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Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017

Picturing the Past 95: A one-horse open sleigh

Posted Tuesday, January 11, 2011, at 12:58 PM

Keith Johnson on a sleigh with Bullet, a Gypsy Vanner horse. (Photo submitted)
This photo, which ran on our print edition's front page today, deserves further comment. A group of Fairfield Pike friends spend Monday on the sleigh, which is owned by the Cartwright family and was supplied by Keith and Suzy Johnson. Bullet, a champion imported Gypsy Vanner horse, was supplied by June Villa of Villa Vanners.

It's a current photo (sent to us by sports writer Gary Johnson; I'm not sure who made it) but brings back a feel of the old days.

I imagine quite a few of you have memories of sleigh rides, sledding down hills, sliding down hills in cars, etc., and big snows of years past.

Seems like it's easier to get around in snow than in the past (and I'm talking as late as the 1970s and 1980s), probably because of so many four-wheel and front-wheel vehicles today. I was all over Shelbyville on Monday and my front-wheel-drive car went through 7 inches of deep, unplowed snow just fine, with the exception of one hill.

Plenty of snowmen were around, but the only place I found any sledders was at the Shelbyville floodgate. I can remember in the past people going to steep hills on Ledgemere Drive, Lafayette Street and Skyview Terrace.

A lot of new memories were probably made Monday - because snow is so rare in these parts.

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I do not ever remember anyone in our family owning a sleigh, but I do remember that my step-Grandfather had a sled (he called it a slide) that he used to carry the plow to the field behind the mule or horse. It was also used for things like picking up rocks from the field. There were times when snow was on the ground that he would hitch up the horse and pull me through the snow on that sled.

I never owned a sled, I can remember that when we built our new house in 1946 the block masons made a mortar board, sometimes called a batter board, out of a few planks nailed on to two 2 X 4's. They left it when the house was done and my Dad sawed the ends of the 2 X 4's on a angle, put a rope on it, and I used that for a sled.

-- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Jan 11, 2011, at 3:18 PM

"Stanpipe Hill" as we called it way back when, was another great place to sled. Too much traffic now and I'm too old.

-- Posted by Tim Lokey on Sun, Jan 23, 2011, at 12:52 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.