You’ll be happy to know that it was just my internet connection and not my computer. I told the Time Warner technician that he should go home and feel good about himself because he saved another human being’s life today. He responded with one of those uncomfortable smiles that say “I’m not sure if you’re serious or kidding, but I think it’s time to leave.” Now on with the story…..
With winter just about here, not that it ever really gets here in LA, but I always recall fond memories of winter when we were growing up. And by fond memories, I don’t mean shoveling, scraping ice off the windshield or watching asshole teenage boys hurl snowballs at cars. I’m talking about sledding!
The best place to go was the golf course, especially because there were great hills, no cars to deal with and there was plenty of room. But that meant a parent had to drive us there and that was rare. So, we usually went sledding in the alley on the next block of our street. The alley on our block was flat, but the next block’s alley was a big hill that led down to a back wall of a supermarket. I think it was a supermarket. So we would sled down to the bottom of the hill and usually crash into the wall, unless something stopped us.
There was one thing I remember that would stop us before we hit the wall. Close to the end of that block was where the DiGiuseppantonio family lived. Isn’t that a great last name? There’s so many words within that name, not to mention quite a challenge to spell. I always wondered if kids with long names have a harder time learning to spell their own name. Is that a dumb question?
Anyway, one of the kids went to school with my oldest sister, and another one went to school with my sister, Kris. One great thing about my neighborhood was that everyone knew each other and a lot of us played together no matter what the age difference was, and we always played in groups. Our neighborhood was riddled with kids.
Mr. DiGiuseppantonio had a special skill. He knew how to make wine and made it in his basement! Are you jealous? I was, considering what we had in our basement. When my dad was collecting money for the church, and he would go door-to-door, he would always make the DiGiuseppantonio’s house last on his stop because Mr. “D”, which is what a lot of kids called him to save time, would give my dad some of his homemade wine and he would get all buzzed up before he came home.
Back to the sledding
The hill on this alley was pretty steep and at the top of the alley, it broke off onto another alley with an even steeper hill (I crashed on my bike on that hill, that story later.)
Tons of neighborhood kids would have their sleds at the very top of the alley and fly as fast as we could down the hill, right past the DiGiuseppantonio’s house.
Well, Mr. D would dump his “unused” wine in the alley. I have a memory of him dragging (what I remember to be) a big barrel outside, tipping it over and all the red wine just spilling all over and running down the alley and collecting at the bottom. Well, why should some snow and a bunch of kids sledding keep him from getting rid of his wine? It didn’t. The wine would run into the snow, and keep in mind, it must have been a good amount of wine because it created a huge amount of red slush right at the bottom of the alley. So, when we would be flying down at crazy speeds, before we hit the wall, we’d sled right into the slush and it stopped us cold. Ride over! And none of us cared…neither did Mr. D. It was kind of gross because it was wet, red slush, but it’s funny how stuff like that doesn’t stop kids who are determined to have fun sledding. Just tons of kids sledding right into the slush, getting soaked with it, and going back up to the top and doing it again and again. Maybe he did it as a safety precaution since it kept us from hitting the wall. I mean, he could’ve waited a couple of days until it wasn’t good for sledding, right? But if that were me now, I’d be lapping up that slush like a cat drinking milk. It would be like a wine slurpee. Yum! But slush or no slush, everybody had fun.
I’m sure there are a lot of funny things about this that I’m leaving out, or not funny things like someone cracking their head on that wall. (If anyone remembers more, leave a comment)
Back to the wine in the basement. How lucky that is. I wonder if they referred to their basement as the “wine cellar” like we referred to our basement as “the morgue.” If you had to choose, which one would you want your basement to be?
I just realized I haven’t been sledding in years…what I would do to sled right into some red slush right now.
Have a great weekend !!