The Fastest Sled in North Carolina

        “It’s cold,  Dad.”

        “Come on.  It’ll be worth it.  This is the fastest sled in North Carolina.”

         His mama put on his boots and coat and he followed me out to the garage.  I pulled the attic stairs down and climbed up.  I shuffled around some old camping equipment.  Hm.  I hadn’t seen that school desk in years.  There was a bike or two, and then there it was:  The old Yankee Clipper.  I hauled it down the stairs.

        “Boy, dad. It looks old.” 


          “Look, it’s broken.”  He pointed to a cracked board.  It was once wrapped with some electrician’s tape but it had long since unraveled.  “Maybe we better go get a new one,” Tommy said.

         “No, no.  It’ll be fine.  When I was a boy we couldn’t get a new one when it broke; we had to fix it up.”  I opened the door to the house.  “Mama?  You got any duct tape!?”  She brought me a roll, and I spliced the broken board like a Board Certified orthopedist.  “See? Good as new.”  He seemed skeptical but didn’t comment.

        I scraped off the runners with steel wool, and slicked them down with candle wax.  “Ready to race, boy.”  He trudged up the hill behind me.  “Yes sir, son,” I said.  “This is the fastest sled in all of North Carolina.  No one ever beat me when I raced it.”

         We made it to the crest of the hill right by the Robert’s house. I stopped to catch my breath. Hm. It was a bigger grade than I remembered.  “You wanna ride?”

          “You go first, Dad.”

          “Okay.”  I tugged it back and forth like a guy on a bobsled team; just like I remembered as a kid.  “Ah one and a two, and go…..”

           I flung myself onto the old sled and the runners dug in all the way down to the dirt.  It didn’t move forward even an inch, and threw me off the front end and into the snow.

          “What’s wrong with it, Dad?”

           I got up and dusted the snow off my jacket.  “Uh …nothing… nothing.  Here, you get on.  I’ll push you to get started.”

           The sled worked much better with a fifty pound kid than a two hundred pound man.

           He rode for an hour.  We took turns pulling it back up the hill.  After a while we got cold, and headed back for the house.  He tugged the sled home.  “You’re right, Dad.  This is a good sled.  It’s the fastest one in North Carolina.”

          “You take it son, I think I’m about too old to ride.”


            I still have the Yankee Clipper in the attic.  I might get it out and clean off the runners.  I’ll let some of neighborhood kids ride it, but then I’ll put it up.  Whenever I have a grandchild I don’t want them to miss a chance to ride the fastest sled in the state.

Dr. B

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10 Comments on “The Fastest Sled in North Carolina”

  1. Ted Lehmann Says:

    Aside from the fact you should have had a Flexible Flyer, truly the fastest and most versatile sled anywhere, you got it just right. Many years of sledding here where the snow stays came back. Thanks. – The English Professor

    • drtombibey Says:

      Hello to the English Professor,

      I think my Yankee Clipper will out run your Flexible Flyer any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Wanna race?

      Come spring let’s shoot some marbles and trade pocket knives.

      Come to think of it, a southern boy should never challenge a kid from New Hampshire to a sled race.

      Dr. B

  2. Cindy Carter Says:

    The snow brought out a lot of memories, didn’t it Dr B? I don’t remember a snow before Christmas before. But, then again, I lived on the coast most of my life.

    We never had a sled. But, when I was at Furman, all the lunch trays would disappear anytime we had a snow. They sure were fun on the golf course….

    I plan on visiting family. Leaving on the 24 for good old Georgetown, SC.

    • drtombibey Says:


      It does bring ’em back. I’m a sap for snow and my wife is even worse.

      Hope you have a very blessed Christmas, and a great New Year too. 2010 is gonna be your year.

      Dr. B

  3. junebugger Says:

    Aww this was such a sweet story! I found it to be rather symbolic what with the whole understory about how with a touch of love an old, broken sled can be made to be the fastest. Thanks for posting!

    • drtombibey Says:


      Through writing, art, and imagination, we can be all we want to be, huh? My young friend, I hope you have a blessed Christmas.

      Dr. B

  4. Dr. B, that was heartwarming… I could just picture the scene – the snow and the hill and your boy zooming down in that sled.

    Hope you’re starting off the holiday season with a warm heart and some good strong coffee to keep your belly warm too!

  5. drtombibey Says:


    Good to hear from you. I always got along with with my children; I think because I was nothing but a big kid myself.

    Hope you have a wonderful holiday and get a break from school for a while. As an old veteran of that scene I know how hard it can be.

    Dr. B

  6. Manof ConstantSorrow Says:

    Dr. B – as a born & bred North Carolinian, I love you story. Our 2 kids have just enjoyed a weekend of sledding on the same Yankee Clipper that was given to me in the 60’s. Our daughter called the Yankee Clipper “more high tech” than the plastic flat bottom bob sled due to the Clipper’s ability to steer.

    4 ever in NC…

    • drtombibey Says:

      Man of ConstantSorrow,

      May you be a man of constant joy in the Tarheel State.

      From my family to yours, enjoy those kids, the snow, and that high tech Yankee Clipper sled. They can’t be beat.

      Dr. B

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