A few years ago while shopping at the "digs" I came across this toboggan. It was a nice summer day, and immediately as I walked in the store there it was, standing right in front of me. I paused for a split second wondering where and when I was, and most importantly, who in their right mind gave this up? I mean seriously, who gets rid of a toboggan?! - even in July. Certainly no one I know. Oh, I know I live in Texas, and Texas is certainly not known for its snow fall, but I instantly imagined all the fun that could be had if it ever did snow! I didn't think twice. I happily laid down the cash, lugged it to my car, and loaded it up, all while reminiscing about my childhood winters up in North Dakota careening down the hills at Lincoln Park.
Believe it or not, the next winter it did snow here in Texas. It started just as students were arriving at school. Teachers began taking their students outside to enjoy the experience. I asked my principal if I could run home for a minute; she granted permission. I came back with my toboggan in tow. I gave many rides that day to kids, and even a few adults, who'd never seen a real sled before, let alone ever ridden on one. The smiles on their faces and their delight in the ride was priceless. It snowed again the following year giving us an official "snow day." My husband and I, both teachers, spent that whole morning making runs down the hillside of the middle school ball field until we were wet, cold, and totally exhausted.
Best. Day. Ever.
I've picked up a couple additional sleds on my junking outings. I can't seem to pass them up. I've had too many fabulous experiences with them to leave them behind; they've got to be rescued.
When the next Texas snowfall hits, I'll be ready.
During the year, the sleds stand in a corner of our family room. Perhaps it's a little unconventional, but they make me happy, so they're staying.
Now that the Christmas season is upon us, the sleds have made their way outside, serving as holiday decor for the front entrance of our home. The toboggan and runner sled stand dutifully in front of a pillar near the front porch meeting guests with a warm holiday welcome.
The Flexible Flyer sits upon the old trunk on our front porch with a pair of ice skates I picked up last month at The Settlement Home's Citywide Garage Sale.
Upon entering through the front door, guests are greeted by another of my junk treasures dressed in it's own holiday splendor.
When I'm junking or thrifting I keep my eyes peeled and my heart open for pieces that elicit a strong emotional response when I come upon them - nostalgia, memories of joyful experiences, childhood, warmth and comfort, the feeling of Christmas even in the middle of a Texas summer. That's when I know I've come upon something truly special.
"...May your days be merry and bright.
And may all your Christmases be white."
All photographs taken by Paulette Rodriguez.