Snowbanks can pose danger

Give a child a mountain of dirt or snow and a group of children can be amused for months.
In climbing to the top of a dirt pile, the only one disappointed is the washerwoman who has to clean ground-in dirt.
When climbing to the top of snow piles, even when the temperature rises above freezing, the only one worried is mom, who is concerned about you being chilled and wet.
Just like cardboard boxes, piles and dirt have proven to be great kid attractors.
Kids are not discouraged. When I grew up and only had to walk a block to school, we didn’t walk along the plowed sidewalks; rather, we choose to walk along the edge of the snowbank that ran against the roadway.
It was more challenging.
We were told that it wasn’t safe, and we were not supposed to do it. But what mom didn’t know, mom couldn’t be hurt by it.
It was far more taxing challenging our balance, and getting us to climb up and down at driveways and jumping across the chasms created where home owners had cut their sidewalks through to the road.
Instead of a 10-minute walk to school, the uneven snowbanks added more time to our journey.
Were we worried about the dangers? Of course not. We only cared about the challenges that we faced.
We challenged ourselves with who could lose their balance the fewest times in that block-long trail walk, or who could jump the farthest without falling from the bank.
As a Cub leader, one of the things my young Cubs learned to make at winter camp were snow quinzee shelters.
The Cubs never slept in them, but they discovered that by creating huge piles of snow in the morning, by late afternoon they could burrow in and lay out a bed of bows to keep their sleeping bags off the ground and they would be able to spend a comfortable night sleeping.
Today, one of the great worries facing community leaders is the creation of those under snow caverns on streets with huge piles of snow. More than one child has been injured from the collapse of those piles, or being injured should a vehicle drive into the bank by accident.
I would like to say that I never engaged in making those forts and caves on the boulevard, but I quickly would be proven wrong. It was part of our winter adventure and something to do outdoors.
It was always too much work to shovel and build a pile in the backyard to create a fort when the town snowplows had done such a good job on the street.
My father eventually would discover our snow fort and clear the top away. We still had a fort but it was open to the sky.
Snowbanks can be dangerous, and as drivers we have to be aware that they are fun places for young kids to play on.
Just as my parents warned me about the dangers of walking on the edges, we have to continue doing that same cautioning.

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