Number two pencils are collected, not for testing the three Rs but for placing in the freezer to test the validity of summoning the spirits of that almighty event, and most hallowed of all, the snow day, nearly as celebrated as Christmas itself.
The lost and founds have runneth over with scarves, gloves and mittens, enough to clothe a smaller country. Where else can Mary Horan declare that it’s “balmy” outside just because the mercury has squeeze-popped up to 20 and the mere hint of a midday shadow suggests the whisper of sunshine gossiping unobtrusively behind a thin cloudlike veil of sparkling sky? If the salt in the streets are building a city, the ashes in the fireplaces are building an empire.
How else can a symphony be simultaneously composed and performed by the polyphonic drones of inarticulate snow blowers? Where else does Bob Rose, “a man who wants to stand on Everest on his 100th birthday,” invent the Thermal Bar, “a high energy, high quality bar loaded with organic grains, nutrients, anti-oxidants, omega acids and spices that help keep you warm in cold conditions?”
I’ve decided that we don’t push aside the snow and the cold as much as we pile it up for our amusement. We concoct a drama to play act as supposed victims in our chapter of the woods when really it’s just a turnabout to lure the hunter and those icy claws to satisfy our hibernating itches. Our plow trucks are tanks and our shovels are bazookas. Our snowballs are grenades and our sidewalks are framed with fort walls and turrets.
To quote the esteemed Commander Perry, from the War of 1812, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.”
When my daughter Mays was little, I used to shovel out a maze within the fences so that she could run around and play on the flat ground. Invariably, the slush that formed in the pathways underfoot among the peeking out of green grass blades became boring and she preferred to jump on the accumulated mounds and make snow angels in the pristine freshness of the undisturbed backyard tundra. We would have to beg her to come in from the cold.
To quote the esteemed psychiatrist Sidney Friedman from M.A.S.H., “Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice.”
Willie Kiernan is a past editor of the Cazenovia Republican and a contributing columnist at Eagle Newspapers. He can be reached through the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.