Pat Shingleton: "Christmas Sledding, Blizzard Hall of Fame"
Acts of God, The Old Farmer’s Almanac compiled a list of events that were placed into The Blizzard Hall of Fame. On December 26, 1778, nine German mercenaries froze at their posts in Newport, Rhode Island that later became known as the Hessian Storm. As it struck southern New England, fifty people died in subzero temperatures that included an 18-inch snowfall. Offshore gales, associated with the storm, beached 28 vessels on Staten Island. The Blizzard Hall of Fame also recognized an event on December 26, 1947, when one of New York’s deepest snowfalls put 27 inches of new snow on the ground in Central Park in 24 hours. Twenty seven people died from the storm and snow removal costs rocketed to $8 million. Finally, The day after Christmas was a time to visit your buddies to see what "they got." Weather permitting, we also tested out the Flexible Flyers. It was rare if we didn't get a good dumping of snow around Christmas. The Sudano brothers were smoking cigarettes at the age of 8 and were also in charge of the bonfire, at the bottom of the sledding trail. The night before, "the hill" was watered down and as the temps dropped - ice formed. By morning, cars couldn't get up the icy mound but the sleds sure went down. The trail cut across Longview Drive, just to the left of Aunt Mae's house and ended in the woods with a series of homemade "jumps", as we went airborne. It ended not far from Nick and Tom's fire. In the fire was lunch that consisted of baked potatoes and apples, wrapped in aluminum foil.
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