Improvised Entertainment

In my twenties I lived with my family at the top of a steep hill, roughly 400-500 feet long. Narrow street, cars parked both sides of the road, tight packed snow turning to ice on a 35 degree slope. Perfect.

Driven by nothing more than adrenalin, my friends Alan and Steve and I decided to stage our own Winter Olympics. We started with plastic sheeting as a communal vehicle, moving in ever faster circles, bouncing off cars with our heads and hands all the way to the bottom, pinball fashion. Ouch. It was funny if it was not YOUR head that hit.

The kids came out to see what the noise was. We were rolling around in tears of laughter. The kids naturally wanted some of this action, so they joined in with whatever they could find: Oil drum and garbage can lids, planks, grocery bags and chopping boards, washing up bowls…then the neighbours joined in. Their table was never the same again, but the legs gave some purchase and a semblance of steering, and it could hold four. By this time, there were more than a dozen of us and climbing. Neighbours from further down the hill were coming out of their houses and instead of getting angry, laughed and joined in with whatever they could grab. Winter wonderland. Magical.

My wife drew the line when I started dismantling the stove. I reasoned that the enamelled side panel would go faster than anything. While arguing and laughing about this, we turned in time to see Alan head down the hill on a three wheel kiddies tricycle. That was one of the bravest things I ever saw and one of the weirdest noises I ever heard… part laugh, part Ninja and part Gibbering Idiot. He somehow made the bottom of the hill and glided gracefully to a halt. A little stick Alan stood up, bowed, waved, turned, and went home. Pedalling. He brought it back the next day, which was good because the owner came looking for it. The bike was about 8 inches high. Alan is 6’2″

That was one of many, many good days.

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