Snow Memories

As an adult, snow and I share a difficult relationship. Snow wants to do what it’ll do, and I prefer that it doesn’t disturb my routines. I think these things even knowing that snow is necessary for the snowpack that provides us water throughout the year (so go up in the mountains and snow heavy there, right?) and some of our local industries (like the ski lodge on Mount Ashland) depends on the snow.

But a day of blinding, fat flurries (like today — look out that window — how can you not?) always takes me back to snow memories, especially childish times. When I was a boy in school, seeing snow outside the windows was a harbinger of entertaining times like snowball fights, forts, and sledding. Snow diffused daylight, blending night and day into a special, secret zone of being. Snow muffled the sounds and tamped adult activities, leaving the world to us, the brave, the crazy, the children. Interruptions would arrive – cars stuck on hills, tires spinning in a whining hiss, vehicles with chains clanging past, snowplows grinding by, building new boundaries of small mountains alongside the roads.

Après outings were coming into a warm house where boots, mittens, and layers of frozen soaked clothes were shed. All had to be hung, put onto radiators or into dryers, depending on the era and house. Hot chocolate with marshmallows and cookies were offered, or tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches (white bread and American cheese, in those days) with a dill pickle.

Evening would come with a hesitant stillness, slipping in like it didn’t want to disturb the world. Books were read, drawings were completed, games played, television watched. Popcorn and fudge was made. The television was watched for news — would there be more snow? Will school be cancelled tomorrow? (Fingers crossed, breath held, eyes big as the news was awaited.) And more gazing out the window, at the amazing white world and the wonders of snow, were indulged.

Young and innocent, protected and secure, playful and happy. Everyone should enjoy such a life.

A Dream of Changing Countries

It was an uplifting experience, although strange. 

I was with several groups of men. We’d decided we were changing countries. I connected with a few others to hunt for country candidates. An adviser was telling us what our options were.

My first choice was Japan. I headed to the JP room with a few other men and our adviser. We entered, and then our adviser had us wait while he checked on availability. Coming back, he told us, “Sorry, but there aren’t any openings.”

A little disappointed but still optimistic, we selected another place. I knew the name in the dream but I don’t know it now. Our adviser checked and confirmed, “Yes, eight openings are available.”

Only three of us went, however, with the others backing out. We had to answer questions to be accepted in the new country, and also to put on a shirt with cultural significance to that country.

After putting the shirts on, we entered an office. Bleachers filled with people were to one side. Most of the people were young women. The first man of my group went to a desk. There he was asked eight questions. He passed.

It was my turn. I went to the desk and was asked the eight questions. They were so simple and basic, such as, “What is your name? What is your favorite color?” The process amused me as I wondered, are there wrong answers? I passed and then waited for my friend to go through the process. Then the three of us were sworn in as new citizens and congratulated. A spattering of applause followed.

Now citizens of another country, we walked toward the exit. I remembered that I still had the other shirt on. Wanting my own shirt, I took the shirt off, gave it to someone, and then walked back, shirtless, looking for my own shirt, with everyone watching me. I found this quite funny. The dream ended with me finding my shirt, but leaving it off, I left.

To me, the choice of Japan was interesting. When I lived in Japan, it was a successful and enjoyable time, and I was very happy. That it wasn’t available meant, you can’t go back, but there are other choices. These will give me new experiences (changing the shirt, see?), but they’ll be like Japan, successful and enjoyable.

And it’s my choice.

 

Unchanged

She’d thought about using a computer but decided that she didn’t want to. That would have been cumbersome to learn, as would changing her phone. The green wall phone with its rotary dial and long cord was sufficient.

She kept her old color console television, bought from Sears in 1969, because it still worked, so why buy a new one? She had to buy new furniture in 1969 because the old stuff fell apart, but once the gold and green brocade stuff she bought started falling apart, she kept it, even though the fabric was torn and worn, stuffing was coming out, and the frames were coming apart.

Her hair-style was unchanged from 1968, which is also when she started dying her hair brown, so she looked much the same in this century as she did the last. She loved Campbell’s tomato soup and had it almost every day for lunch with a grilled cheese sandwich using Kraft American Cheese Singles, along with a Heinz dill pickle. Her breakfast was Quaker Oats followed by two cups of Maxwell House coffee that she made in her old percolator.

Days were spent reading Dick Francis, Nancy Drew mysteries, or Agatha Christie while watching Fox News. In the evenings, she watched The Family Feud and The Price is Right followed by Murder, She Wrote, The Andy Griffith Show, The Big Valley, and Perry Mason. Once in a while, she watched a movie, like The Sound of Music. For treats, she ate Little Debbie Cakes.

Not much had changed in her life, and that made her happy. Being happy, she saw no reason to change.

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