Christmas Day is done. I look outside to see a very elusive sun adding glitter to the snow. A jogger scampers by my front yard and I wonder — what’s happening in East St. Paul on Boxing Day?
I grab my camera, pad and pen and head to The Pits. I introduce myself to two gentlemen, Brett Hargreaves and Paul Chaloupka, who appear to be supervising a group of six boys.
Brett’s sons, Bennett and Braden, along with Paul’s boy’s, Tomas and Cameron, are joined by friends Alex Costa and Will Hartfiel. They are skimming down on 21st century sleds and snow racers while their Dad’s chat at the top of the hill, drinking from Thermos cups.
While trying to get the spelling right on Paul’s last name, my pen freezes up in the cold. I scrape the letters into my pad and blow some of my always available hot air onto my pen hoping to restart the ink flow.
Brett tells me he lives in ESP and coaches hockey at our arena. Paul says that his "Box, Group, RR" mailing address has recently been replaced with a street address in the "city" of Narol.
We are joined by two women — Paul’s wife Beverly and her mother, who asks to be referred to as Grandma from Russell.
"It’s a beautiful day", Paul says.
Brett adds, "The boys really wanted to try out their new stuff."
And Braden tells me that his sled is definitely the fastest.
Just before I leave, I take a picture of the boys going down the hill with Grandma from Russell who, by the way, was not the last to the bottom.
Then I head over to the arena to see who’s out on the rinks. There I meet Steve Tiede and his son Carson, 12. They’ve been out here slapping a puck around for three days. I reminded Steve that it was pretty cold outside and he reminded me that spending time with your kid, doing something you both love, is a pretty good reason to get some fresh air.
In my short travels that day, I counted only three joggers, three dog walkers, two walkers and one person getting his mail.
There was a quiet, wholesome vibe. Perhaps everyone else was with family indoors.
Let’s hope so.
(And Paul, thanks for the pencil.)
Cher Hebert is a community correspondent for East St. Paul. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.