Monday, November 24, 2008

My snowman can beat up your snowman

Snowman? Snow? Brrrrrr.

Ooooh, all of that white stuff brought back some scary memories. 

Between July 1993 and Easter 1994 we lived in Raleigh, North Carolina. Good ol' U S of A. We'd been moving progressively southward over a period of several years, despite my strong Yankee protestations, and when we finally left Philadelphia for Raleigh, it meant that snow was probably going to be a thing of the past. 

Leave the sleds and cross country skis packed, guys. Snow sports are so over.

But one wintry day in Raleigh, soon after Christmas, we woke up to a thick blanket of snow. A cardinal flew by, astonishing with its brilliant red feathers in the newly white world, and every tree-branch hung low and heavy with fluff. What a surprise! The kids were stunned speechless, and then in an instant everyone donned the parkas and snowpants they thought they'd never wear again. 

Actually it was a half-hour of chaotic screaming and running around, unpacking boxes. Tears from small daughters, ages 5 and 3. Hollering from slightly older sons, 7 and 10. 

"Where's my mittens, mommy?" 

"These boots are too tight!" 

"Can't I just go out like this?" (t-shirt and p.j. bottoms) 

Lots of other assorted whimpering from innocent, fun-loving children, proving once again that I was ever an unprepared and totally useless mother.

But eventually, the children went out and built a snowman. The snow was super packy, so the snow-sculpture was huge. Each ball of the snowman's body took ages to roll, and the scrunch, crunch, crunch of wet packing snow was so satisfying. The boys engineered the stacking of the balls, the girls came inside for coal for eyes (charcoal briquets) and a carrot for the nose (there goes supper!) and all foraged for arms/branches in the thick woods behind our house. 

Ta da! Festive snowman, 7 foot high. All the bits and bobs in place. Done.

All over the neighborhood, we heard other families doing the same thing. The excitement of such an unexpected turn of the weather was too much. And of course, no school, so lots of time for parents and children to have a happy morning together.

Fine. I sat down with a cup of coffee and a book, thrilled that the kids were out of my hair for a while and safely playing.

Suddenly, the doorbell rang.

Our neighbor from across the street, a young father, stood on the step, holding the hand of his little toddler daughter.

"Yer children," he sputtered. "Yer ... yer children.... why, they have destroyed mah snowman. Mah little girl an' I built a beautiful snowman, and your nasty children came over into mah yard and knocked it down and ruint it. Mah little girl is bawlin'."

Said little girl was actually peering around, looking through the door, apparently wanting to check out the home of these wretched heathens who'd so upset her Daddy.

"And now there's glass all ovah my front yard, because they had th' audacity to break mah snowman's nose."

Wait. Wha'?

Glass? Glass nose? WTF?

"I'm sorry. I'm really sorry! (Kids! Shut UP!) Gosh, I'm so sorry, sir! (Kids. Please!) But I don't understand about the glass breaking. (Children. Shut up NOW.) Did they throw a snowball at a window? What did they do? (Shhhhh!) O dear me, I do apologise! I'm so so sorry!"

"Yer children are gonna come ovah right now and pick up every single piece of glass and then put that snowman back, right like it wuz."

Dear Jesus God. What in heaven's name happened?

"I'm sorry. That's fine. We'll come over. But what is the glass? What are you talking about with glass?"

"Ah used a light bulb fer mah snowman's nose. 'N yer kids broke it."

Jesus Mary and Joseph. A light bulb. A white, frosted, glass bulb for a snowman's nose. Didn't this guy read Frosty the Frackin' Snowman? Damn.

Hell, I bet he got it mixed up with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Lighted. Nose.  





It all makes sense.

Fortunately, it happened that the fabulous Mr D was actually at home for a week's holiday. (We were too poor to vacation anywhere, so we'd taken the cheap option and stayed home. Poor unlucky Mr D.)

So restful, these home-based holidays. You know.

I sent him over to deal with Bulb-Boy across the street.

Mr D was ever so polite and conciliatory (he seems to be able to put his irritation on hold when dealing with irrational and possibly gun-slinging neighbors) and the glass was picked out of the snow and the snowman was rebuilt and the little toddler girl-child went to bed happy.

The End.

Note to self:  People who live in warm climates can sometimes be a few bulbs short of a Christmas tree string. Just sayin'.

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