Friday, February 16, 2007

Snow Day

I have a friend who lives where they don't see snow. She wistfully made the comment that she wished that she could have a day like I just had where she could be "snowed in." I was quick to point out all the hazards and worries I had about this kind of treacherous weather because our family is all too aware of the dangers, and have to get out in it to help. But.

She triggered memories of the days when I didn't worry about those things (like semi-trucks jackkniving on the interstate or freezing to death, or frost bite or electricity going out and not being able to get to the loved one.Yeah, my brain has been adultatized. Kill me.)

It started with her comment--then my husband and I went outside to assess the huge drifts of snow after the blizzard stopped. Our cars were blocked in, and we wanted to see if our new snow blower would do the job. And how it did! Before it was all over, we were fighting each other to blow out the driveway with that snow blower. If a huge snowblower on a tractor manned by a local farmer neighbor hadn't shown up coming down our rural one-lane county road, I'm not so sure we wouldn't have blown out all the snow on the road, too. It was...yeah, ok, fun! My husband joked that the snow blower was my Valentine's Day present, and frankly, it was the most fun I'd had in a while.

I found this photo above of my boys from several years ago when we had a similar blizzard with drifts over 6 feet high, and they thought it was the most fun thing that had ever happened to them. My memories flew back to when I was their age looking at this photo, fueled by my California friend's comment, and our snow blowing fun.

The small Christian school I attended from 1st to 5th grade only had two rooms for 8 grades. Our teachers were a couple--the man taught 5th-8th and the lady taught 1st-4th. We were like a big family. And when we were at school and the snow was piled to the rooftop, Mr. Clayburn said we should build a snowman at recess. But it wasn't just any snowman--it was the abominable snowman! He was over 8 feet tall when we got done and the newspaper sent a photographer to save it for all times and show everyone else. Except, I don't know what happened to that photograph. We were really proud and probably every one of us kept that memory. At least I hope so.

I remember snow forts and huge snowball fights with Phil and Rick and Susan and Karen and Mary Beth. It was a blast! But one time I threw a snowball at the retreating losers, Rick and Phil, as they ducked into the garage. They shut the door just as I let it fly. Smack! Yep. It went right through the glass. I sat there on the icy ground, behind the walls of our fort, and I was so upset, the walls began to melt. Or at least seemed to. I just knew I was grounded for all time. I tredged slowly to the house, went straight to my dad and told him what I'd done.

He got on his snow gear--boots, coat and that toboggan hat that made him look like a lumberjack, and carefully picked up pieces of glass from the ice. Then, he went to town, bought a new glass and installed it himself. I hung around there like I was at a funeral home. Didn't want to be there, but I stuck around anyway. I kept waiting for him to yell at me, saying,"What are you! Dumb? Didn't you know that a snowball would break the glass? Don't you know that costs money? Didn't you know it was a foolish thing to do?" (Well, my dad didn't exactly talk like this, but it was filtered through my own voice in my head, chewing me out...chewing me out in my own chastising way.)

He never did chew me out. He just grinned and fixed the window. He said, "All fixed." He never yelled. Never lectured me. He didn't even say, "Don't do that anymore." He didn't beat me, smack me, but also he didn't yell. Or even correct me.I mean, I was pretty much perfect, but even I needed someone to tell me I'd done wrong once in a while.

I never understood why he didn't get mad back then, and it wasn't until one day when I was older that I "got it." You know. That age that your mother predicted as, "Just wait until you are a mom!"? And at that time I remembered another story--my dad telling a really funny story to us about how when he was a little boy, and how crazy he was about Superman.

He had seen a movie in the theater and just was wild about Superman--pretending he was Superman all the time. He was jumping and "flying" off this and that, and one day he climbed up on the chicken coop. With cape flying he flew right off the roof. He landed on his back on a "stob"(which was some cut off small tree stump.) It knocked the wind out of him and he couldn't breathe.

His dad ran over, stood over him saying, "Are you all right? Can you breathe?" Dad said he gulped for air and finally said, "Yessir, I think I'm getting my 'breaf' back." (Dad was very Southern and this was more how he talked.) Dad had a way of telling the most horrific story with humor and a twinkle in his eye--like it was actually funny. Then, he went on with the "kicker:"

"As soon as I got to my feet, Daddy kicked my butt all over the yard."

His daddy was so upset about him nearly killing himself, that he beat him to emphasize not to ever do that again. Yeah.

My dad had his own major faults, but one thing he did magnificently--he broke the abuse cycle passed from father to kids. He corrected us without beating us half to death, or for that matter, at all. And he was able to fit the punishment with the crime. I'm not even sure how he did this--unless it was my mother's influence on him, or the fact that he never wanted to treat us like his dad treated him.

And before you go thinking how horrible my Granddaddy was--he, too, broke his bad habits as he aged, and I didn't know this part of him. I think my mother influenced him, too.

Snow day. I have a lot of stories about snow, snow play, and blizzards. I've told them to my kids, and my kids have their own stories, too. I warned them not to throw snowballs at windows, but I did it with a smile, and they have never known beatings like my dad endured--and neither have I.

1000 Gifts

480. snow blower!
481. electricity
482. snow plows getting us out so we can go to the store,etc.
483. my warm, plush navy blue slippers and gray robe
484. hot coffee
485. a husband who can "fix" things
486. kids who take the dog out in the cold so I don't have to
487. games to play
488. nice comments from readers because they are nice people
489. my green hoodie sweatshirt from Mackinac
490. friends and family who get together with us
491. modern medicine
492. Sears, which has "everything"
493. nearby Menard's
494. music to play or listen to
495. boys who aren't too old to hug mom
496. Lipton green tea
497. mail! (didn't have it for two days...)
498. books that come right in the mail and I don't have to go out to find something to read
499. newspapers! (didn't get one for two days...)
500. tv station reporters who get out in the worst weather and let you know what's going on with the weather and what to avoid

1 comment:

Karen Wingate said...

Cris I have a lump in my throat! That was so cool the way you connected the two stories about your dad and your granddad. You are such a good storyteller.