February 16, 2014 § 4 Comments
My grandson, Matthew, is doing the same.
Here he is, making one of the many snowmen that will dot the winters of his childhood.
All will become one in his memory. The Snowman.
Along with birthdays and Christmases, pets and best friends, small, bright winter memories, polished and clear, will travel with him.
Anyone who grew up where the snow flies has them. Here are some of mine.
Shoe-skating on a scrim of new snow.
Freezing a snowball to throw at my dad in July.
Snow-building with one mitten, one bare hand (winter stole one out of every pair).
The embroidery of bird foot prints beneath the feeder behind the house.
The miracle of a snow day.
But this time I returned to the place of my childhood winters as an adult. My husband, Ray, and I were acutely aware that we were arriving just ahead of a promised winter storm—and it stirred worry, more than anticipation.
We’d followed this particular winter as it made a series of such promises to the northeast—and then made good on every single one.
With a rise in temperature they would melt away like bad dreams, becoming nothing but puddles on the asphalt.
But this winter they seem permanent.
As adults, our daughter and Will, were responsible for remaining mobile, even if this latest storm scored a direct hit.
And so, in the parking lot, windshield wipers stood at attention to avoid freezing to glass. Antifreeze levels were checked.
How many times could New Jersey hang out a CLOSED sign?
But it did, once again. And when word went out that Rutgers was shuttered for another day it did not produce the exuberant get-out-of-jail free feeling I remember when the voice on the radio announced that West Windsor Schools were closed.
Work went on, Will balancing a laptop computer on his knees on the sofa.
Only Wegman’s was open, and only a handful of people were shopping the deserted aisles.
The magnificent, deep white snow finally got its due when Will took Matthew outside at the end of the day. Snowballs were launched into the trees. We were all invited out to admire their snowman.
But it was really cold, something we, the adults, were quick to notice. Matthew argued that it wasn’t, so we lingered, hugging ourselves while Matthew pranced in the deep powder. We hustled him–and ourselves–inside when the snow stole his shoe.
Still, we were lucky to have a child to remind us that it wasn’t that cold.
A child to stall us long enough for me to realize, there was something familiar about that snowman.
He was missing the carrot nose, but otherwise the resemblance was uncanny.
It was him.