Most of those moments had to do with rivers, motorcycles, or horses, and one was a bottle rocket that left rays of black powder in the shape of a star around my eye. And I am not even especially daring.
My children will have their own near-death experiences to survive. Here is one to add to their growing list. It involves a runner sled, an icy road and a cattle guard.
First, let me introduce you to the main component to this story, the Flexible Flier.
For those of you who have never experienced a ride on a Flexible Flyer, I pity you.
There is nothing quite like the sound of the runners cutting through the snow, the wind whistling in your ears, the hard-packed road flying by just inches below your face. The Dyrengs have used these runner sleds for years, getting the most out of each run by layering the riders on like pancakes, two and three bodies high, multiplying the thrills and the spills.
We took our kids to a favorite Manti sledding hill called Dump Hill Road--a long, snow-packed road, that can propel runner sleds to thrilling speeds for a luxuriously long distance.
We tried a lower section of the road and decided it was too fast, so we took everyone further up to a "safer" spot. Sophie and her older cousin Whitney were the first to test the new section of road. They piled on top of each other and started on the first (and last) run of the day. In no time the sled was flying down the road at an Olympic clip.
The sledding gods had been at work on this road. It was slicker and faster than any time in Dyreng memory. Once your sled was on its way you were committed and to bail would be suicide. With a deep rocky ditch on one side of the road and a steel-poled wire fence on the other, the only hope for survival was to say your prayers and hold on. It was down the middle or die. With a growing feeling of doom Scott and I watched from the bottom of the hill as the girls' sled streaked towards us like a rocket. This would not end well. It was clear nothing could stop them.
Nothing, that is, except this:
Now, sleds can safely pass over cattle guards. (We are adventurous parents, not stupid ones.) But just before they crossed the cattle guard something went wrong. The sled took a sharp turn to the right and instead of going over the top they went into the side of the cattle guard. Right here:
Well, they stopped.
Sophie staggered to her feet, clutching her face. Whitney did not stand at all but lay in the snow, moaning.
They were quickly transported home. Both received facial abrasians, Sophie got a black eye and Whitney now sports a bruise the size of a softball on her arm and another bruise on her thigh the size of a loaf of french bread.
|First smiles after the crash|
|two days after crash|
|three days after crash|
Great stories are made from taking great risks. This one has already become legend. Ironically Sophie and Whitney were two cousins that were spared from being in the hugely traumatic go-cart crash this summer. Now they can say they have their own story.Whitney and Sophie did not have to go down that hill that day. They could have stayed inside and played games on the computer.
But then they would not be able say they rode The Fastest Sled In the World.
Later I asked Sophie if she felt like she was going too fast before they crashed. "No," she grinned. "It was just right."