Super Bowl Win! Super Bowl Parade! SNOW! It’s a week for rare occurrences in the Northwest, to be sure. And most of us Northwesterners couldn’t be any more thrilled.
What is it about the snow? Suddenly I am no longer in mid-life, but am a kid again, shaking bread crumbs out of Wonder Bread wrappers so that I can slide them over Dad’s thick socks before struggling into a cheap pair of rubber boots. Did you ever do that? I tried to explain these make-shift snow boots to the kids at school once. Of course, they thought we were looney. We weren’t … just poor and resourceful. And cold! The bread sacks didn’t work very well.
What is it about the snow? I can hear my brother and Mike Hurley and Wally Lundgren and Roger Fisher and Billie (Aschinger) Wolf cheering each other to see who could get the longest run on the hill behind the Adventist School. I remember the year my brother won that contest, not because of the distance he mustered out of our red, metal flying saucer, but, because he hit their kid-made snow ramp at full speed, flew several feet through the air and skillfully peeled all the skin off of his nose as he landed face first on a boulder.
What is it about the snow? Snowball fights were intense, strategic battles, talked about for years to come. Usually I was handily defeated by my big brother and his friends, but then there was the blizzard of ’68. Danette (Repp) Meline, my sister, and I all rushed to school ahead of the big kids and mounted the giant mountain left by snow plows in the middle of the school parking lot. We were first graders, and we ruled the world … for about 10 minutes. It took that long before we ran out of our stash of snowballs and the boys attacked in force, pushing us down from our fortress.
A few years later, Danette and I along with Lavon (Gordon) Erickson, Dawn Richardson, and my sister, got into a snowball fight of our own up on the Adventist Hill. As I lay helpless, having just fallen off my sled, Danette dropped a giant boulder of snow on my head, hitting me so hard that my glasses flew off. We searched and searched. No luck. Dad was MAD. He made me wear an old pair, repaired with giant lumps of soldering lead, until we could make a trip to Spokane or afford new ones (whichever came first). What came first was spring. It dawned on me one afternoon to search the now-thawed-area where Danette bombarded me. Stunned, I saw them, tucked between clumps of mud, a little bent, but still wearable. At least they looked better than the lead ones.
Snowball fights continued into high school, the best ones taking place in the hallway before the teachers made their way back from lunch. Even if you were as uncouth as I was, you could still rule as long as you got to the middle landing first and had an ally feeding you snowballs from the street-side door. From that position you owned both entrances, and the only hope for the boys was to take refuge in the girls’ bathroom. Then we got caught … it happened when one of the boys holed up in the girls’ bathroom daringly burst out of the door and threw a dead on shot at the back of the head of the person he heard pass by. That person happened to be Mr. Zorne’s, our science teacher. Big … HUGE … trouble … for all of us. The next day came the “no snowballs on campus EVER” rule.
What is it about the snow? Watching it dance under the spotlight of a street lamp … it’s soft “pish”, “pish” as it joins the world … the beauty of a world whose blemishes are all hidden for a least a little while … the renegade that comes out of us as we slip, slide, and conquer … the snow angels, sled rides behind the riding lawn mower, and lop-sided snow families with my own kids.
What is it about the snow? Assuming it snowed where you are, what memory did you make or relive today?