If I am repaired, can we meet again for the first time, in all of the places I have feared to go, and then, again, in all of the places I will have forgotten, if I am repaired?



Monday, January 10, 2011


It’s dark yet, so I can’t say for sure how deep the snow is now; two or three inches maybe, on the ground. They say it will continue into tomorrow. I’ve seen one record snowfall in my twelve years here in Tennessee. I’d like to see another. One, I can enjoy from my porch and don’t have to drive through to get home.

     I was in second-grade when I first experienced snow. It is an experience, after all; especially the first time. We lived in Southern California then. I’d seen pictures of snow, in the Peanut’s comic books I read incessantly; seen Charlie Brown and Linus wading, waste deep through it and dimpling snow balls for the perfect pitch, seen it piled high on Snoopy’s sleeping belly. Maybe I’d been begging, but my folks had decided to take us kids—I have a younger brother and sister—up to the mountains, were we could witness snow, first hand.

     Snow wasn’t actually falling when we arrived. There were some wind-swept patches at the lower elevations—hints. I stared in awe. I wanted to get out then and there, to mold the two or three handfuls of crystalline white into tiny, pebble-eyed snowmen. But my father drove on. “That’s not snow,” he said. My parents are native Iowan’s. They know all about snow; deep snow.

     We climbed. Plowed mounds of oil stained snow began to pile up along side the winding highway, Pines bows began to bend under the white frosting and soon only the largest crags of granite could be seen under the blanketed mountainside. But it still wasn’t enough snow for my father.

     A chain was drawn across the highway, where it became impassable to native Southern Californians, who apparently lacked the snow-driving skills my father had. We parked in a cleared turnout along with the other twenty some odd vehicles, filled with families, up to see the snow.

     We didn’t have any winter clothes: galoshes and mittens and downy jackets and the like. It was Southern California. I didn’t even know they made such things. And even if I had, my father was not about to run out to the nearest sporting-goods and pay to outfit three children with the proper gear for, maybe, an hour’s worth of snow play.

     So, Mom layered us. She stuffed our hands into socks and our shoes into bread bags, which she secured with rubber bands. Prompted, no doubt, by my father, I assumed that this was how you prepared for snow.

     In hindsight, it was very resourceful of my mother. But when mixing and mingling with other children, out in the snow, who are wearing proper galoshes and mittens and downy jackets, one’s bread-bagged feet and sock covered hands quickly become the subject of jest. After five minutes of playing in my glorious and long-anticipated snow, I wanted to go home. My father wouldn’t hear of it. He hadn’t driven all that way for five minutes.

     Mother, who is prone to seeing the bigger picture, stayed with me in the van. She’d seen plenty of snow like this, when she was a kid.

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