Upon waking this morning, and now, listening to the wind blow outside as I wait for this first and most likely last snowfall of the season, I feel about 5 years old again.
I remember lying in bed, way before daylight, and hoping like crazy that I wouldn’t have to move and that the schools would be closed that day. Back then, we got more snow than we seem to get nowadays but still, it was a rare jewel that we treasured. So impatiently, I waited beneath those warm covers made of wool blankets and comforters (Mom always put so many covers on the bed, afraid someone would ‘catch a chill’ because it was way colder for them growing up, and she meant to make sure her children never had to be cold, or do without.)
Laying there, so impatiently, I was glued to a small radio with crossed fingers, hoping to hear my school announced in the listing of School closures. I could hear the winds outside, and there was already snow on the ground. When they finally announced my school, I was too overjoyed to go back to sleep, and elated knowing that I had the entire day to play.
When I was growing up, we lived out in the country on ten acres. My father, the most resourceful man who always created many toys and gadgets to keep us entertained, used to attach the sled to the back of his old tractor. Mom bundled me up in this thick goose-down coat with some sort of fluffy fur-like material all around the collar, and it would zip-up all the way around my face (sort of like Kenny on South Park), just a few more layers, a scarf and some mittens (don't forget the ear-muffs), and my snow shoes and I was ready. I plowed out across the driveway to join my father on his tractor. I can still hear the engine roar, and smell the scent of tractor smoke (very distinct smell), as he took off down that snow-covered pasture.
He would drive me around all over our place for what seemed like hours looking back, it probably wasn’t as long. My frozen face slapped by the frigid winds, and probably a dog or two following us around and maybe even riding on the sled with me. Finally, he would drive back up the driveway, park the tractor, and we would go inside to Defrost. (Not before my Dad and I would engage in a bit of a snowball fight though (which I tried to continue even in later years, but he didn’t seem as responsive then).
Mom pulled the frozen garments over my frosty face, static cling the hair, and then served up the best hot cocoa in the world… Real hot cocoa, made with milk, sugar and Hershey’s Cocoa powder. I remember getting mad, though, when she would give me a cup that had scum collected on it because it gagged me. Then when we were warm and full of cocoa, we would be back outside taking advantage of every second of snow we could, because we didn’t know when we would get the next.
Many people grew up in the climates where snow was a given and harsh winters made life almost unbearable I guess, and for those people, I can certainly understand that they might grow tired of the shoveling, and the cold, especially when life goes on as normal because it is so common.
But somewhere down south, in a little sleepy town where the streets roll up at sundown, and some places still close up on Sundays, and if they get a couple of inches they close up shop, and everyone knows everybody else’s business, a very loving couple who only wanted to give their children more than they had growing up showed us how to live and enjoy the little things, a simple snowman, a ride on the sleigh, how to make snow ice cream (even though you shouldn’t eat the very first snow because it would give you a sore throat). But mostly, they showed us love… and that kept us warmest of all. Thanks Mom and Dad.
[Don't forget today is WTF Friday!! Go Read!!!]