Open Mouth, Insert...

Snow in the North

The last time I played in the snow, and I mean really played and not chuckled knowingly as other grown people frolicked in the first snow of their lives, making snow angels and throwing snowballs and such, was way back in high school. Over Christmas break, to be exact. My family had driven from Florida, where we were living at the time, up to Minnesota. Most people tend to consider their ancestral homelands to be somewhere in Europe or Asia or Africa. I consider mine to be Minnesota. And like most ancestral homelands, I have only spent a fraction of my life there, though at close to three years total--two-plus living there when I was little and the remainder on various trips--I'd imagine that's more than most people.

Anyway (and the astute reader will already know where this is going) my family spent the Christmas break in Rochester with my grandparents, and everyone from my dad's side of the family was there. To blow off a bit of the steam that had been building up by having five energetic grandchildren in a small house (I was the oldest by a couple of years) while dinner was being prepared, someone decided it would be a good idea to get a football game going in the front yard.

The yard, the street, everything was covered in a thick blanket of snow--a major storm had rolled through the area just two days before (which my family ended up driving through to get to Rochester)--and it was cold enough that it was painful to catch the football at first. And that was with a Nerf football!

The game kicked into gear and everyone was having a good time, and I was starting to get really hot in my winter jacket. So I took it off. My uncles and my dad asked me if I really wanted to do that, and I said yes and that I would be fine. Perhaps knowing that the best lessons learned in life are those learned painfully, they accepted my reasoning and we got back to the game. Thirty minutes later, we wrapped up the game and hauled ourselves inside to eat.

It only took a couple of hours before I started getting sick, and I ended up being bedridden for two days with a persistent fever and severe aches. I remember being very relieved that this all took place after Christmas, as I imagined that I'd be sitting under the Christmas tree and start vomiting all over my stash of wrapped presents. I don't think mine would've been the only Christmas ruined.

So it was then that I learned the virtues of dressing appropriately for the weather (or at least, to the extent that I would be exposed to it). And thinking back now I realize this: damn, I was dumb as a kid!

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