My favorite winter memory is from when I was just a young lad hanging out with my favorite cousin, Benjamin. Ben had a really good sledding hill in his backyard, and we would spend hours climbing up the hill and going back down on our sleds. We would even build jumps at the bottom to make the ride even more exciting.
One particular time we did this, we had made the snow jump as high as we could build it. We also started up higher on the hill to ensure maximum speed. We luged a perfect path, making it easier to hit the jump. Ben volunteered to go first. He started out on his stomach on the sled, going head-first down the slope. I gave him a push to get his momentum going, and he flew down the hill. As he came upon our pre-made jump, he launched up into the sky and lost all grip of the sled. He and the sled plummeted back to the ground. I watched from the top of the hill as he fell and landed in a belly flop in the hard packed snow. I rushed down to the bottom of the hill to congratulate him on his fantastic jump, but soon found that he couldn’t speak due to the wind being knocked out of him.
Once Ben had recovered his breath, we went back inside. His house was warm and cozy, just like the picture above. His mom made us cups of hot cocoa with little marshmallows on the top. We sat in front of the fire to warm ourselves up. She asked us how our sledding went, and we both chose to keep quiet about Ben’s massive jump. That story, to this day, remains between the two of us.