I woke up to three inches of snow this morning. In Arizona! In April! This is just not right. However, it sparked a topic for today’s Saturday Stories. Snow has long been one of my favorite parts of Winter (though not of Spring).
My mom grew up in a wonderful old farmhouse. Originally it had a big porch on the front. Before I was born, my grandfather tore off the porch, but it played a part in this first story. Upstate New York can get some really heavy snow. One year the drifts were so high that the snow went to the top of the porch roof. Those top windows were those of my mom’s bedroom. Around back the house extends back, so from an aerial view, the house looks like a big L. All of the doors to the house were covered with snow, so Bumpa went into Mom’s room, opened one of the windows and let Mom slide down the huge drift. He shoveled his way through the drift so they could get out through the door, but Mom has always remembered the amazing snow and the fun it was sliding off the roof!
My childhood was spent back East in the land of snow, too. Although I was born out West, I basically spent the first fifteen years of my life in the North East. We lived in Rome, NY for a while. My parents bought their first house there. It was another old farmhouse. Our driveway was gravel and seemed to be a mile long to my little eyes. It was actually probably only 25 or 30 yards long. Each winter, though, my parents and I went out to shovel it. When I was in first grade, Dad decided to pile as much of the snow as possible in one place. Gradually, a mountain of snow emerged. He carved stairs on one side of the pile and then told me to go get my saucer. I spent hours and hours sliding down that hill. When the snow started to melt, that hill stayed for weeks after the rest of the yard was clear. That snow mountain was one of the nicest gifts my Dad gave me.
The last snowy place I lived in as a girl was a small town on Lake Huron in Michigan. I was colder there than in any other place I have ever lived. The Lake Effect brought in snow and Arctic blasts brought temperatures way below zero F. I was a teenager, so I got to experience some of more adventurous activities of winter. I learned to cross country ski, I rode on snow mobiles and I got to go downhill skiing my one and only time. Now, I want you to realize, that sports and physical activity of any kind were never my forte. I was born with flat feet that turned in and spent a long time in casts as a toddler to turn my feet straight and years in heavy corrective shoes to form an arch on my feet. I didn’t get a pair of sneakers to wear as shoes until I was ten. (That’s my excuse, but there was little natural ability to work with either). So downhill skiing? Well, it’s not like Michigan is known for its mountains. It was more of a really large hill where they built the ski resort. Our high school organized evening trips over to it and my friends convinced me to go along. I should probably tell you that most of my good friends had spent time in Germany with their Air Force fathers, learning to ski on the Alps. While I spent my entire time that night on the bunny hill, they were whooshing and swooshing down the larger slopes. Everyone else finished and I was still stuck at the top of the bunny hill for my third run. I slowly, oh so slowly, snowplowed down the hill, trying in vain not to go toward the trees or to fall down. When I finally got into the lodge, my friends were gathered at tables, drinking down mugs of hot chocolate. I never tried to ski again.
At this point, I guess I should mention that skiing just doesn’t run in my family. My mother broke her leg trying to learn to ski on a golf course in college. She was in a full leg cast for a long time. My husband also broke his leg trying to learn to ski as a boy. At least he was at a first class ski resort in Washington state, though. He can at least say he was on an actual mountain!