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First snow?

Ann Swanson

When will we get the first snow? I know for some that are a dirty word but it will come anyway.

I do not mean flurries in the air. I mean real snow that stays on the ground.

During the recent full moon, I woke one morning and was sure that it snowed. There was a white cast over everything. The moon created what looked like a blanket of snow. When I got downstairs, I discovered we did not even have a frost.

The flowers planted by Don’s house in Russell still have not been frozen. Those begonias still look pretty. We are down there quite a bit so I appreciate them.

As we approach Halloween, that may no longer be the case. One year when I was teaching, we had a snow day on November 1! While we knew we were getting snow on Halloween, we never expected to have it measured in feet the nest day.

The students loved the unexpected day off – so did the teachers. The day after Halloween is always a tough day because the kids are on a sugar high. With no school, that was someone else’s problem.

The first snow is always on an exciting day. The children wistfully look out the window to see how much is sticking. It is not nearly as exciting for the majority of the adult population.

In the days of my youth, I loved snow. Snow meant sled rides and eventually ice skating. We were outdoors all the time. On the snowiest days, we even rode our sleds in the street since there was little traffic. I am not sure if getting out was less important in those days, but that is the way things were.

I had a small wooden sled with steel runners. It originally had a box on it. My mom put me in it and pulled me to grandma’s house. As soon as I could manage to sit upon it, grandpa took the box off of it.

We played outdoors all of the time. We had snowball fights with the other kids in the neighborhood. We made snow angels. Of course, we were all expected to help clear the snow for those who were at work. I remember that I had a small shovel that was just the right size to clear the path for tire tracks. I always had the driveway cleared when grandpa got home.

My little sled was the only one I ever had. I passed it on to my children who preferred it to the plastic-type that was around in their era. Actually, they had a runner sled of their own that was larger than mine, but they preferred my little sled because it ran faster.

They, too, rode their sled in the road on really snowy days. Our road was not nearly as busy then as it is today. They loved to ride the sled all the way to the barn. Then, they put it in the truck and rode back home with their dad.

For a while, we had a pet raccoon. We got it from someone in school who captured it but then tired of feeding it. By the time we got him he still needed to be fed through the night with a baby bottle.

My son was very diligent about taking care of Rascal. He read a book about a raccoon named Rascal and we all decided that was a good name. He really was a rascal at times.

Rascal was a lot of fun as a pet. He played with our cats when we brought him in the house. They chased each other around, but neither one hurt the other.

Rascal was also good garbage disposal. He ate the remains of fruits and vegetables that would otherwise have been disposed of.

He had a cage in our woodshed but the door was never shut. He could come and go as he pleased. When the hayers came to eat at our house they always took time to say hello to Rascal.

Rascal liked to ride in the bicycle basket. He just sat in there and enjoyed the ride. He also likes to ride on the sled. He tended to be lazy however and wanted the children to carry him back up the hill. They complied and he happily rode with them again.

As I write this it brings back happy memories of days when my children were young. We had a lot of wild pets in those days and enjoyed very one of them. As a child, I never had any pets, but in adulthood, I had all of the pets that I ever wanted.

Back to the first snow. It is now almost the end of October and we have not had snow. When will it come, who knows? The only thing for certain is that it will come. My husband has his snow tires on his car so it is ready. He has been making it up the hill for the last two years so this year will not really be much different.

I did hear thunder the other night when we were getting rain. My father-in-law had a saying, “Thunder in the fall no winter at all!” I am not sure that holds true, but I could do with just a small amount of snow.

Last night we talked with Donnie who lives in Atlanta. They have had eighty-degree weather down there. He told us it is really nice in the winter down there. Maybe there is a trip in our future. Who knows?

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, PA. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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