The Snowball Team circa 1972

As part of writing classes last year through University of Denver’s University College and Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver I began writing some short stories as part of my memoir. I’ve decided to take it to this blog as a fun way to share it with others. I will occasionally share my stories.

An easy way to write your own memoir is simply through short stories that come to mind from your life. Sometimes a quick write of 500-1000 words covers a story. While I cannot recall each detail specifically, I use some creative license and personality traits to add depth, as I write. May you reflect on what your story may look like and the chapters that you might include. Stories are not unique, in fact, it is amazing how similar our stories can be, which makes them even more special.

What is your favorite story involving a snowfall as a kid, if you lived near snow? Please respond, I’d love to hear from you. Here is mine:

The Snowball Team, circa 1972

By Diane McLennan Felt

The early March snow fell in big wet snowflakes. With mouths opened wide, I, being the oldest at 17, along with my siblings, Charlene, Laurie, Susan, and Charles tried to capture the cold, moist flakes somewhat like baby robins with opened mouths eagerly anticipating wiggly worms. We had just arrived home on the bright gold school bus which Daddy drove for one of the Belle Plaine School District’s rural routes.  Having endured a longer than normal bus ride due to the falling snow, we were all ready to engage in some playtime in the fresh snow.

Daddy always had a gift for throwing balls, since baseball was a childhood passion of his. To him it seemed second nature then to scoop up that wet snow and mold it into heavy snowballs, the size of baseballs. We quickly snapped our mouths shut when we heard his chuckle following the throw of his first snowball. It was as if he gave us the license to break the rules which we heard at recess during the elementary years on snowy days. “Do NOT throw snowballs”, the teachers and principals would warn through their cardboard megaphones. “You could hurt someone or something!”

Quickly Charlene scooped up her wad of snow, shaped it into a ball, and threw it at the old maple tree. Laurie shot hers at the side of the 70-year-old garage, where the snow held firmly in place like plaster. We continued making our way down the farmhouse driveway toward the barnyard where literally all hell broke loose. Susan’s snowball smacked against the scale house. The icy bomb that Charles threw landed on the corn crib’s corrugated metal roof. My throw made its mark on the rusty-red siding of the hay barn. As our snowballs whizzed back and forth they shot through the air like icy streaks. Pock marks in the half-foot of snow were evidence of many of our packed missiles.

The quietness of the falling snow enveloped us, making our cheerful laughter appear muffled and close. Large snowflakes came plummeting straight down from the heavens. Thuds, like launching fireworks, continued to resonate off of the corn crib, the scale house, and the hay barn with each throw of a snowball. With Daddy’s chuckles serving as encouragement, we worked our way around the barnyard and at the same time we were careful not to aim for one another. Daddy reminded us, “This snow is so wet, kids, that it would hurt if it hit someone.” We all chimed back, “Okay, Daddy, don’t worry, we’ll be careful.”

As if on cue, the five of us kids stopped to watch Daddy scoop up yet another handful of snow. He firmly molded it between his two large mittened hands. Then he swung back his right arm and lobbed it high as if throwing a fly ball. This particular snowball seemed to be suspended as it hit its apogee near the outer edges of the earth’s atmosphere. All eyes watched this spectacular throw with mouths open in awe. “Whish-h-h-h!” went the snowball as it hit the two black electric wires that crossed the barnyard to the farmhouse. “Sputter-sputter-sputter,” went the sparks that flew as the wires twisted.

A new silence fell on the six of us as we stood in amazement. However, the silence was quickly broken by a clear voice coming from the house. “Chuck, we have lost power Dear!” Mama called out. Daddy’s reaction included his throwing his Funk’s G hat onto the snow in frustration. Our reaction was to stop throwing snowballs. The six of us made our way to the house like scolded puppies with tails between their legs. In chagrin, Daddy admitted to the grievance at hand as we reached the house, telling everyone that he should have known better and apologizing to Mama.

As the five of us children entered the cold front porch, we quietly stripped off our wet winter coats, snow-clad mittens, and damp boots. Between our sweaty bodies and the damp wool, we were a smelly sight to behold. Typically we would look forward to some hot cocoa on a chilly day like this. However, today a soothing hot drink wasn’t to be enjoyed. Mama quickly made a fire in the black Franklin Stove in the family room. We warmed our tingling fingers, chilled toes, and rosy cheeks, sitting shoulder to shoulder at the stove. With dusk quickly approaching, all Mama could think about was a night without lights, without a hot meal for the family, and without warm heat from our furnace. Mama was always one for adventure, but undoubtedly this type of adventure wasn’t one she anticipated on this snowy and chilly March day.

The daylight minutes were quickly passing so Daddy got to work in resolving the power outage. First, he turned off the main power switch to the place, next he drove the stock truck so it was beneath the twisted wires in the middle of the barnyard, then he carefully leaned a long ladder against the truck.  Climbing the ladder, he was able to reach the wires safely and untangle them.  Fortunately, with the flip of the main switch, power was restored and so were all relationships, especially between Mama and Daddy. The lights came back to life, the refrigerator hummed, and the oil furnace kicked on.  Most importantly, Mama shared a smile with all of us, announcing, “Looks like Daddy got things fixed!” The five of us kids cheered, “Yeah Daddy!”

As Daddy entered the front porch stomping the snow off of his boots and unzipping his heavy winter coat, Mama greeted him at the kitchen door, winked at him, gave him a quick kiss, and said, “Chuck Darling, sometimes you don’t know your own power!”  Then off she went to make some hot cocoa for her playful snowball team!

 

2 Replies to “The Snowball Team circa 1972”

    1. Thanks. It was so much fun. I have tons of stories floating around in my head. Need some time to get them onto paper. Stories to come: hands (my children’s), flannel (my Grandma made flannel PJs/nightgowns each year for us), chocolate chips (cookies), Huck Finn (Jeremy and Kyle), skiing (my children), popcorn bowl, etc.

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