Saturday, December 12 2020

snowman parts, a snowball fight, and good snow memories

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Dear Journal,

Good evening, everyone! Happy Saturday. I'm coming to you tonight from a winter wonderland, the first real snow of the year. On a technicality, the first actual frozen precipitation happened sometime last month, but this morning we woke up to the good stuff. The sticky, fluffy, snowman building snowball chucking stuff.

The first snow is exciting. I love how our Chrsitmas lights look peeking through the fresh white blanket. I love how the night sky looks brighter. Before anyone had a chance to shovel, I ran outside to the front yard in my flip flops to take some pictures of our street.

2020 12 12 snow 1
2020 12 12 snow 2

It's a good looking street, isn't it? I've seen a lot of this street in 2020, and by now you might think I've grown tired of the scenery here. But maybe that's why the first real snow is so exciting. It makes everything feel new again.

Today we tried to spend as much time in the snow as possible. While Marissa and I were still tiredly shuffling around in our pajamas this morning, Rodney was already sitting by the back door strapping on his snow pants. The door snapped shut behind him and he ventured off into our tiny backyard winter wonderland. He appeared moments later, peaking his head into the kitchen.

"I have a carrot?" he asked.

"Oh sure dude," said Marissa. She opened the fridge and dug out a thin peeled carrot from our vegetable drawer. "Are you making a snowman?"

"Yeah, a SNOWMAN" said Rodney excitedly, rubbing his hands together. "Oh, I have snowman parts too?"

Sitting at the kitchen table with coffee, I set my phone down and began to laugh. "Snowman parts?" I called around the corner. "What the heck are snowman parts?"

"Snowman parts," repeated Rodney. "Her legs and arms... and all that stuff."

"You're supposed to make those out of snow, honey," said Marissa. Rodney nodded and headed back into the yard. Marissa and I laughed.

"Snowman parts," I chuckled. "Did he think we had a dismembered snowman in the back of our freezer that was ready to go?"

After some lunch, I'd join Rodney outside to shovel the driveway. The sun had already started to peek out of the clouds, and the snow was wet and heavy. As you could have guessed, my shoveling got derailed by an exciting snowball fight in the front yard. Marissa returned from her run and joined in on the action. She and Rodney took a stand on our sidewalk while I took cover around the corner at the driveway. I chucked a frozen snowball that his Marissa's arm with a thud. She winced in pain.

"These really hurt," she yelled.

"That was too hard, my bad," I said. "Here, you can take one free shot."

I walked ten paces from her and stood in the sidewalk with my arms and legs out. Marissa wadded up a ball of snow, and after stepping into her throw, she released a Randy Johnsen-esque sinker that hit me square between the legs. Right in the jewels, the beans, the little reckers. I doubled over in pain, rolling into a pile of snow. Rodney, failing to exercise basic etiquette around a man who was just struck in the testicles, threw himself on top of me to finish the job. Talk about salt in the wound.

I have some fond memories of the snow. I remember one winter our neighborhood in Schaumburg got absolutely buried in at least three feet of snow. That night it got unforgivably cold and as a result of the sudden temperature drop, all the snow froze before anyone had a chance to shovel it off their sidewalk. The next morning, taking our dog Noah outside to go for a walk, we were both befuddled with how to navigate around the thick wall of frozen snow that blocked the sidewalk. I tested it with my glove, then with my boot. I lifted Noah's large body on top the snow bank, then I clambered behind him. Not only was the snow strong enough for us to stand on, but we walked around the entire neighborhood block on one continuous snow bridge, ducking under tree branches and carefully stepping around the tops of mailboxes.

I hung out with some kids in my neighborhood that were a little older than I was. When we got a lot of snow, Doug, Michael, and Colin would politely knock on our front door. My mom would usually answer, and they would sweetly ask if I was available to go sledding. They didn't really want to go sledding, but I fell for it every time. After my mom relayed the message to me, I'd come running down the stairs putting on my boots and snowpants on my way to the basement. Pulling my flimsy snowboard on a string behind me, I'd run out the back door where a brutal ambush awaited me. Doug, Colin, and Michael had no intention to take me sledding. Instead, they'd proceed to just beat the crap out of me, thumping me around my own backyard. Nobody really got hurt. Our "fighting" was heavily inspired by WWF wrestling, so it mainly comprised of pulled punches, ineffective body slams, head locks, and getting your face smashed in the snow. A half hour later, I'd slink back into the house, leaving my wet boots at the door. "How was sledding?" asked my mom, and I'd give a tired, unenthusiastic thumbs up.

Here's my favorite snow memory. Before the plows made it to our neighborhood, on fresh snow nights my dad would tie up our biggest sled to the bag of his mini bike. My sisters and I would take turns riding behind my dad. His little green mini bike would whiz around corners, the sled careening behind skidding across the perfect white powder. The bike went so fast, it hurt to open your eyes wider than a crack, but there was something so reckless and exciting about it that made me look forward to it. It made me feel like I was James Bond in a never ending action sequence.

Don't you just love the snow? Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Have a wonderful night.