Winter brought lots of snow in Somerset County. It made the walk to school harder, but we didn't mind too much.
The part I didn't like about school was recess. I loved my books and learning new things and if I would have had my choice I would not have ventured outside of the schoolhouse all day. Ever since L.V. had started calling me an elf he and his friends carried on with it when ever they had a chance.
In a way I was very happy to have snow covering everything outside, because there were no grasshoppers and snakes available any longer to be chased by. They could move so much faster in the hand of one of the boys and the only safe place was the girls outhouse.
In another way the snow presented a new problem for me. Behind the schoolhouse there was a very long steep hill with a creek in the bottoms. Almost every recess everyone would run outside and get a feedbag that neighboring farmers had supplied for this purpose and slide down the hill on them. I used to stand at the top of the hill and watch the others go flying down, but the sheer size of the hill terrified me and there was no way I wanted to slide down.
Teacher Hannah was sure I would enjoy it too if I would only try it. I didn't want to disappoint her and she assured me if I didn't like it I wouldn't have to again. She helped me sit on the bag and told me to hold it firmly so it won't get away from me. I sat down and she let go of the bag. The sliding path was worn shiny and slick from the many bags and children that had already been sliding on it for days. The hill was steep enough that as soon as I started off I was flying and my speed only increased the further I went. Halfway down I somehow managed to get my hand between the bag and the snow but the ride was so dizzying fast I had no control of anything. Once I got to the bottom I saw that my mitten was worn through and the back of my hand was bleeding.
It took a long time to climb back up the hill. Once I got to the top Teacher Hannah looked at my hand and took me inside to bandage it. She never asked me to go sliding again and I never did. That was the first and only ride I ever took during all my school years.