GET-UP-‘N-GO SKIERS WERE SO INCLINED

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Skijourning at Island Park, photo by Ley Bouchard

-by Orv Alveshere-


AWAITING HIGH SPIRITED DOWNHILL SKI PARTY GOERS
The torrid, dusty ‘30’s made hay and grain growing very poor.
The spirits of country folk sank, groceries and seed grain were not paid for.
For encouragement they gathered at holidays and played baseball games.
There were church functions and free events to ignore likely foreclosure claims.
They told of neighbors helping neighbors, bartering and donations;
Anything to help the community avoid financial devastations.
Except at horse races, they pulled together, as things went down hill.
Yet they awaited the pleasure of snowfall so they could ski down Crown Hill.


ELATION OVER SKIING DOWN THE ELEVATION
That hill was only a mile from town and had a desired incline.
Crown Hill had sloped ascent, slightly higher than the rest, and nice design.
Their favorite hill was dwarfed by the nearby, mile-square, high buttes;
Which were impossible for human climbs, with snow. They chose alternate routes.
They had lofty plans to view those rolling hills from that elevation.
On my parents land stood old Crown Hill that held their fascination.
All lovingly looked at their primitive skis. Everything else had gone down hill.
But skiing was an exciting diversion down that snow bound hill.

OVER THE HILL GANG, NOT ON THE LEVEL
Following prolonged shortage of rain and soil moisture, they prayed for snow.
Yes, you heard right, wanting snow! That may sound strange, they wanted crops to grow.
They wanted hay to mow, they wanted water to pump from their wells.
They’d nearly gone broke from years of dry spells. Also they loved the jingle bells.
Fluffy white snow brought Christmas cheer and celebrations of the season.
Struggling to pay for their land, wanting moisture was a rational reason.
As snowflakes arrived they talked excitedly of skiing down that round hill.
One flippantly quipped, “That’s the only way I want to go down hill.”

CRASH LANDINGS AND TAKING PLUNGES JUST FOR FUN
Mom told of heating 16 quarts of hot chocolate as a warm-up treat.
Most came for recreation and diversion, while some came to compete.
Dad spoke of teams of horses pulling bob-sleds, cutters and bobbed-sleighs.
The snow was deep so the only wheels were on cars that got stuck in the drive way.
Some walked, some rode ponies, there were Belgians, Percherons and a dapple gray.
Well-trained teams, green broke nags, some brought feedbags and dry hay.
Cars had skis tied with twine on roof tops or trunks, heading for that round hill.
Some skis poked through open car windows. Friends were wishing to ski down hill.

CACOPHONOUS LAUGHTER, ABUNDANT MERRIMENT, HIGH LIFE
Most skis were made from straight pine boards sawed to a point, then cooked and bent.
Others brought sleds, toboggans, planning to slide to their heart’s content.
That ski event was planned to include moonlight, Sunday and a warm breeze.
They zipped down the slope slightly crouching for balance by bending their knees.
Narrow sled runners sank in the deep snow. They were a no-go. Competition,
Some dares and double-dares were heard, not the time for inhibition.
Inexperienced youth tried skiing on a nearby or snow bound mound hill,
While expert skiers boasted, then zipped down elevated slopes, down hill.

SILHOUETTES BY THE LIGHT OF SILVERY MOON
Some children were housebound, warming themselves by the kitchen wood stove.
I was bundled in a wooden slat bushel basket in a corner alcove.
My three-year-old sister protected as they tried to poke open my infant eyes.
Outdoors they saw silhouettes of shouldered skis under the moonlit skies.
They talked of high-tailing and racing home, ‘though exhausted by uphill climbs.
One built a ski jump with a snow-packed hump so he could ski down more times.
By the light of lanterns and oil lamps, they served cocoa, near Crown Hill.
They were planning the next neighborhood social gathering, to ski down hill.

PERKY WHISTLERS AND SINGERS WITH ELEVATED MOODS
MOONGLOW LIGHTING THEIR WAY HOME/VIGOROUS GLIDE
Several rosy cheeked youth weaved through the crowd of adults to warm hands.
More snow-angels and snow forts were built on a day without reprimands.
Frolicsome and sportive adults and youth tried new sports and tumbled down.
Heightened excitement on a fun packed day, they worked their way UP to HIGH ground.
Invigorated by cool night air, perky crews redefined ‘slippery slopes’.
Patient horses helped start balky cars, pulled them with chains or ropes.
Goodbye to days gone by, where the neighborhood gathered to ski down hill.
Now, to blow away flies, cow herds are the only feet to climb Crown Hill.

© Copyright 2008 all rights reserved by Orv Alveshere.

Orv Alveshere, an award-winning writer of humorous cowboy poetry and stories, “grew up hanging on a horse.” He writes about his lifetime of adventures.

Orv’s Cowboy Poetry tells of the days of life on the ranch in Midwest America when horses were used for transportation, field work, Sunday-go-to-meetings, and more. Read cowboy poetry from our beloved Orv Alveshere who recalls the days and memories from his past growing up farming on the prairies of North Dakota. Revel in the glory days of the true cowboy. Take steps back into the history of rural farm life, when horses were the centerpiece of the ranch and instrumental in the survival of the families that built America.