The snow of ’88 was the one that everybody remembers. Nixxon and I had cheap, roll-up plastic sleds that endlessly recoiled like a sadistic Chinese poster trick. They took three arms and four legs to spread, but once at, they would shoot off down the slightest incline like water off a duck’s ass. Then, snow in the south seemed to make everything slide around. As soon as an inch of snow accumulated people would start doing silly things like driving their cars into trees and calling off school for a month. All of this would be quickly followed by a stampede to the local grocery store to clear out every loaf of bread or gallon of milk in sight. I would imagine there are still old bread and milk stocks petrified in root cellars and bomb shelters all over the southern regions of the USA.

We lived on 21 acres of land on the west side of Lavonia. It was always known as ‘the 21 acres’ because even after my old man had dug a well, built a couple of barns, and amended the trailer, it was always thought of as a temporary home site for the family. The tract was made of two main sections: as you came in off the access road there was a large field that terraced down to a meadow in the bottoms by a creek. The terraces were long, gradual breaks in the gentle slope of the hill. They probably spread 30 feet wide apiece, at least 3 good passes on a tractor when tilling. As you made way further up the road towards the trailer, you passed through another gate that entered into the back field. It was the same as the front field; only the slope of the hill was doubly steep, with much smaller terraces.

The back field held a few pieces of family lore that had developed over the short time we’d lived there. The first was when we discovered that there was on old well about halfway down the hill from the trailer. One of our heifers, named Skunk (she was a black Angus with a white stripe running down her spine), fell in the well while rambling down to the creek. She tumbled in sideways leaving her stuck with her head nearly touching her

back haunch, curled up like a Pringle in a can. My old man had to climb down in the well on top of her to wrap her with strapping and lift her out with the front-end loader of the tractor. We all joked that ol’ Skunk could only walk in circles from there on out.

The other episode mentioned was when my brother and I decided to take my old man’s Dodge on a roller coaster ride down the hill. My granny Teasley was visiting the farm and daddy was showing her around. We stopped at the top of the hill to take in the scenery of the creek and the pines below the big hill. Granny got out of the truck and my old man began walking down the hill to have a look at something, when Nixxon (who was maybe 3 or 4 at the time) accidentally knocked the truck out of gear and into neutral. The truck slowly began to roll forward, inching toward the lip of the first terrace. Granny caught us in the corner of her eye before Nixxon and I even knew what was happening. By the time my old man turned around, we were headed full-steam towards him with Granny cawing like a crow. Granny was shaped like a crabapple, and given her wholesome stature I couldn’t make out if she was running or rolling, but she was moving quicker than I’d ever imagined possible. Daddy started yelling at me to push the brake, but the truck was picking up speed and I couldn’t gather my wits in all the confusion. As we bumped and bounced down the terraces I clambered down to the floorboard and told Nixxon to grab the wheel. Nixxon was able to steady the truck fairly well given the circumstances, but I couldn’t push the break hard enough to slow the truck down. Keep in mind, this was an early 80’s Dodge pickup, everything about the truck was hard. A truck was made for men and wouldn’t allow for weak legs to push the brakes or scrawny arms to turn the wheel. By now the truck was nearing the bottoms and we wouldn’t have a far stretch before she would run off the bank and crash into the creek, most likely seriously injuring Nixxon and I, and certainly pissing my old man off (which may also result in seriously injuring Nixxon and I).

Now Daddy was screaming,

‘Bud!!! Push the goddamned brakes!!’

I thought I’d better figure out how to do this one way or the other, so I quickly turned myself around so that my neck was pressed against the sticky, vinyl seat under the steering wheel and pushed with both of my feet on the hard pedal that should’ve been pushed by a man’s foot. I can still feel the slightly spongy give of the pedal under my feet as ripples of power pulsed, threatening to not let up. It was like closing the cage door on an angry bear, while it lashed back trying to make a break for freedom. I pressed until my toes were hot and the muscles in my neck burned. The brake finally softened out as the rear end of the Dodge slid around on the dry grass just as we reached the creek’s bank. This would be a day that my brother and I would remember far on down the road. This was the day that little Nixxon “drove” the truck down the hill taking Granny on a ride and giving the old man something to talk about for the rest of the week.

As we peeled our plastic sleds at and prepared to race down the terraces of the back hill, these thoughts of the big Dodge were etched into our minds. It had only been a year or so ago when we’d had our wild ride. We shot off, barrelling down the terraces and catching air between each one that ended in a wind-choked thud. The ride ended with sliding the rear end of the sled around narrowly avoiding tipping off the embankment and down into the creek, much like previous episodes under much different circumstances. It came close a few times, but Nixxon and I weren’t scared of sleds, we’d tamed a big brown bear down that hill.

After an endless, two-minute hell ride down the hill, the long slog back up made it less and less worth it each time. We’d last the better part of half an hour before calling it a day and making way back home. The spoils for such a tour were not only the warmth of the trailer, a fresh pair of soft cotton socks, and possibly some Swiss Miss hot chocolate with the little marshmallows that you have to eat as quickly as possible before they disintegrate, but a redneck delicacy that may only come once every three or so years in Georgia. Snow ice cream was the gastronomic celebration of making a mixture of milk, sugar, and imitation vanilla flavoring, and then sprinkling it atop a mound of fresh Georgia snow from the field. Of course you basically had to eat it outside, or it would melt too quickly to savour this rare delight. Just as well, it was all part of the experience. The Swiss may have their gluhwein as they stare out across the Alps, but here in northeast Georgia we had our snow ice cream as we looked down on the sled-torn terraces of the twenty one acres.

Thinking back on this tradition, it was as important as a snowman, sledding, or snowball fights. Snow wasn’t snow until you had a hunk of it in a styrofoam bowl, smelling of fake vanilla, and being shoveled into your mouth with a plastic spoon. Nowadays you’d probably catch a funny look if you were caught gobbing down scoops of snow from the ground. I look back on these times and savour them like the last slurps of melted, milky goodness. Hoping that children will continue to get themselves into trouble, make magic out of the mundane, and relish the simplest of pleasures before the noise confuses the senses.

By William Teasley

Dearest reader! Our newsletter!

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest content, freebies, news and competition updates, right to your inbox. From the oldest literary periodical in the UK.

You can unsubscribe any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or directly on Find our privacy policies and terms of use at the bottom of our website.