As mentioned previously, US Southerners do not handle snow well. The mere threat can send entire cities into chaos. In my hometown we usually see one or two winter storms per year consisting of the occasional flurry, but freezing rain is more the norm. This year we saw several storms back to back. The snow from one storm would melt only for the weather to double down on its next hand. Schools were closed (again). Garbage service was cancelled. Those restricted to a milk and bread diet were in danger of starving.
You might say it has been a trying month.
After being housebound off and on for several days, my family decided we had to escape. Bundled within an inch of our lives, we faced the cold and valiantly made our way down the front steps. The most recent storm had resulted in a sticky snow, perfect for making snowmen. We did just that. Soon our snowman was close to my height, which is an impressive snowman height for our part of the country (though not so impressive for a human), and was positioned proudly in the front of the yard for all the neighbors to see.
The next day, temperatures (finally) began creeping back up and the snow began to disappear from the rooftops, but most snowpeople were still standing. Most, but not our giant. Its three sections lay in pieces like large white bolders on the lawn. My sons were disappointed, but they understood that all snowmen eventually melt (Valar Meltghulis). I told them he was too big to last. Then 6 pointed out that there were words written in the snow at the base of our yard; “R.I.P Snowman.”
I suddenly realized that our snowman may not have met his end through natural causes. He might have been murdered. Cue the Law and Order gavel sound.
But why? What possibly could have been the motivation behind such a crime? Did my snowman make eyes at some other snowman’s snowoman? Did the local architectural review board deem our giant an eyesore? (They don’t take kindly to additions in the front yard without proper permits.) Did the roving pack of wild dogs deem our snowman a threat that had to be taken down? None of those theories explained the presence of the note.
Ultimately, I was forced to conclude that the culprit was likely some kid trying to impress his or her friends. He or she probably thought they were hilarious as they scratched their message into the snow. I’ll never understand why some people go out of their way to destroy something that they didn’t create, or otherwise spoil another’s experience as a mere whim.
There is nothing quite like muttering under your breath about those darn kids to make you feel old.
I have chosen to interpret this experience as a compliment. Out of all the snowmen on the street, they choose ours to destroy. Therefore it had to be special in some way. It caught an eye. It stood apart and was therefore worthy of notice if only for an afternoon.
As Dr. Seuss put it, “don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”
The neighborhood kids might have taken our snowman out (and gotten away with it), but they won’t take us down. We did something right once. We can do so again. We will rebuild, we will make the next one bigger, stronger, or at least mightier than before, but…hopefully not until next year – I am so over this winter.