Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful . . . Or Maybe Not

For all the lyrical dreaming of a white Christmas, the sleigh bells, and Frosty the Snowman, I don’t feel the least bit deprived that I won’t have snow for Christmas. Snow makes for beautiful Clement Moore-esque imagery, but it’s a royal pain in the boots when you have to load up the family sleigh and go somewhere. I’ll bet Santa would retire to Hawaii if he could. Snow, like Black Friday shopping, is best experienced only in the imagination.

If I were a winter sports fan, I might feel mildly regretful about living in a place where the nearest snow is a long car ride away, but I’ve only been skiing once in my life and I was terrified. My innate athletic ability is nil, and strapping slick pieces of plastic to my feet and careening down a hill in search of trees to hit just didn’t appeal to me. But I did enjoy playing in the snow as a kid, making snowmen and having snowball fights. It was especially delightful if school got canceled (which happened a lot more when we lived in Arkansas than it did when we lived in Utah. In Utah, if you can tunnel to school, school’s on).

Tubing was fun as a teenager. A youth snowmobiling trip to West Yellowstone was fun, at least until our snowmobile veered off the path and onto a steep hill and we rolled the snowmobile (no, I wasn’t driving at the time—I was the hapless passenger on the back. We didn’t get hurt, but boy was I nervous after that when my partner was driving.). Snow can be fun and certainly it's beautiful; I’m not Mr. Heat Miser. But I don’t miss driving in a snowstorm. When I was a teenager with a newly minted driver’s license, my first solo venture in the Blue Beast (a 1976 Gran Torino station wagon) was to an early morning orchestra rehearsal. While we waxed musical within, an April storm did its deeds without. When the rehearsal ended, there I was, a novice driver, faced with driving home in lots of snow. I drove home so slowly that the drivers behind me were probably chewing through their mittens in frustration.

I'm so out of practice with white Christmases that it seems perfectly normal to have the only snowflakes on the premises be those that my daughter cut out of paper. Even when we lived in Boston, we didn’t usually get a white Christmas. We were a lot more likely to get snowstorms in March. No white Christmases for us in Ireland either; the most snow we saw there was an inch or two of accumulation when we were vacationing in Dublin over the holidays. Being used to the relatively mild winter weather, we hadn’t brought much in the way of cold weather gear along with us (for instance, one daughter just had a raincoat). We nearly got frostbite wandering around the Dublin Zoo and envying the meerkats huddled around a warming light.

And now, years removed from snowball fights (okay, I did see a bit of snow in Yosemite once, and it's possible someone threw some of it at someone--but I'm not sure it counts in June) I have reached the nadir of winter wimpiness. If it’s in the forties or fifties, it’s COLD!--but that doesn't mean my twelve-year-old son will want to wear a sweatshirt. He walked to school today in shorts and a T-shirt. I tried to tell him it was cold, but he wasn’t impressed. I told him he’d shoot his eye out, but I don’t think that impressed him either.


Cheri J. Crane said...

The warm weather sounds mighty tempting, Stephanie. ;)But for me, it wouldn't seem like Christmas without snow.

And having raised three sons who all possessed BB guns, I hear you on children ignoring good sound advice. While none of them shot out their optical orbs after being warned of this horror, they did manage to shoot each other in the leg. I suspect they take after their father with regard to klutziness. =D

Jennie said...

Uh, Cheri, who is the family klutz? Anyway, I like a little snow just before Christmas, a light snowfall is fine Christmas morning, but by New Year's I'm done; I'm ready for Spring. Funny, I used to love playing in the snow, ice skating, and all that, but city driving cured me of any fondness for the kind of white stuff that accumulates. The only snow sport I participate in now is filling the bird feeders and watching my grandchildren sledding on a nearby hill.