Years ago, on a Christmas day, I was snorkeling in a little country in Central America. The captain of the boat was a local, about 25 years old. He said he had never gone anywhere and had no desire to leave his tropical paradise except for one thing. Snow. I liked the way his face lit up and his eyes smiled when he said that word. My face probably mirrored his, being from the South, I haven’t seen it too often.
Never as much as last Thursday, a foot of snow in 24 hours.
Snow brings out the little kid in me. I scream and giggle and look out all the windows. I yank out the cameras, the video cam, and I’m out there, even if it’s the middle of the night. I’ve got to capture this stuff that makes the world look so different in just under an hour.
So Thursday morning I go wake the kids early to see the biggest snowflakes I’ve ever seen down south. They don’t get mad at me because they have never ever seen them this huge. Then they go back to sleep because they are sure they will see this again. I keep watching as if it is the very first and last time I have seen snow. It does this to me every time.
They didn’t cancel the schools on the day it snowed. People tell me it’s because the superintendent is from Wisconsin and he’s a hardass about that. It bothers me because while Wisconsin might be able to handle icy roads with their salt and scraper trucks, we don’t have that stuff down here. People also don’t know how to drive in snow and ice and there are a lot of pickup trucks with rear wheel drives. They don’t stay on the road.
After school we only had an hour of daylight to find something to do in the snow. Spank and I went to the park and one of her friends met us there. I wandered around taking photos while she built this miniature snow family.
I was quite surprised she made a family because earlier she said we should make a snowman firing squad aimed at another snowman with a bandana over his eyes.
Later that evening, Blane (the husb.) who had been trying to get a flight back home from a work trip called to say he had finally made it to the airport here. While he was fighting icy roads and traffic to get home, I tried to get the kids to come out with me to make that firing squad in the driveway. I told them when their dad got out the car to check it out, we’d spring from behind the van and pelt him with a thousand snowballs.
But nobody wanted to go back out. I gave them a pass because they had been sick a couple of days earlier. Then I went outside and made a three snowman firing squad. Put the charcoal eyes and carrot noses on them and when I went to the front yard to get some branches, two of them fell over.
So I was down to one snowman, which I just called an assassin. I grabbed the first hat I could find, a beret, and put that on him.
When Spanky saw him she laughed. She was mostly looking at his beret.
Spanky: He’s French?
Me: Not just any French, that’s Jean Reno, The Professional!
She was impressed, as she should be, I put this thing together in less than an hour. Still, she didn’t want to join in the ambush.
Spanky: You really going to slam Dad with snowballs after he’s been traveling?
Me: Yup. And if that was me I’d want y’all to do the same.
She went back inside and I hid in my spot with some snowballs.
Right in front of the van.
Blane drove up and parked when he saw the assassin snowman. I didn’t have the heart to ambush him for real, I just pelted his windshield enough to make him laugh.
The next day school was cancelled and I kept begging the kids to come out so we could go sledding or make snow angels or have a snowball war or something. I don’t know when exactly it was that they grew up, I’d hoped that would never happen, that they’d always want to play out in the snow. I know when I realized it. The moment they turned me down.
So I whistled for the dogs and let them run like wild wolves in the snow. They will always be pups.