped at the snow and bounded around me as if she was begging me to do it all over again.
Not letting a small misfortune such as this deter me, I up righted my steed and pushed myself back to the garage for another go.
My left boot was so filled with mushy snow that I pulled it off and hopped on one foot for a bit.
I could feel the wetness against my heel when I popped my foot back in and boarded my bike for another run.
I thought I would try for more speed this time so I pointed my bike towards the portion of the driveway that went slightly downhill to Limekiln Lake.
Courage was not a word I would have used to describe that fateful run. It was more like tackling the unknown.
As I exited the driveway and rushed down the unplowed roadway I sensed danger.
My speed was much too fast to gain any sort of control.
Mutt tried her hardest to keep up with the pace so she could witness the final evil spill.
They say when these types of things happen, they are in slow motion. But that trip ended so fast I had no time to even be surprised.
My body, the bike, and that loose boot came to a twirling crash in a snow-filled ditch.
I had ended the 1974 snow biking season with an award-winning crown of snow.
Mitch Lee, Adirondack native & storyteller,
lives at Inlet. firstname.lastname@example.org