It was a beautiful winter's day in Appleton, Wisconsin, this past Sunday, when Joleane Drasket got an email from her daughter's girl scout troop leader. Troop 2428 was meeting at Reid Golf Course at 10am for sledding and hot coco. Mrs. Drasket told her husband before he left for a three hour training ski at Iola Winter Park, nearly a one hour drive each way, that she was planning to take the girls sledding. Mr. Drasket thought that sounded like a lovely idea.
|Mr. Drasket on the ice rink before the emergency. Note wooden toboggan in background.|
Mrs. Drasket spent the morning hours, gayer than usual, excited at the prospect of an outing. After kissing her husband good-bye, wishing him a safe trip, cooking pancakes for the children, and cleaning the dishes, she spend some time checking email and reviewing her blog stats. At 9:55, she told the children to get into the van, they were going sledding! Hooray, the children shouted, and buckled in without any arguments.
Where are the sleds? Mrs. Drasket asked, opening the back of the van to find it empty. No one knew. She checked the front porch and the garage and the basement. Finally, the eldest son remembered. "Daddy used them to reinforce the banks on the ice rink!" Mrs. Drasket turned to the rink and narrowed her eyes. Oh that Mr. Drasket! That was weeks ago when there was almost no snow. Since then it had ice stormed and snowed and ice stormed and snowed over three feet deep.
Mrs. Drasket demanded her eldest show her where. They dug quickly. The car was running and low on gas. They dug down to ice until the son realized he had the wrong place. They tried again. This time, they found the old wooden toboggan. It was much longer than they remembered as they dug and dug. Though Mrs. Drasket was wearing her finest snow pants, the exertion caused the elastic to slide up over her boot tops. Snow was down her ankles, wetting her socks, as the two of them tugged at the toboggan that creaked under the strain. The hooking front section was bound in by ice. The son went to the garage to get the ice pick.
Oh you Mr. Drasket! Mrs. Drasket held her fists to the sky as sweat rolled down her sides, her heavy down jacket exhaling the stink of goose.
The toboggan's rope, frozen straight, whacked Mrs. Drasket across the face as her son gave the final tug that released it from the snow bank.
Regardless, Mrs. Drasket, with the lingering guilt of being a negligent girl scout parent, saw her one opportunity to regain some respect in the troop leader's eyes. Determined to arrive at the sledding hill prepared, she demanded they try to dig up one of the plastic sleds as well. The big orange sled was under the buckthorn, her son said. They dug and dug catching their jackets and gloves and ears on the bushes' thorns. Finally, they got down to the tarp. Where is it? Mrs. Drasket asked. "Daddy wrapped it under the plastic rink liner," said her son.
Oh you Mr. Drasket!
Why? Mrs. Drasket wondered, Why would a man use the children's sleds to reinforce the banks? And why would that same man wrap the sleds under the ice rink's plastic liner?
Mrs. Drasket spent the next half hour trying to dig up the orange sled to no avail. The girls were screaming at her to hurry. Fine. She would just bring the wooden toboggan. But the wooden toboggan, she had forgotten, is too big to fit into the van. It would have to be tied to the roof.
Oh you Mr. Drasket!
That night, when Mr. Drasket got home from his ski trip, relaxed and energized from his day of recreating, Mrs. Drasket calmly recounted the story of why they were late to sledding, why they only brought one sled with a frozen rope that the girls used exactly once. Mr. Drasket found nothing remarkable about the story. It was an emergency, he shrugged. Water was flooding out of the rink. "What else was I supposed to use?" he asked.
Mrs. Drasket could think of a thing or two.
|The children's favorite green sled. Unrecoverable until spring.|