Monday, January 12, 2015

Snow Free Pass 2015

Hey all,

One of my favorite parts of these contests is giving someone an opportunity to make the agent round who I would not necessarily pick. It's giving a dark horse a shot at a mentor and getting in front of agents. I've always been something of a dark horse myself.

I'm making it simple this time. No rafflecopters. No following or liking me here or there. Thought if you could retweet about the free pass that would be awesome! I really encourage you to help get the word out. The more the merrier!

You do not have to be planning to enter as a 'snow' contestant. You MC may prefer sun for your entry on January 26th. None of that matters here for the free pass.

I just want you to leave a comment on this blog post with your favorite memory about snow or winter. Be inventive and creative. Have lots of voice. Entertain me! You can be as long or short as you like but no giant essays. Keep it to a paragraph or four, shorter is preferred. I will be picking my favorite comment for the win. Hint: long-time followers know I like to laugh.

I almost forgot the most important part, leave some way for me to get ahold of you. That means a twitter handle or email address in the comment.

The free pass starts now and ends on Friday January 23rd at 4:00 eastern. Good luck and be sure to hang out at #sunvssnow to meet and greet other writers!


  1. One of my favorite memories about winter is, of course, playing outside in the snow with my younger siblings. We used to live in a crumbling campsite between two humped mountains in Williamsport, PA, home of Little League and not much else, other than ourselves. One of the camp's great features was a toboggan chute slicing through the trees up the mountainside, behind the artoo-deetoo reminiscent observatory. Well, it HAD been a toboggan chute, until some kid had the nerve to break his arm going down, so all that was left was the cleared path, a sad reminder of what had once been glorious.
    We still rode down it, anyways, in tubes intended for the creek with giddy teenage staff members, all determined to somehow get down the hill, past Artoo-Deetoo and hopefully not into the pond a la that kid in It's a Wonderful Life. I'd find myself propped between some pair of jeans, my short thin legs dangling over the curve of the tube's slimy skin, be given a loud cheered countdown, and fly towards ecstasy and possible death through slicing wind and my own bump-chopped shriek, that staff member behind me making me half-deaf and everyone up above yelling "DON'T FALL INTO THE POND DON'TFALLINTOTHEPOOOOOOND!"
    Well, I never did fall into that pond, thankfully. I would've survived. Most of the staff were trained life guards. But considering my parents were their bosses, I don't think they were about to take that risk. Instead, we'd all tumble into the concrete-lined dining hall and swallow scorching, watery cocoa, laughing and obnoxious and skidding on snow remains in front of the hall's big dirty fireplace. I may have been a decade younger than most of them, but I was one of them, and I wore it as proudly as the muddy snowstains on my too-short, grape tylenol colored snow pants.

    My Twitter handle is @whatshewrote. Thanks for this opportunity! :D

  2. The first winter after we moved to Alaska, my parents made us go out in the snow in our swimsuits for our Christmas card photos.
    Wait, did you say favorite memory?


  3. I come from the broken part of Canada. Nestled in the protective currents of the Gulf of Juan de Fuca, Vancouver Island has never been a hotspot for cold. Instead, our region is known for green Christmas`s and retirees who would rather buy a new umbrella in November than snow tires. Our city, the capitol of British Columbia, had only two snow plows. So when the blizzard of `96 hit, we became both a Winter Wonderland and the laughing stock of the country, as cars spun out in an unprecedented unCanadian manner.

    It would have been a miracle in an ordinary year. My childhood was marked by unanswered prayers for Christmas snow. But in `96, our hearts were turned a different direction. My grandfather`s cancer had advanced enough that I no longer knew what to pray for. Asking that his life be lengthened seemed selfish. Asking that he die in peace was beyond my nine-year-old imagination. Regardless, one week before Christmas, he passed away.

    My father never cried in front of me. Our family didn`t have enough money to all fly to the funeral, so he boarded a plane and kept his pain private. When the weather reporters got anxious, Mum told us all to pray that Dad would be able to make it home for Christmas. He arrived just before the snow. It started Christmas Eve, building through the day until six glorious inches lay on the ground by Christmas morning. But that was nothing compared to the two feet dumped on us the next night. Rumors began to circulate as to how bad the snow really was. There were six foot drifts in Saanich, they said. The radio spat out constant reports on where people were in need of supplies.

    Our street wouldn`t be plowed for two weeks, but we were content to be snowed in. The house was full of Christmas baking and Dad already had bereavement leave from work. We were expected nowhere. The worst thing we endured was an egg shortage, brought on by a hen shaped egg-cooker my mother received for Christmas. For once, I felt like a real Canadian, climbing through the drifts with my older brother, our knees breaking through the icy top crust.

    My father was quiet that year. I knew just enough about death to know to expect that. But like any child, I watched for some sign that he was healing. It came with the snow. A day or two after the big blizzard, he walked up to my thirteen-year-old brother, Matthew. Matt, dressed in nothing but a t-shirt and boxers, looked up from his computer. Without a word, Dad grabbed Matt, threw him over his shoulder and tossed him out the door, right into a massive snow drift.

    And that was when I knew that prayers were answered. There`s something about your brother flying half-naked into a snow bank that lets you know the world is good and your father won`t be quiet forever. Perhaps there`s good reason it snows so little on Vancouver Island. Perhaps it`s just waiting for the right moment.

    What a fun challenge! Sorry this was on the long side! @emilyirispaxman

  4. I was a 17-year-old exchange student in southern Quebec, looking forward excitedly to experiencing a real Canadian winter. When that first snow came as a snowstorm, it took me a bit by surprise. It was a Saturday, and I had offered to be in charge of supper that day because I wanted to try a curious recipe I'd found in my recipe book - spaghetti pizza, with both the spaghetti and the pizza being home-made.
    Needless to say, I laboured all afternoon in the kitchen while my two host sisters went outside and watched kitten "Muffin" make her first steps in the snow.
    I was totally exhausted by the time the pizza with the home-made spaghetti topping was ready for the oven. Which was the moment when the power went off.
    That night, we had home-made barbecued spaghetti-pizza. And a snowball fight.

    Mayken @maykenalanna

  5. My very first winter in the United States is my most memorable. I was born in India and moved to the states when I was six. I hadn't seen snow before. Things at home were stressful, my had just left to go back to India with my little brother and we had no idea when they were going to come back. It was just my sister and I when a huge snowstorm blew through Northern VA and school was cancelled. My dad still had to go to work so he called a friend of his who lived in the same apartment complex to watch us. This lady, who's name I can't remember, was also Indian, but very different from any of the women I knew. She was much less reserved and more carefree. She did everything she could to make sure my sister and I had a blast in the snow. We layered up and braved the weather. I had my very first snowball fight, built my first snowman, and managed to get my mittens soaked through. By the time we got back inside my fingers were frozen raw, but I was laughing and giggling so hard I didn't even notice the cold. We warmed up by the heater and for the first time in a while I wasn't scared of what would happen between my parents or what would happen to me and my siblings. Snow had been the perfect escape from all my worries.

  6. When it happened, I didn't look upon the moment fondly. I was an awkward, fifteen-year-old ginger with a strong affection for pizza, embarking on my first skiing trip. I lost my group as I let chair after chair on the ski-lift pass, certain I was going to fall to my death once I let it scoop me up. (Seriously, how do people not fall off of those things?) After taking the loop two or three times because I was too scared to jump off, I tumbled off the seat into the snow at the feet of my group - a gaggle of svelte, wealthy Olympic potentials I had nothing in common with. I had no idea what I'd done when I let myself fall to the ground. Have you ever tried to stand in a snow suit with weak abs when your feet were strapped to a couple of two-by-fours? My first thought: I should have peed. My snow suit became wet and warm then cold then solid. I blamed the pee-cycles on melted snow. The day only got better when I lost control and swerved into a Special Olympic group, knocking down a one-legged skier. The only thing that made it bearable was that my group had passed me long ago and wasn't there to see the one-legged skier help me up. (I’m not making this up people.)

    At the time, the day was a scarring reminder of what a terd -in-a-punch-bowl I was as a person but today it's one of my favorite stories to tell my kids. They laugh. I laugh and it's taught my little ginger-pizza-lover's to laugh when life makes you make pee cycles.

  7. Last year we moved to Saratoga Springs, New York from San Diego. People said we were nuts. "But we love the seasons," my husband and I would say. And we do. But I'd never lived in snow, and he grew up in Vermont, so there were things he took for granted that I'd never seen before. We were walking outside of Lowes last fall and there was a big line-up of odd machines with giant spikes. I must have been staring because my husband said, you know what those are, right?
    "Uh, lawnmowers?" I said.
    He laughed hysterically. "Snow blowers!"
    I'd heard of snow blowers, but always pictured them looking more like a leaf blower, or a blowtorch that melted snow on contact.
    We had our first snow that night--a whole foot--and when I let our pampered little Morkie dog out to pee the next morning, he skittered off the deck...and disappeared.
    "Seger!" I panicked. The poor little guy didn't even go outside if it was raining and here he'd buried himself in the snow. I rescued him (in my socks because who had anything but flip flops sitting by the door?) and spent the next 20 minutes digging out a proper pee spot.
    Now I'm proud to say I survived a winter and a half in the northeast, and I'm learning new things all the time.

    1. Oh, and my Twitter handle is @ShannaRogers29

  8. I live in a place where it never snows. Like, ever. Naturally, everyone who lives in my area is in love with the idea of snow. To us, there is no downside to winter. Snow means snowball fights, building snowmen, and having snow days. To us, there was nothing wrong when Elsa froze all of Arendelle.

    It sounds like I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. I swear. We're honestly jealous of temperatures lower than 60ยบ.

    When I was little, my dad had to go to Vancouver on a business trip. My mother and I decided to go with him. I’d never been out of the country before, so I was excited. And when my dad said it sometimes snowed… well, I was ecstatic.

    We bought snow stuff (which we never used again). We booked skiing lessons. Wearing multiple layers was somehow fun for me, and I couldn’t wait to play in the snow.

    My favorite memory would have to be the skiing lessons. I’m a hilariously clumsy person, but I somehow managed to get onto the medium slope, while my mother—who was also a snow virgin—was stuck on the beginner one. I loved the feeling of flying, of the cold air. I didn't stay long enough to be disillusioned, but I had just enough time to fall in love with snow.

    My Twitter: @girl_writer Thank you for this opportunity. :)

  9. The first memory that comes to my mind does so because my dad is fighting advanced-stage cancer right now . . . We were visiting my Grandparents farm/orchard in Michigan during the winter many years ago. Their twenty acres of rolling hills are full of apple trees, pear trees, peach trees, evergreens and the beginnings of a forest at the back of their property. It had snowed a foot and my dad asked if I wanted to go for a walk with him. He LOVES the snow! We walked together for quite some time, enjoying the silence only a deep snow can bring. I was amazed as he pointed out the tiniest details in nature that he noticed. It's been an inspiration to me as a writer to stop and really see what going on around us. One of the things he noticed was how the dried thistles looked like they were wearing little white, knit caps. My facebook banner is an ode to this memory. if you want to check it out. :)

    Thanks for this freebie chance, Michelle!

  10. Oh, and here's my twitter handle: @csschwarz

  11. During a trip to Vermont, I was teaching a friend how to snowboard and we ended up on a flat part of the trail. We weren't going fast enough to make it across so we started shuffling along when BAM! A guy in a cow suit (complete with ears, utters, and a tail) skis into the back of my friend. They both went flying into a snowbank, all tangled together. His friend and I had to pry them apart (which isn't easy when you're laughing your butt off).

    Twitter: @AmberR_Riley

  12. My favorite winter memory is skiing with my mother. Every winter, when I was younger, my mom would keep me home from school once a week so we could spend a day at the slopes. We would sing our favorite songs while riding up the lift, and weave figure eight's all the way down the trail. Now that she's gone, I strive to continue the tradition with my son.

    Twitter: @demoness333

  13. One of my most memorable snow memories was when I learned to ski for the first time. I was in seventh grade, way too tall for my age, and wearing a pair of borrowed ski pants in the color of sunny yellow. Living in Colorado, all of my friends skied, except me, and they convinced me it was easy to do. Confident, I hopped on the ski lift with one of my friends and went straight up the mountain. When it came time to get off, I stood up and shoved myself off, but the chair lift snagged the small hole in the back of my pants. Stuck to the chair, I circled back down towards the bottom of the hill, with my ski's dangling in the air. I screamed like a banshee and scared the poor lift operator witless. It took her several minutes to recover, but by then, my pants had ripped and I fell from the air, tumbling down the mountain. My ski's flew off and so did one of my boots. I stopped, when I ran into a small bump in the path. The story spread across the mountain faster than an avalanche and by lunch time, strangers were stopping to ask if I was the girl who'd fallen off the lift. (I seemed to be the only one wearing yellow ski pants that day.) However, I didn't let the fear of falling and/or the humiliation stop me from learning how to ski. By the time the day was over, I was skiing blues easily, which are medium trails, and I'd gone down one black run with moguls.

    Twitter: @dahlrachael

  14. After 16 years living in sunny, warm Brazil, the first time I saw snow again was in college, during a history quiz, on Halloween. Seeing those white flakes through the window was magical. I couldn't focus on the test at all, but somehow managed to pass. Must have been the magic of the moment.

  15. Every year as a kid my Dad would take us kids (5 of us!) out of school for a whole week (this was when parents could actually do this without fear of persecution, lol!) and we'd all go snow skiing in West Virginia- my Dad doesn't like to fly and this was the best & closet place for us from Tennessee! We'd ski all week and get SO worn out that we'd pass out early every night. During these trips we also had some epics board game competitions. This was before cell phones- my Dad had a "car phone", so we literally only had board games and Soap Operas to watch on TV during the day! My fave game was always Rummi!

  16. Hey Michelle-
    My favorite winter memory is actually from Valentine's Day when I was in third grade. This little blonde hair boy named Matthew had asked me to be his Valentine in school during our class party. He gave me a cute little card that said, "Be my Valentine? Check Yes or No." Of course, me being eight, I checked yes. He even had his parents call my parents to invite me over for a play date that weekend. So here we are playing outside in the snow like kids do, and out of no where this little boy kisses me. Well, I was a tomboy and hell on wheels at that age. Most girls probably would have said ew, or blushed or something. Not me. Instead I pushed him down a hill and then spent five minutes pelting him with snow balls. Needless to say that kid never talked to me again, and no other boys tried to come near me for like two weeks once word got around. That is definitely my favorite winter memory and my mother and I laugh about it even now.

  17. My twitter handle is @thofauthor

  18. My favorite memory about snow is my oldest daughter's first birthday. Her party was on her actual first birthday. The whole family was over at our house to celebrate by beautiful daughter's special day. Living where we do in California, it doesn't snow here, but on that cold December day, snow flakes filled the sky and added their own decoration to my oldest's party. The snow didn't stick to the ground, but the beauty it added as she ate her first cake with her thumb and forefinger is something I will never forget.

    Rebecca Waddell


  19. When I was in 8th grade, so about 14 years old, I had a heart valve replacement surgery. My doctor advised NO physical activity of any kind for the next six months. This was the mid-80s, so that meant no PE class, no sports and no sledding if it snowed. I lived in the Seattle area, so snow was unlikely, but of course it happened that year and I was so disappointed. I watched with a stiff upper lip as my 11yo brother went down the hills on our sled and had a grand old time. And then he suggested, well, why don't we ask mom if you can just sled on the little hill in the backyard, from the top of the yard to the bottom of this grassy part, where our sport court was. So I checked with my mom and she oked it, if Matt was in the front. So I went down several times with Matt in the front, his clear instructions were to make sure I didn't split my stitches. Ha! So after a few times, the hill became old and dull, so he pushed us along the flat part near the sport court and we stopped at the steps that led to the street below. Well, one thing led to another and by the time the afternoon was done we'd start at the top of the little hill and go flying past the sport court, down the 10 or so wooden steps to the street and make a sharp left down the rest of the hill, past about six houses, to where the lady at the bottom lived on the lake, stopping near her dock. Whew! It was just the backyard hill mom, really. ;) Such fond memories. @larathelibraryn

  20. Growing up in a house across the street from my grandmother’s meant many crossings of that street for dinners, parties, and holidays. One of my favorite snow memories was the Christmas night, when I was ten years old. Bundled in my heavy, wool coat and big, furry hat, I looked like a purple monster, as I trudged my way through the snowy street to meet my family there. No one else was outside. The street was eerily silent, except for the crunch of the crisp, new, snow beneath my fur-lined boots, sounding like tiny explosions with each step in the quiet street.
    It was just the night and the snowflakes dancing around me to a soft, airy song only they could hear. The delicate flakes falling in the glow of the lone streetlight on the block looked like tiny winter fairies, flitting through the night. Though, as an adult, I cannot reproduce the moment, that remembrance keeps my childhood alive and influences my memories of winter.

    Twitter handle - @GeeCeeK

  21. Favorite snow memory: The police coming to my door to tell me the neighbors complained about our anatomically correct snow people at the edge of the yard staring out at the cars passing by. My sister is a hoot.

  22. We had a pretty bad winter in 1994. It was my freshman year in high school and I think the total number of blizzards was about 15. I announced to my mother I was going to have off on my birthday (March 3). She didn't think it was going to happen but it started to snow around 1st period on March 2 and we had an early dismissal. And, we didn't have school on March 3. I was pretty pleased with myself

  23. Living in Canada my entire life, I've always had the white winter experience. As expected, snow is very cold, and I remember as a child my parents would bundle me up head to toe that I could barely even walk. I was about six years old when this terrible-at-the-time winter memory happened to me, but now it is my most favourite story to tell.

    My family and I love the winter (maybe it is because our last name is Winter and we feel like we are supposed to like it), so we would venture off up north to a golf course that was famous for its sledding hill. We gathered on top of the hill, my older sister, my parents and my grandparents, and my uncle was there too. I, being a mere 40 pounds soaking wet because I was quite small for my age, was excited for my turn to go down the monstrous hill.

    My mother had agreed to go down with me because I was too small to go by myself, while I wished to go alone, I was still happy to be going. What I didn't know though, was she wasn't planning to go down with me. She pushed me for a whole 3-4 seconds to increase speed, and then let go. Only, when she let go, I lost my sitting balance and ended up sliding down the entire hill on my face.

    Fortunately, my grandfather had videotaped the entire fiasco, so I can watch it as a reminder of my epic adventure sledding. While it would seem like a terrible experience to most, I think this would be my favourite winter memory because it demonstrates my clumsy personality.

    Twitter: MarionMavis_

    Thanks for the opportunity!

  24. I hate it when Dad has to go to work. He works all hours, and when he did come home, it was usually too late for my mom's liking. You can imagine how that conversation went. But one winter morning, I woke to my dad slamming the door--not on purpose; he's a little of klutz, like me. I ran to the bedroom door, my heart racing. Usually he was gone by now. I opened the door, not too quietly, and peered down. "Well, I won't be going anywhere today. The locks and doors are frozen solid underneath a layer of ice, and even if I could get in the car, there's no way it'd start." I gasped. Dad was staying home all day! My parents looked up at me, and instead of looking annoyed or disappointed, they both smiled--something that like never happened.

    Dad waved me downstairs, saying, "Have you seen outside?" I stomped my way down the stairs, and my mom didn't even wince at the noise. I shook my head. He parted the curtains, and before me was the most breathtaking view I'd ever seen in my ten years. It was a scene straight out of Frozen, like Elsa had waved her arms and transfigured our unremarkable apartment parking lot into an icy wonderland.

    Mom mumbled something about making cinnamon rolls and shuffled to the kitchen, but I didn't miss the extra bounce in her step. I smirked at Dad and said, "Cinnamon rolls? This is gonna be the best day ever."

    And it was.

  25. When it comes to snow and fashion, there’s nothing practical about it. Fur-covered boots with platforms or pointy heels and snow just don’t mix no matter how much salt you throw on it. And no one knows this better than me. I learned this fashion fail when I turned the stairs of a university’s academic building into a Slip’n’Slide the very moment classes let out and students flooded the foyer. Trust me, as a freshman you never want to be known as the-girl-that-busted-her-ass-on-the-stairs. Yep, that’s me. But I’d rather endure the snickers and people pointing their fingers at my misfortune than see the countless looks of sympathy and “I’m glad that wasn’t me” expressions. Countless. Despite the wet pants soaked through with melted snow and bruised butt, I think my ego was bruised more.


    Thank you and enjoy my misfortune.

  26. My favorite winter memory happened in a hospital, in a sterile room with a long line of clear glass boxes and monitors screeching every few minutes. I was nine, and still young enough to selfishly wish Christmas would be the way it always had been, instead of in that room on cold plastic chairs with nurses circling us and my mom in a wheelchair wearing a white ID bracelet. Before we could enter, we had to wash at large stainless steel troughs with soap that smelled sharp and don scratchy-fabriced gowns, hats, and booties. The room smelled like antiseptic and sour milk, but once I got over not being at my house in my living room with the tree and the lights and the music, it was okay. Even a little bit better than okay, because one of those little glass boxes was holding my baby sister, a two pound, red-skinned thing almost invisible under the wires and monitors but still mine, or ours. And Christmas anywhere else wouldn't have been Christmas, because we had to be all together, because she was the baby who shouldn't have made it, and she was fresh off an operating table, and the only way we could really celebrate is sitting on those icy chairs, listening to the monitors beep and singing with the nurses and the radio.
    I think about it every Christmas when I attempt to hold my not-so-little teenaged sister a few seconds longer than she wants- and also when I buy her the fifth Frozen-themed present, which might be four more than anyone needs but just can't be helped.

    Twitter: @jamie_adams22

    Thanks for the opportunity :)

  27. The temperature: ten below. The wind chill: at least another twenty down from there. Newscasters warn everyone: exposed skin in these conditions will be susceptible to frostbite the second you poke your head outside.

    And me? I am running towards the lake wearing nothing but snow boots and a bikini. A stream of friends follow, yelping as ice crystals slice against exposed calves. We had to cover the hole in the ice with a board so it wouldn’t freeze over during the five minutes we were in the sauna. Now we pull it off and someone drops a glow stick into the hole, sending a weird green illumination up through the water and ice. I volunteer to jump in first.

    Twitter: @heidischlottman

  28. I grew up in Michigan (brr!), and one year, my dad worried the snow was getting too heavy for the roof. Because my dad thinks every situation can be made better by involving a motor, he managed to tug the SNOWBLOWER onto the ROOF of the house. All the neighbors stood around, either cringing or laughing their heads off. But he just grinned as the snow flew into the air and over the side of the house.

    No fathers were harmed during the making of this winter memory.

  29. Dark horses are always so fascinating, although as you say, they never seem to be at the time!

  30. Thanks for another great contest Michelle!

    I’m a third generation native Arizonan and to me, snow seems like witchcraft or magic. Where there’s snow, I think people must be falling in love and twirling around catching flakes in their palms. I bet every powder topped house has a snowman with an enchanted hat.

    My one, real experience with snow came when I was ten. My parents decided we needed to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon…in the middle of winter…on the coldest day in thirty years. This was not a good idea for a lot of reasons. We hadn’t hiked the canyon before. We didn’t have important gear like winter boots and waterproof clothes. And most importantly, I’m so uncoordinated I ought to qualify for special government benefits.

    But I’m all about giving it my best shot. We arrived at the snow covered canyon and I made it about twenty feet down the zig zag path by the power of my own feet. Then I tripped. On a rock. Or over my own feet. I’m not sure. And remember the zig zag path? Yeah, I slid along the snow covered path, knocked around like a pin ball until I skidded to a stop underneath…a pack mule.

    And here’s where it could have been okay. The mule had been hired by a really good looking family (think the Romneys) with a super cute boy my age. He reached out his hand to pull me up…and I was stuck. My left leg was buried deep in the snow. It took my dad and two other grown men to pull me out. Not exactly a Cinderella moment.

    So, now I love snow from afar.

    Twitter handle: KdeVosAuthor

  31. My favorite winter memory:
    When I was 8yo, I saved and scrounged to buy a swimming pool, which my dad dutifully assembled in his back yard. The pool made it through two summers, but upkeep was crazy and the liner was torn. The pool would only hold two feet of water, so my dad had the great idea to put fish in it. We ventured into the Louisiana marsh, caught some perch, and dumped them in. The fish ate the mosquitoes and we tossed them some bread every day. The pool was now a nature reserve.
    Until it froze.
    My sister and I were mortified. Little fish outlines barely showed through the chuck of brown ice. We were officially fish murderers.
    Two days later, the temperatures rose back into the seventies. The ice thawed. Nets in hand, we prepared to fish out the tiny corpses, and, of course, bury them. Because we were just that sensitive. Except, there weren't any floaters. We had a school of hungry fish begging for bread.
    We thought it was a freaking miracle.

    1. Oops. Forgot the contact info: @chelleswrite

    2. I tried posting earlier today, but it's not showing up - if this is a double post though, I'm sorry, please ignore it!

      In the winter of 1998, we had a severe ice storm hit Canada in the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. Thousands lost power for three to six months. In my case, we lost power for one month, and ended up inviting my aunt, uncle and three cousins to come stay with us to stay warm. I still remember having to go to the bathroom by candlelight.

      Now, you may ask, how is this your favorite winter memory? Well, imagine, for a second, everything, and I mean everything, is covered in ice. When you’re a kid, and you love to slide, the world became a playground to my little sister, my cousins and me. We would sit on our bum to get down the porch stairs because hanging on to the iced railing was useless. It was so slippery that sitting on the slanted driveway brought us down to the bottom of the street!

      But that wasn’t the best part… In the parking lot behind my house was a large snow hill. I’m not talking about the hills you see today – oh no – back then, it was only a little shorter than the townhouse I lived in and it was now covered in ice.

      Dangerous? Oh, definitely! Fun? Hell yeah! We spent the better part of the day using broken branches to try climbing the mountain, and after hours and hours of trying, we finally reached the top. You can imagine sliding down a mountain that high when it’s covered in ice is pretty fast – and trust me when I say I was at the bottom in the blink of an eye. I screamed all the way down, that much I remember, and it felt so silly that we spent the whole day trying to climb something we only wanted to slide down from.

      I still remember going to bed that night, on a twin mattress shared with my little sister, and my youngest cousin (who’s two and a half years older than me) to keep warm. I hadn’t been able to sleep well for the past weeks because it was cold and crowded, but I slept like a log throughout the night without even taking a candle-lit trip to the bathroom.

      I guess spending the day outside, trying to climb an ice mountain is one of those things that can really knock you out!

      My email is - and thank you very much for this oppurtunity!

      Good luck to everyone!

  32. I grew up in the proverbial small Minnesota town - Laura Ingalls Wilder stuff, sans the covered wagons. We had snow from Halloween to Easter, and while it made for fun outdoor play, it was not ideal for fashionable dress.
    By the time I got to junior high, it was clear to me that: a) fashion was more important than practicality; b) I was not very good at managing my time.
    These two personality traits are the reason I found myself racing for the school bus every single day. In shoes that were not meant to race through snow and ice.
    Now, one of the cutest boys in school happened to live down the street from me, and he was often witness to my mad dashes for the bus -- he even kindly asked the bus driver to wait for me every now and then. Chivalry was alive and I was exploiting it.
    One week, it snowed every night. We had a nasty patch of ice at the bottom of the driveway that we just couldn't banish because of the nightly snows.
    Monday morning, I dashed out of the house onto the barely-shoveled driveway wearing clogs. Yup, clogs. Not a wise choice, but they looked good.
    And in those great-looking clogs, I wiped out at the end of the driveway -- and I mean REALLY wiped out. Classic Looney Tunes, slip-slip-slip-FLIP. And landed square on my derriere.
    The cute boy saw the whole thing and LAUGHED HIS HEAD OFF. Which of course was humiliating, but at least he asked the driver to wait for me.
    On Tuesday, it happened AGAIN. Slip-slip-slip-FLIP, cute boy HOWLS, yet also holds the bus.
    And on Wednesday, believe it or not, I hadn't learned my lesson. Yup. Again. Whole thing.
    By Thursday? I was finally convinced to wear boots. I managed to get to the end of the driveway and looked up in triumph, excited to share my moment of victory with cute boy.
    But he wasn't there!!! He was home sick that day.
    Sigh. I went back to wearing clogs the next week. No more falling, just wet feet, but I looked good, which is important when you're 14 years old and the cutest boy in school lives down the street from you.

    Thanks for the contest, Michelle! Looking forward to it.

    No lessons learned, just a funny week in my life. Today I don't live in the snow, but I miss it. And I would be happy to wear boots instead of clogs.

    1. Heather - I hope you write YA! And OUCH! The bruises your bum must've sustained...

    It snowed again. A snow day kind of snow. During the last snow a few weeks back, we’d invented a new game—a game for a group of big boy, lineman type, high school football players to chase the boredom of winter. The game? Drive through the rich, suburban neighborhoods after dark and run full speed into artfully crafted, young, urban professional snow sculptures built in pristine, well-manicured lawns, obliterating the snow figures into clouds of white powder. We weren’t bad kids; it's just the winter blahs and the recent snowstorm have left few options for entertainment.
    So there we were again after the second storm, the packed car stopped down the street from a corner lot. The only light on at the massive house was the dim glare of the porch light. I stepped from the car and pointed toward the yard where there stood a carbon copy of the snowman I had leveled the last time we visited. With a confident smile, I assumed my offensive lineman’s stance and quietly barked out a cadence. My column of exhaled breath illuminated in the light from a nearby street light as it drift away into the crisp, cold air.
    Game time.
    A few giggles of anticipation from inside the car.
    All went quiet.
    I, a man-child, exploded from my stance. The snow flew behind me with each step I took. Faster and faster I approached the newly built, even more Norman Rockwell-ish version of a snowman. It was a giant of a snowman, at least eight feet tall, made from four huge balls of snow stacked on top of one another. Closer and closer, the target approached. Two steps from the snowman, I lowered to pancake block the snowman into oblivion.
    I collided with the snowman with a dull, flat thud.
    Instead of a beautiful white cloud of snow filling the sky, the air rapidly left my body as I bounced off the snowman and landed on my back in the deep snow. Gasping for air with the twinkling stars moved in circles above my head, I heard something strange—a child’s laugh from the direction of the front porch. I rolled my head and saw a small, pajama-clad boy high-fiving his bath-robed father just inside the threshold of their front door.
    Finally able to inhale the sharp, cold air, I stood up and staggered in defeat back to the open car door. Pride wounded and body screaming in pain, I fell into the safety of the back seat as the young boy’s voice floated across the yard.
    “Don’t mess wiff our snowmans, no more!”
    The car exploded in laughter, save for one occupant. As I reached for the door handle, I caught one last look at the snowman. The street light reflected off its solid ice-encrusted surface, standing tall and proud, and smiling a wide, charcoal briquette smile at the beautiful, winter night.

    Thank you, Michelle, for the wonderful opportunities with these contests. So much fun.
    Mike Hays (@coachhays64)

  34. FALLING SNOW (Who needs a snowman?)
    "Everyone smile."
    Was she kidding? My cheeks were frozen stiff from the bite of cold blowing off the lake. And if she didn't take the picture fast our masterpiece of winter construction might not survive a strong sneeze.
    'How do the eskimos do it?' An igloo never looked that shaky (or lopsided) on TV.
    "Wait, we should get inside for the picture."
    'Ok, someone took his crazy pill today. Or his brain cells died of frostbite.'
    We'd spent three hours, two hot chocolates, and one bathroom break building this domed ice-box. And let me tell you, snow clothes do not like to come off in a hurry, even for emergency toilet visits. Now, Dad wanted us to risk being buried frozen under falling igloo walls.
    But I caved and joined everyone else inside just long enough to snap the memory. Which thinking back is a good thing, because the 'ice palace' fell on Dad's head two seconds later as I scrambled for the exit. Still, it was a lot of fun, and way cooler than the pipe-smoking snowman next door.

    @Cpoe2Books or

  35. Back when I was eight my brother and I had this sibling rivalry thing going. I was the youngest. He was the only boy. We tended to make things difficult for each other. And when the snow piles got so high that we were stuck indoors, watch out.

    When January came that year so did the snow mounds. It made the tension between my brother and I about as thick as the ice. So one morning, dressed in my tank top pajamas and desperate to get out of the house, I went to my father.
    "Dad, can I go over by my friend and play today?"
    "Only If you wake your brother up first. I need his help in the shop. The tractor's busted."
    Although it put a bit of a kink in my plans, I tiptoed into my brother's room to do as I was bid.
    First, I shook him gently.
    "Brother, wake up," I said.
    "Go away."
    "I said wake up." Rough shakes.
    "I said go away." My brother's hand lashed out, grazing the side of arm. I pushed him back. The threats ensued. The covers tug of war began. He was bigger, stronger, and older. I was determined. We battled for ten minutes until I lost. Then he started snoring again. For a bleak moment, I thought there was no way I was going to get to go by my friend. No way to get my brother out of bed.

    And then, it happened. I spotted an old round bristle bush. Softly, ever so softly, I creeped up to my brother's bed, peeled back the covers, and (WHACK!) brought that thing hard against his head.

    He flew out of the covers. Awake. Definitely awake. And somehow (no need to go into the details here) I ended up face-first in a snow pile. In a tank top and shorts. With my brother blocking the only door back into the house.

    Later, as I was shivering, and very very grounded, my brother made me hot cocoa and let me choose the movie for us to watch. We spent that afternoon together, bonding over cookies, cocoa, and our morning battle scars.


  36. When I was nine my best friends Sarah, Seira, and I ruled the world. These were our qualifications. First, we were all named Sara. Second, we all loved cats. Third, we all had annoying younger siblings. And fourth, we lived on the same block in a small town on Maine’s ragged coastline. Because of our Sara-Sarah-Seira telepathy, the moment we woke up and saw the drifts of snow piled as high as merengue on a diner pie, we knew two things: school was cancelled and we were going to spend the day together defending our territory as pioneers of the Antarctic!

    We convened the “Seiras Club” at Sarah’s house since her mom worked night shifts and was generally home during the day. Sarah’s mom felt it her sacred duty to feed us no matter how much we insisted we weren’t hungry and had just eaten. Beauty sleep meant nothing to this woman as she bustled about the kitchen flipping pancakes behind her back, scrambling eggs like a ninja chef in the pan, slicing oranges, and stirring a pan of heated milk to melt bars of chocolate.

    Desperate to embark on our exploration before the boys at the end of the cul-de-sac staked their claim to the plow’s mountain of snow, we shoveled food in and drank the hot chocolate offered. Sarah’s mom filled our plates and mugs the moment we made any progress. Finally, with stomach groans of pain that her mom took for pleasure, she was satisfied her work was done and shuffled off to bed while we donned our snowsuits.

    “Wear your hats!” She called from the closed bedroom door. We put our hats on. “And your mittens and scarves!” We put our mittens and scarves on. “Don’t forget to tuck your boots under your snow pants!”

    We did as we were told and finally, stuffed to bursting and wrapped in enough padding to be safely shipped to the moon and back, we set out to explore the antarctic tundra.

    Our boots broke through the snow’s crust and like moon walkers, we made our way with great effort to the end of the road. Looming before us was the ultimate snow bank. A veritable mountain. We scrambled up the treacherous ice cliff, willing to do anything to stake our claim atop the monster. As rulers of the world, we’d learned early that she who claimed the highest ground won the battle.

    Victory was nearly ours. We could taste it as surely as we could taste the two breakfasts battling it out in our bellies, and throw up burps, and bladders. Sarah, Seira and I had one last step to claim the peak when a sudden urgency stole our focus. We exchanged glances. And then, too embarrassed to be the first to speak, we exchanged glances again, this time more desperate.

    Seira grabbed her crotch. Or at least where her crotch would’ve been if she hadn’t had enough layers on to approximate a sumo wrestler. I clenched my teeth and twisted my legs like a Twizzler.

    “All we have to do,” Sarah said, “is get over the peak. No one can see us there.” Seira and I nodded and forced ourselves on as our foreheads broke out in a sweat.

    Safely concealed on the other side of the peak, we thrashed out of our clothes, peeled off our snowsuits, and dropped our undies to pee side by side in the snow as only the best of friends can. “Ahhh….”

    With our moment of urgency faded, we linked pinkies and swore lifelong secrecy. But before we could pull up our drawers, we were pelted with snowballs.

    “Well, well, look who it is,” said the freckled usurper, who dropped from his hideout in the highest ground we'd missed - the oak tree. “The Sarahs Club.”

    “More like the Yellow Snow Club,” his evil sidekick snorted.

    And that was how our reign of the world ended. In our underwear. With snow melting off our skin. In front of the yellow puddles of shame that dissolved their way through the greatest snowbank to ever grace our neighborhood.


  37. When I was twelve, I was chunky and had hair cut short enough for the military. I'd always loved ice skating, but that year I became obsessed, Every night after supper and every Saturday morning, you could find me at the skating rink directly opposite the train tracks and south of the hospital, which was probably a wise choice geographically, because somebody was always falling on the ice and hurting themselves.

    Fortunately, I was a pretty good skater, or I was totally lucky, because I never got hurt, which only made me more daring. Because the winters in northern Wisconsin always hit the below zero mark, I was almost used to being outside in the freezing cold. So, there I was one night under the lights when the thermometer hit thirty below. In deference to the cold, I'd put on a pair of long underwear under my jeans and a couple of sweaters, a scarf and mittens and trudged up the wooden walk to the warm-up shack where they sold potato chips, ice cold sodas and hot chocolate. At least they had a fire burning in the center of the shack where you could warm your butt while your face froze or vice versa.
    Of course, I had to take off my mittens and boots and my fingers had what felt like frostbite by then, but somehow I got my skates on and laced up. After one last warm up by the fire, I hurried down the ramp and skated out onto the ice. The Skater's Waltz was playing from the loud speakers and snow began to sprinkle down. I skated around and around, mesmerized by the music, the snow, the happy vibes from skaters around me.

    We were bound together by our obsession. We skated no matter what the weather. One of the skaters was a muscular, handsome man, who it was whispered had competed in Olympic figure skating. I'd seen him before at the rink, skating with long, graceful strokes, linking hands with one of the young girls who had tagged behind him on the ice, or holding court at the side of the rink where he'd grab the blade of a girl's skate and one of her wrists and start spinning. As he went faster and faster, the girl was lifted into the air and spun up and around him and into the air. Around and around above him she went like a beautiful bird. As he slowed, her head dipped almost to the ice, but somehow, he managed to set her down upright and she'd skate off.

    That night, maybe because it was so cold and my brain had froze, I joined the group of young girls tagging behind him and passed them all until I yanked on his jacket and shouted, "Spin me around in the air. Spin me!"

    He grinned, grabbed me by the hand, skated into the middle of the rink, and swung me up in the air until I was flying around over the heads of all the other skaters. That was the most amazing skating experience I've ever had. I was above it all, flying, exhilarated, and yet tethered and controlled by the man below me. When he finally set me down on the ice, I felt as if I'd been in some kind of dream. My legs shook and I could hardly stand, but somehow I made it back into the warm-up shack to relive the sensation of being spun around through the frigid air by this handsome man who I barely knew.

    After that, I dreamed of being a professional ice skater, and maybe I would have been except there was this cute guy I met at the bowling alley who walked me home one night. I spent more and more evenings with him at the bowling alley or pep rallies. Very soon, I retired my ice skates and my dreams turned to even headier persuasions.

  38. Growing up in Chicago, I was subjected to cruel winters at an early age. Frozen hands, frostbite, and below zero weather without windchill--and still, school was open. Therefore, my favorite winter was when my family went to an inclusive--all expenses paid resort in cancun. For a nine year old, the idea of ordering an elaborate dinner--AND ice cream--and not having to wait for the bill was paradise. Of course, I didn't quite understand the concept of money at nine--or the concept of prepaying for everything beforehand--all I knew was that it took five minutes for that little plastic card to come back from wherever the waiter took it and that was far too long.

    But the best thing about my winter in Cancun was not the "free" food, but the market we got to visit. Nestled safe in the non-gang-violent side of the city. There I learned the beauty that was haggling--trying to barter for a better price. Or more simply for me: A challenge.

    My shining moment came near the end of our warm winter vacation. My mom, you see, was a big cat person. That was one of the things I inherited from her, I think. We had cats EVERYWHERE. Both the living and material variety. In the market a cat statue of some type of semi-precious gem. But it was too expensive for my mother to buy and she had no luck at haggling down the price. So, she went to me, a cute, precocious nine year old who gladly took the challenge. As I made my mother wait a little ways away with the rest of the family, I approached the merchant. We chatted for a bit before I mentioned my mother, who wanted the cat statue as she loved cats. Then, I launched into a story about how my mom was terminally ill and only had three months to live and this trip to Cancun was her last wish. Besides the cat statue, of course.

    Needless to say, I got the cat statue at a decent price with a discount. I gave it to my mom with a proud look in my eyes and she gave me a few pesos--the amount I managed to save. And that was how, at nine years old, I discovered I had the potential to be a sociopath. Or a business person. There's not really that much different.

    As for my mom, she never found out how I managed to get the money off.


  39. The important thing to remember about snow is never to jump out of a snow cake naked. For the obvious reason, but also for the perhaps un-obvious reason that no one wants to get hot sauce frozen to their private bits.

    For my sister in law's birthday, we were at a cabin in the woods. She needed a cake, obviously, but mostly we had a barbecue grill and a surplus of energy, neither of which lent themselves to baking. Instead, my brother got her out of the house for twenty minutes with a dim-witted story about sour cream and left the rest of us to conjure a cake. We sprang into action, shoveling and rolling and stacking snow onto the porch only to find that snow in Idaho is a slumpy sort of building material and no matter how you smash it, it only sighs passive-aggressively down into the smallest of piles.

    Desperate, we began to heave buckets of water at it, counting on the sub-freezing temperatures to give it a little backbone. Thoughtfully, we supported the top of the cake with a snow-camouflaged board so that some lucky soul could leap out of it in a festive fashion at the penultimate moment.

    With only three minutes left on the clock, the snow cake was beginning to become a reality. It was a lumpy, monochromatic cylinder, and we squinted at it from every angle. Some essential quality of cake-ness was missing. Perhaps all were missing.
    The answer was decided to be color, the finishing decoration of any good cake. We fled as a group to the kitchen, snatching up every substance that might deliver a good stain and convening to the porch to dollop hot sauce, sprinkle Crystal Light, drizzle maple syrup and glop on some grape jam around the edges for that royal purple finishing touch.

    Headlights appeared in the driveway and I was shoved to the ground, the obvious candidate for cake occupancy due to my compact size and also my gullible nature. I wriggled through the hole in the back of our partially frozen, vigorously condimented slush-cylinder. The splintery trap door board rested on my back and syrup-sticky snow clung to my snowsuit. As I waited, all I could think was "Well, at least I'm not naked."

    Michelle Hazen

  40. My favorite winter memory is visiting my grandmother’s when I was a kid. My cousins lived nearby and with me, my sisters and brother and the cousins, there were eight of us in the Colorado mountains. With tons of snow and three dangerous sleds. We had to take turns with the snowsuits, which were pretty much one size fits all with a questionable smell. They fit the bigger kids, but the littler ones had to use rope to tie around the middle to keep the pants up. We were reckless sledding down those hills. Untouched snow, a wonderland of white. Basically every kid’s dream, even when our too big boots fell off and we had to hike halfway up a mountain to find them. Afterward, we’d look like marshmallows in our puffy suits and covered in snow, and we’d trek our frozen bodies back to the house for lumpy cocoa—and always music on the 8-track. I’m seriously not that old, but it was my grandmother’s house so everything in there was old. Good times.

    Thanks for the chance at a free pass!

  41. When I read “your favorite memory about snow or winter”, the image of my 12 year old brother s maniacal face instantly popped to mind. It’s a remembrance that always induces a subtle shudder in me, caused by a flood of endorphins originating from equal parts fear and pleasure.

    Even though I’m a Navy brat that’s lived most of his life in the south, I can always tell people I know what a real winter is like because of the year we lived in Sheboygan Wisconsin while our dad was doing his duty in Vietnam. I can vividly recall the mountains of snow after the plows finished clearing the parking lots, the specific way you needed to dress (layers) to maximize your play time outside, the endless runny noses that made you question if your brain was actually made out of snot. At the top of the list was memories of sledding down hills that would make future X-Games medalist drool.

    There was one particular mound in Sheboygan – informally labeled Blood Hill -- that drew the most crowds, partly because it was centrally located in a mid-town park, but mostly due to its height (close to four stories high), length, and the way it rippled as it fell away like the slides you see at the county fairs. As you progressed down the hill, at a surprisingly alarming speed (adjusted to compensate for adult bias over time), an aggressive sledder had the possibility of catching some serious air in between the levels. Naturally this led to a few collisions which occurred on a frequent basis, and some of them resulted in some rather bloody injuries -- earning the location its less than appreciated nick name.

    My older brother and I were regulars at Blood Hill. He was twelve and I was eleven and Mom would usually drop us off at the park and come back an hour or so later, right before the unacknowledged exhaustion would set in. We both had silver platters, those saucer sleds that back then were made of metal, but on that day I was going to break in my brand new Flexible Flyer I had just received for my birthday.

    After a couple runs down the hill my brother started begging me to let him have a try. I held out as long as I could, but knowing “I’m telling mom” was just around the corner, I eventually relented. We switched sleds and without thinking I pointed the saucer down the hill and pushed off. Halfway down I suddenly heard uncontrollable laughter coming from close behind me and as I turned my head I witnessed something that has been burned into my neurons ever since. In that frozen instant I saw my brother’s face, peering over the front edge of my Flexible Flyer suspended in the air just a few feet away, wearing a look of demented joy. He had easily caught up to me because the Flyer was so much faster than the saucers and just caught air. The glistening metal tracks of my own Flyer were moments away from landing right on top of me.

    Without thinking I flipped over. My brother and his sled skid across the bottom of the saucer, the sound of grating metal on metal – and laughter -- ringing in my ears. I was told later by on-lookers that sparks actually flew. We both ended up spectacularly sprawled across the hill (hats, gloves, scarfs, and a boot spread everywhere).

    My brother never stopped laughing, and shortly thereafter I joined him. I am chucking as I write this now. It is one of my most treasured memories. :)

  42. One brutally cold New Year's Eve, me and my family were preparing to watch TV and count down the seconds to midnight. My dad had bought some liquor, and I think he was getting drunk. I was about seventeen at the time, and my brother was thirteen. Still, my dad thought he would share the joy with us by pouring some of his liquor into our glasses of non-alcoholic apple cider. I was excited, but my brother was afraid to drink it. And as the countdown began, my mom started getting suspicious. She sniffed my brother's drink, and by the time midnight tolled, she was still fussing out my dad for giving us alcohol. Crazy things seem to always happen in my family on New Year's Eve...


  43. When I was a kid, we had it pretty good. Refrigerator full of food, warm beds, skiing trips to Colorado in the winter. Not a bad life. But we weren’t above eating Bologna sandwiches, and for that, I am thankful.

    It was a freezing, wet white day in the parking lot of the slopes we had just finished falling down when we met him: a mutt of a dog with brown shaggy fur and a tongue cascading out of his panting smile. We stopped, and stared, laughing as we observed this brave stray with a big goofy grin, sitting beside our car. In my mother’s infinite altruism, she reached into her purse and took out a spare Bologna sandwich, and with a lick of his tongue over his lips, the dog crept forward and gently it took it from her hands. We left after that, not thinking much more about the encounter and instead retelling our personal victories of the day’s skiing adventure.

    But the following day when we left the slopes after hours spent skiing, he was again in the parking lot beside our car. Another Bologna sandwich for the enigmatic pup, another giggle for each of us as we cooed and petted him, and so it continued for an entire week.

    The day that we packed up our cabin and hauled suitcases into the car, we stopped at the parking lot of the slopes. The dog was nowhere to be found, but just in case, we left him a sandwich. And while I now look at Bologna with something of a twisted grimace because I can’t stand the smell of the mystery meat, I also can’t help but to also smile at the memory of a dog whose only request of us was for one more slice.


    Katie Golding / / @goldnox

  44. It was days before Christmas my junior year of high school. In the Mojave Desert. My mom had just remarried and we had eight kids living in the same house - four of my siblings and me, and three step-monsters. There was a lot of yelling and fighting. A lot of me defending my younger siblings from getting hit or being called 'ugly' or 'nasty'. All I wanted was a white Christmas. It was slightly possible, but not at all probable.

    I prayed so hard for snow. Yes, it might have been a selfish prayer, but who could it really hurt? I figured most people would be glad for it. My little sister and I would wake up in the middle of the night and stare out our bedroom window at the streetlight across the road, because if it snowed, we could see the flakes in the glow of the light. We did that night after night and I prayed.

    Finally, early Christmas Eve morning, while it was still dark, my sister and I saw the flakes in the streetlight. Great, big, fluffy flakes. It snowed and snowed until we had over twelve inches sticking on the ground. Now on the desert floor, we might get an inch or two if we were lucky about once every ten years, so twelve inches was incredible. I walked all over town that day. There were no snow plows in the desert, so I walked right down the middle of the town streets. And I thanked God for answering my desperate little prayer and bringing such beauty to my life.

    Thank you for letting me share!

    Tanya Spencer / / @tanya7writer

  45. My favorite memory of snow. I must have been in kindergarten. We get a reasonable amount of snow where I live, but not *that* much. We did though. Enough that my dad and I built an awesome snow fort that lasted a week. Maybe. It seemed like it lasted a while. I'd go out there each day after school with a Mini Mouse doll and play in there. I can't recall another winter when I was able to make that.


  46. My favorite memory about snow is a story I don’t often tell because at the time, the entire reason I was experiencing a harrowing drive through the Cascade mountains in a race to get back to Portland before anyone realized I was gone was a secret. I met my husband through a series of strange links that lead my high school best friend’s ex to tell me to look up a man named David when I got back to school from summer vacation. I was an older student from Texas at a small liberal arts college in Oregon, and he was a born and bred Californian who ended up working for my tiny college due to a budgeting mishap at his alma mater. We met and fell in love over the course a school year while he ran my residence hall. Unfortunately, despite my being even older than my husband, when we went to the Dean of Students to ask if we could date, the answer was an unequivocal no. No student/staff relationships would be tolerated. So, being young(isn) stupid, and in love, we did what one does when their love will not be denied: began secretly dating.

    This went on for months and months before we finally decided to risk trying a night away together. I was working over winter break and had traded my on-call shift to a friend willing to cover me for New Year’s Eve. My sweet husband planned a quick trip about two hours away on the Oregon coast: a night in a suite in a B&B, flowers, candles, fine wine, fancy fruits and cheeses. We rang in the New Year at a lovely restaurant over the water, holding hands in public! It was one of the most romantic weekends of my life.

    Then we woke up early New Year’s Day so I could get back to pick up the on-call phone at noon and found that it was snowing. Hard. And it had been snowing most of the night. What was beautiful out near the water turned into a peril-filled nightmare as we crawled through mountain passes covered in several feet of snow with no chains, trying desperately to get back to campus before someone figured out I’d spent New Year’s Eve very far out of town and not at nearby house party like I’d said or noticed my husband was conveniently gone as well.

    The entire time we were driving at five miles an hour, minutes ticking away, I should have been completely freaked out. I wasn’t used to driving in snow. We slid precariously on hidden ice several times. I was sure we were going to be caught, my husband would be fired, and I would be a campus pariah for getting the most popular Resident Director on campus canned. But what I felt then, and still remember now, is how beautiful it was. The trees tinkled when the wind blew ice covered limbs together loud enough to hear inside the car. All other sounds were soft and hushed. The sky and ground and mountain sides were bright with light reflecting off the snow. Everything felt new and fresh and full of possibility. When I think back to that moment, I remember how hopeful I felt about my future with the man who would be my husband, despite all the literal and figurative obstacles in front of us. In my mind, that is the feeling of new love. And every time it snows here, in Portland, where we are still together some twelve years later, I smile and remember it again.

    diana.rosengard @ gmail (dot) com / @femininethings

  47. My parents like to retell the story every birthday of mine that I was born on the coldest day in the history of forever. In reality, it was a balmy -13 degrees (the all-time Iowa cold record for January 15 is -27 degrees) in which the handle snapped off of my dad’s car as he and my mom attempted to take me home from the hospital. So, you could say, the winter and I have been bonded since birth. That and a natural affinity for klutziness. Which brings me to my favorite winter memories.

    My elementary school had this ridiculously gigantic hill behind it that eventually kids got banned from sliding down because so many got hurt. Every winter, my sister, dad, and I would bundle up so tightly that we looked like winter mummies and would head out to the Jordan Creek hill (also dubbed “daredevil hill” by my first grade class).

    I had these obnoxiously huge glasses growing up that were completely necessary. I’m actually legally blind without them. So, on these great sledding adventures down daredevil hill, I’d keep my glasses on no matter how many times my parents protested. On a fateful trip down the hill, I hit a bump that could have been a snow ramp made by one of the older kids, or a dip in the natural ground, and I went flying off the sled. My sister still remembers watching me tumble down the hill magically avoiding all other kids and trees on my way.

    I heard a crunch when I reached the end of the hill and knew that it was the end of the tumble. And that I’d most likely cracked my glasses that I’d so convincingly told my parents I wouldn’t break. I got up, took my glasses off, and felt all around them. They were fine.

    I stood up and raised an arm in premature victory for the perfectly intact eyeware… only to promptly start cradling my wrist which had been the popping sound I heard on the way down.

    I couldn't find a picture of us specifically on that hill, but here is our winter garb!

    Find me on Twitter at: @maggersann

  48. When my daughter was four, I'd moved her twice in one year due to her dad being in the military. When it snowed that winter, I wanted to make sure she had the best time ever, cause yunno...momma was feeling guilty. So, I spent hours building a slide out of snow, and then took a metal bread pan to make snow-bricks into an igloo. Yes, I said a REAL igloo! She was small enough at four that I didn't have to make an extremely huge one. It was doable. The next day, every muscle in my body ached and my bones felt like they were going to snap in half. But it was worth the agony. Making my daughter happy after I built something special for her was an irreplaceable emotion that warmed through to my soul. And strangely, the slide and igloo lasted days after the snow melted on the ground and my daughter thought I'd used magic to keep them there. I can't explain how odd it was to see grass around a frozen igloo and slide.

    Flash forward six years later: I remarried (after being divorced for all six) and gained three step-sons. My daughter looks at me and asks, "Mom, can you build an igloo for me and my three brothers?"

    Me: Um.....

  49. In the eighteen years I knew him, I have a single recollection of my father doing anything athletic. His thorough lack of interest in sports and the fact that he wore glasses caused him to fall way short as a manly role model, in my boyhood thinking. As his firstborn, I’d seen and smelled him sweat plenty of times, as I held the “troubleshooter” light as steady as I could with my skinny arms while he labored to repair the sump pump or hot water heater, or he showed me how to turn over the soil for the backyard vegetable garden. But no exertions for fun until one winter Saturday when I was in high school. My four siblings and I went out to skate on the river behind our house, and Dad joined us. When did he get skates?! (Figures, not hockey style.) Seven miles downstream the river emptied into Lake Michigan at Racine, Wisconsin. In French, racine means root, so as an act of translation or redundancy, that was the name of the river. My father grew up in Racine, and told stories of skating with friends for miles up and down the Root as a young man in the 1930s, stopping at the still-surviving Mosquito Inn for a drink along the way. The tales had a fantastical quality, but when he put on his skates and glided across the ice, he moved with a fluidity I had never witnessed. And with a joyful smile that was far too rare. Confident and competent, he ranged and glided, his new blades cutting curvy lines onto the frozen skin of the river. Among the pleasures of skating on a natural body of water is the chance to explore, see things from a new vantage. He ventured close to where a stream entered the Root. Branches from fallen trees stuck up through the ice. He hit a thin spot and his leg plunged in up to his thigh. With eye-opening calm and grace, he extracted himself and skated back across the river to get home, no big deal. Just like a sports hero.

    @TomNavratilism or

  50. When my mom remarried, I gained a very annoying step-sister. It was hate at first sight. Luckily I didn't see her again until I was ten, when she came to Maryland from Florida for Christmas. Our parents hoped we would bond, so they forced us to share a room. That first night it started snowing at midnight. It was the first time she had ever seen snow. We sneaked out of the house in our nightgowns, coats, and boots and built a snowman in the front yard. The next morning we said we didn't know anything about it. Our parents still don't know the truth.


  51. Once upon a fine winter day, the folks went to town, leaving us heathens at the ranch alone. Chores were done and all was right with the world.

    It was a bright, sunny day even if it was ten degrees below zero. Bright, sunny days when all your chores were done are meant to be enjoyed. Therein lies the rub. What ranch kids, especially this ranch kid, do for enjoyment isn't necessarily the same as what sane children do for fun.

    For instance, most kids would not spend two hours feeding 500 chicks because each potato peel has to be fed individually. It's like a miniature football game as first one chick and then the next grabs the potato peel and races off with 499 other chicks after it. Also, most kids don't ride wild cows for fun.

    In the winter time, there are no chicks to feed and the cows are turned out, however. We did have a toboggan, though. To make things more interesting, I decided to take it down the steep bank behind the corral. I studied it out and decided if we did it just right and no one stuck a hand or foot down, we could rocket through the trees at breakneck speed.

    What could go wrong?

    Jimmy was first. Down we went. The speed was breathtaking. This was better than any ride at the fair, as our delighted screams attested. The only bad part was trudging back up the bank, towing the toboggan.

    "Want me to get Pal to tow the toboggan up next time?" Jimmy asked.

    "No, leave him in the barn."

    After a few runs, it was Gary's turn. "Now stay in the center of the toboggan and don't stick your hands or feet out," I warned. This would be our best run ever. The snow was kind of packed now. More speed.

    "If you die, I'm not dragging you out." Jimmy stood at the top of the bank, looking down and mentally plotting how he would drag a wounded person out with his faithful old horse. He wasn't going to bother with a dead person, though. They could stay there until spring as far as he was concerned.

    Off we went. Gary bailed, sending the toboggan totally off course. I and the toboggan pinged down the bank, hitting every tree along the way like a crazed pinball game.

    "You dead?" Jimmy's voice sounded faintly hopeful. He had changed his mind and would drag my body out after all.

    I lay there. Gasping for air. Bruised all over and not sure I didn't have a broken bone or two. "No, I'm OK."

    His voice was less hopeful, but he hadn't given up. "Want me to get Pal?"

    I had visions of me being tied to the horse when Pal spooked at something and jerked me up through the trees like the crazy pinball machine ride in reverse. "No, that's all right. I'll make it."

    Michelle, thanks so much to you and Amy for the contest and the fun.

  52. I had to be about 4 or 5, wearing a giant, poofy winter jacket that made walking impossible. It had snowed, there was a lot, and the garage needing shoveling. Around that time, Mom was still glued to the video camera, and dad still had a heart that permitted shoveling. 4-5 year old me just had a giant coat. The three of us went outside and I gravitated to the giant hill of snow with a hole in it.

    Dad said, "Do not touch the hole."
    Mom said, "Do not put your foot in the hole."
    I said, "Foot, meet Hole. Hole, meet Foot."

    Foot met Hole. Hole liked Foot so much it decided to keep Foot. 4-5 year old me got very scared. 4-5 year old me didn't want to Dad to know. Dad, of course, found out, when I just stood there and looked constipated while Mom continued filming. Dad came to retrieve me, but Hole took Boot, giving Foot back. Sock got wet. Parents were amused, I was traumatized. Stay away from hills of snow with holes in them.


  53. "Let the Snow Games begin!" My brother would shout that as he ran down the road corralling neighbors into the weekly Saturday snowball fight. There were about twelve kids on the block, all within a six-year-range. I was the youngest at ten and finally able to participate. My brother and his friend Billy Chappo were the oldest and by far the biggest targets. This was going to be fun. Boy was I wrong.

    I trotted out into the field between my house and our neighbors, the Lyons, the official play area. The whole neighborhood helped set up the ice forts for each team as soon as the snow fell. I took my place and diligently packed my arsenal of snowballs. Which were not enough, nor were they even used, for as soon as the gong sounded, my two hundred pound behemoth of a brother vaulted the wall and tackled me face first in the snow. And he proceeded to keep me there for about fifteen minutes. My face went numb, icicles formed in my eyelashes. It wasn’t pretty. Then he would let me get up and run away, only to hunt me down again later. I screamed and ran like the baby brother did in a Christmas story.

    But it turned out, I got the last laugh. I complained to my mother so she unlocked the bathroom door later that night while my brother was showering, and I finally got to use all my snowballs on him. After all, he should have been protecting me! It was glorious.



  54. It was the last snow I'd ever see with her. My four legged friend, aptly named "Sheltie" by my practical Chinese parents, was reaching the end of her silver years. She could no longer run to greet me at the door, but that happy gleam in her eyes couldn't be obscured by the greyness that crept towards her pupils.

    Aside from our love of many things including bacon, sleeping, and chasing squirrels, Sheltie and I loved the winter and the snow. There was nothing we enjoyed more than prancing about in a frosted wonderland, plowing pell-mell through knee high snowdrifts her muzzle and my hair covered in fresh powder.

    So, it was with a light heart when on Christmas Eve-Eve the first flakes began to fall. The next morning I was out the door as soon as my parents gave me the nod. Except this year Sheltie couldn't make it through the snow. Three steps in and she collapsed.

    There was only one thing to do. I gathered my fuzzy bundle of joy in my arms and began walking her around so she could watch the flakes fall. A tiny lick on the nose, and a slow rhythmic wag of her tail was all the reward I needed. Which is why, even at the age of thirty, if you see a crazy Chinese guy running through the snow with his dog shouting "Run Solo run!" it might not seem as insane as you think. Because you never know when it'll be your last run.

  55. My favorite memory of snow involves the ski day my brother and I had during his birthday trip. We went to Breckenridge, Colorado and saw the beautiful snow covered mountains. I was so excited I filmed everything to preserve the moment and sang along with the music while we’re driving. But then we got out of the car and started walking and all I could think was that it was getting freaking hard to breathe. Five minutes in and I was tired. But we pressed on (me literary huffing and puffing like I was going into labor. It didn’t help that I was wearing five layers of clothing and a fanny pack underneath my jacket so the stomach area protruded out like I had a bun in the oven).

    We managed to get to the ski lift. I was so nervous but hoped I would surprise myself and have this hidden talent for skiing and come out tearing up the slopes. That didn’t happen. As we were instructed to stand onto the moving conveyor belt to wait for the chair to pick us up, I stepped on it and BAM! Fell straight on my back, arms flailing wildly while my skis met the air. I was so embarrassed and it didn’t help that my brother was laughing hysterically either. The operators stopped to help me up (all three of them) and corrected my feet that had somehow crisscrossed in the air before putting me back onto the conveyor belt –the last place I wanted to be again. But I managed to safely get on the lift and we glided over the area. It was beautiful; trees all around us, the sky so blue and sunny above while the snow practically glistened below. I could even tune out my brother’s snickering as I let myself enjoy the moment.

    Then the dreaded time came to get off the lift and start skiing. Somehow (by the grace of God) I managed to get off in time and lasted a good two seconds before falling again. My brother managed a little longer and somehow got back up and was down the hill before I could even move. I tried to follow after him but I couldn’t get up and was too tired to. My lack of upper body strength and my exhaustion were warring against me. But since other people were getting off the lift and would knock me out if I didn’t move, I managed to scoot (literally) out of the way. Every time I tried to pull myself up I slid right back down. I was irritated and embarrassed as I watched other skiers and snowboards (some little kids) glide past me without ski poles like pros and little old me couldn’t even managed to stand up. After multiple failed attempts, one of the ski instructors took pity on me and decided to offer some advice. But like that saying it’s “easier said than done”. I kept at it, trying to do what he said as I continued to glance over my shoulder to see where my brother was just in time to see him crash into a pole and fall down. Feeling slightly better, I tried harder to no avail. When the instructor realized I was a lost cause he finally told me to just go take the beginners class and left to go help some other poor sap with a better chance. I finally took off my skis and trekked the rest of the way down the mountain as people whooshed by me. Did I mention how huge that mountain was and how much I had to walk? I was done after that. No amount of coaching and encouragement from my brother was going to cut it. I had hung up my skis for life. I had managed to last two hours (though mostly from being on the ground and the long walk).

    Later that day I learned that my enthusiastic brother had taken us on one of the advanced runs which was steeper and faster than for the beginners. I spent another hour watching my brother practice as I downed plastic cup after plastic cup of water since all my saliva had apparently left with my pride. When he was done, we dragged our sore, tired behinds back to the hotel and crashed. Though it was tiring and a downright cruel experience for a hermit like me, my brother said he had a fantastic birthday weekend and that made it all worth it.

    So sorry this came out longer than expected. I had to share every embarrassing detail. This is a wonderful opportunity. Thanks so much for doing this. @tnicolepayne

  56. Living in Australia means it's lucky if we get a winter, but I have seen snow. Once.

    The school bus pulled up at Perisher Blue, in weather way hotter than you'd expect with such white expanses outside the window. My friends and I struggled up out of our seats, encumbered by the unfamiliar layers, and bulky puffer jackets. I was wearing some last-minute purchased wool gloves and a borrowed beanie. The excitement inside the bus was at such a tangible level that no one listened to our teacher run through the rules. Finally the folding doors creaked open and we burst out like snakes from a can. I wanted to feel the fluffiness in my hands, the soft pillow under my feet.

    I stepped off the bus and breathed deep. The frozen air flooded my throat, my lungs. My nose froze on my face. I hovered on the edge of the snow-cleared tarmac, lifted my foot and…


    I looked down at my boot, confused. It wasn't meant to do that. Just as I was wrapping my head around that anomaly it started to snow. Flakes that were soft, small and… wet?

    My gloves were soaked through with the first snow ball, our snowman was barely a foot high and misshapen, and my shin was bruised by a rouge ski but that day is burnt in my memory as one of the best. There was something so magical about the mountain sparkling in the sun.

    Thanks for running this comp again. @heather_b88

  57. The first time I saw snow in my life I was 20 and had just moved half-way across the world to Israel. Yep, my first experience will real, actual snow was in the warm and sunny Middle East. Who knew Jerusalem could get cold enough for the fluffy, white flakes to pile up high enough to close roads and schools? Not me. I had just started dating my first serious boyfriend when the snowstorm hit. It was a perfectly romantic day. The snow covered the mountains in a clean, white sheet. We built a snowman, had snowball fights and drank hot cocoa to warm up. Like in some rom-com. All that was missing was a fun soundtrack. Too bad the rest of our relationship wasn't as perfect as that first snowy day. ;)

  58. Given I live in Australia, it would make sense I would be on ‘Team Sun’ – but so little about me makes much sense (lol). I was a December Child – born as snow fell in the small Croatian village I and six generations of my family had been born in. Perhaps this is why I love autumn and winter. Everything about the first scent of autumn makes me smile.
    I don’t recall my first sleigh, but there are photos of me, just two, being pulled by my dad’s German Shepard on a home-made sleigh, built and carved by Dad. My first memory of snow was on a school ski-trip (camp). I didn’t know how to ski. The very first time I got on ski’s I fell flat on my butt. I think I must have fallen at least a dozen times. I was soaked, freezing, I looked foolish and about as hopeless as anyone could be on a pair of ski’s. You know how you see those adults on the kiddie-slopes? And then you see the actual children, skiing along side them, like little champs… while the adult’s looks like idiots? Well that was me, the idiot in the tangerine ski jacket and ski’s crossed over each other; and not intentionally! Except, I didn’t care what I looked like, I was feeling complete delight. I was laughing so hard from shear pleasure and joy that everyone was staring at me. Some laughed at me; others were rolling their eyes, and my only feeling? Bliss.
    After that first day we all went back and had hot chocolate and everyone slurped up melted marshmallows as the fire crackled and the sun fell beneath the tree line. I have so many memories of wondrous winters, but, given we moved to Australia when I was a toddler, this was my first memory of snow. As for other snow memories, every single one has brought me pleasure. Yes even the time I got caught in a blizzard, after driving eighteen-hours straight, in a car that (for me) was on the wrong side of the road, (did I mention it still had summer tyres?) – yes even that one is awesome – now – ha!


  59. "Just unzip your coat, show them what you're wearing, and close it up real quick."

    Trick or treating in the snow meant costumes hidden by puffy parkas and Rainbow Bright moon boots. That was the year my mother taught us how to flash the neighbors in the hopes of getting free candy. Despite my crumpled Pocahontas dress, that night was filled with giggles, drippy noses and frozen toes-es.

    Sarah Bailey

  60. When I was six, Mom decided the best Halloween costume for me was a birthday present. To this day, I have no idea what possessed her. Maybe it was the pile of unused birthday wrapping paper she was dying to get rid of. Or perhaps it was the box from Dad's new television she wanted to find a new life for.

    But all I remember is standing in my living room wearing a box while she wrapped feet and feet of pink unicorn wrapping paper around me. A gigantic bow the size of my head and a side ponytail (hey, this was the 80's after all) completed my look. By Mom's assessment, I looked great. And after what felt like a million pictures, I was ready go trick or treating with Dad.

    He carried my candy pumpkin since I couldn't quite reach my hands in front of myself. In fact, I couldn't even hold the flashlight right either. It only managed to stick out from my side to illuminate what we were passing: trees, mailboxes, other kids. Even though Mom had planned for everything, she didn't expect the flurries that came half-way through trick-or-treating.

    It made the walk in the dark treacherous and - almost deadly - for the kid dressed like a giant present. Since I couldn't see where I was stepping, I kept slipping on piles of frozen leaves. One time, I went down hard. I lay in the middle of the street, kicking my limbs and calling for Dad. When he stepped over me, trying his best not to laugh, I knew exactly what a turtle who'd flipped over felt like. Even though Dad recommended we go home, I told him I wasn't ready. So we continued through the neighborhood. I lost track of how many times I fell and Dad picked me up, but I kept going. Even after I ripped my tights and when I had to pee so bad I thought I would explode, I kept going. Towards the end of the night, people started foisting extra candy into my snow-filled pumpkin.

    I didn't understand why until years later when I found the last picture Mom took that night. With the skid marks on my costume, lopsided bow, and ice in my ponytail, I was a sorry excuse for a birthday present. But I looked like any other kid on Halloween - desperate, hungry, and determined to scavenge the neighborhood for the last unclaimed Milky Way.

    If I'd survived snow and pretending to be roadkill, I bet my neighbors had no doubt how far I'd go to get that last candy bar. Or maybe they just felt bad Dad drug me out in that weather. I'll never know, but it's one of my favorite childhood memories...even if I didn't appreciate it at the time.

    Ashley B.


  61. Growing up in Northwestern Louisiana, snow was a very rare occurrence, once that almost never happened. When it did, and stuck, everything shut down: the roads, the schools, the city. As a small child however, I knew none of that. I simply relished the magic of something I almost never saw. Dancing in the flakes as they fell, trying to catch them on my tongue, trying to eek out every moment of pleasure before they melted on contact on the ground. On the few occasions where it did stick, I would dress in my warmest clothes, which admittedly were nowhere near as warm as the ones I would later wear when I moved up North, and play outside as long and as hard as I could.

    One winter, when I was probably about five or six, we had snow that stuck, and a pretty decent amount of it. It was the most snow I had seen, and my brothers and I went out with my mother and made a real snowman. Not the little piddling snowmen that you can make by mounding little piles of snow that only reach six feet, but a real snowman comprised of three balls, a hat, a face and gloves. Even after, soaked and cold, we had to go indoors, we watched the snowman with pride from the kitchen window.

    With pride that is, until some teenage boys came by and started to knock it down. I remember watching crying as they knocked off the head of the snowman we were in love with. My parents also saw it, and my father, a big man, went out to talk to them. I don't know what he said, but carefully one of the boys began to put the snowman back together. When he was finished the snowman once again stood proudly, as dusk fell, and until the next day when it soon melted away. I never forgot my first real snowman however, and the impact of watching the boy putting it back together has stayed with me throughout the years.


  62. Desert girl here. The first time I saw snow was also my first winter after college. After graduation in sunny Arizona, moving to Chicago just seemed like a good idea. Now, I wish I had given that thought further consideration. I didn’t. In a rush, probably so I wouldn’t lose my nerve, I broke my piggy bank, bought a heavy coat, and headed to the windy city. When I arrived, summer was in full swing. I can handle this. I remember thinking, smug smile on. But, the nice weather, just like my smirk, didn’t last long. The seasons changed, and then – it got very, very cold.

    The first snowstorm hit shortly thereafter. I tried to call in sick at work, but my boss didn’t buy my story. Be here in an hour and don’t forget the donuts is all she said before she hung up. I dragged my frozen butt out of bed, and made it all the way to the parking lot, where my car and two others had turned into giant snowballs. I didn’t know that when it snows over the weekend, people go out every now and then to dig their cars out. I was about two days late for that. I grabbed my small ice scrapper and started digging. After a while, a bit of blue peered through the glittering ice. Wrong car. I’m not going lie, I did cry a little, but I made it to work that day, with donuts.


  63. As someone who grew up in Southern California and now lives in Chicago, I have a complicated history with snow. Contrary to popular belief, SoCal does get snow. From the Los Angeles area, it's about a two hour drive to the mountains, with plenty of snow -- and skiing! -- during the winter months. My family was never into skiing, but I do come from a proud line of mountain people. Not mountain people in the sense of being bearded and plaid-shirt-wearing -- well, except for my dad -- but in the sense of sharing a deep affection for the dramatic peaks of the Sierra Nevada. For me, skiing was a natural extension of this mountain enthusiasm, the winter equivalent of camping and hiking. My friend's family had a cabin, and a few times a year after a good snow, we'd head up there for a weekend of skiing, and then come home. It was a convenient, sanitized experience of snow.

    Then I went away to college in Wisconsin. I was concerned about the cold, and rightly so, but confident that I could handle the snow. I'd tackled a double black diamond slope before. What more did snow have to show me? But then winter rolled around. And one morning I looked out of my window, and SNOW WAS FALLING FROM THE SKY. Of course, I knew that was how snow arrived. It was an empirical fact, the commonest of common knowledge. I'd even seen it on TV and in movies and thought nothing of it. But seeing it for the first time in person just blew me away. After what I'd thought was a lifetime's experience of snow, I felt like a little kid, seeing it again for the first time. I spent the rest of the day marveling at the snowfall, fascinated by the pattern it made falling past Venetian blinds, like silent television static. My brain spontaneously turned into a font of bad prose poetry -- none of which ever saw the light of day, thankfully.

    And that's to say nothing of the first time I experienced a real blizzard. Or had to drive in one.


  64. Oh this is an easy memory to pick. My dad loves horses and has so many Amish friends and was definitely born in the wrong century. Give him a Percheron and plough over a tractor anytime, and I've been to so many pioneer reenactments that I've lost count.
    When I was little, he used to hook up his two horses to a sleigh and drive around my Bubba's farm. That wasn't enough for me and my sister, so we tied our smaller sleds to the back of his. The horses would pull us around, and we'd stand on our sleds so we could "snowboard" or use corn stalks to pretend we were "skiing." Sometimes, we'd sit on our sleds, collect snow, and build small snowmen on our legs as he pulled us around the farm. Of course, we also had snowball fights while sitting on our sleds, and we'd always push each other off, so that my dad had to stop the horses and wait for one of us to catch up! My absolute favorite memory, though, was when we came to this big hill on Bubba's property. My sister and I unhitched our sleds, flew down the hill, and then waited for Dad to pick us up. Once our sleds were hooked back to his, the horses pounded up the hill, kicking snow over our heads and, I swear, even their heads! The snow flew around us so fast, we were in a snow globe flipped upside down. We went up and down, up and down that hill until we couldn't stand the cold anymore, and then went up and down again! My mom and dad have always been about giving me and my sister unique experiences, and being pulled around snowy cornfields by horses is by far one of my favorites.

  65. In my preteen years a group of neighborhood kids and I built up the sides of our regular sledding hill with snow we trucked in on our sleds and once it hardened we had a full on luge track. That was the best year of sliding we ever had!

  66. Lacey was crying. It was too early. Again.
    I wondered for the zillionth time how in the hell I’d raised someone who actually woke up in the morning. Me, the grand poohbah of night owlery. Her, the earliest of risers.
    But, like I said, she was crying and a small one who cries must be attended to—sleep gunk cementing my eyes shut or no.
    I heaved myself out of bed and opened my bedroom door. Bold youth she was she toddled out first. Through the living room, to the kitchen in back.
    The light diffusing through the curtains was different from the usual morning sunburst and a prickle of excitement charged me. Blue light, soft. That meant snow! And it was the first of the season!
    My excitement grew as Lacey went right for the backdoor.
    “Ooh, you’re in for a surprise!” I singsonged, or something along the lines as I peeped out the window.
    Snow, a glorious blanket of the stuff, covered the yard. It was the fat sort that never lasts but is the best kind.
    I slipped my feet in my chewed up boots and opened the backdoor. There were steps going down into a little foyer type thing and Lacey was still not totally confident on stairs. I waited patiently at the top for her to scuttle down to the landing before I followed. I grinned at her as I unlocked the outside door. I kept an eye close on her face—I wanted to see her expression when I grandly threw the door open.
    At first it was business as usual, but then—hesitation. She didn’t know what she was looking at. She didn’t want to go outside. White. White everywhere. Clearly something was wrong with the world.
    “Go outside,” I said.
    Lacey was a brave little girl and she tentatively stepped out.
    Her little feet left little wet prints. She wasn’t quite as white as the snow. She was a little blonder but she blended beautifully. I leaned against the door jamb and watched her explore.


  67. When I was growing up in Iowa we didn't get much snow. We got what they like to call now a 'Wintery Mix' but we just called 'Ice Storms'. At least once a year we would get storms that look like rain, but really were leaving an inch of ice on every surface imaginable. You couldn't drive anywhere, you couldn't go outside and play in it, and, then, invariably, you couldn't even do anything inside either. Because when you have an inch of ice on everything that includes power lines and trees and the power goes out.

    One such event, during my teen years, lead to me, my brother, and the twins that were living in our basement trapped in a house without power. Fortunately for us, that didn't mean we lacked in entertainment. All four of us went to our 'sun room', which was really just a bonus room with windows on three sides. From there we proceeded to watch as car after car skidded through the intersection next to my house. The intersection is at the peak of a hill with a four way stop, so no car could quite see that another car was approaching, but they were always confident it was clear. It was perfect entertainment for hours. We, of course, had a phone nearby if anyone had any real problems, but three days of demolition derby made the power outage pass really quickly.

    I still remember that the second the power came back on my mom started vacuuming immediately, but not the room we'd been living in. No, she vacuumed the rest of the house that we'd been avoiding.

    1. Ha, of course I'm one of those that forgot. Got too caught up in the story: @muliebris