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How Many Snow Years Are You?

January 9, 2019


How Many Snow Years Are You?


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



When we are determining the age of a dog, we speak of “Dog Years.”  Have you ever thought of age in respect of “Snow Years”?  At what age did snow become something not wished for, not dreamed of?  When did snow become more of a burden, no longer a beautiful blessing?


Certainly, one must age in Snow Years when “snow days” off from school are no longer in the realm of possibility.  Perhaps, “The Middle Snow Years” are those decades when one is concerned about the snow hindering one’s being able to arrive at work on time or return home at a reasonable hour.  Then, the moment arises at a later stage in life when one suddenly becomes worried about falling in the slippery snow or ice–“The Senior Snow Years.”


When I was in grade school in west-central Indiana, snow and ice were certainly not a match for winters in Wisconsin; however, when my friends and I found a patch of ice, we were delighted.  I even recall that once on a school playground, we tried to cover and hide the ice patch so that we could enjoy sliding on the patch the next day.  What a different viewpoint of ice and snow!


One snow day without school in session, while my sister and I were still in “The Early Snow Years,” we were looking out the bathroom window because it had the best and easiest view of the field and road to the west and north west of our home.  Suddenly, in that rare blizzard, Mary and I realized that my mother, coming home from the post office, was trudging through the snow alongside the snowdrifted road because she had to abandon her car.  Due to our being in “The Early Snow Years,” my sister and I found this snow scene in which our mother was the only human being to be quite amusing:  we had never seen our mother in such circumstances which we perceived as a winter wonderland of a playground.  By the time Mother arrived home, the black-and-gray wool coat, the triangular winter scarf over her head and tied under her chin, the once warm gloves, and heavy boots were covered with snow.  What looked like fun to us had absolutely not been fun to our mother.  I think our laughing and enjoying her trek through the snow upset her even more.  Actually, I cannot remember another time when Mother was more upset with her two daughters.  Her being able to drive to and from the third-class Blanford Post Office where she was postmaster was of utmost importance to her:  Mother’s regular work day was from eight to five and, for many years, even a half day on Saturdays.  Well, that day, I think my sister and I gained a better appreciation for “The Middle Snow Years.”


I do imagine that people who ski down snowy slopes are exceptions to my “Snow Age” theory.


Fortunately, despite the four-degree wind chill that persisted throughout this January day, we have had little snow this winter in Milwaukee–thus far.  Although I am snug into “The Senior Snow Years,” I, with my Leader Dog Willow, still enjoy a brisk walk through the fresh snow–before the too heavy application of that four-letter-word substance–S-A-L-T–ruins the pristine snow!


No matter where you are in the timeline of “Snow Years,” may you and yours be blessed with  a safe and happy 2019!


Happy January!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


January 9, 2019, Wednesday



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  1. Sue McKendry permalink

    Alice–I like the “snow years” concept. We have found it amusing that in the several years we have had our snow shoes, we’ve only been able to use them a few days most years, and one year not at all. Before that, it seemed the snow was endless. So far this year, I’ve only gone once. However, I’m not complaining, as life otherwise is simpler and safer without tons of snow.–Sue

    • Hi, Sue–Thanks for sharing your “snowshoes” perspective!  While I thought of skiers and skaters, I forgot about the snowshoe angle.  A writer friend from Texas pointed out not only the Texan perspective, but also the delight of visiting Australians who had never before seen nor played in snow.

      Enjoy the snowless days of winter!

      Alice and Willow

  2. Dear Alice,
    Oh, yes, I do remember that snow day watching our mother trudge through snowdrifts to get to our house. On most snowy days, I could hardly wait to get out into the snow! When the storm was particularly bad and the country road in front of our house was nearly impassable, I recall getting our sleds and meeting our neighbor Marge for an afternoon of sledding on the slippery road. What thrilling rides we had! As a parent and a preschool teacher–and now as a grandma–I have had fun teaching the kids to play the game “Fox and Geese,” which we enjoyed so much in our big snow-covered yard. Although we have had very little snow in Arvada so far this winter, I am hoping that the forecast for tomorrow of three to six inches of snow is accurate. I’m ready for a white “After Christmas,” and maybe even a snow day from school!
    Love to you and Willow,

    • Mary–Thanks so much for your snowy recollections!  While I distinctly recall many snowy games of “Fox-and-Geese,” I do not remember making or even hearing of “Snow Angels” when we were young.  I assume that making these snow impressions must have come after our “Early Snow Years.”

      Keep your snow in Colorado!

      Take care–Alice and Willow

  3. Paula J. Lumb permalink

    Oh, Alice, what a wonderful concept of measuring our life in Snow Years! I loved the examples of the Early Snow Years to be filled with wonderful and joyful reminders of just how much me and my siblings enjoyed those Early Snow Years, especially here in Maine where we were always assured to have plenty of snow, and most certainly ‘snow days’ during the school year. No better memory than getting up early to listen to the radio list of school cancellations and the whooping and hollering that followed when our town’s schools were closed for the day! Sledding, tunnel towns constructed through the drifts of snow in our yard, hot chocolate, playing parchisi (forgive if misspelled) or cribbage at the kitchen table…it brought back so many childhood scenes of delight. Thanks for reminding us of happy times, while shedding light on the Snow Years of Middle and Senior years (amen to the later years as being a bit more challenging). I always enjoy the vivid imagery of your writing. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the measurement of Snow Years! Happy January to you, as well!

    • Hi, Paula–I am delighted to read that this blog post brought forth for you so many memories of your Early Snow Years.  Comments such as yours make me feel that the writing time is worthwhile. Also, having a comment from a Mainer adds a special dimension to your sharing of snowy memories.

      Thinking of you and yours during this January–Alice and Willow

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