Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Since so much of the United States has been hit with piles of snow and some really cold temperatures, I thought it would be fun to look at the upside of this kind of winter weather. You know, building snow people, sledding, skating, and snowball fights.

Graphic of a snowman wearing a red scarf, black top hat. A carrot for a nose and twigs for arms.

When I was a kid, some of my cousins and I built intricate forts that we used as semi-protection as we lobbed snowballs back and forth. That was in Michigan where I grew up. My cousin, Jim, closest in age to me, partnered with me to face off against his younger brothers, Rod and Don. I honestly can’t remember who came out ahead, but we all sure had a good time.

Ice skating was a sport I enjoyed and one year it was prescribed as part of my therapy to build ankle strength after a nasty break. A neighbor created a pond in his back yard by banking the snow and filling the area with water. When it froze solid, I could go after school or in the evening and skate until my face froze. That was great fun, and I dreamed of skating in the Olympics. Alas, that dream was out of reach, but my ankle did get stronger.

Much later, after I married and my husband and I moved to Texas, I didn’t expect to see snow. After all, the September day I arrived in Texas it was 102. But not long after we settled into a new house in Plano, there was a winter storm that dumped ice and several inches of snow on us.

My husband and I both had learned how to drive in slippery conditions so he headed out that morning to go to work, and after driving a few blocks he came home. I asked him why he turned back, and he told me that all the other drivers were obviously not equipped to drive on icy roads. Cars were slipping and sliding all over the place, and he decided it would be much safer to be at home.

Schools were closed. As always happens when there’s bad winter weather in Texas. So we had a fun family day playing outside. My husband and I got out our ice skates that we’d brought from Michigan and were skating on the street. Neighbors who’d braved the cold and come outside to play in the snow with kids, asked what on earth we were doing. Obviously they’d never seen anybody skating on the street before.

We had quite a bit of ice on our driveway that had a pretty good incline, so we got out pizza pans for the kids to sit on and slide down the little hill. Adults took turns as a lookout at the bottom of the hill to make sure that a random car wasn’t coming, and neighborhood kids joined in the fun – all coming inside after a couple of hours to warm up with hot cocoa and the fire in our fireplace.

Then they were back outside for more sledding.

Some years later, we moved to Nebraska and snow adventures had a longer lifespan – three months or more.

When I went up there to join my husband, who was already established in a job, I brought our two little dogs. Nicky and Bunny. Nicky was a poodle mix and Bunny was one of her puppies – the runt of the litter and probably only about ten inches tall.

The day that I arrived in Nebraska, Valentine’s Day, there was fifteen inches of snow on the ground. After we were settled inside, I opened the back door so the dogs could go out to take care of potty business, and Bunny turned to look at me with an expression that said, “You really expect me to go out in that?”

If I’d tossed her outside, she would’ve disappeared in the snow.

So, for the years we lived up there, every winter, in addition to shoveling the sidewalks and the driveway, I’d have to shovel a path to a potty place in the backyard for the two dogs.

After they went over the rainbow bridge we got another little dog, and I still shoveled for her even though she loved to play in the snow. She’d dive into the snow banks and disappear, then pop out spraying snow all over the place. It always reminded me of kids diving into the swimming pool and coming up with water going everywhere.

If you have any fun stories about snow experiences, please do share them in the comments. And in the meantime, if you are in an area affected by the winter storms, I hope you are safe and warm.

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