Growing up, springtime was something we always looked forward to. Long days of trying to feed cattle in the bitter cold and digging sheep out of snow banks sure was getting old! It was exciting to find the first calf of the year had been born, or to help the first heifer to calve. We looked forward to all of the lambs that would be born because we knew that we would have to bum a few of them and in them find summer companions. The early rising and late setting sun really set the mood. Now the days would be long enough to fit in chores, school and much more fun time outside than we’d had all winter. The sun also helped to finally begin melting the mounds of snow we’d accumulated during the Wyoming winter.
Don’t get me wrong, having four older siblings during this time of the year really lent me out to be pranked. I remember one spring afternoon. We had been playing outside most of the day, but it was still chilly enough that mama made us wear light jackets. This afternoon was like many others, full of dares, big imaginations and at least a dabble of competition. My older sister decided we should have a “slushy contest.” Just in front of the house was a big pile of melting snow or “slush” as we called it. The game was that we’d all take off our shoes and stand in the slush. Whoever stayed in the slush the longest won, a pretty simple concept and little ol’ me was up to the challenge. Little did I know that they all were up to something too! We got into our assigned positions and the game began. Just about the time that our feet changed from tan, to red, to sky blue, my four older siblings burst into laughter and ran into the house locking the door behind them! Alright, go ahead and laugh, it was a good joke anyway and I’m glad to say I didn’t lose any toes over the ordeal.
There’s something else that made those spring days very special. The snow would melt and start to form miniature rivers into all of the hillsides. We knew it was sailboat time. We’d get a two by four and cut it into chunks of all different sizes. We’d hammer a nail right into the middle and on the top of the nail we’d make a sale, usually out of an old rag or something that my mom could spare. Gosh those days were fun. We’d put our boats in as far upstream as we could go, and chase them as they took off on their journeys.
Now those are just fond memories but someday I hope my kids have a deep appreciation for slushy season, just like we did.