|snow (standard:humor, 2892 words)|
|Author: audonick||Added: Feb 02 2004||Views/Reads: 1906/1184||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|The meaning of snow to children and adults alike, with an emphasis on sledding.|
One of the most magical words in the vocabulary of a small child is that of snow. When snow was in the forecast, I would start checking out the windows every few minutes. On several occasions I was in the presence of my grandmother. Gran was from the coal cracker region of the state and of Irish descent. She had a lilting singsong voice and a twinkle in her eye. She would be sitting in her rocker working on her knitting and would glance over her glasses each time I went to the window. “Travis, what are you doin?” “Checkin' to see if it started snowing yet.” I would pull the corner of the drape to look up into the street light. “Get away from the window. A watch pot never boils.” She would say refocusing her attention on her knitting. I would become exasperated waiting for the snow to start. I'd go to bed and get up several times to check to see if we had any snow. We grew up in Bucks County, which is just north of Philadelphia, and snow seems to be cyclic. There were winters that we have no snow at all, then there are years where it seems as if it snows every day. Therefore, when we had a snowfall with substantial accumulation, this usually forced the school systems to close their doors for a day or two. This was a holiday for us kids, but a nightmare for parents everywhere. It seems that nothing aggravates the P's more than snow. Right off the bat, snow means shoveling, and that has a tendency to start the day off on the wrong foot. Even the most insistent parents have a hard time convincing the kids to shovel the walk. In a child's eyes the walk is considered adequately cleared when a path is one shovel wide and has patches of pavement visible. Anything more and without a doubt, shoveling the car free, is either going to cost you a small fee or laryngitis. The next issue that usually arises is what to do with the kids. Unfortunately this is a no win situation for the child. Should it be necessary to keep us indoors, ultimately we would start plucking the nerves of the P's. This is usually accomplished within the first thirty seconds after the announcement that school was closed. We continue plucking the nerves until there is only one left. We continue to play that nerve like a violin and at this point, we were usually sent outside no matter what the conditions. Should it be blizzard like conditions or raining, you could actually watch the graying of the P's hair. Ever hear of the term ‘Cabin Fever'? We could bring that condition upon our parents in less than eight hours time. Usually we drove them to some point of insanity where they lost their sense of judgment and sent us out to play. That usually gave them some time to regain their composure, but that was short lived. Ever see a parent's face after taking a half-hour to bundle a child up to go out into the storm only to be told that they now had to go to the bathroom? Let me tell you that's not a pretty sight watching a conniption set in, the eyes and lips twitch before the total contortion of the face. By all means it was much safer to have an ‘accident' than to suffer the wrath of a conniption. Then of course, we were never satisfied to be out. We would have to run in and out of the house a hundred times, leaving puddles wherever we stood for more than ten seconds. Within the hour, the house that mom kept so clean and kept, would be in shambles and mom herself would be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. So you see, where the word snow was a magical word to us kids, it was the worst four-letter word in the vocabulary of our parents. The most popular winter activity when there was snow on the ground was sledding. There were a wide variety of sledding possibilities in the area. Right after it had stopped snowing and the plow had made the first pass around our street, the best sledding was right down the street. The hill was quite steep and made a decent sledding hill. The problem was that you had to cross a street when you got to the bottom of the hill. With adult supervision, we rarely had an incident. However, when we were left to ourselves, the opposite was true. No matter who was watching us, we always had a sentry at the bottom of the street to signal when it was clear for sledding. The situation would arise when you were considering the oncoming traffic. We were kids, and we didn't know any better. We just assumed that a car could stop as well on snow as it did a dry road surface. Never once did we realize what made it possible for the sleds to go down the hill had the same affect on the car. Therefore, we were not so good at judging the Click here to read the rest of this story (178 more lines)
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