Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When the Snows Were a Pleasure

Sunday Morning Observer, December 30, 1917

The snows that came to blanket the earth a week ago and the cold weather that followed to harden the crust of Old Mother Earth and make the roads an even pathway that created a certain pleasure to traverse them, brought to mind the days of ye olden time in and about Marietta, the good old days, a time which, looking back, seems far away in the misty past when a fall of snow such as that of the other day would have completely filled the bill of winter delights.

There are a few of us still who can recall the sleighing carnivals when streets and roadways were not so encumbered with trolley tracks, and paved streets had not yet come to mar the pleasures of a real sleigh ride. The sport was fast and furious all day and well after the cold, gray shades of night had settled down, and there were many who were loathe to give it up even then.

There were trotters in those days that were snow horses and there were quite a number of horsemen and horse enthusiasts who spent many a pleasant hour behind the prancing steed. Lovers joined in the merry throng and the livery stable keepers reaped a harvest in the sleighing season. If the sleighs were not engaged in advance, there were none to be had for days.

A big bus-sleigh was owned by Reckard's livery, and this was used to carry parties to and from dances that were held at places throughout the country. The wheels were taken from wagons and "bobs" put under and in these a hay wagon picnic was put to shame.

Everywhere it was jingle, jingle, jingle; there was a steady stream of sleighs leaving the city; business men took a half holiday, for sleighing did not come so frequently that it could be neglected when it did come. Nearly every man who drove a sleigh had one of the fairer half of humanity, either his wife or sweetheart, by his side. In almost all cases the females were models of gentle grace and loveliness. The solitary jingle of bells could be heard in the most out of the way parts of the town, like the rippling of small brooks in lonely fields, and hastening to join the jingling river of bells, rushing on through all the avenues and out upon the highways. 

Sleighs could be counted by the hundreds, and from parents to infants there was the rejoicing and merriment that sleighing always brings in its train. The roadways furnished pompous equipage indeed, whips fluttering with rainbow-hued ribbons, gorgeous lap-robes, streaming and glossy manes, switching tails, huge overcoats, fur caps, sealskin sacques, blushing cheeks and sparkling eyes, little clinging gloved hands, the whole bright procession stretched on and out of the city, and the air danced again with wild sweet music of the bells.

The man with the best horse was the best man on the road in those days. The hard-working artists behind the roadhouse bar put unusual care into the mixing of the cocktails; the ladies sipping lemonade behind the portieres. There was bliss in the snow in the olden days.

No comments: