Back Chat: Once upon a flying toboggan

Back Chat: Once upon a flying toboggan

Well, one week later, with tools and timber stolen from my dad, I, John Cooney, had single-handedly built the bestest, most fastest, most beautiful toboggan in the world!

BY JOHN COONEY

UNLIKE MY GRANDKIDS, I’m not into winter sports. Skiing scares me, and snowboarding could kill me, I know. But last week, while lunching on a pie in the Happy Valley mountain café, I reassured my granddaughter that her grandfather wasn’t always a couch-potato. 

There was a time, I told her, when I owned a flying toboggan!

I was 13 years old. The youth group I belonged to planned a weekend in the snow. And when the call went out to make toboggans, I responded. True, I’d never ridden a toboggan before (I’d never even touched snow). But hey, I figured: how hard could it be?

Well, one week later, with tools and timber stolen from my dad, I, John Cooney, had single-handedly built the bestest, most fastest, most beautiful toboggan in the world! Yes, it was solid – no way would this baby fall apart! It was also stylish – with steel runners, a cushioned seat, and (wait for this) braking levers cunningly attached to each side so it could be STEERED!

On the night of our departure, as my toboggan was heaved onto a trailer, my friends were so envious. (Some of them had just brought along sheets of old plastic … I mean, how embarrassing!) And, on the long drive down, they each made me promise I’d give them a go. 

Well, we hit the mountain early next morning, and I proudly dragged my work-of-art up the nearest snowy slope. But when I sat down in that cushioned seat for the inaugural flight, my speed-machine sank. That’s right – SANK! And when I rocked back and forth to get it sliding, it just sank deeper. 

My friends offered to push, and I reluctantly agreed – but as soon as they stopped, so did I!

We hauled it up a steeper slope. (Man, that thing was heavy!) But no amount of shoving could get me moving downhill – let alone plunging from peak to peak. 

By late afternoon I felt crushed with defeat. My flying toboggan was a flop. And no way did I want to take the stupid thing home. We dragged the stupid thing around a corner, hid the stupid thing behind some rocks, covered the stupid thing with snow, and left it on the mountain.

As far as I know, it’s still there …

JOHN, GRAPEVINE’S FOUNDER & EDITOR, MAY YET FACE A LENGTHY JAIL SENTENCE FOR LITTERING WITH INTENT!