There is no greater fun — when it isn’t killing you — than living in cold weather. Cold weather brings snow, the chill of football in the air, and the crisp snap of impending holiday cheer.

Snowmen!



Growing up in Nebraska, you learned to love theFlexible Flyer cold because you couldn’t escape its nasty bite. When it snowed, the drifts would rise to ten feet.

Our house had a basketball court sized driveway so when it snowed, I was out there in the deep of it shoveling — by hand because it built character — that snow into mounds for three hours at a stretch.

Unlike city living, where the snow is a burden and a traffic danger, snow in the Midwest is — after being pushed from the streets by snowplows — friendly on lawns and delightful on playgrounds.

Making Snow Angels and Snowmen were the rites of childhood and throwing
yourself belly-first on a Flexible Flyer steel runner sled and speeding it down a giant hill with your boots kicking in the air behind you is a delight those who live in the perpetual sunshine of warm weather can never begin to imagine what they’re missing.

20 Comments

  1. I wasn’t much for stomach surfing. I think that’s harder when you’re a girl than a boy. We did make snowmen, though. And snow forts. And snowballs. The weather hasn’t been that cold on the East Coast this year has it?

  2. Right now it’s raining and 59 degrees in Jersey! We used to get hard snow 10 years ago in October.
    Since then it seems we might get a dusting of snow or two but we don’t see heavy hard stuff until January.
    I think that”s an indication of global warning!

  3. 59? Now that’s alarming. How are the young kids supposed to enjoy the snow when they don’t even get to see much of it anymore? We are seeing the world get warmer. It seems your snowfalls are being delayed by three months. That, to me, is a big change.

  4. We didn’t (and still don’t) get a lot of snow – however I was five years old when the “big snow” hit the south of the UK on Boxing Day 1962.
    We were in the process of moving to Wiltshire from Leicestershire at the time. My father had just bought a local village post office and was undergoing his training before taking over. He was staying in a local pub about 2 miles away from the post office and our new home. It offered accommodation , which the new village pub did not.
    I have vivid memories of walking to see him at work down a footpath ( which should have been a road) with snow drifts towering over my head.
    The other vivid memory I have of my stay at the pub – the water pipes froze and burst over my bedroom n the middle of the night!
    We had a lot of fun sledging – this is the nearest comparison I can find.
    http://www.gymworld.co.uk/prodpage.asp?ProdID=2242
    We had another weapon up our sleeves – a large metal tray – much easier and lighter to carry back up to the start.
    My own children have been able to build snowmen about three times in their lives. Last time was last year, when it snowed on Christmas Day – much to everyones delight.

  5. Hi Nicola!
    I’m surprised you don’t get much snow! That’s quite fascinating!
    I love your story about trudging about to see your father.
    When you say “bought a local village post office” — do you mean to make the building into something else? Or is mail delivery privatized in the UK?
    I love your sled image. It is much more elegant than mine. In addition to sleds, many kids would pull off the aluminum lids of their garbage cans and careen down the hill on those lipped half-moons of fun!
    Our drifts would be so big you could carve a snow cave and live in it for days before it collapsed on you. The caves were quite warm and always quiet.
    The best thing was making a snowman with new snow and as you rolled the mounds of snow along the lawn you would reveal the grass underneath. At the ball grew bigger you left behind stripes of what used to be a green lawn behind you — ever a reminder of the glorious used to be.

  6. In those days there were two sections to the Mail service – there was the Royal Mail thst delivered the post and Post Offices.
    Post Offices were often housed in village shops. They sold stamps, postal orders, accepted parcels, acted as local sorting offices, paid out NHS benefits and pensions etc. You could also pay your TV licence , dog licence as well.
    So my dad bought the village shop and post office and ran it for ten years. He moved away from that when he saw the writing on the wall for local shops – supermarkets were starting to arrive and the whole Post Office system was under threat ( and still is).

  7. Hi David,
    It was nice and warm here the other day. I think we sent the rain your way. (We had so much rain that we had to use two pumps to keep the water that was running off the soaked ground away from our patio and from pooling up near the house).
    I like the warmer weather, but I can’t get into the holiday spirit when it is warm enough that a coat isn’t needed. We were out late last night doing some last minute shopping and I was able to leave the jacket in the car so I wouldn’t burn up when I went inside the store.
    I miss sledding. The glaciers flattened everything around here, so there aren’t many hills available.

  8. We have to pay TV licence and we then get the BBC for *free*. If you want Sky or cable you then have to pay again to them.
    We currently pay £136 a year for a colour TV.
    They send around detector vans and fine you up to £1000 fo r non-payment.

  9. I am not kidding.
    “Penalties
    If you are caught using a TV without a valid licence you could face a fine of up to £1,000. The TV Licensing Officers have lists of all properties without current licences, and if your house does not have a licence it is likely that they will visit.”
    Also see Wiki
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television_licensing_in_the_United_Kingdom
    Detector Vans –
    http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/information/detectionandpenalties.jsp
    We have a mixture of both broadcast, cable and satellite. Here we have satellite as the hills all around prevent bradcast signal and the cables do not reach !

  10. Nicola!
    I am absolutely stunned! This sounds like a Monty Python sketch from your “TV Licensing” link:

    At the heart of our operation is the TV Licensing database of over 28 million home and business addresses, telling us which of these have TV Licences.
    All of our enforcement officers have access to this database and will check whether or not you have a licence. If you are using a TV and are unlicensed, you could face prosecution and a hefty fine.
    We have a fleet of detector vans, plus, our enforcement officers have access to hand-held detection devices capable of detecting a magnetic field when a TV is switched on. In fact, we catch an average of over 1,000 people watching TV without a licence every day.

    What madness!

  11. I wish it was a Monty Python Sketch ! They monitor this quite heavily – they are currently demanding that I get a licence for what was the bottom flat – and is now our “play facility”. They cannot seem to accept that it does not have a television – I want to see the look on their faces !

  12. Is income taxed at 50%? I remember reading something crazy about high taxes and how UK stars like Ringo and Jagger and others were trying to get American citizenship so they wouldn’t have to lose so much money off the top but somehow the UK thwarted them from changing citizenship to avoid taxation…