I set these words down during this year’s first snowfall in my area. I
went out into it and sure enough, there was that magical cushioned-quiet
as the falling snowflakes surrounded me, by the thousands, by as far as my
eyes could see.
When I see snow, I think of Flexible Flyers sleds, snow forts, tunnels
in the snow, snow angels, but, most of all, those Flexible Flyers.
According to Wikipedia, “Samuel Leeds Allen patented the Flexible
Flyer in 1889  in Cinnaminson, New Jersey using local children and adults
to test prototypes.  Allen’s company flourished by selling these speedy and
yet controllable sleds at a time when others were still producing toboggans
and “gooseneck” sleds. “
In our neighborhood we had Van Buren Street, named after Martin
Van Buren (1837-1841), the eighth President of the United States. We
figured Van Buren had to be a great president because his street was the
longest and steepest hill around! Top to bottom was 160-yards of pure,
uninterrupted (no cross streets) downhill stretch of sledding.
(Note to reader: You stretch no truth if you’re thinking, “Sounds like
sledding heaven!” You’re right. It was.)
I had a Flexible Flyer and my bar of soap. Any sleigh-rider worth his
or her salt knows, you rub the bar of soap up and down the runner blades
and, well, sledding downhill on Van Buren was as close as I ever got to
flying without leaving the ground.