Plate 52
(This plate is still under construction.)


Ski-joring, Sledding and Sleighing

Top: Donald shows off on skis -- and falls on his face.

Middle: Ski-joring behind horses in the driveway.

Bottom: Marjory drives Big Molly and sleigh, the winter vehicle of choice in the days before snowplowed, all-weather roads became common.

Excerpt from Donald B. Johnson manuscript:

"I was big and rugged for my age and Ernie Bowman and Thomas Clark would let me go along on skiing trips up to Frog Lake along the railroad right of way because I had an old pair of skis that were much too long for me, though I could ski with them. [9.60-4]

"There was a big, hard snowdrift up by the railroad fence up at the end of our street. All the kids played up on that drift. One day I went up there and Thomas and Ernie were there. There was a patch of loose snow in the middle of the drift and they told me to go and stomp that loose snow down.

"I was gullible enough to do anything they told me to, and when I walked onto the loose snow I fell into a hole about six feet deep. They really laughed, and then fished me out. All that was over the hole was some small boxelder branches and some loose snow." [9.60-5]

"Marj and I would take turns riding a horse as fast as the horse could gallop while pulling the other one across the lake on skis while holding onto the end of a long rope [ski-joring]. Sometimes we tied the rope to one of the small sleds and one would ride across the lake or in and out of the driveway on that, as fast as the horse could go." [19.123-1]

"Pa told about an ice boat Pete Eian built before Pa was married. Pete came from Norway and no doubt had experience with them there. He made a small platform like the deck on a raft and mounted short, steel skate-like runners under it. It had a sail like a sailboat and would only work on rare years when the ice froze smooth on the lake in the fall before it snowed. [5.6-7]

"Pa was along when they made the first run across Pelican Lake from the creek under the road on the west side to south of 'the island.' Pa was standing up, holding onto the mast, when the ice boat hit an open hole. The hole was smaller than the ice boat and only the front end went in. Pa saw it coming and when the boat stopped, he just kept on going and landed on the ice on the other side. Bob Lynne was only a half-grown kid and he started to holler and climb the mast. Pa stepped back on the boat and pulled him down." [5.6-8]

"Another 'ice' experience happened one day when [Pa] went down to the southwest side of Pelican Lake to get a load of hay. He had a team and sleigh and new, sharp shoes on the horses. The sleighing was real poor yet and when he got near the lake, he decided to cross it. The horses took off on a fast trot and when he looked back he saw that each footprint was a hole where the shoes took out a chunk of ice. He didn't dare stop or turn around and crossed the whole lake on three inches of ice, or less. I guess he took a deep breath when he reached the home shore!" [5.7-1]