Family life · Local

Only in New Hampshire…

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Olivia Nestor, DJ Watson, Greta and Carver Krill (Thank you to my student Abbie Sawyer for providing Carver’s dreadlocks and neighbor Seth for his belt- this kid has a powerful desire to accessorize…gets that from his father)

Only in New Hampshire (or perhaps this does occur in other wintery states- and if it does please comment) do we put children and toddlers in cardboard boxes, decorated and duck taped, and shoot them down an ice luge in front of cheering parents and spectators.  There is a groomed luge “for safety” to keep the boxes on an actual pathway, hopefully not to destruction.  It’s always one of the coldest nights of the year, and last night was no exception.  Generally, anywhere from 30-100 children participate, ranging from 2 to 45 years of age in my estimate.  Our kids do this not once but twice a winter (once with local friends at the Kanc and then again at the end of ski season at Loon Mountain with their seasonal program), but it’s okay because they are wearing helmets.  This event at the Kanc took place last night, and we represented the Jamaican Bobsled Team, although our sled holds 4, average age is 5.5 and only one is actually Jamaican.  Last year, our sled self destructed on the way down leaving our four competitors to run down an icy slope to cross the finish line.  Our kids don’t know that they give out awards at the end because it’s always so damn cold and someone is usually crying so we leave immediately after the race finishes.  My personal favorite entries this year were a giant box of French fries lying down entitled Fast Food; a giant Darth Vader sled that moved gracefully down the slope; the dad and his little girl in a little cardboard row boat; and Greta’s buddy Phoenix’s tiny little construction vehicle which was about 2 feet by 1 foot- tiny just like him.  Greta pushed him around in it for a solid 20 minutes before the race began because that’s what friends do for each other.  Kudos to the Martin and Haynes families for always raising the bar!

Three of the four kids in our box have huge separation anxiety following the race because they know it means the box will be burned in a giant bonfire.  They love their box and don’t want to see it go up in flames.  “Please, Mom,” they beg as we drag it over to Dave Dovholuk (aforementioned Kanc local legend) “don’t burn our sled,” tears streaming down cold faces and red cheeks. Michelle, Olivia’s mom (of the Gospel According to Olivia claim to fame), came up with the brilliant idea to tell them that is the only way you can enter the race again next year is by “recycling” the box.  Carver and Greta found comfort in knowing that this box, constructed in our living room first with help from DJ’s mom Francine, and then spray painted during a snow squall at 18 degrees in our front yard,  and transported to the Kanc by Olivia’s dad Matt because he owns a truck, and then adorned with Jamaican flags upon arrival by DJ’s dad, also from Jamaican thereby solidifying our authenticity, would be returned to Mother Earth, sort of like our Christmas tree when they get sad about taking her down.   Each kid signed their name and age, and I forgot to take a picture.  Oops.  Teaching the kids about Jamaica and showing them the tiny island on the map yesterday via Google was fun too, and we talked about the amazing real Jamaican Bob Sled team and wondered aloud when we could show them the movie.  Carver connected that film with a current one he really wants to see named “Eddie the Eagle.”  We Krills are all suckers for a good underdog sports film no matter what age or decade or parental rating…

The cardboard box race is awesome because some of the kids go alone, which I admire, and then some travel down with their entire extended families in one giant sled; some travel with an older cousin or parent because part of them is a little afraid but they want to go anyway; some go really fast, and we parents watch in horror wondering if they will come out unscathed or forever horrified and never want to participate again.  Currently, our kids have no fear about shooting down an ice luge.  They like to ski fast so this cardboard sledding is only natural.  They see other kids’ creativity like Carver’s buddies Hazel and Brianna who built a boat and then covered it in white paper and colored the entire thing; it even had windows and streamers and was called Stardust or something to that effect.

They woke up this morning  at 5:30 still talking about it, and why the Kanc didn’t give out any awards again– that their sled must have been the fastest (and it wasn’t– didn’t even come close).  Perhaps next year, we will stay for that part, and it will be a balmy 40 degrees and no one will be crying at the end or feel sad about the box going to cardboard heaven.

The summer version of this topic “Only in New Hampshire” will take place in July after we make our annual pilgrimage one mile down the road to one of our favorite places in the world Clark’s Trading Post to visit Clark’s trained bears.  Here, we will take a train ride and the Wolf Man, half dressed and driving a scary vehicle, will pretend to shoot at our train car, filled with children, pregnant women, and old people.  If that isn’t a little piece of Americana, I’m not sure what is.  Thank you, Kanc Recreation Area, for another night of memories, and Clark’s Trading Post– see you in the spring!  Only in New Hampshire…

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