Christmas WITHOUT Snow

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Pensecola, Florida, Seville Historic District

Christmas in my south Georgia and north Florida hometowns, like the rest of the deep South, is rarely white. The cold stuff, when it deigns to make an appearance, often arrives as sleet. It is sometimes pretty to look at, but always a real pain with downed power lines and roads blocked by fallen timber.  But just because we don’t get much snow doesn’t mean we have a less merry Christmas. Instead of ice skating and sledding, we make other kinds of fun.

One of the most exhilarating holidays occurred when I was a senior in high school. At this point, I am about to reveal my age, which causes me some angst, but my wise stepmother always  advises that I consider the alternative. Enough said.

1950-rollerskate-trucksDuring those long ago holidays, a new craze hit my little Florida hometown, 85 miles inland from any salt water. It required fearlessness, grit, determination, and a dad with a good set of tools. If you owned a pair of old style strap on roller skates and a couple of boards, then you and a friend were in business. I had the skates and my friend’s dad had the tools and boards. Some strategic cutting and a few screws produced a toy that could not be bought in stores at the time: a sidewalk surfboard. We took our new rides to the hilliest residential street in town and spent a beautiful, sunny Christmas Break collecting memories, skinned knees, and the admonitions of the occasional adult forced to dodge kids flying downhill on crude rolling boards that had no directional control. It was GREAT fun!

Skateboards-made-from-old-roller-skates.

Homemade skateboards made from roller skates and wood.

The skateboard craze traveled from California to the Atlantic spread by word-of-mouth and songs on the radio. The Beach Boys had put surfing into the vocabularies of every American teen with hits like Surfer Girl and Surfing’ USA. Kids on all three coasts bought boards and rode the waves. Jan and Dean took the craze to the streets with Sidewalk Surfing’. The lyrics follow.

Grab your board and go sidewalk surfin’ with me

Don’t be afraid to try the newest sport around
It’s catching on in every city and town
You can do the tricks the surfers do
Just try a Quasimodo or the Coffin too
Grab your board and go sidewalk surfin’ with me

You’ll probably wipeout when you first try to shoot the curve
Taking gas in a bush takes a lot of nerve
Those hopscotch poledads and pedestrians too will bug you
Shout “Cowabunga” now and skate right on through
Grab your board and go sidewalk surfin’ with me

You can do the tricks the surfers do
Just try a Quasimodo or the Coffin too
Grab your board and go sidewalk surfin’ with me

So get your girl and take her tandem down the street
Then she’ll know you’re an asphalt athlete
A downhill grade, man, will give you a kick
But if the sidewalk’s cracked, you better pull out quick
Grab your board and go sidewalk surfin’ with me
Skateboard with me, why don’t you skateboard me?
Grab your board and go sidewalk surfin’ with me
Skateboard with me, why don’t you skateboard me?

Release date: September 1964

 

snow dec 8 2017

I began writing this post on December 5. It is now December 8 and Mother Nature has made a complete liar of me! What is rarer than a perfect, fault free diamond or winning the lottery? Two inches of snow in Houston, Texas!!! Of course, it could be 80 degrees F on Christmas Day! Welcome to the Texas Gulf Coast!

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