We prayed for it. It filled our winter dreams. Sure we wanted Santa to come bringing gifts. Excitedly, we could not wait to put up the tree. But more than all of that, we wanted snow. Big soft flakes falling on broken stalks of corn in the front field. Flakes floating past the upstairs window where a little girl sat watching, waiting. Snow.
When we moved to Wisconsin, we knew that we would always have a white Christmas. It sometimes began the end of September. Mountains of snow pushed between the highway lanes and piled outside of town. A constant digging of a path for the dog to go out and clearing the driveway so the snowplow could once more close us in. It was not Ohio snow.
Perhaps it was because we had some winters where snow was scarce or it quickly became slush that we relished those time when we would be snowed in and school canceled. Oh, having school canceled was a bonus, but the snow was the prize. Those first flakes drew us to the window where we were hypnotized by the gently falling snow or thrilled by the wind blowing it as it swirled and mounted right before our eyes.
Dad bundled up and took the tractor with the plow on front out to help stranded travelers. He would come home later to tell us all the stories he had gathered that day. While he worked, we played. Neighbor kids came over with their sleds. It was the best time to live in a house on a hill. Geneva and Marilyn pulled we little ones on the sleds. Then we doubled up, flying down the hill and out into the field. We did not have snowsuits. I usually had two pair of pants, a jacket, mittens and a sock hat all of which not only kept me warm but was a great buffer if I fell from the sled. I still remember the nearness of Mom when she pulled the scarf up over my nose and mouth. She was not always tender, so this extra bit of care was memorable.
Of course, when we came back into the house, absolutely everything we wore was soaked. Mom unwrapped us, placing the wet clothing on the hot radiator. A fire blazed in the fireplace. It was waiting for cold, wet children and a daddy who had been out all day on snow duty. Hot cocoa and toasted marshmallows, hot dogs and potato chips. Mom was always ready. She knew that a tired family needed some pampering.
I will never forget the feelings captured on those days. I cannot see a snowflake without remembering the little girl watching through the window. I hold dear the children who were my dearest friends. And, I am always reminded of sweet Marilyn Lavy who left us much too soon.
It is a season of gathered memories, and truly, I think there is no more potent reminder that the first snowflakes that come to stay for such a short time. Snow.