NORMAN — A grandfather tells this winter’s tale about two sisters collecting wood for the family stove. They also collected new-fallen snow for snow cream. When they went back inside, the 5-year-old sister also carried snowballs.
“Well, Jenny, what are you going to do with those snowballs?” her dad says. “Why don’t you put them here on top of the stove and let them dry?”
Jenny places her snowballs near the handle so they won’t roll off. She skips away to find dry clothes. When Jenny returns to reclaim her snowballs she blames her sister.
“Mona, did you throw my snowballs into your snow cream? They’re gone.”
“They melted,” her Dad tells her. “Sorry, but they would have melted anyway. They cooled down the handle for me so I can add wood.”
He sees his wife glaring at him.
He says, “Sorry, I guess that side of me only comes out when it snows.”
Families then were known to hang around in the kitchen warming while one of them loaded in the wood. These days after playing in the snow, kids still hang around the oven to get warm.
“I’m using the oven to cook. Can’t you see that?” mothers often shout at them. “Every time I open the oven door, you’re in my way. Either get out of my way or help cook.”
Usually that sends the kids back out in a jiffy.
One dad planned on finishing his book the day it snowed. He’d just picked up his book when he smelled something burning.
“Check your mother’s cooking while you’re there,” he calls to his son. “I smell something.”
“You just smell my gloves drying in the oven, Dad,” his son answers. “I want to get back out to sled as soon as I can.”
Dad returns to his reading.
“Gosh, what just happened to mom’s cake?” The son calls out. “It just got a huge hole right in the middle!”
Dad closes his book. He realizes he has to do something quick.
“How many times did you open the oven door?” he says.
“Just a few times. I swear I didn’t touch the cake.”
“Grab your gloves out of the oven and let’s go,” Dad says. He buttons his coat on the way out. Suddenly sledding seemed a good idea.
Building a snowman is an exercise in strategy. Parents help roll the huge ball of snow, then the medium-sized one, and then the snowman’s smaller head when the kid is young. It’s always a surprise when the kids take over. They may allow their parents to watch.
Children’s snowmen take on their own personalities. Children know they have been known to talk. At the end of the next day, a snowman may say to his friend, “I’m not melting, am I?”
“I don’t know,” the other answers. “But your bowler hat is covering your eyes. You should have known drinking a cup of hot chocolate is a no-no for a snowman.”
Shirley Ramsey, a retired professor of journalism, lives in Norman.
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