Believe it or not, it used to snow a lot in Nashville when I was growing up. The snow that fell on Thursday, January 6th, was something we got every year, sometimes two, three or four times and it was beautiful.
Along with the snow that fell, so do the memories of grabbing the sled and heading out to have the absolute time of your life and there was one hill in Nashville that was a destination for so many of us.
Now there will be many arguments on what is or what was the best sledding hill in the area and here is the best part, you are all correct. If you think your hill was the best, then by God, it was.
For many of us, it was the hill leading from the top of Percy Priest Dam to the bottom. It is the one that you see as you drive by on the interstate to the right of the Dam and it was the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500 all rolled into one for us.
My friend Chuck would pick us up in his Vega, and there would be four of us, with sleds in the trunk, barely fitting inside and we would make our trek to the Dam. You would park at the top of the hill, get out and then it was showtime.
We doubled up on the sleds and someone would give us a push and away we went down this long hill and immediately, you were going at top speed and if you weren’t careful, you could up end up in the Stones River.
Here is what made it even better-It would be packed. Absolutely packed. It felt as if every kid and most adults were sledding with you on that hill. Quickly, it turned into racing with others and you would do your best to wreck each other and that felt better than winning.
My most vivid memory was racing down that hill, and we had wrecked every other sled and as we approached the bottom doing Mach 12, Donelson legend Barry Oakley stepped out front of us and said, “watch out,” and we avoided him and lost control and flipped our sled about five times that looked as if it was out of a Ricky Bobby movie.
With the grace of God, we survived that disaster and many, many others at that spot that I still consider the greatest sledding hill of all time. How my mother ever let me go out when the roads were a total nightmare is something else I will never understand.
Every single time I drive by the Dam, I always look over and remember those times where the only care in the world I had is the hope that that day, would never end.
And in some ways, it never did.