Posts Tagged ‘snow’

12418831_10156581337870105_1847855357891011100_oDear Lyla,

When I was little my sister and I would listen to the nightly weather with great interest and intensity during the winter months. We hoped to hear the words “nor’easter” or “white-out conditions.” Living in Minnesota meant that we almost always went to school unless a storm of apocalyptic proportions was making its way to the north central region of the state; even when severe predictions were made a snow day was never a guarantee and was never called the night before! Fast forward more years than I care to count, and here I am scouring the various weather outlets tracking “Winter Storm Kayla.” The discussions between Daddy and I are “will it pass us to the North,” “will it be as severe as they predicted or will it be a light dusting not worthy of all the angst we have seen televised, tweeted and texted over the past few days,” and “will Tuesday be a snow day?” Of all of these questions the last is of the utmost importance. Our contemplation of Tuesday’s forecast is not due to worry about missing a day of school, rather it means the three of us will be together with no classes, meetings or events to distract our family unit. When I was your age a snow day meant building forts, making snowmen and snow angels with my sister until we couldn’t feel our fingers and our scarves were crusted over with the ice. After frolicking in the snow my sister and I would waddle back into the house to be greeted by Grandma Jo with a hot cup of cocoa and a crackling fire. In retrospect it seems like it took forever for us to warm up again; we took great delight in snuggling deep into the blankets and spending the rest of the afternoon reading or playing board games. Snow days are the best! It was true then and it is still true today; a snow day can liberate a person in the most unexpected ways. So here’s to hoping the snow falls heavy tomorrow Little One; here’s to hoping for a bonus family day this week that is unencumbered by obligation and mundane distraction.

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Lyla in SnowDear Lyla,

It is interesting how the human desire for a good story can result in otherwise logical human beings accepting myths as fact. Urban legends permeate every culture and perhaps they were intentionally created in order to add importance to a morality tale. Families are no different; familial history is often passed from generation to generation, each putting its own spin on family lore. Such stories provide a sense of belonging within the family circle and they tie us to our past in seemingly tangible ways. I love these fables as much as anyone; except the ones in which I am the central character. There is one family myth that persists today about my driving skills that are based upon conjecture and an utterly false rumor started by your Bumpa when I first started to drive. It is true that I had a car accident shortly after earning my license (I was not at fault mind you) but I have an exemplary driving record. Although your Daddy would dispute my prowess at operating a motor vehicle, when one compares our citation and accident track records it is clear who the better driver is. However, the false accusation that I am a bad driver began when I was in high school. I had a job at the local nursing home and my shift started at 6am, meaning I had to get into my car no later than 5:30am in order to make it on time. Teenagers are notorious for wanting to sleep to the last possible minute, I was no exception. I would calculate how much time I needed to shower and get dressed to the exact second and roll out of bed accordingly. In the spring, summer and fall this plan worked beautifully. Unfortunately this plan could not be easily executed during the winter months since we only had a two car garage; Bumpa and Grandma Jo would park in the garage and I would park in the driveway. During the winter if a car sits outside overnight a thick layer of frost inevitably covers the entirety of the windshield, this was the case with my little Ford Escort. Rather than get up 15 minutes earlier I would simply jump in the car, turn the heaters up full blast and scrape an area the size of a standard letter through which to navigate. By the time I got half way to work, I no longer had to hunch over the steering wheel in order to see the road. This system seemed perfectly reasonable to my teenage mind; I could persevere my precious slumber and still make it to work on time with a modicum of hassle. To Bumpa, it was an accident waiting to happen and so for a few weeks he would get up when I got into the shower and would head outside to scrape the windshield for me. This routine soon lost its appeal to Bumpa who also valued sleep and a solution was born; in the winter months Bumpa would park outside and I would park in the garage. To me, this was a most excellent plan. For a while it worked well; until the first snowfall when dad had to get up before all of the rest of us to blow out our considerably long driveway. That first snowstorm was a doozy; dumping almost seven inches of wet, heavy snow. My mother drove a Cadillac which took up the majority of her side of the garage and, while my Ford Escort hatchback was small, I had not pulled all the way into the garage and so Bumpa could not get the snow blower out. Bumpa was forced to shovel a three foot wide and five foot long length of snow in order to back my car out and get to the snow blower. Needless to say, Bumpa was not thrilled with me. That afternoon when I got home Bumpa met me in the garage, motioned for me to stay in my car and pointed to a white orb most enthusiastically. He had hung a golf ball from a rafter in the garage and I was to pull my car forward until the ball lightly tapped my windshield. He had measured exactly how far I need to pull into the garage in order to get the snow blower out in case it was needed. Your Bumpa was a clever man and this was a very simple solution to avoid a repeat of the day’s earlier calamity. This is not the story that has been handed down for over twenty some odd years. Instead Bumpa relished in telling anyone who would listen that I had, on several occasions, overshot my distance into the garage and threatened to drive right through the wall. Utter nonsense, it never happened, and I would vehemently tell anyone who would listen how events truly unfolded. My stories fell on deaf ears each and every time. It was more fun to believe the myth than the truth, even though everyone knew that Bumpa was a storyteller and loved to tease us more than anything. There you have it little one, your mama has her own familial urban legend to live down. If you think about it Bumpa’s story, even though it is pure fiction, is a tribute and a gift. Stories keep us alive in others’ hearts, sometimes even long after they leave us. So here’s to history little one, may our stories live for generations to come.

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