‘Rosebud!” That’s, of course, the final word uttered by Orson Welles as the dying Charles Foster Kane in the 1941 movie “Citizen Kane.” It wasn’t until the end of the movie that we learn Rosebud was Kane’s snow sled as a child.
Rosebud came to mind as I saw the children sledding at Swan Pond this past weekend, thanks to a new layer of snow. Glimpsing the sleds going down the hill, I realize that many of those children are second or third generation Riversiders partaking in the local winter fun.
Early sleds were similar to Rosebud, flat wooden affairs with metal runners, which, if they ran over you, could be very dangerous. They also had a rope to make it easier to pull the sled up the hill for another trip down. Kids would fly down the hill sitting up on the sled or lying flat, steering it as best they could.
Some who didn’t have sleds made makeshift ones out of cardboard, but the best was the disk sled made of plastic. It was easier to carry around, lighter and less expensive.
They didn’t last as long but they served the purpose and came in bright colors. Both sled types also worked on the toboggan run at Swan Pond, which was located across from the Presbyterian Church. It has been long gone and, for safety purposes, probably a good idea it was removed.
Sledding at Swan Pond provided a great outlet at just the right time. With everybody pent up in their homes, they needed to get out. Masks? They had scarves wrapped around their little faces they could hardly see. Social distancing was followed as well as it could be. The kids kept sledding until the snow wore off and showed a bare hill. But, Mother Nature sent a fresh blanket of the white stuff to keep the action continuing.
I also saw some cross-country skiers along the river — a great activity and you get to enjoy beautiful scenery as you plod along. It also was an activity that used to be very popular here years ago.
Well, I know we have an old sled on the shelf in the garage, somewhat like Rosebud, but I’m not dragging it down to try it. I’m content to watch the snow and the birds at the birdfeeders from inside.
It’s a good week to have a cup of cocoa or glass of wine and watch “Citizen Kane.” Now there’s a good Valentine idea! Stay warm and safe!