When I woke up last Sunday, the room was filled with angelic white light – that kind of light that can mean only one thing: new-fallen snow.
I got up and looked out the windows. Snow! Still softly falling, it had blanketed everything. There were drifts in the yard and wind-molded snow sculptures on the Christmas displays. The branches of the pine trees were drooping, festooned with heavy bunches of snow. From the kitchen window, I saw two happy neighbor kids, like little Eskimos, busily building a big igloo snow fort. The world had turned, overnight, into a Christmas card. It was dazzling.
My three cats – Sheba, Tiny and Lucy – were dazzled, too. They sat on the window sills and stared with that quiet, wide-eyed intensity, as only cats can. Daisy the dog suddenly began to bark. Someone must be at the door. Just then I heard scraping sounds. I looked out the living room windows. Sure enough, there they were. The early-morning elves were in high gear, snow-blowing and shoveling just about everybody’s car ports, including mine.
The night before, those “elves” – Kermit and Richard – had been gloomy prophets of wintry doom. In tones of dread, they’d warned the rest of us we’d better batten down the hatches because what’s coming is going to be very, very serious. We are about to be “buried” by snow and more snow.
“You better watch out!” said Kermit, rapidly wagging his warning finger. “This one’s going to be bad.”
“No!” I exclaimed with feigned fright. “Really?”
“REALLY bad!” he said.
Inside, I was chuckling with glee. The more dire Kermit’s winter warnings become, the happier he gets. You can see, just beneath his doomy exterior, the little kid inside, rubbing his hands together, hoping for a Monster Blizzard, knowing he can stay home from school and play all day happily in his snow pants – building snow forts, throwing snowballs, shoveling sidewalks.
Richard, who is even older than Kermit, is a pea in the same pod. He turns into a 10-year-old kid with a shovel.
From the warmth of my living room, I like to poke my head out the front door and yell, “Would you two please slow down?! You shouldn’t be doing that. You’re too OLD!”
Then they pause for a second, lean on their shovels and shout from their frost-pinched faces, “Look who’s talkin’!”
Alas, along with blizzards comes football. After shoveling, the elves scurried to the neighbor’s house. There, they began screaming at players on the TV screen who were fighting over an odd-shaped ball. Richard’s wife, Marty, to escape the football insanity, fled toward my house, but she got stuck in a snow bank, waddling and wobbling, falling again and again, until finally she freed herself. I opened my front door and there stood what looked like a panting, snow-covered Nanook of the North.
“Oh, I hope nobody saw me,” she said, a wintry blush crossing her face.
After last year’s snowless winter, we Minnesota kids (little and big) are eager for a real winter. I can just hear those unused snowmobiles revving up. I can just imagine some big “kids” even hoping their vehicles won’t start so they can finally use the jumper cables they bought last year.
I shiver to think of teenagers daring to drive somewhere, anywhere, just because there’s a blizzard going on. Parents, having been-there-done-that, know all too well the futility of their warnings: “You kids do NOT drive anywhere. Stay put!”
Ah yes, young and old, foolish and wise, let’s rejoice. Hooray! Here we are together again in the middle of a good, old-fashioned Minnesota blizzard. After last year, we almost forgot what we missed. We are, however, fickle Minnesotans one and all, which means on the day after Christmas, if not sooner, we’ll all be complaining about the vicious winter weather. But in the meantime, let’s welcome the return of winter. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.