When I was ten-years-old, I got up one January morning to one of the most beautiful sights that I had ever seen in my life. Snow, and lots of it! Snow is school children’s best friend. Actually, snow is like that friend who is your “best friend” until they go play with someone else.
It was the beginning of the Winter Storm of 1994. Overnight, it snowed about sixteen-inches, plus or minus, all across southern Indiana and northern Kentucky. Dad was unable to clean the snow off of his car, because his balance wasn’t good enough to walk through that much snow. We didn’t even have a snow shovel to clear a path to the car. So Dad sent me and Melissa out to clear off the sidewalk and clean off his car.
Melissa and I bundled up the best that we could. I had put on about two pairs of socks, two pairs of sweatpants, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, sneakers, a coat, gloves, and a toboggan. I would have had on two coats if that were physically possible. Sneakers were my only option of footwear.
Melissa and I were using our hands to scoop up the snow and toss it out of the way. We did that for over an hour until we reached the gate and got it open. Our neighbors had already started clearing the sidewalks off in the parking lot. One of the neighbors let me borrow his snow shovel for a while. I cleared some of the snow from around the car, and then I cleared some more snow from the sidewalk in the backyard before that neighbor asked me to return his shovel.
By the time Melissa and I started cleaning off Dad’s Mercury Marquis, some trucks had already plowed the snow in the parking lots, and there were two huge mounds of snow next to the fences around the dumpsters. As I was clearing off Dad’s car, I was watching the rest of the neighborhood kids play in the snow. They were sliding down those mounds of snow, and digging holes into them, which is dangerous, but it looked fun! I was watching and my effort to clean off the car tapered off.
Dad poked his head out of the door a little later. Melissa was playing with one of the neighbor-kids, and I was standing right in front of my dad’s car admiring my first snowman ever completed! Yes! And the car looked like it had been barely touched.
When I saw Dad, I tried to play it off by imitating the “The Price Is Right” girls, and saying, “It’s you!”
Dad wasn’t ooohhing and aaahhing.
Dad yelled, “Get in the house, now!”
Dad’s voice was so deep that he might as well have been the Hulkamania yelling, “Get in this ring, brother!”
But I never really received a spanking. Dad only yelled at me a bit and made me and Melissa stay in the house for the remainder of that day.
School was canceled for about two weeks that January. And until March, when everyone was praying for rain to wash away the dirty slush, kids all across Kentuckiana were having more fun playing in the snow than when the Beatles made snow angels in the movie “Help!”