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by Tamara Hillman

January Snowy number 2Snowy number 0Jan 2010 1Snowy number 0

January already—don’t mind me when I seem to say ‘already’ each month I write this column, but time seems to fly by at break-neck speed. I could blame it on old age, but even young folks are sayin’, “Time Flies!” Yes, it’s mid winter, and oh how busy we can be even tho’ some days are spent indoors huddled by a warm and cozy fire.

You may have already guessed, but I’m one of those sentimental/reminiscent sorts—boy, is that an understatement! But tho’ I’m living in the sunny southwest permanently now, I find myself daydreaming about my youth, and the joys of SNOW at this time of year. I try to forget the nuisance snow could be to our elders when I was young, and focus on the sheer joy of playing in it.

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Yes, I agree, snow is NOT all fun. It can be hard tryin’ to feed cattle when the white stuff gets deep, or for you urbanites, it can be just plain bothersome to have to dig your driveway out each morning, or uncover your car buried a foot or two under if you have no garage. And how about all that fun each morning when you start the engine to warm the inside of the car, then have to struggle in deep snow to scrape ice off the windows?

But did ya ever see horses run in powdery snow with mane flowing, kicking up twinkling walls of crystal in morning sunlight, and frolicking in the discovery their corral is no longer mud-brown, but white with snow? Well, I have, and it’s a sight to behold. Beautiful, just beautiful!

Cattle, pretty much, hate snow but I think horses don’t mind it at all.

The winter of fifty-six, I especially remember because we had ten feet of snowfall that year. There were gigantic walls to walk thru’ that had been built by shoveling a path from house to garage. And thank God, Dad, (being a jippo-logger) had a D-6 cat he could plow out the driveway, and clear a wall of snow between us and the main highway after the plow went by in the wee hours of morning or I don’t know how we’d have gotten to town or school.

Cows floundered and suffocated in the deep snow, and Mom was afraid we kids would do the same, but we didn’t—fearless as we were, we thought it was sheer heaven to ski or walk on crusted moguls and mountains of snow that sunshine melted just enough to form a hard shell atop. We were always playing with lots of other kids so if one did fall thru’, we’d dig ‘em out quick-like laughing the entire time.

All fences were buried, and rooftops were at the surface on the white trail we followed to join up with neighborhood friends. Some had snowshoes we all took turns walking in, while others had cardboard to run and belly-flop slide on.

On the river behind our place was an inlet that froze over every year around December, and we utilized it greatly ice-skating until it broke up in late spring. We’d bundled up so much in snowsuits and layers of warm clothing, falling never left a bruise. We’d play whiplash or chase each other for hours. The boys were fast and rough but we girls were tough little tomboys, and gave back as much as we took…

Kids invented their own fun back then since ‘store-bought’ items for play were considered NOT a necessity. We did get sleds and skates and things of that sort for Christmas on occasion, but were expected to always share, and also to hand them down to younger siblings as we outgrew them. I think that’s what only children miss—sharing, and it makes them different from kids who grow up with a gang of sisters and brothers. I wish my folks had, had many more than just we three. We’d have made even more memories to hold deep in our hearts in later years.

Granny Tam

Here’s a poem to start your winter fun!

snow flakesWINTER PLAYsnow flakes

Snowday Snowman

Snows pile high and deep
bringing joy
to children with noses pressed
‘gainst frosty windowpanes.

White, twinkling-sparkles
glisten brightly
across the meadow,
magnifying light ten-fold.

Youngsters bundle ‘gainst the cold—
chins burrowing deep in woolen scarves,
rosy chapped-cheeks, lips numb,
frozen ponds beckoning skaters.

Skiing, tobogganing,
belly-flop sliding on cardboard,
snow-shoeing, ice-skating,
sledding, and throwing giant snowballs.

Winter games begin…

Tamara Hillman

Throwing Snowballs

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