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Winter’s first snowfall

Because of age and physical condition, I confess that I don’t like snow. It hurts my joints and muscles when I have to move it, and its accompanying ice underfoot makes me walk like an old man out of fear that I’m going to fall and break something.


The first snowfall of winter when I was a kid living behind the Clara City Herald office, however, was a different story. I really looked forward to that first snowfall. Oh how exciting it was and how impatiently we waited. Maybe it was because of our smaller stature when we were kids, but weren’t the snowfalls heavier and the snow drifts higher back in the ‘40s and ‘50s? I think so.

There is a movie that is shown over and over again on TV every year at this time called The Christmas Story about two boys. The older one dreams about and gets a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas. There is a scene in there where the two of them are playing out in the snow. The younger one is bundled up so tightly against the cold that when he falls down in the snow he can’t possible get up again. He just can’t bend enough to get his feet on the ground because he is so bound up with snow pants, scarves and mittens. I was that kid. My mom would get me so bundled up to go out and play in the snow that I could barely move.


My sister and I and other friends would play for hours out in the snow until our clothes would be soaking wet. There were no miracle fabrics back then that would resist or wick away moisture. Mittens would be the first to get wet as we built forts and formed snowballs and snowmen. The knees and seat of the pants would be next. Mom would tell us we’d better come in for awhile to dry off. We’d undress over the linoleum in the kitchen and drape everything on the radiators; the mittens would eventually dry to a crusty wrinkled form made from water and snot that would give off an unpleasant smell. There was a great big radiator in the shop up front by the Linotype that would dry a lot of stuff. Sometimes we wouldn’t let them dry enough and slipped back into them when they were wet, a disgusting feeling, something like putting on a wet bathing suit.

Ah, that first snowfall of the winter. How can something that is so dreadful when you are older be so delightful as a child? I guess it’s because our moms bundled us up so tightly that if we fell we couldn’t possibly get hurt, and they aren’t here anymore to do that for us.

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