The H Street Sledding Records by Ron Carlson
Room For One More
Family rituals at Christmas time is significant to "The H Street Sledding Record" by Ron Carlson. A husband tells the story of his wife Drew, and their daughter Elise and rituals that keep the family together. He finds personal significant in a sledding record, throwing horse manure on the roof, and buying a Christmas trees.
The strangest family ritual involves getting horse manure from a friend and throwing it on the roof for Elise. He does this not only for his daughter but also for himself, as a reminder of what it is like to be a child around Christmas. The excitement of believing in Santa Claus. Drew takes this time to call his mother and talk in amusement of the horse turds being heaved onto the roof. He takes "their responses to my ritual as a kind of fond, subtle support". Even though they laugh at him, they know he has the best intentions of making his child believe that Santa Claus and his reindeer really do exist. Even though Drew would prefer half-eaten cookies and milk as evidence he makes up excuses to not go with such an idea. He then blames it on the fact that he does not like desserts, so therefore the manure will remain until his arms give out.
There is and added complication in that he would like to have another child to throw the reindeer droppings on the roof for. Even though he wants this more than anything, he is reluctant to approach his wife. He fears that she may not share his desire and that would just be too painful to accept. He would prefer to have a boy and vividly anticipates this imaginary child finding the evidence on the roof on Christmas morning. ...
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...ry year on the day after Halloween they get out the sled and make minor adjustments to get it ready for the big day. Over the years they have added a brake made of a sawed off baseball bat, they installed the brake while Drew was pregnant with Elise. They climb their way up to Eleventh Avenue stare down the avenue and prepare for yet another record. Elise gives advice on how to make it successful year, by leaning from there past experiences. All their excitement grows as they get ready to set off.
With the sled as old as the marriage and a brake as old as their daughter their ritual is now a strong bond which they hold dearly to their hearts. This family ritual is strong and makes them look forward to each Christmas together as a family. Knowing that they will always be there to carry on the tradition that they have installed in themselves.