Nov. 5 NaBloPoMo (a challenge I joined, in which I am to publish a blog entry every day for November.)

The first snow of the year showed up today. I have been dreading it for a long time now. But you know what? I managed fine, thank you very much.

I had expected I would release a blood curdling howl of some sort, expressing my absolute distaste for the stuff. I mean, after 60 winters’ worth of the stuff, I’m bound to have been affected one way or another.

There were the younger days, the childhood romping days, when snow meant sliding down the big hill in our town, or skiing out on the sides of the mine dumps less than a mile into the woods. Snow angels, of course, and snow forts and snowball fights and all that fun stuff.

But there are three events that gave snow a negative tone to me….

First, when I was in fourth grade or so, we were skating at the local skating rink in our home town. You know the kind of place – two separate rinks, one with sideboards for the hockey enthusiasts and one with only snowbanks for the rest of us who had not desire to check anyone into the boards. The latter is where I spent my time.

But first, into the warming house I go to put on skates. The door stays shut only by virtue of a large spring, so occasionally the door swings shut so fast it knocks over a little kid, who then either rolls out into the snowbanks or is knocked into the house and bounces off the house attendant – one of the dads who has volunteered for the night to keep the oil heater running and keep the kids at a certain level of behavior.

Then I walk over to a bench, lay my skates on the rough wooden floor, take off my mittens and jacket, sit down, and start taking off my boots and putting on my skates. Once the skates are laced up tightly, I reclothe myself with what I had just shed. Out the spring-driven door I go and skate along the ice for a bit.

So what was so horrible about that? Well, just wait. As kids would do in that day, we’d play ‘crack the whip’. Kids would form a line, side by side, hold hands, and start skating. Eventually the line would form into a whip and the kid at the end gets a good ride as hands are released and that end child ends up face first in the snow bank. Now, make me that kid, and then have me not quite achieve the snow bank. Instead of a soft landing in the snow, I stumbled across the surface and fell, the back of my head hitting the ice that produced a great big cracking sound. The next thing I know, my uncle is carrying my into my house four blocks away. I still managed to like snow, but it sure left an impression … in my attitude that is, not in the ice itself.

The next two are much later in life . . .

Mom died in 1996, Thanksgiving day – dad had been gone since 1991. That left an apartment for my sisters and I to clean, which took several trips for two or three weekends in a row of a good 300 miles round trip. A snowstorm arrived at the same time as we arrived for the last weekend of work … and not just a few inches, a real snowstorm: gales, drifts, you name it, it came. After our work, and after loading a great deal of mom’s stuff in the back of my pickup, it was a long drive back home. The horrible part: coming around the corner to see my dear Wilma struggling with the snowblower, trying to clear the end of the driveway. The snow itself had been quite substantial, so it was a real battle for her. She had cleared enough of the driveway that I could get into the garage and unload my stuff. Well, wouldn’t you know that the snowplow came by just as I got done bringing in the last box. This time it was my turn to guide the snowblower through the very high berm. Oh, how I detested that feeling of closing up mom’s apartment, driving home in the snow, then coming around the corner and finding my own home so inundated and my wife trying so hard to get things done.

Then the third time, just last February, 2014. Wilma and I spent 2 sunny weeks in San Diego, enjoying beach life and eating out at some nice California restaurants. We left in snow and subzero temperatures, and we arrived back in Minnesota to find our car almost buried in snow – and yes, the temperatures were of subfrigid nature again. We drove home, and lo, our driveway again needed to be cleared of a good amount of snow, so just like I did back in the apartment cleaning episode, I ended up unloading the van and then heading out to fire up the snowblower and work, work, work. That snow and cold totally deflated the ease and joy of San Diego —- two weeks of subtropical relaxation shot to Hades and back again.

So, I totally expected this year’s initial crop of snow to get to me quickly and mercilessly. But like I said, no howls, no yells, no clawing at my eyes to not see the flakes. I might actually be okay. I might actually not hurt anything. I may actually not commit heinous acts of some sort. Just let me get the bejeebers out of here somewhere along the way. That’s all I ask.

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