Memories of winters past

Curling up close to a heating register in the early a.m. on a cold winter’s day after delivering newspapers, dozing in and out of sleep before it was time to leave for school.

The thrill of being allowed to drive a snowmobile while only nine or ten years old (what were my parents thinking?).

Tumbling down the beginner’s ski slope at a resort in Lake Geneva, WI; having to be carried off the slope like a sack of potatoes slung over the back of some big guy; and walking on crutches with a sprained knee for a while.

Loads of sledding runs on the slopes by the school.

Many, many snowball fights and perfecting of snow forts.

Sleeping on our family room floor in front of a roaring fire during a power outage caused by a blizzard.

A blizzard so fierce and strong that snow was forced through tiny cracks around our front door, leading us to cover the door in blankets.

My first taste of egg nog that was homemade and most definitely alcoholic.

That one time we had a Christmas tree, all nicely decorated with multi-colored lights and ornaments, but pine needles everywhere.

Watching from a second story window as a huge Caterpillar tractor tried to break through the 9-10 foot high snow drift across the road in front of our house.

The best mittens I ever had, lined with sheep’s wool and extra long sleeves with elastic near my elbows that kept out the snow and cold so well.

Slipping and sliding on a frozen pond with my brother, both of us wearing cowboy boots, and accidentally knocking down a neighbor who happened to be out on the pond along with us.

School being cancelled early due to a severe blizzard and us children having to walk home in a chain, holding onto each other so as not to get separated.

A fire in our kitchen oven early one morning that forced us all to evacuate in our pajamas to our grandparents’ house next door while the fire department put out the fire, and then learning of my oldest brother’s engagement to be married while sitting around the table eating breakfast in my grandparents’ kitchen.

Frequent bouts of bronchitis, pneumonia, or croup, but one time in particular meant that I missed my 2nd grade class’s Christmas party, although my teacher sent home a gift package that I’ll never forget because it included a copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe — my introduction to the wonders of Narnia and C.S. Lewis.

Each Christmas, our elementary school renting a movie (e.g. The Love Bug, The Cannonball Run) to play on a big screen in what we called the Little Gym, while we all sat on the floor.

The generosity and kindness of people on my paper route who gave me a big tip around Christmas time, or a box of candy (e.g. chocolate-covered cherries), or a plate of homemade cookies — sometimes all of them together.

Learning to start a car in subzero weather without the benefit of a fuel-injected engine, and learning to drive it on slippery roads without the benefit of either front-wheel drive or anti-lock brakes.

These are only a few of the many memories I have of winters past. Winter has always been a special time.

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