No fun to snow fun: Trying to revive love for winter a challenge
The wind was gently swirling the snowflakes as they fell and I thought, “It’s beautiful, like a snow globe.”
Then I wondered when it was that the words beautiful and snow stopped being in my sentences together. Because when I was a child, I thought winter was awesome. My mom had to drag me into the house many days because I wanted to stay outside.
Once when I was perhaps 6 or 7, my cheeks were starting to get frost bit when she called me in, finally getting me to leave the snowbanks and go into the warm house.
Now, winter is not something I anticipate with any degree of joy. Shoveling, falls and near falls and most especially driving on snow-covered, ice-covered roads has made this time of year something to endure rather than something to enjoy.
Watching the snow swirl, though, made me decide something: Winter is not going away and I am not moving, so it’s my attitude that needs adjustment here. In order to be in a better winter frame of mind, it’s time to recall happy winter memories and to try to focus on them on days when four-wheel drive is engaged and Yaktraks are a necessity.
The Bluff is one of those memories. It’s what we kids who lived along Forest Drive and Perala Court called the huge rock formation across the four lanes of U.S. 41 in between our two roads. We would skid down The Bluff on those little brightly colored plastic sleds, trying to be careful to turn before getting to the bottom bank, otherwise ending up on the highway itself.
Back then, The Bluff was mostly treeless so the obstacles – other than landing on the busy highway – were few. Well, except …
If memory serves, our good times on The Bluff ended when one of us kids sledded right into a telephone pole and broke her leg. It wasn’t me, but it was enough for my mom to nix a return. We had a few other, safer places we tried but none had the thrill of hurtling down the steep snow-covered rocks, with potential danger at the end.
The mistaken feeling of indestructibility when you are a youth can be dangerous.
That memory does make me smile and shake my head a bit. But another winter recollection is pure joy: my first visit to Winter Carnival at Michigan Tech in Houghton.
Somewhere, there exists film from my dad’s Super 8 camera of me and my cousin Kathleen with the snow statues. We were awestruck by the incredible sculptured snow. This was in the late 1960s, mind you, so the Super 8 film was viewed quite a few times at our home, taken out frequently in the months after it was shot for relatives who came by for a visit.
But it has been a long time since I watched the film and the theme of that year’s carnival escapes me now. What has stayed in my mind is that snow can be pretty darned amazing when in the right hands.
Maybe it’s time to head up to carnival again: It’s this coming weekend. If you’ve never been, go. It’s great.
Another happy snow-related memory I should try to focus on when the weather’s getting me down is the glorious trip to Lambeau Field my niece, Marga, my best friend Mary Beth and I took to see the Green Bay Packers. This was 20 or so years ago now – a December game just before Christmas – and it was one of those Sunday afternoons when parkas, hats, scarves, mittens and good boots were a must.
The snow was coming down that day but Mary Beth is an intrepid wintertime driver so we headed south to the game despite blustery conditions. We had a blast, of course. And another friend backed out so we had an extra ticket. We had decided to try to sell it and ended up finding the perfect person to sell it to: Santa Claus.
Yes, Santa was looking to watch the Packers and we ended up having a great day, cheering along with him and other fans of the green and gold as the Packers won.
It’s another winter memory to keep in mind the next time I have to brush off my vehicle just to be able to see.
Reigniting my love for winter might be a never-ending work in progress, but maybe it’s time to try to be the cold-weather fan I was as a youth.
So if you catch me making snow angels one of these days, don’t be surprised. Just be ready to help me up, OK?
Editor’s note: Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.