Monday, January 11, 2010

Winter Wonderland

   There are rules to be followed when lobbing snow at each other.
    Prior to the outbreak of hostilities, prospective combatants divide into teams and begin erecting their very own snow forts.  If built correctly, these elaborate structures offer impregnable protection from frontal assault.  Which is all well and good until the “enemy” realizes the value of running around the house and pelting you from behind your own personal Maginot Line.
    The snow missiles themselves are of vital importance.  You don’t want them too small; neither do you want them too large as to render them impossible to fling at anyone other than slow-moving little brothers.
    Some kids opt to store up a supply of these jumbo snowballs, though.  Looked on as wintry “weapons of mass destruction,” these behemoths can be used to lay waste to your opponents, sisters, or passing cars.  Their sheer size makes for great “shock and awe.”
    Of course, they then run the risk of being invaded by Donald Rumsfeld.  But, that's another topic for another blog.
    A twist some kids employ is the snowball version of nuclear weapons.  Possessing much more bang for the buck than the average run-of-the-mill snowball, these beauties are made of ice and fiendishly concealed bits of rock.
    These painful little demons will surely carry the day for anyone so reckless as to use them.  However, they also contain the real danger that, once pelted in the kisser, your opponent may just quit.  The result is you won, but, on the downside, game over.
    So most kids, while they make them, just “pray we never have to use them.”
    Following a mutually agreed-upon snowball fight armistice, many opt to make a snowman.  Especially for the older ones, the garden variety “Frosty the Snowman” figure just won’t do.  Standing four feet tall, with a corn cob pipe and a button nose seems pretty blasé to pre-teens.
    Therefore, most sixth-graders will attempt to create the King Kong of snowmen.  Being seen from the street isn’t good enough for them.  No, no, they want their creations visible from orbit.
    Starting with a small snowball, sometimes up to five boys will begin rolling the “Mutant Frosty’s” base.  Adopting a meandering stroll across the yard, they gather freshly-fallen snow (which just HAS to be good “packing” snow or the whole game’s over) into an ever-growing ball.  Their muscles strain as the base finally morphs into a huge boulder.
    Once the base reaches chest-high, they repeat the entire process for the mid-section.  Not so large as the base, the master builders are soon disappointed to discover it’s now so heavy that hoisting it into position is impossible without heavy machinery.
    Shrugging their shoulders in exasperated resignation, they consider all their work for naught.  At this point, though, the twisted genius among them comes up with a brainstorm.  How about building him, he suggests with a devilish smile, so that he’s lying on his back?
    Thus was born the concept of the “snow drunk.”
    Reenergized, the snowy craftsmen place the mid-section next to the base before continuing on to roll together their creation’s head.  Scrounging two dead branches from the woodpile, they jam them into the snowman’s side and position a collection of black rocks on its “face” so that it resembles a blissfully passed-out bar fly.
    Finishing their creation off with an old baseball cap atop its head and an empty can of Budweiser casually tossed next to its right branchy hand, the sculptors step back to proudly admire their masterpiece.
    As they all pat themselves on the back and exchange cheerful high-fives, the original designer peers intently at what they had wrought.  He glares at their impressionistic rendering of the frostbitten inebriated and rubs his chin in deep thought.  Circling the snowy lump, he solemnly pronounces, “Something isn’t right.”
    He continues to ponder and evaluate what's missing.  The prepubescent artist scratches his head through his wool cap when, suddenly, he snaps his fingers and disappears into the house, leaving his fellow artists puzzled.  What’s the problem, they wonder.
    Minutes later, the budding Michelangelo dashes back into the yard, a giant carrot from the refrigerator in his hand.
    Seeing what he held, each member of the team immediately realizes what was missing.  They enthusiastically approve as their friend affixes the bright orange tuber to the giant sprawled in the backyard.
    Done with their labors, they look for other things to do.  The girls looked like they were having fun.  But, as they get closer, they decide that lying flat on their backs and waving their arms and legs to make ridiculous snow angels seemed lame.  Better to head inside to slurp gallons of steaming hot Swiss Miss cocoa in front of a SpongeBob Squarepants cartoon.
    Several hours later, as their father wearily turns into a driveway which had become a frozen landscape from another world, he notices something odd.  What were those lumps of snow?
    Coming to the end of the driveway, his headlights clearly illuminate the strange shape in his yard, positioned next to the remains of two snow forts.  It looked like someone had gone to a lot of trouble to build-and knock over-a snowman.
    He shuts off the engine and gingerly steps over the ice to the edge of the driveway.  With a shake of his head and a wry smirk, he finally realizes what it is:
    An anatomically correct snowman lying on its back. 


  1. My own personal invention- the crap ball! I would follow a neighborhood dog around, until it did a number two, then carefully pack snow around it..The most feared weapon in the snow fort!

  2. Boy, I wished we thought of that. Although don't think we never took advantage of of four legged friends' droppings. Few things struck terror more in the heart of the neighborhood kids than a stick loaded up with dog "cocky."

  3. I was consulted on a regular basis when young on how to "get even"...