For the third time in less than a week, my ‘neck of the woods’ is expecting another snowfall. Instead of joyfully anticipating the powdery event, I’m experiencing a feeling of dread – and not just a little bit of irritation. Again? Seriously? Didn’t we just do this… the other day?? And still almost a week before the official start of winter…
It’s not too much of an exaggeration to say I hate the fluffy white stuff.
This is a dead giveaway that I’ve left the joys of childhood behind me; instead, a crotchety adult lady has taken over, squelching the inner child that dwells within. See what snow does to me? It reduces me to psychobabble. Or perhaps it just brings the psycho out in me.
Too many hours confined indoors, watching cotton balls of whiteness accumulate on roads, lawns and tree branches, and my once sane blue eyes begin to glaze over. I must be a scary sight since husband and dogs take one look and then decide it’s in their best interests to retire to another room. A separate room… one in which they can erect a barricade to keep me out.
Well, I guess I understand: who wants to hear someone complain ad nauseum about how the falling snow is complicating her plans?
When did I lose that feeling of joie de vivre that an impending snowfall once delivered? Was it the first time I realized that I was now responsible for shoveling out my own driveway? Or, perhaps, it was that first fender bender on a busy, snow-covered street. Whatever the reason, my enjoyment of the snow experience has diminished.
For the most part.
I mean, yeah, it is kind of pretty. My backyard currently resembles a Christmas card drawn by Currier & Ives.
But, by and large, it’s just a darned nuisance. I’d much rather see palm trees swaying in tropical breezes and sip piña coladas in the summer sun than hoof around in heavy boots and mittens – with only the thought of hot cocoa to warm my frozen innards. Hm… I suppose I could add a shot of Bailey’s to the cocoa – for medicinal purposes only, you understand.
Did you know that Russia has one of the highest alcoholism rates in the world? Did you also know that Russia gets a lot of snow? Think Dr. Zhivago.
Remember Omar Sharif and Julie Christie, star-crossed lovers, forced to wander about in snow drifts. Damn! I can’t even watch that movie without wearing long underwear. I bet if the action in that movie had taken place in a more appealing climate – say, Tahiti, for instance – the ending would have been much more favorable for the two lovers.
Still, I do have some fond memories of being a small child, dressed in layers of ridiculously thick clothing, and mittens so bulky I could barely fist my hands. That young girl lived in joyful anticipation of the isolated snowflake, convinced that the stray flake was a harbinger of the blizzard to come. Blizzard? Oh boy! Ever an optimist, I lived in the certainty of the moment: surely good old mom would waken me the next morning with those wonderful words all kids live for – “No school today; it’s a snow day.”
Snow day. Back then, was there ever a more magical phrase?
Those two simple words meant that school was closed! It was time to play!
Oh, the excitement of meeting up with other arctic-clad young ‘Eskimos’. We’d grab our wooden sleds by their fraying rope handles, and pull them as we trudged up the steep, narrow cement hill. That hill was our neighborhood alley. Somehow overnight (magic!), it had been transformed from a dirty and stained concrete eyesore into a Winter Wonderland, just right for derring-do speed sledding.
Oh, the fun of it! The adventure! The ecstasy!
For a few precious hours, a group of us would ascend to the top of our snow-covered mountain. Let others climb Mount Everest – we had our alley! Once at the top, we’d line up our sleds, one behind the other. Next, we’d lay ourselves belly-down on the sleds, and hook our feet into the front of the sled directly behind us, fashioning a ‘sled train’.
The kid whose sled was at the front of the train would yell, “ARE YA READY?” A chorus of rousing affirmations would follow, and our train ‘engineer’ would then scream out the signals: “READY?” meant we should all place our mittened-hands atop the cold-packed snow on either side of our sleds; “SET” meant we should be prepared to shove off; and then, finally, the word we’d been waiting for – “GO!”
Suddenly we were off, quickly grabbing the wooden slats that guided our winter chariots as we went hurtling and screaming our way down our little mountain.
What fun! What a rush!
All too soon, the ride was over, and we’d come to a crashing halt at the bottom of the alley. Bodies and sleds went all awry while laughing voices vied with cheerful cries of ‘Let’s do it again!”
And so we would. Again… and again.
Hours later, our moms would forcefully summon us inside to dry off and get warmed up. Mom would spend a good ten minutes trying to divest us of multiple layers of sodden clothing. We’d shiver happily, knowing that Campbell’s tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich would restore us. And – if we were really lucky – perhaps there would be cocoa! The homemade kind, not the instant junk, and with fresh mini marshmallows!
When lunch was behind us and we’d been deemed sufficiently defrosted by mom, we would don fresh, dry clothing, and then once again we’d head out for several hours more of frozen fun. There were snowball fights to be waged and, of course, snowmen to be built! ‘All in a day’s work’ – if you were a child.
When at last the sun set, we’d wearily head back indoors: tired, cold and happy.
Snow day – an unexpected reprieve from school, a holiday! It was almost as wonderful as Christmas Day.
I smile when I think back on those long-ago memories; they are such good ones! I wouldn’t trade ’em for anything. It was good to be a kid on snow day.
Perhaps while I’m moaning and groaning about the snow that complicates my adult plans and my adult life, there is a group of kids somewhere who are screaming, “Let’s do it again!” Maybe along with a snowman, they are building some pretty nice memories.
I hope so.
But I think I’ll leave the snow to the kids. As for me? Well… anyone else up for some tropical breezes and a cool, frosty piña colada? Cheers!